Picture it: It’s 7 am and you have 20 minutes to go from bed to commute. With everything that needs to get done to get you out the door, outfit planning is probably the last thing that you want to spend time and energy on. We feel your pain.
The trick is to find clothes designed for men who live busy, full lives. When done right, wardrobe essentials can get you from the office to the gym to happy hour drinks without breaking a sweat or feeling out of place. It can also get you there without a change of clothes which is a huge win for those of us who go from sunup to sundown without a break.
Think of wardrobe essentials as items you can’t live without and clothes you can build any outfit around. These staple items are your “go-to’s,” and they give you a solid base to go off of. You know those five items you can pack for a trip and live forever on? That’s what we’re talking about.
Versatile Wardrobe Essentials for Men
Men’s wardrobe essentials is one category that includes a diverse range of items. While essentials can consist of anything you deem “foundational” to your wardrobe and style, these items usually include core comfort items: t-shirts, pants, button-downs, jackets, and jeans.
Some things to look for:
- Versatility: Items that can go from day to night or work to play.
- Comfort: You want to feel good in what you wear. Look for clothes made with natural fabrics or cotton/spandex blends because they will feel soft on your skin but still give you stretch and movement, which will keep you from feeling constricted or suffocated. As a bonus, natural fibers breathe and encourage airflow and ventilation, which is essential in summer or warm conference rooms.
- Durability: When you find the perfect men’s wardrobe staple, you want them to last. Look for clothes that can handle a washing machine and that are designed to stretch and move without losing their structure or shape.
Wardrobe Essentials for Men: An Itemized List
“A good top can take you anywhere.” - anyone who has ever had two events in one day with no transition time.
Tops are an essential part of any man’s closet. When looking at tops that make good men’s wardrobe staples, you want to stick to the following two categories: comfort/work.
- A Classic T. A good, comfortable t-shirt is any man’s best friend. T-shirts are great because they can be dressed up or down to create virtually any look imaginable. Work happy hour? Throw a t-shirt on under a blazer or suit jacket for an instant business casual moment. After work game with the boys? Throw on some shorts and pair your t-shirt with a broken-in hoodie and you’re good to go.
- A Classic Tank. Like the t-shirt, the tank top is a great and versatile item to include in a men’s wardrobe basics collection. Tank tops are not just for summer months, they actually pair well with blazers, hoodies, and jackets to create some great (and stylish) looks for work, play, and everything in-between. The benefit of a tank top is that they’re usually more on the thin or sleek side which makes them great options if you’re going to be wearing a jacket or blazer that’s more snug or slim-fit.
- Button-Downs: Button-downs are the unsung heroes of the business and business casual world. Have a big client meeting? Pair a button-down with a pair of nice slacks or suit pants to channel that big boss energy. Going to Sunday brunch with the in-laws? Button-downs and khakis are a great go-to. If you choose correctly, one button-down can become your not-so-secret weapon both in and out of the boardroom.
Now let’s get to what goes below those tops. Bottoms are a critical part of any outfit (and actually pretty necessary) and they can really tie a look together and give an outfit the feel and mood you’re going for. When looking at pants that fit into men’s wardrobe essentials, we have four clear favorites:
- Jeans: We probably don’t need to sell you on the value and versatility of a nice, classic pair of jeans. Jeans can be used to frame a wide range of outfits and give you a comfortable and stylish way to dress up or down without having to run home and change pants.
- Slacks: Everyone needs one solid pair of slacks that fit well and look good. Slacks are great for work, family events, weddings, nights out with friends…if you need to look slightly better than you normally do, Slacks are a great way to achieve that goal.
- Shorts: Shorts are a great staple item all year-round. From golf courses and basketball courts to beaches, concerts, and summer events, shorts can be dressed up or down and paired with virtually anything in your closet to match the events and occasions that line your calendar.
- Joggers: Joggers are not just for lazy Sundays and late-night gym sessions. When done right, joggers can be just as versatile as the rest of our clothes. For example, pair joggers with a button-down for a comfort-forward look that straddles that line between formal and casual, or throw on a t-shirt for something less formal and more “movie night in”.
- Blazer: A good blazer is the perfect accessory in any season and any occasion. In warmer months, you can use your blazer as a jacket which gives you warmth without detracting from your overall look or the feel of your outfit. We love using blazers as jackets for work and family events since they protect you from the elements (the very mild elements) while maintaining a structured and professional look and feel.
As an added bonus, in colder weather or winter months, you can use your blazer as an additional layer to keep you warm and give you something to wear once you get inside and comfortable.
- Light Jacket: If you find the right light jacket, you’re set for life, We like light jackets in basic colors so that you can wear them to work or play without having to bring a change of clothes or swap them out for something more professional. From spring days to summer nights, if you find the right light jacket, you have a versatile piece of clothing that you can wear in all situations, environments, and settings.
- Sneakers: Sneakers are not just for the gym anymore. Sneakers have evolved over the past 20 years; some styles are now considered formal or appropriate for more “dressed up” settings. If you’re looking for a sneaker that can pull double duty at work and at home, look for simple styles that give off an elegant and refined vibe. We are talking about a pair of white, elevated leather sneakers or a sleek all-black leather shoe. If you want something that can work in more than just casual settings, stay away from fabric or overly branded sneakers and go with a simple and classic look.
For example, a nice fresh, clean pair of white leather sneakers looks perfect when paired with a sleek, tapered leg pants or jeans. We love the silhouette of this look and the contrast between the white leather and the color and material of your pants.
- Shoes: Like sneakers, the simpler a shoe is, the better it will work with a wide range of outfit and event options. When selecting a nice shoe, make sure they are comfortable to walk in and feel good on your feet for those long days AND those long days that turn into late nights.
While white sneakers look great with tapered pants, a classic black leather shoe works extremely well with non-tapered, straight-leg pants. Since black goes with anything, feel free to play with color although you will want to avoid anything too extreme if you’re wearing your black shoes to a formal or semi-formal event.
- Belts: Belts can genuinely tie a look together. If you want an option that can work in and out of the office, look for something in one color: leather or pleather. Fabric and other materials don’t work well in professional settings. If you’re looking for a great, slimming look, try pairing your belt with slacks or shorts and a tucked-in shirt. By tucking that shirt in, you’re instantly creating a more tailored silhouette while showing off that belt in all its glory.
One side note here, belts do tend to give off a more formal or professional vibe, so if you’re heading to a BBQ instead of a board meeting, think about leaving that belt at home.
Check Out Men’s Wardrobe Basics
Never feel underdressed again. Swet Tailor designs clothes that give you the look and feel you crave with the style and comfort you deserve. Our clothes are versatile, comfortable, durable, and designed to take you from work to the gym to dinner without requiring a change of clothes or a pitstop at home.
Better yet, we use cotton/spandex blends to offer an unrivaled stretch that allows our clothes to move with your day and to keep their shape without becoming oversized or warped.
Check out our men’s wardrobe basics today and see how easy (and comfortable) clothing can be.