Today’s post was inspired by two people: first, the lovely Lara who wrote about her ideal man and whose blog you should go and read right now (well, as soon as you’re done reading this); and second, by my friend Andre, with whom I’ve been having a Facebook conversation about which clothing items all men must own after he posted this link on his profile.
This led me to make a board all about well-dressed men on Pinterest, and then to write this post. Now I know everybody has their own style, but these are some staples I think every man over the age of 21 should own.
1. A good suit
This is an absolute must. If you are over 21, there is no excuse for you not to own a good suit. I’m not talking about some hand-me-down either. Go out and invest in a suit which makes you look and feel like Don Draper. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but remember that you get what you pay for. I’m sure I speak for a lot of women when I say that men in suits are sexy. A good suit can make anybody look well-groomed. And you’re going to need it: job interviews, weddings, formal parties, fancy dinners. Start with a tailored black suit and remember you can shake things up with different shirts, ties, cufflinks, bowties and belts.
Ah, jeans. Where would we be without a trusty pair of jeans? Men: here’s your resolution for 2012. You will buy a new pair of jeans in a dark wash, with no rips or holes, which fit you magnificently. No flares, no skinnies: just a good pair of straight leg jeans which you can wear with ANYTHING. We love you in jeans, men. We really do.
3. Tailored shirts
A few of them. In different colours. Please don’t go for gawdy or *shudder* Hawaiian prints. Who doesn’t love a man in a crisp, white shirt? Wear them under suits for a classic look, and with jeans for a more laid-back style. Make sure they fit well. If the buttons are threatening to fly off, or if you’re swimming in a sea of material, you ain’t doing it right. Also, if the sleeves are too long, get them altered. You are not a school boy, you’re a grown man. You should have your own tailor by now.
Ties punctuate your outfit, whether you’re in a suit or jeans. They’re the male version of the long chain necklace – only classier. You should go for ties in colours and patterns you love. We’ll even take a man in a tie with a quirky motif on it. But remember this: you groan when girls wear ridiculous dresses; we groan when you wear a stupid tie.
5. Sweaters and cardigans
Let’s get casual and let’s talk layering. First off: sweaters. Man, I love sweaters. I love ’em with jeans and chinos and smart trousers. I even like them with long shorts in the spring. Especially when they’re not too thick and show off your arms. They’re comfortable and really stylish when they’re in solid colours or in fashionable patterns. They’re also great because they’re the perfect opportunity for a bit of layering. You get into a shirt, throw a sweater on over it, and pull on a pair of chinos and you are all set, my friend. You could even add a tie to the mix for some extra points. Ditto button-down cardigans. They’re warm, they’re gorgeous and they feel nice when we cuddle you. Why would you deny us that, men? Why?
Okay, so this might just be me but there’s just something about a man in tweed. It gives you guys this look of a young professor. When I see a man in tweed I think I ought to have a coffee with him and ask him what his favourite book is. It’s not just me, right girls?
7. A coat
Here’s one of the reasons I love winter in the city: men walking about in coats which make their shoulders look so, so broad, with scarves wrapped around their necks and gorgeous hats on their heads. Get a good coat in a dark colour which you can wear when the weather gets frosty.
Ok, I realise you already have shoes, but if you’ve been wearing the same old tired trainers since you were 18, listen up: BROGUES ARE YOUR FRIEND. Also, Converse hi tops and low tops. And deck shoes. But especially brogues. With awesome socks (not white! Please, for the love of all that is good – not white!).
Now you have all this stuff, it’s time to make it your own. You know how we girls are always going on about this weird and wonderful thing called accessorizing? You should be doing it too. Get some scarves, a few cufflinks, some wrist bands, a good watch, a tie pin, a hat. Oh, and, lest I forget. Are you still going to work with a schoolbag on your back? What are you, twelve? Buy a briefcase to carry your laptop and your papers (note the clever way I avoided the term ‘manbag’).
Over to you, guys and gals: what item of clothing should a grown man not be without?