Every man and every woman have their own opinions on what the menswear essentials or basics should be. Today I will share mine.
To clarify how I picked my ultimate list of menswear essentials, I need to tell how I came up with it. First, I want to show how we are able to build the foundation to any outfit with only 5 pieces of clothing. Yes, most bloggers, stylists and influencers will give you 10. But I won’t.
I am also building this closet of basics with pieces that you can style for both day and nighttime outfits. That also can be styled in both masculine and feminine aesthetic outfits. And most importantly, all of these pieces can be worn in any season of the year. Being from a city like Chicago or New York in which the seasons are all so different, you would have to build a essentials closet for every season and that is not what we should be looking for. So you won’t see any type of jackets or shorts in my ultimate list of basics.
1. A WHITE LONG SLEEVE SHIRT
No matter our age or profession, we all need a plain button down shirt. This is a piece of clothing that you can wear with jeans or even shorts, with the sleeves rolled up in the summer and dress it down, but you can also wear it under a suit and dress it up to attend any fancy event -we will all get a wedding invitation someday, believe me.
In my opinion a light blue shirt is a great option, it will work at any time or event. However, for our ultimate menswear essentials closet the best color will be the plain white one. This piece of clothing will never fail you because it is basically the best foundation to any outfit.
Menswear essentials should be wearable all year long
When talking about fabrics, think of a fabric that will work for you all year long. For example, a linen white shirt will be a great piece of clothing for the summer. But it is maybe too thin for the winter. So maybe a fabric like cotton will be the best option.
Now, the best advice I can give you is: make sure this plain white shirt fits you well. Here the best idea would be getting a made-to-measure shirt. However, they can be too expensive. So a good idea is getting the best one you can and then take it to a tailor to fit it for your body.
2. DARK NON-DISTRESSED DENIM
Do I have to say it? Jeans are the basics of the basics. However, when picking the right ones for your essentials closet you need to know what you are looking for.
First, you need a pair of jeans that you can dress down with a white tee, but also dress up with a shirt and a blazer for the night. So a light wash pair of jeans will not work because they will be perfect for the day, but not too good for the night. And a black pair of jeans won’t work either because they could be too dark for a summer morning. So the best option is a medium wash pair of jeans.
Timeless is the key to pick your menswear essentials
Second -and most importantly-, you need to go for a timeless pair of jeans. So distressed denim is out of the equation as its popularity comes and goes and they tend to be too informal for a night event. You need a pair of jeans of a solid color and a shape that will never get out of style. My favorite brand for jeans is definitely Levi’s and I think that their 501s are one of the best options in this specific case.
3. WHITE SNEAKERS
If you ask me about essential shoes for men, I would probably tell you that black Doc Martens and even black Oxford shoes should be a part of every man’s closet. However, would you wear Docs on a summer morning? Probably not -at least not me. So I definitely think that a white sneaker like a Nike or even Converses would be the best option. They will always look great in the daylight and lately they look great even with suits. So you cannot fail with a pair of white sneakers.
However, you need to make sure that they don’t look too much like running shoes and that they don’t have too much -or any- colors over them. Remember, you need white sneakers.
4. A WHITE T-SHIRT IS THE MOST BASIC OF THE MENSWEAR ESSENTIALS
It would be really difficult to find a piece of clothing more essential to any man’s and woman’s closet than a white t-shirt. If we talk about basics and the foundation to any type of outfit for the day or the night and in any season, the perfect first layer to any ensemble, a plain t-shirt in a neutral color like beige, black, gray and white will always work. However, if we need to pick only one for our closet of timeless menswear essentials, the white one is the one we need -same as when picking your plain shirt.
This is not only a piece of clothing that you can wear with shorts in the summer, and under a sweater and a jacket in the winter. But it is also the one piece of clothing that will fall on your body and always look good.
Again, you need to make sure that it fits you well. Try several ones until you find the one.
The best advice I can give you here is to go for the most simple one you find. In this era you will find several different shapes, for example oversized and crop white t-shirts. But when we are talking about basics you need to go for the timeless one, the one that is not defined or even related to any trend.
5. A NAVY SUIT
No matter what we do in life, we all need a suit sometime. When you are building a basics closet we are looking for a suit that you can where to a important work meeting or to a fancy event. You also want a suit that you can wear as separates. Think of a suit in which you can wear the pants without the jacket for a casual look -you can go for a shirt, a sweater or even a t-shirt to achieve this -depending on the season. And a suit which jacket you can wear as a blazer with jeans and a t-shirt for a date.
This piece of clothing has to be versatile and plain at the same time
Yes, there are a lot of great suits with cool textures and shapes, and every season we get new trends and different fabrics. But again, we need the timeless one and the one that you can wear several times, in different ways, and that will look great at any time and place, and as a different piece of clothing every time you wear one of its pieces.
The best color will be definitely navy blue. It is a color of suit that will work day and night and in any season. A charcoal plain suit could also work, but in my opinion it is too dark for the day time.
In conclusion, when you are building a closet that will work as a foundation to any outfit, you need to go for pieces that will never look bad and that you will be able to wear all year long. Think of these pieces as the ones you can put on yourself without thinking about it and you can trust them to never let you down. The ones that look so good that will go with any other piece of clothing you have.
Also, since this pieces are the foundation to any outfit, you will wear them a lot. So invest in good ones -more than for any other trendy outfit. You will wear and wash this pieces a lot, so make sure that they will stay looking the best for the longest time.
Now, which pieces would you take out and which would you add to this list of menswear essentials?