Easy to combine, stylish and elegant – 9 basic must-haves for men
No man’s wardrobe is complete without these 9 stylish classic items.
We’ve all been there – opening up the wardrobe and being faced with the frustrating question: What can I wear with that?
“Basic items should make up 70 percent of our wardrobe!” The designer Michael Kors recently hit the nail on the head. However, it can be difficult to find the right mixture of individual style and conventional “rule book” pieces. Timeless mainstays that can be stylishly combined in a myriad of ways are the foundation stones of every elegant man’s wardrobe. Combined with extravagant key pieces, they create a discretely classic counterpart.
But what exactly are these must-have items?
With this basic wardrobe, you can create a good basis for a stylish, well turned-out appearance.
1. Suits – Always IN and never OUT
For women it’s the LBD; for men it’s the suit. It’s welcome everywhere and not just in stylish black. Nowadays a suit in blue or anthracite is a real enhancement to any wardrobe and is never out of place – either complete or as a set of separates to dress up and down as the occasion demands. Why not combine an elegant pair of lightweight trousers with a suit jacket on a warm summer’s day or go slightly casual with a pair of suit trousers and a polo shirt? Et voilà! Stylish outfit sorted!
2. White shirts – Perennial favourites
This fashion classic is perfect for men of all ages – for a business meeting or for dinner with friends.
As shirts cover approx. 60% of the body, it’s advisable to choose chemical-free shirts made from pure cotton or with a small percentage of elastane. In addition to the quality and fit of the shirt, there’s also the question of which collars and cuffs belong in a well-stocked wardrobe. Definitely go for a white shirt with a Kent collar and barrel cuffs! You can’t go wrong with this combo! However, if you have a little more space in your wardrobe, a white Oxford shirt with a button-down or cutaway collar and French cuffs wouldn’t go amiss. Find out here about the different types of collars and here to know more about cuffs.
This classic, elegant, basic must-have has a very versatile look meaning it can be easily paired with patterns on jackets, waistcoats or trousers. Give your creativity free!
3. Polo shirts – Reviving the 1950s
Often underestimated, the polo shirt is an obvious fashion basic that is a true must-have in any man’s wardrobe. A simple white polo shirt can really make a statement and it goes with anything. In hot weather it keeps you cool whilst also keeping you decent!
4. Round-neck jumpers – Classics for life
The epitome of a timeless outfit and a practical men’s basic that proves itself again and again – the classic round-neck jumper. Wear it on its own or with a simple shirt. This firm favourite can be adapted to any occasion and any season and gives your outfit an elegant touch.
For classic elegance and maximum comfort, choose jumpers made from cotton that are easy to care for. From subtle grey to elegant dark blue, all versions of this item are excellent, smart basics for your wardrobe.
5. Chinos – Clothes make the man
One of the foundation stones of fashion basics is a pair of well-fitting, beige chinos. They exude a sense of style and care without making you look overdressed. Thanks to the sheer number of combination options available, this item can always be relied on to keep you looking smart, whether for business or pleasure.
The fit is very important – preferably in Sharp or Modern Fit. Thanks to the casual cut of the hips and the tapering leg, chinos flatter any figure and help conceal problem areas. They are ideal in summer as a casual outfit. Here it’s best to focus on good quality and invest a little more money – a pair of high-quality cotton trousers will look great for longer. Natural fibres such as cotton also feel great and are often sustainably produced. As the old adage goes: “Buy cheap, buy twice”!
6. Blue jeans – A men’s must-have for decades
The classic 5-pocket style and a blue wash always look great! Do you have a meeting tomorrow and your suit is at the cleaners? Then grab your smart jeans and pair them with a white shirt and an elegant pair of lace-ups.
Once you’ve found the perfect pair of jeans, the combination options are virtually endless. However, there’s hardly any other item of clothing that’s available in so many different qualities, washes and cuts. Finding the perfect jeans really could take a lifetime. Luckily, we have a few tips for you: Choose a pair made from robust denim in a dark wash, these are ideal for all occasions and can form the basis for many different outfits. The all-round cut that suits everyone is Regular Fit. That means medium-rise waistband, straight cut, not to wide, not to tight. There you go! That wasn’t too difficult, was it?
7. The pocket square – A gentleman’s accessory
Show of your sense of style and flair for fashion with a tasteful pocket square. Just as it is today, the pocket square was originally a decorative accessory and was worn for show as a status symbol.
If you don’t yet own a pocket square, a classic white one made of linen or cotton is a must-have for your basics wardrobe. For more elegant occasions, silk pocket squares are recommended. They’re a great way to add a touch of colour to your outfit. Here you can find out how to fold your pocket square and properly put the finishing touches to your outfit.
As the world of men’s fashion offers little in the way of accessories, you need to choose your pocket squares with care. To avoid making any faux pas, make sure that it always matches your shirt and roughly corresponds to the colours in your tie.
8. A trench coat – A true all-rounder, ideal for cool evenings
Many fashion experts see the trench coat as a mainstay of a man’s basic wardrobe and it’s an item that designers revisit in their collections again and again. As they are doing this year. But why?
Because it’s an elegant alternative to a jacket on cool summer nights and for the wet and cold ‘between-seasons’ weather of spring. In fact, it can even be worn for much of the autumn!
The classic colour of a man’s trench coat is an earthen shade such as beige, khaki or sand. The cut and length depend on your stature.
Taller, slimmer men look fashionable and elegant in shin-length trench coats while shorter, wider men are better off with short trench coats to give the impression of height. The fashionable single-breasted version creates a slim, straight silhouette whereas the double-breasted style is more edgy and shows character. A man’s trench coat should be figure hugging but not be too tight around the belly. It’s important that the coat sits correctly on the shoulders – make sure that the seam finishes on the shoulder and doesn’t look ‘droopy’.
9. Dress shoes – Just as essential as a white shirt
High-quality black or brown dress shoes are a real must-have for a man’s wardrobe. They are the equivalent of a black suit for your feet. Open laced and without seams or patterns, they can be easily paired with either a suit or a pair of jeans. For wearing with a suit and for formal, elegant occasions choose a smooth leather style. Suede dress shoes make a more casual option for wearing with jeans or chinos.