In honor of Father’s Day this month, and due to lots of requests, today we’re talking about men’s wardrobe essentials. Let me help you help your husbands.
Today we’re talking about men’s wardrobe essentials!
We don’t discuss men’s fashion around here much because I’m definitely not an expert on men’s fashion. But after sharing so about women’s closet essentials (see my post about 12 closet essentials for women HERE), I’ve had requests to cover men’s wardrobe essentials too because you guys want to help your husbands/boyfriends/significant others.
So I enlisted the help of a few men in my life to put together this list of closet staples your man should have in his closet!
Why it’s a great time to talk about closet staples for men
Father’s Day is right around the corner (less than 2 weeks!) and Father’s Day would be a great chance to grab a few new things for your husband to help him with his wardrobe.
Here are a few tips if your man is resistant to change or shopping or spending money on clothes.
We’re all resistant to change in one way or another. Definitely be as sensitive as possible to his resistance. Here’s a few ways to help him feel more comfortable adding new things to his closet and sprucing up his style:
- Clean out your closets together. Rather than nagging, and telling him to clean out all his high school t-shirts, lead by example and suggest that you both go through your closets and get rid of stuff you haven’t worn in ages. Then it doesn’t feel like such an attack on his style.
- Encourage him to keep sentimental things, but maybe suggest turning them into a quilt or a pillow since he’s not actually wearing them. We don’t need to cut out his heart.
- Point out things that he wears that you love when he wears, and mention that he should add a few more of that style to his closet. Or point out a style in a magazine that he’d look great in, and would be a good addition to his wardrobe. But remember, don’t compare him to a friend’s husband and say you wish he dressed more like so and so. That’s a recipe for trouble.
- Write a list of “clothes to buy” so you can check off as you shop. I gave you this advice in my Closet Cleanout blog post, so you can show him your list and tell him you can both have a list and work through them together.
- Make your shopping trip a date. Go to his favorite restaurant first so you’re not in danger of him feeling “hangry,” and then go shopping together. Leave the kids at home so it’s just you and him and you can take all the time you need and you can give him your full attention.
- Remember, complimenting is key. Pretty much every guy is going to feel insecure shopping for new clothes, especially if his style needs some work. It’s going to take time and there will be resistance. It’s your job here to keep things upbeat and help him recognize how great he looks in his new duds. And keep the compliments coming even after you leave the dressing room — the next time he wears the new things, notice and say something!
- Quality over quantity. It’s tough for men to spend money on clothes, but remind them if they purchase classic pieces and spend a little extra on them, they won’t have to do this again for like 10 more years! Ha!
Obviously I’m not a marriage counselor! But hopefully these tips help as you dive into shopping with and for your man.
Here are the wardrobe essentials every man should own
- Jeans. A slim cut pair in medium or dark rinse is super versatile and universally flattering. Also, remember that the length of the pants is important! If they’re bunching up around their shoes, they’re too long. They should hit about an inch above the top of the sole of their shoes. Your local tailor will help you with length, if you’re not sure. Or if you buy at a department store, they’ll often tailor for free with your purchase. My husband’s favorite brand is AG in the “graduate” style because they have a slim fit without feeling too skinny. THESE ONES come in lots of different washes.
- Chinos. A slim cut pair in dark tan, gray, or navy blue is super versatile and can be worn with a polo if he works in a casual office, and can also be worn with sandals or sneakers and a tee on the weekends. My brother recommended THESE ONES and they get great reviews.
- Shorts. Not every man feels comfortable in shorts, but if yours does, make sure they’re a modern pair with no pleats, no cargo pockets, and no loud prints. Also the length should hit him right above the knee or shorter. Longer than knee length instantly gives them a squatty look. My husband loves THESE ONES in the 9″ length and THESE ONES. Both are really lightweight and super comfortable.
- Dress Pants/Slacks. These might seem interchangeable with chinos, but don’t be confused. Dress pants are dressy and are worn with sports coats and dress shirts, or a really nice polo. You wear these ONLY with dress shoes. THESE ONES have great reviews and come in a ton of colors. My brother also recommended THESE LULULEMON DRESS PANTS and said they’re crazy comfortable but look really professional.
- Joggers. These are a great casual option that aren’t schlubby. Great for weekends with a tee and sneakers. Philip and my brother both recommended THESE ONES from Lululemon and they come in a few lengths. Philip wears the SHORTER LENGTH ones HERE and he’s just under 5’11”. They should hit right around ankle length. If you want a more affordable option, check out THESE ONES from Amazon. They get amazing reviews!
- Dress shirts. My husband wears a dress shirts to church every week and everyday to the office (before quarantine). But even if your husband doesn’t dress up for work or church, they should have one dress shirt in their closet. Choose a subtle and versatile color, like light blue or light purple. If he likes prints, choose something subtle like pinstripe, check, or a small dot. Also, I’d recommend getting the “trim fit” or “slim fit” because it eliminates bulk when tucking his shirt into dress pants.
- Nice casual shirts
- Short sleeve button downs. My husband wears these all the time during the summer for date nights and weekends. They’re great with shorts or jeans, and are a bit nicer than a basic tee. He has a few from THIS BRAND 7 DIAMONDS and they’re great quality.
- Polo shirts. Polos are another great option that are just nicer than a tee. THESE TRAVIS MATTHEWS polos are some of my husband’s favorites.
- T-shirts. Every guy should own a few t-shirts. Choose something that’s a good quality material and has a good cut. The sleeves should hit a few inches above his elbows, and the length of the shirt should only be about two inches below his belt. Here’s a good BASIC ONE, and CUTS has a huge selection of great t-shirts in all different styles and cuts. They have HENLEY TEES, which is a little nicer than a basic tee. My code MERRICK15 works for 15% off at CUTS! Another popular option is TRUE CLASSIC TEES.
- Blazer/Sports coat. A blazer or a sports coat is a great piece to have that can dress up any outfit. Wear it with your khakis to the office, or wear it with jeans and dress shoes for date night. There are lots of good options RIGHT HERE at different price points. Choose a slim fit cut that will give him a really amazing shape and it will go great with a pair of dress pants and dress shoes.
- Lightweight jacket. There are lots of different jackets out there, and what you wear depends on your lifestyle. I’ve listed a few common ones below, and you can decide what works best for him, his lifestyle, and his age. But when choosing one, make sure the fit is good for his body. Check the fit, the length, and the sleeves!
- denim jacket
- twill jacket
- bomber jacket (THIS ONE is a really great versatile style – Philip owns one like this and it’s a great casual option)
- leather jacket
- pullover zip up sweater (Philip owns one LIKE THIS ONE and THIS ONE and wears it all the time in the winter over button up shirts and polos. Both are lightweight, but if you’re looking for a thicker option, THIS ONE IS GREAT.)
- Casual Shoes. There are lots of casual shoe options out there and again decide what works for your husband’s lifestyle. But you can’t go wrong with a pair of canvas or leather sneakers, and a leather sandal. My brother recommended COLE HAAN as a good slim sneaker you can get in WHITE or LEATHER.
- Dress shoes. A pair of dress shoes is a must for men. They’re super versatile for work, church, and nice casual outfits. A pair in black or brown is most versatile, and you can choose if you want to do a loafer, a lace up shoe, a boot, or another style. Philip’s favorite affordable designer is Allen Edmonds. They were the first pair of really nice dress shoes he’d ever purchased and they’ve lasted for years.
- Belts. Shoes and belts should match, so choose a brown or black leather belt that matches his dress shoes. But also he should have a casual belt in his closet to wear with shorts or when he’s wearing jeans/khakis with a t-shirt.
- Ties. It’s always good to have a tie on hand for those interviews, weddings, or funerals. Choose something silk with a subtle pattern and a class width (not too wide and not too narrow, since those will look dated quickly). Something like THIS is a good, classic choice.
- Every man should own at least one suit. It’s like a little black dress for women — you don’t need it all the time, but sometimes you need it and you’ll be glad you have it. Navy or gray are the most versatile. Your man might say he doesn’t need a suit, but it’s really nice to have one ready to go when you have a wedding, an interview, a funeral, or some other dressy event to attend. Also GET IT TAILORED. If your husband already owns a suit but the fit isn’t great or it’s outdated, take it to a good tailor and they can make it look modern and new for a fraction of the cost of a new suit. My husband did this years ago and it was a night and day difference for about $100.
- Philip bought a lot of his at SAKS OFF FIFTH, where they have really great quality suits for super great prices and then gets them tailored to fit his body perfectly.
I hope this is helpful and gives you a few good ideas for what to buy for your man’s closet! And remember, this list doesn’t have to be complete in one shopping trip, but hopefully it gives you something to work toward.
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