Building a wardrobe full of men’s essentials involves picking up the best basics that will stand the test of time and never go out of style. From layering pieces to shoes and accessories, we’ve created 25 building blocks for every man’s wardrobe that shouldn’t be overlooked. These brands have committed to making quality products, and it should come as no surprise that they have topped the essentials on this list.
The Blazer: Bonobos Unconstructed Italian Wool Blazer
Bonobos has earned its reputation for accessible, great-fitting clothes. Their two-button, unconstructed blazer is loosely tailored from top-quality Italian fabric for a more effortless silhouette that can just as easily be dressed up or down.
The Oxford Shirt: Charles Tyrwhitt Oxford Shirt
It doesn't matter if you wear a suit to work every day, or if you only wear one when you attend a wedding or funeral, you need a crisp white dress shirt. They go with every suit and tie and can elevate every casual pant. While it may feel stuffy at times, there won't be any more versatile items in your closet. Charles Tyrwhitt has a collection of Icons that will fill your wardrobe with the best of the best in the industry.
The Denim Shirt: Devil Dog Workwear Shirt
For 75 years, Devil Dog Dungarees has made some of the best denim on the market. They made the move to denim shirts, and the quality followed. Their workwear shirt crosses the line between function and fashion, looking just as good on the ranch as it does at the cafe.
The White Tee: Hanes Crew Neck T-Shirt
Don’t be one of those guys who wear overpriced tees (or who conversationally will acknowledge it). With their signature high round neck and stiff silhouette, Hanes white tees are universally sworn upon. In 2023, the fashionable t-shirt is making a comeback.
The Henley: Flag and Anthem Birmingham Slub Henley
The henley is one of the quintessential items you will have in your wardrobe. While it is a stylish shirt on its own, it also is perfect as a base layer. The versatility of these garments make them a must-have for your wardrobe, and few are as soft and luxurious as the Birmingham Slub from Flag & Anthem.
The Crewneck: Patagonia Men’s Recycled Cashmere Crewneck Sweater
Patagonia is equally reputable for its outdoor clothing as it is for environmental activism. The brand’s perfectly constructed crewneck sweater is responsibly knit from recycled cashmere and wool.
The Hoodie: Champion Reverse Weave Hoodie
Champion’s trademarked heavyweight, reverse weave hoodie is the one to end them all. Whether playing a pick-up game at the local court, getting your jog in, or running errands around town, this hoodie is the perfect top layer to keep you warm and stylish.
The Briefs: Calvin Klein Men’s Cotton Classics Boxer Briefs
Calvin Klein will go down as the brand that changed the boxer brief game. Underwear went from an everyday necessity to something worthy of showing off. Could there be a more iconic advertising campaign than the most prominent male sex symbols showing these off on the billboards of Times Square? You may not be seen by the thousands of daily tourists in downtown Manhattan, but they definitely make you feel like you can compete.
The Jeans: Levi’s 501 Original Fit Men’s Jeans in Dark Wash
When Levi Strauss came to the United States in 1873, he created the first-ever pair of blue jeans: The Levi’s 501 Original. To this day, 501s are some of the best-selling denim on the planet and are a must-have. Even if you aren't digging for gold in California, Mr. Strauss's invention is tough and stylish enough to get the job done.
The Chino: J. Crew 484 Slim-Fit Stretch Chino Pant
Chinos are at the core of every man’s wardrobe. J. Crew’s 484 style is known for its unique pitch (the difference between rising in front and back) and flattering tapered leg. We recommend these in neutrals like their signature military green.
The Sweatpants: Russell Athletic Men’s Cotton Rich 2.0 Premium Fleece Sweatpants
Innuendos aside, grey sweatpants don’t deserve to be the most controversial article of clothing in the game these days. Russell’s no-nonsense sweatpants are affordable, comfortable, and snug in all the right places.
The Watch: Seiko Astron SSH109
It is time to ditch the smartwatch for something a little more old-fashioned. Sure, your Apple watch can tell you your heart rate or show you the text you missed, but it looks out of place with a suit, on a date, or anywhere else you want to elevate your look. This Seiko masterpiece is a great middle-of-the-road watch that will last for years and look great with virtually any ensemble.
The Belt: Brooks Brothers Silver Buckle Leather Dress Belt
Belts are one of those things that you don’t realize how much of a game-changer they are until you’ve found the perfect one. Brooks Brothers’ Italian-made calfskin leather dress belt with a shiny square buckle will make your simplest outfit look well thought through. Black, brown, cordovan (oxblood or burgundy), whatever best matches your shoes is the belt to spring for.
The Tie: Tie Bar Grosgrain Solid Black Tie in Black
Remember that white oxford dress shirt we said you would need? Here is the tie to go with it. Nothing is worse than not having what you need the moment you need it. And you will need this more than you think. Handmade from 100% woven silk, Tie Bar’s grosgrain styles are available in six different widths. Their quality fabric and subtle sheen make for a timeless classic when you need to throw something on and look spectacular.
The Sunglasses: Tom Ford Fletcher
Like everything on this list, every man needs a good pair of shades. Whether you live near the beach and wear them as part of an ensemble or you wear them when you drive, the right sunglasses are the definition of cool. Tom Ford knows all about cool, and he proves it with these Fletcher shades.
The Glasses: EyeBuyDirect Blue Light Blocking Glasses
In this day and age, we spend a lot of time staring at screens. From the television to the computer to the cell phone, blue light can destroy your sleep schedule. Blue light glasses can filter that out and help maintain the kind of schedule you need to keep the best schedule. These are personally tested by the Sleep Foundation; who else could you trust?
The Wallet: Dango D01 Dapper Bifold Pen Wallet
Every man needs a wallet. There are all kinds of choices out there. Leather. Canvas. Tri-fold. Bi-Fold. Money Clip. But here is the truth, there are some that have more perks. This Dango bi-fold wallet also features a pen and a notepad. If MacGyver were to choose a wallet, it would be this one, hands down.
The Socks: Bombas Men’s Dress Calf Socks
Bombas are the sock experts for a reason: These guys have been exclusively studying knitwear for your feet for a long time. To top it off, for every pair purchased, Bombas donates a pair of socks to someone in need.
The Summer Shoes: Suavs Zilker
Summer used to be the time to run barefoot everywhere you went. But now that you are an adult, you need some kicks for the season. Suavs has perfected the perfect shoe that acts as a two-in-one shoe and sock. These are an easy grey low top that look amazing with chinos or shorts, completing every summer look flawlessly.
The Casual Sneakers: Nike Blazer High
High-cut canvas and narrow silhouette radiate classic cool to be worn with a simple shirt and jeans. You should definitely have at least one vintage pair of kicks in the closet, and these 1977 throwbacks are a great addition.
The Trainers: No Bull Black Ivy
Created and designed specifically for CrossFit and expanded for training all across a wide variety of sports, No Bull has what you need to keep in shape. They are built to keep you on the move and away from injury and excuses.
The Low Top: The Greats The Royale
With a crisp all-white Italian leather upper, The Royale from The Greats are the sneakers you’ll want to wear with just about everything. While the custom tan gum soles are reminiscent of skate shoes, these puppies are polished enough to wear to work or through the weekend.
The Chelsea: Taft Havana Boot
Chelsea boots can take you all the way back to the 60s in London. The centuries-old shoe was perfected for the Beatles and Mick Jagger and now look great with suits, jeans, and chinos. Taft is the perfect shoe for almost every occasion, and their Chelsea boots are some of the sharpest in their inventory.
The Oxfords: Johnston & Murphy Conrad Cap Toe
While the Chelsea boots are perfect for almost any occasion, the oxford shoe is the most classic dress shoe you can have in your closet. Johnston & Murphy is one of the top names in the game, and their Conrad Cap Toe will never go out of style. And they will last nearly forever.
The Loafer: G.H. Bass Larson Weejuns
Since 1936, G.H. Bass has been the authority for top-quality heritage loafers to wear with everything from jeans to your favorite suit. Their signature weejuns style features moc stitching and penny keeper stitching.
Your wardrobe can go in any direction, and your signature style archetype can develop over time. But no matter the archetype, the building blocks are the same. Start with these 25 items, and your wardrobe will be classic and elegant, never out of style.