A man’s wardrobe can be many things, but what it definitely should be is practical. While some guys prefer to buy only what they need, others are investing a lot of time and money to fully express their sartorial tastes.
Whatever your wardrobe is missing, or however you treat questions of style, you should own a set of essential items that can help you nail it every time.
- Men's summer work wear: stay cool and stylish in the hot weather
- What to wear to a wedding: men’s style guide
While you mightn’t be looking to build a minimalist wardrobe using classic attire, starting with basics in neutral colours is a good start. This means looking for items that match each other and can be worn in a variety of formal and casual situations.
To help you as you search for sharp-looking and practical items, we’ve put together this list of essential style items every man should own.
This blazer strikes a balance between suitability for formal or casual events, while its navy colour can be matched with a host of other neutrals or shades of complementary colours, depending on the season.
Add to that the various layering choices that allow for sartorial flex and you've got an essential that will carry you through many occasions. Dress it up with leather shoes or down with a pair of sneakers.
Shop navy blazers here:
A slim-fit, white Oxford shirt can be worn practically anywhere. While on the smarter end of the spectrum, the Oxford shirt’s construction is less stiff than other shirts, lending itself to both formal and casual events.
Sharpen it with a suit or go casual with a jumper. In the warmer months you also can ditch a layer and roll up the sleeves. And why stop at one – you'll use each that you own, even if they're all white.
Shop Oxford shirts here:
- Drake’s slim-fit Oxford shirt (opens in new tab)
- Polo Ralph Lauren slim-fit Oxford shirt (opens in new tab)
- Want more recommendations? Check out the best shirts for men
If you haven’t already got one, it’s time to invest in a navy suit. This is one of the most versatile and timeless items you can have in your wardrobe and there will always be an occasion to wear one. This is a solid investment.
As with the entries above, a navy suit can be worn in a variety of professional and formal situations and is versatile enough to be paired with shirts, shoes and accessories of a mix of neutral or bold colours. While some would argue that a black suit is even more essential, there are few situations in which a navy suit is not as good a choice – if not even better.
Shop navy suits here:
- Tiger of Sweden navy lamonte suit (opens in new tab)
- Z Zegna slim-fit wool suit (opens in new tab)
- Want more recommendations? Check out the best mens suits
So you've got at least one pair of jeans, or perhaps several, but are they built to last? With a sea of cheap jeans that don't last to choose from, it's worth spending more.
A quality pair of selvedge jeans will not only look great with your other staples, but they will age better and last longer than their fast fashion counterparts.
While skinny and acid wash jeans regularly go on and off trend, at the very least you should have one pair of all-rounders that will carry you through every season.
Shop slim-fit jeans here:
- A.P.C. Petit Standard Slim-Fit Stretch-Denim Jeans (opens in new tab)
- Fear of God blue selvedge zip jeans (opens in new tab)
- Want more recommendations? Check out the best jeans for men
It goes without saying that a decent pair of creps is an essential wardrobe item. But selecting sneakers is more than just buying whatever the latest hype release is. When it comes to choosing an essential, it’s important to also go for simple and practical silhouettes that will look stylish in a variety of contexts.
This brings us to the white sneaker. While some would argue that a black colourway is more practical, white is often the more stylish option. Personal preferences aside, a simple white tennis shoe will look good with trousers, shorts, crewneck tees and collared shirts. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, after all.
Shop sneakers here:
- Adidas Originals Stan Smith leather sneakers (opens in new tab)
- Common Projects tennis pro sneakers (opens in new tab)
- Want more recommendations? Check out the best sneakers
This is another essential item for every guy’s wardrobe. The blue shirt is on par with the white Oxford shirt for sheer necessity, while also adding colour to your selection. Be sure to avoid shirts that are too loose-fitting around the collar and chest. The right cut will complement your shape while sharpening your look.
The blue shirt’s versatility means you can wear it to work or at events, and it’s easy to match with other colours in your wardrobe. It goes with the navy suit, or even chinos (see below).
Shop blue shirts here:
- Tiger of Sweden Blue Farrell 5 shirt (opens in new tab)
- Canali blue slim-fit cotton-twill shirt (opens in new tab)
- Want more recommendations? Check out the best shirts for men
This is an obvious one but is a must for every wardrobe. The basic white tee is not only a classic item, but also looks good with literally anything. There’s no reason not to have several at a time. Pair your T-shirt with jeans and sneakers for a casual look, or work it into a layering selection during spring and autumn.
While you’re at it, this is also a good time to mention navy T-shirts as these tick all the same boxes that white does on your essentials list. And lastly, as you decide which ones to buy, go for quality cotton every time.
Shop white T-shirts here:
- Acne Studios Niagara cotton-jersey T-shirt (opens in new tab)
- Rag & Bone cotton-jersey T-shirt (opens in new tab)
- Want more recommendations? Check out the best t-shirts for men
Whether you’re a dapper lad or a family man looking for a fresh ‘fit, it’s always a good idea to have a decent pair of chinos. They’re a great alternative to jeans and straddle the line between dressy and casual, meaning you can wear them to work, at the weekend, or throw them on with a pair of flip flops as you dash out to buy milk.
The main thing to worry about is the colour. Are you into khaki or grey? When in doubt, get both as you can easily match them with a selection of brown shoes and white or blue shirts. Go for a more tapered cut if you prefer a taut fit.
Shop chinos here:
- Officine Generale new fisherman chinos (opens in new tab)
- Acne Studios beige ayan trousers (opens in new tab)
You don’t only have to wear brown shoes with your chinos, but they are a great combination. A slick pair of brown shoes not only adds a new dimension of colour to your rotation – after you’ve likely stocked up on enough black shoes to last until next season and beyond.
As with the other essentials, brown shoes go with practically anything, so you’re investing in shoes you’ll actually use. They’re also a killer match for the navy suit you’re planning to buy as well.
Shop brown shoes here:
- Grenson Dylan burnished-leather wingtip brogues (opens in new tab)
- Barker Liam leather Oxford shoes (opens in new tab)
For this entry we’re moving away from attire and towards the wristwatch. While this will certainly be optional for some guys, if you’re looking to add something new to your styling options then this is the ultimate accessory.
The big questions you’ll be asking as you browse around are, firstly, which kind of strap you’re after. Classic leather or Milanese mesh? And secondly, if you’ve never used a smartwatch like the Apple Watch before, then you might want to test one out before committing to a digital timepiece. They’re significantly different from their analogue counterparts.
Shop watches here:
- Check out the best watches for men