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Wardrobe Essentials Every Man Needs to Have

Fashion changes with the blink of an eye. One minute a new hot trend is going around, and the next minute it’s over. But the essentials are here to stay, regardless of if you’re looking to revamp your wardrobe or just fill in a few gaps, make sure to have all your bases covered with these foundational pieces before dabbling elsewhere.

Black Dress Shoes 

Every single man on earth should have a sleek pair of black dress shoes in his wardrobe. They work perfectly with a nice dark grey suit and can easily be toned down with a crisp pair of dark wash jeans or wool trousers. 

"Regardless of whether you are going to a wedding, interview or simply want to look sharp at the office, you can't go wrong with a pair of black oxfords or penny loafers." - Sebastian Öhrn, Myrqvist.


White T-Shirt 

The white tee is an absolute classic, and for good reason. It’s one of those versatile pieces that looks great peeking out from the neckline of a luxe sweater, or simply worn on its own for an effortless-chic appeal. 

“Universally, the white t-shirt is the most timeless menswear essential. Take Steve McQueen or Marlon Brando for example, those iconic pictures of them in a good pair of jeans and a simple white tee would look as great on the cover of a magazine today as they did 60 years ago. It's really the perfect staple - durable, comfortable, and versatile - and perfectly encapsulates the beauty of simplicity.” - Jakob Nilsson Dworsky, ASKET.


Dark Wash Jeans 

At least one pair of well-fitted dark-wash jeans is a MUST. Consider these your right-hand man, ready to be worn with sneakers, boots, shoes, you name it! 

“Dark wash jeans are the ideal choice for the man wishing to look smarter in a more casual world. They’re more discreet and refined, so make for the perfect choice.” - Alexandra Wood, Alexandra Wood Men’s Tailoring

”A guy looks his best in a pair of dark wash jeans. When they are new you can style them for a smart semi-formal look and when you’ve worn them for a while they’ll fade in the most beautiful way – something money can’t buy.” - Pelle Lundqvist, A Day’s March.

A Day’s March
A Day’s March

Minimalist Sneaker 

A simple sneaker speaks for itself. Grab yourself a fresh pair in white, navy, black or brown and you’re good to go. Just don’t forget to keep them sparkly clean with a shoe protector kit and handy-dandy shoe wipes. 

“The minimal sneaker is an essential piece to every man's footwear rotation, and this timeless look can be worn with any outfit and still look great. My recommendation is dressing a white or black pair of minimal sneakers with a pair of smart cropped black trousers.” – Chris Margetts, HUMANS ARE VAIN.


Brown and Black Belt 

Without question you’ll need a couple of high-quality belts to match with your shoes and complete your look. Try to go for high quality well made belt options whenever possible and pay attention to belt width, too.

"A well organised wardrobe should include both a black and brown belt. The idea being, that for a cohesive outfit, your belt should match the colour of your shoes." – Helen Farr-Leander, Watson & Wolfe.

Watson & Wolfe
Watson & Wolfe

Crew Neck Sweater 

A crewneck sweater will serve you right, especially on those chillier days. Wear it beneath a denim jacket or even with a longer style coat for added warmth. Just make sure your sweater fits you like a glove. A roomy sweater will instantly appear as if you’re swimming in loads of fabric and that’s never a good look. 

“In the new smart-casual wardrobe, we all need staples which can transition between home and work effortlessly. A great crew neck sweater works in any office environment, but you won’t feel over-dressed on a Zoom call with colleagues still working from home.” – Simon Cotton, Johnstons of Elgin.

Johnstons of Elgin
Johnstons of Elgin

Casual and Dress Watch 

Who needs a watch when we have mobile phones, right? Wrong. Providing time is just an added bonus of a watch. Ultimately your watch is an accessory, there to add personality and refinement to your outfit. I highly recommend owning these two two types of watches: a metal band watch to pair with casual attire and a leather or hide strap to pair with suiting. I see lots of men roaming around with metal band watches and a suit and quite frankly, it just looks off. Details matter, so make sure your watch compliments the overall tone of your outfit. 

"A watch is a man's own signature piece - something that is used often enough for people to identifying it with its owner. It's the only accessory that most men wear on a day-to-day, and it's one of the main items that truly can portray the persona of an individual. This is why a watch has to be selected with care. Some brands are strong status symbols on wealth and success, while others insinuate that its owner values simplicity, minimalism or sustainability" - Vasilij Brandt, Nordgreen

“Wearing a mechanical watch is one of the best ways to express your values and stand out from the crowd.” - David Henderson-Stewart, Raketa Watch Factory

“I believe a watch is one of the few accessories any man can wear as an expression of his personality and style. It’s not just about the functionality anymore.” - Dan Niederer, SEVENFRIDAY

"As the single defining piece of jewellery a man can own, a fine watch has earned its place in history as the go-to choice. Inherently linked with time and with a lifespan that covers many generations, a watch has also become synonymous with marking special moments along the way. It’s not just an accessory; it’s a moment captured for eternity." - Andrew Morgan, Watchfinder & Co.


Briefcase and Backpack 

The best bag option will depend on what you spend most of your time doing each day. If you’re in college you’ll need a backpack to carry around your academic necessities, but if you’re a professional looking for the right option to haul important documents and other work-related essentials, a briefcase is your best bet. 

“Your briefcase, like all accessories, is a form of personal statement, but more than that, it’s your personal assistant, friend, ally and long-term partner. Choose carefully!” - Alistair Tusting, Tusting

“In a professional setting, how you present yourself matters. Whether we like it or not. Few items can compete with the briefcase in communicating a message. It instantly offers the carrier confidence, seriousness and style.” - Niklas Oppermann, Carl Friedrik

“As we move from the world of loungewear it's surely time to embrace with enthusiasm the opportunity to look smart. To look professional. To show that you are moving forward with purpose. A briefcase is a strong statement - that style matters.” - Julie Deane, The Cambridge Satchel Co

"All men need space to carry their stuff just as much as anybody else. The backpack is no doubt the most comfortable way to carry everything you need and sums up your style. The backpack you choose says as much about you as the clothes you wear.” - Curra Rotondo, LEFRIK.

Carl Friedrik
Carl Friedrik
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