As you ponder your day’s calendar at 7 a.m. and sift through stuffy blazers, gym tanks, and a lonely tie that lost its way…it’s a daily challenge to configure an appropriate outfit that can take you from your 9-to-5 through to happy hour and the occasional dinner date. Blazers don’t pair well with a 5:30 p.m. IPA and deep-v’s don’t belong in 8 a.m. quarterly meetings. Without dumping your entire closet and replacing a fortunes worth of clothes, a few staple pieces are all you need to create a versatile wardrobe with function that feels appropriate wherever your day takes you.
The Classic Oxford
An oxford shirt is made in a breathable cotton material that easily maintains its shape. Casual enough to grab a drink in, and nice enough to give a presentation, it lies at the top of the totem pole for versatility and quality. Opt for a white, navy, or gray color if you’re just starting to curate your closet so that you won’t have issues matching tones. (Despite what your dad said, blue and black can go together as long as they contrast enough to be able to tell the difference.) A well-fit shirt goes a long way, and if your shirts aren’t hitting you in all the right places, go one size up and take it to a seamstress who can literally tailor it to your needs.
As a side note women prefer men that take their style seriously, and a shirt that looks like it’s made for you shows you care your appearance and quality of clothes, which will definitely earn you a few extra points.
Tee shirts are the make or break point. Buy a low-quality tee and it’s good for one use, but a high-quality cotton tee will not only last you all day and night, but years to come (and save you money for that matter). A slub tee offers the breathability my fellow sweaters and deodorant packers are sure to enjoy, with a modern edge for an overall more cool, casual tee shirt look. For a more elevated look, Supima® tees offer incredible quality thanks to Supima® cotton’s naturally long fibers that are far and above any other species of cotton. Supima® tees easily work with dark jeans, or chinos.
One of the biggest benefits of tees is its ability to work on and off the clock, through the weekend and all the way to Sunday’s weekly hangover brunch. Light and packable, it’s a staple for traveling in style. White, black and grey are the most workable, buildable colors that adjust to the hours of the day. A simple gray shirt is also your best bet on a schedule of 9 a.m. coffee, 6 p.m. happy hour, and 8 p.m. dinner date as the color looks and feels appropriate for every hour of the day and evening.
It wouldn’t be an American company if we didn’t add a nice pair of denim jeans onto this list. Dark denim is far better at achieving a sense of quality, richness and refined style, to elevate simple cotton tees and oxford shirts that are still work-appropriate. To take it up a notch, chinos will provide more form and shape for a nice look. Pair chinos with a simple tee for hanging out with boys, or an oxford to class it up at work or the bar.
If you’re still not able to find matching socks, or a get a number there may be a strong correlation present. It goes back to the idea that quality men care about their style and curate a hand-selected closet based on integrity and quality, down to the socks that peep out from time to time. Pick a color of dress socks that contrasts with your pants and shoes to add a little flare to your style, and show you know what it means to have great taste even in the details. A good pair of socks will also last longer, smell less and be less likely to get rips and holes at the toes.
P.S. You never know who in your life are shoes on or shoes off people in their own homes. Always, ALWAYS wear matching, hole-free socks whenever going to someone’s house for the first time, so you feel as comfortable as possible and won’t be remembered as the guy with toes sticking out of his socks.
Overall, taking the time to find a few nice staple pieces will leave you happier, less stressed, wealthier and with better style. So please enjoy having one less struggle in the morning as you choose what to wear and receive more compliments on your refined taste and great clothes.