50 Wardrobe Essentials for Men

Building the wardrobe essentials helps men dress well. “Dressing well is a form of good manners,” says Tom Ford. A poll revealed that 9 out of 10 women find well-dressed men more attractive than they really are. Whether you run your wardrobe like a metrosexual fashion addict or with efficient pragmatism, there are absolute wardrobe essentials that every man needs.

Wardrobe Essentials

While taste is subjective and your style defines your individuality, these men’s clothes form the basics to any ensemble. We will help you pull a wardrobe together that inspires you to:

  • Choose quality and shun quantity.
  • Put outfits together with ease, so you always know what to wear.
  • Create more stylish combinations with lesser pieces of clothing.

 Transcending seasons and trends, we discuss what these must-haves are to owning a versatile, refined, and efficient wardrobe.

1) The Crew Neck T-shirt

Ideal Season: All
Outlasting all trends and hailed as a comfortable, timeless staple, the crew neck is a great classic on its own or as a base for layering. Its versatility makes it a utility clothing for all four seasons. Pick white and black for easy matching and go for good quality, non-see-through cotton for a better and longer-lasting fit.

2) The V-neck T-shirt

Ideal Season: All
A good V-neck elongates your neck and makes you look taller and slimmer. Just like the crew neck, they are perfect for casual to smart looks with the addition of layers. Must-haves are black and white. Go for colored V-necks for a playful touch.

3) The Printed Tee

Ideal Season: Summer
Sported by Givenchy, Ted Baker, and Zara, printed tees are an easy wardrobe essential that goes with any pair of jeans for a Californian slacker vibe. Pick from finer geometrics, floral, or camouflage patterns to go with an unstructured jacket for a preppy smart-casual look and avoid those with large and loud fonts.  

4) The Polo Shirt

Ideal Season: Summer, possibly spring
From activewear to smart-casual leisure, the polo shirt is a versatile wardrobe essential for summer. Block colors are the easiest to match and avoid large logos at all costs. Layering them is not recommended, but if you have to do so for spring, pair it with a casual blazer and pick one with a higher collar and thicker material.

5) The Long-sleeved Tee

Ideal Season: All
Too cold for a tee, too warm for a jacket: the long-sleeved work well on its own or with layers. Sophisticated and stylish, must-haves include block colors, preferably in neutral. Block tees can be easily layered with a checkered shirt for a more elegant weekend, or under a sweatshirt for warmth.

6) The White Dress Shirt

Ideal Season: All
You should own at least two crisp white shirts. There is nothing more classic or dynamic than this wardrobe essential. They are the go-to ready-to-mingle piece for social events, formal events, and business. Choose a stronger weave such as oxford or twill to avoid see-through and having to wear an undershirt.

7) The Colored Button-down

Ideal Season: All
Colored shirts go well with jeans, trousers or even shorts. They allow you to exhibit a little of your personality and style. For lightening the mood in the office with a button-down shirt and a colored blazer. Pick lighter shirts to go with darker toned blazers and vice versa to avoid a color clash.

 8) The Pattered Button-down

Ideal Season: All
Long-sleeved or short, patterned button-downs are extremely useful both on its own, with layers, or as a layer. Striped, plaid or checked shirts of better quality can be matched with a blazer and trousers for a day in the office while floral and geometric prints are great with dark chinos or jeans.

9) The Blue Jeans

Ideal Season: All
You probably already own a couple of basic blue jeans. Invented in 1873 by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss, the trick to differentiating between sophisticated stylish and extra sloppy is a good fit. The waist should be able to hold up without a belt, and the leg material should be close to your body but not skin tight.

10) The Black Jeans

Ideal Season: All
Black is a universal color, and black jeans are a classic wardrobe essential. Simple, comfortable, and worn for countless occasions and outfit styles, they project an effortlessly cool vibe. Athleisure, hipster, bohemian, or grunge, it’s hard to go wrong when creating different looks with this staple.

11) The Chino Pants

Ideal Season: All
Popularized by the American military, chinos are less formal than dress pants but dressier than jeans. They come in cotton and cotton-blend as well as arrange of colors such as navy, khaki, and tan. For an easy chic outfit, match them with a tee, blazer, and formal shoes.

12) The Dress Shorts

Ideal Season: Summer
Comfort wear for summer months, a good pair of shorts have gone a long way from being sloppy home wear to creating a preppy chap vibe. Pairing them with an appropriate button-down shirt keeps you in style in the sweltering summer heat. Pick chinos and pleated shorts for a dressier vibe.

13) The Swim Shorts

Ideal Season: Summer
Get ocean-ready with your swim shorts, and we’ll show you how to pick a pair that suits your body type. If you are tall and thin, pick shorts with horizontal stripes to balance your build and avoid shorts that are too baggy. Go for boxer length shorts if you have a shorter and buff look, and pick vertical stripes to help make you look taller.

14) The Gym Shorts

Ideal Season: All
Whether you are a gym junkie or not, gym shorts are a wardrobe and gym bag essential because they are uber comfortable for any activity. While some guys prefer the comfort of loose basketball shorts, others prefer a more form-flattering option with a built-in liner. A built-in liner provides more support and is thus the go-to for most men.

15) The Sweatpants

Ideal Season: All
While the sweatpants are the more extended version of your gym shorts, they have evolved over the years to become a must-have men’s clothing for sports, school, or even a chill day out with mates. While you still can’t wear them to business meetings and formal engagements, you can rock them with an edgy, trendy vibe by incorporating a crew neck tee, a linen sports blazer, and a pair of sneaks.

16) The Flannel Trousers

Ideal Season: All
Sharp and almost dressy, they are the perfect bottoms for a professional meeting with your client. Sported as the ultimate office wear, the grey classic is a must-have in every wardrobe as they go well with nearly every pattern and color. Flannels are durable, comfortable, and appropriate for all seasons.

17) The Formal Suit

Ideal Season: All
Fancy dress parties, formal interviews, or weddings, every man must own at least one well-fitted suit. While navy, grey, and black will always be the safest and most common colors, a colorful suit can be ultra dapper for the adventurously bold. Earthy colors are flattering for most skin tones and extrude a minimalistic sophisticated vibe.

18) The Casual Suit

Ideal Season: All
A casual suit is a more stylish way to add some personality to your workwear. In such ensembles, it is not necessary to match the fabrics of your blazer to your pants. If you have a fancier checkered paint, match it with a pair of block colored work trousers and a white button-down shirt for a uniquely stylish look.

19) The Blazer Jacket

Ideal Season: All
The standard two-button navy jacket has come a long way in its evolution of style. Blazers can be a standalone piece or part of a suit. For a unique chic vibe, make sure you choose an odd pair of trousers that do not match the fabric of the jacket.

20) The Bomber Jacket

Ideal Season: Spring & Fall
A dull, unadorned bomber is the wardrobe essential of the modern-day in men’s fashion. Dress up with a pair of loafers for a smart-casual workweek, or dress down with a distressed pair of jeans and sneakers. Black can come across as a little too formal, so pick leather or suede in blue, green, or brown tones for a more casual look.

21) The Blouson/ Harrington Jacket

Ideal Season: Spring & Fall
The transitional season brings unpredictable weather, and the Harrington plays just the right part in style for such circumstances. Also known as a blouson or a windbreaker, the jacket is usually made with lightweight material such as rain-proof cotton or synthetic blends. They are designed for shielding you from the rain, so your pants don’t get wet. Made in the 1930s, it is versatile outerwear in both practicality and style.

22) The Zip-up Hoodie

Ideal Season: All
The zip-up hoodie is iconic streetwear that can be further styled to create a different dimension of style during colder seasons. Most frequently worn as outerwear during spring or autumn, they can also be layered beneath bomber jackets to bring out a more refined look. For frigid winter days, layer your hoodie with a parka for a more laidback vibe that will also keep you warm.

 23) The Roll-neck Sweater

Ideal Season: Spring, fall & winter
Perfect for styling you out of the cold, the roll-neck is a great way to build a smarter, more refined look. Also known as the turtleneck or polo-neck, they come in different styles, such as the classic, funnel neck, and mock neck. Pick seasonally appropriate pieces based on fine, mid-weight, or heavy fabrics to keep comfortably warm.

 24) The Sweatshirt

Ideal Season: Spring, fall & winter
Sported on preppy Ivy League students, the sweatshirt is a piece that will never go out of style. The sweatshirt has transcended sportswear into the athleisure era. They have evolved into streetwear and can be styled for a smart-casual look. Pick block colors and avoid large fonts if you plan to layer them for a more stylish look.

 25) The Cardigan

Ideal Season: Spring, fall & winter
The knitted jumper that opens in front can provide warmth on chilly days while still keeping your look refined and modernly stylish. They are a wardrobe essential in winter and can create ensembles that range from casual to office-appropriate. Pick from buttoned, long-line, shawl collar, or chunky knit to create different styles for different degrees of cold.

26) The Denim Jacket

Ideal Season: Summer, spring & fall
Denim is the king of casual. The denim jacket can create a smart look when paired with a neutral light plain tee. Pick lighter denim for summer and a darker shade for colder months in spring and fall.

27) The Varsity Jacket

Ideal Season: Summer, spring & fall
Varsity jackets now come in leather, suede, silk, and nylon, providing greater dynamism when it comes to styling. When choosing one, make sure you get the right fit with a preppy letterman’s cut. Pick block colors for easier matching and layering. Create a sporty look or street style when you pick simpler designs and neutral colors.

28) The Overcoat

Ideal Season: Fall & Winter
The overcoat is one winter wardrobe essential that has stood the test of time and does not necessarily have to be boring. Generally speaking, knee-length overcoats are the most flattering as they can make or break your stature.

29) The Pea Coat

Ideal Season: Fall & Winter
Modern pea coats of today retain all the functionality that deemed them a great essential for sailors back in the day. From workdays to weekends, they are the best keep-warm coats that embody class and an air of sophistication. For freezing days, pick a double-breasted front that envelops you in warmth and comfort.

30) The Parka

Ideal Season: Fall & Winter
From humble military beginnings to today’s men’s fashion staple, the parka has stood the test of time when it comes to both practicality and style. A good old reliable piece is every man’s go-to during winter, so its best to pick a color and style that can be easily incorporated into your wardrobe. Block neutral colors tend to be a safe bet as aspirational and outrageous patterns are a niche that can only be matched with a select few clothing.

31) The Puffer Jacket

Ideal Season: Fall & Winter
Also known as the bubble goose or down jacket, the puffer is a nineties winter staple that has made it to today. Trapping heat in the puffs, they have been the first choice for celebrities, mountaineers, and explorers. Experiment with your style by picking block colors or patterns. If you go for patterns, tone down on the rest of your outfit lest you outshine your Christmas tree!

32) The Suede Boots

Ideal Season: All
Suede hates water. The only time to avoid these beauties is on rainy days. Although they do extrude an autumn-y feel, these boots are versatile and can rock any season. Opting for a color or design that can keep up with the rest of your wardrobe is vital, and tan shades are the new in-trend.

33) The Everyday Sneaker

Ideal Season: All
Need we say more? The everyday sneaker goes with every outfit short of a tux. While not every pair might be suitable for slush and snow, there are options when it comes to winter-proof sneaks. From the slip-resistant New Balance to the heat retaining North Face and Vans, it is possible to keep rocking your favorite shoes all year round without frostbites.

34) The Formal Black Lace-ups

Ideal Season: Summer, spring, autumn
Shoe shined and sharp, every man needs a pair of formal blacks for weddings, business meetings, and social get-ups. The classic shoe should be paired with a well-fitted suit for dressier occasions. If you are looking to inject some individuality, consider deep brown, but always remember to match your belt with your shoes!

35) The Loafers

Ideal Season: Summer, spring, autumn
Lighter colors for summer and darker tones for fall, these slip-ons are a combination of comfort, style, and practicality. Choose to go with burgundy or tan leather for fall weather because of its waterproof, warming, and durable qualities.

36) The Gym Shoes

Ideal Season: All
When it comes to workout shoes, functionality usually beats style. Having proper shoes is important for injury prevention as your footwear should provide enough support and cushion to look after your joints. As to color, picking just about any will work as gym outfits tend to be quite simple.

37) The Snow Boots

Ideal Season: Fall & winter
On days of sleet and snow, you’ll be thankful for a pair of boots that can withstand harsh elements.  Own a pair of dress boots for the office and a tan-colored pair for a casual day, and you’ll have stylish and happy warm feet just about any day.

38) The Flip-flops

Ideal Season: Summer
We are not talking solely about the renowned Havaianas. If you are someone who is not used to wearing anything else but shoes, you might wish to consider getting a pair that provides you more feet support such as a pair of durable Birkenstocks.

39) The Socks

Ideal Season: All
You’ve heard that you can never go wrong with buying a man socks for Christmas. You basically need three types of socks: Bamboo, ankle, and winter. Bamboos keep your feet dry while ankle socks are a must-have for days when you’re rocking a pair of dress shorts.

40) The Underwear

Ideal Season: All
A good pair of underwear gives you support and freedom all at once. Boxer or briefs, it’s never a good idea to have to turn them inside-out for second wear, so having enough should be a basic need. Need we say, it’s also vital to always have a good pair for lucky days!

41) The Thermal

Ideal Season: Fall & winter
Good thermal renders support without constriction. Pick the right one based on functionality and material thickness for practical wear.

42) The Baseball Cap

Ideal Season: Summer, spring & fall
Before hell freezes your ears over, a baseball cap is every man’s salvation when it comes to hiding a bad hair day. Choose darker luxurious colors and materials such as suede, corduroy, or wool for colder days in spring.

43) The Flat Cap

Ideal Season: Summer, spring & fall
An iconic accessory for fall that can also be worn for style in all seasons, the flat cap effortlessly brings out a smart-casual with a simple jacket or blazer. It’s a good idea to pick the color of your cap based on the tone of your hair and skin, but a dark brown or black flat cap is a safe bet.

44) The Knit Beanie

Ideal Season: Fall & winter
Your head loses 7% to 10% of your body’s heat, so it’s essential to keep that head and those ears warm under a knit cap. Going for neutral block colors are always good for matching with the rest of your outfit. You don’t want your head to be a glowing light bulb people spot from a mile away!

45) The Neck Tie

Ideal Season: All
From the classic Four-in-Hand knot tie to the more casual skinny-tie, owning one is a necessity even if your work attire doesn’t require you to wear one. When it comes to picking colors, your tie should never match the pattern of any other part of your clothing.

46) The Bow Tie

Ideal Season: All
For top-notch suave, a bow-tie is a wardrobe essential for black-tie events. The general rule of thumb to follow here is that the bolder the colors and designs of your tie, the milder they should be of your shirt. This rule applies vice versa as well.

47) The Scarf

Ideal Season: Spring, fall & winter
A scarf with 6 to 9 inches width and 50 to 90 inches’ length should be the standard for a man. Choose acrylic or wool for better quality and warmth on a cold day.

48) The Cufflinks

Ideal Season: All
A wardrobe essential for any well-groomed man, cufflinks add sophistication and style. The art of pairing them with your dress shirt is an opportunity for you to exhibit your personality and style. Silver is always a safe bet as a staple.

49) The Leather Belt

Ideal Season: All
You will need to match your belt with your dress shoes. Chances are that they are probably black or dark brown. Picking the right belt means good leather that ages well and resistant to stretch.

50) The Watch

Ideal Season: All
Watches are a man’s style piece that enhances your personal branding. It’s a good idea to own a couple of them in different styles, one to match every occasion: sports, leather-strapped, metal chained.