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10 Clothing Items That Every Man Should Own

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By Edited Jul 1, 2015 3 7

Being a man is hard. No, seriously, it is.

When you take away all the gender-bashing, it is difficult to live up to the expectations of the classic man that we see in magazines and movies.

As an accompaniment to another article on male grooming, we are going to give you a classic list of things that you really should have in your wardrobe. And, while at risk of alienating a lot of readers....I am talking men here, not boys. So if you are under the age of 30, by all means read on and learn something. Just don't get deluded into thinking that you are man, as real men don't exist any younger than the above. Your time will come, so best get prepared for it. 

For the rest of us, here's what you should be looking at when you open your armoire.

Suit Up

You will need two of these. One charcoal grey and one dark blue. Stay away from black suits unless you go to funerals a lot. Sacrifice all other luxuries in your life, until you have saved enough money for these suits to be tailored. Some off-the-peg suits are great, but you have not lived until you have seen what a tailored suit will do for your looks and ultimately your confidence. 


Shirts speak volumes about you. Again, if you can have them made for you then do so. If not, there is only one shirt company on the planet that you will need: Olymp. Made in Germany, this master shirt-maker uses only the finest of materials to make shirts that outlast the competition by years. You will need:

  • Two white and two light blue double-pleated dress shirts with double cuffs
  • Two button-down Oxford shirts 
  • Four polo shirts from Sunspel
  • Four white and four black combed cotton, round-neck t-shirts from Sunspel


This is the easiest. Use a reputable company like Lacoste or Gant. Buy light grey, dark blue and charcoal. Wear v-necks over a shirt or t-shirt, and round necks over a t-shirt only. 


The fit of your trousers cannot be compromised as you will just look all wrong. Even the most basic off-the-peg trousers can be adjusted for length by a good tailor. Too long in the leg and you will look washed out. Too short and you will look like the village weirdo. Get yourself:

  • Two pairs of worsted wool slacks in grey and black
  • Two pairs of high-grade khaki trousers from Dockers.
  • Two pairs of blue jeans: one dark and one light


This is by far the easiest thing to buy and yet guys manage to mess this up more than anything else. 
Here are the rules regarding socks.
Keep your socks to one colour. Buy black, charcoal grey, dark blue and only ever buy white socks for sports. While on the subject, I cannot abide this US trend of wearing sports gear with your socks pulled up. Just don't!


For years, con-men were trained to spot potential marks in a hotel, by looking at two things: watches and shoes. 
Nothing says I am totally comfortable in this environment, than wearing proper shoes. They can make or break anything else that you wear. Your essentials are:

  • Black business brogues. Never patent leather. You are a man, not a show pony!
  • Brown loafers
  • Dark brown chukkah boots
  • Walking trainers and running trainers: There is a difference.


You do not have to pay the price of an apartment for a watch. And you should have a few of them. Great watches are investments, so save to buy them, they very rarely lose much value. To give you examples of what you need, here is what I currently own:

  • Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean in Black
  • Luminox Black-out
  • Garmin Forerunner 405
  • Casio G-shock Firefox

Coats & Jackets

It is vital that you have at least a few jackets that match what you wear. Guys can muck this up significantly. Nothing is more cringe-worthy than a well-designed ensemble of trousers, shirt and shoes, that is then destroyed with the addition of a gore-tex jacket that should only be seen on Everest!

Get yourself a woolen navy pea coat, a Harrington jacket and a long overcoat for winter. A charcoal overcoat will look equally good over a suit or with a shirt and jeans. 


Again, you want things to mix and match. Buy cashmere mixes in grey and blue, and also look at getting something moderately brighter (rust, olive green or deep red) that you can wear with an overcoat and jeans. Nothing says cool like a scarf.


So simple, I can sum gloves up in one sentence. Dark leather for work and woolen for casual wear. 

That's it. You look great! Now......go out and get 'em!



Nov 29, 2011 9:52am
This is a good list. Unfortunately my SO is really picky about logos being too obvious and the fabrics. This is helpful, thanks!
Nov 30, 2011 8:16am
Logos are a no-no! Steer clear and go bespoke if you can. If I am paying for it, I am not advertising it for free!
Dec 1, 2011 9:33am
I think you forgot the "brief wears" on the list, or they are not a must?
Thanks for the article.
Dec 3, 2011 2:52am
Heheh :)

They are a must for some yes, but you are correct. I overlooked it when it came to the socks section. Maybe an amendment for later - but to be honest, I could do a whole top 10 no-no's about underwear! :)

I appreciate your feedback.
Dec 4, 2011 9:04am
I think you have covered the most important items that a man should own; or at least it covers most of the ones I have.
Dec 6, 2011 8:45pm
Then you are well set, sir! :)
Jul 26, 2012 11:40am
Thanks, this is an essential guide for any men over 30. Would love to read more if you have more to say on the subject matter!
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