I am unofficially the stylist of most of my friends. Given my retail background and an explicit love of all things fab, I don’t blame them LOL. No I’m not Mr. Blackwell nor those fashion gurus in E!, but i will admit to having an eye (and patience) for styling people.
Now since most men (at least the straight ones) are clueless about what to wear and are too embarrassed to admit it or even ask someone about it, I’ve put together a list of the nine basic items that a guy should have. These items are chosen for their versatility and their relatively affordable prices – for those who want to up their fashion sense without breaking the bank:
1. Woven tops in basic colors and conservative prints – These will always be good investments because it never goes out of style. For those just starting to build up their wardrobes, begin by getting pieces in solid, neutral colors then move on to stripes and plaids. The only thing to look out for is the cut of the shirt. For short sleeved shirts, best cuts are those with sleeves that hit the middle of the upper arm and has a tapered and longish torso. Long sleeved ones should be tapered but not tightly fitting in the sleeves and torso.
2. Tees and polos in stripes and basic colors. These can be good canvasses to work on. You can layer these, accessorize, style up or dress down. They’re pretty flexible especially if you got the ones which fit you right.
3. Black coat, jacket and/or blazer – A decent black outerwear can change the look of even a basic white tee. Brand is irrelevant, cut is essential. Sleeves should never go beyond three quarters of an inch below the wrist bone. Hem should ideally be falling right on top of the pants’ back pockets.
4. Trousers (slacks) in black, charcoal and/or brown – These babies can go from work to play. Choose pants which are narrow and straight, with just the right fit at the hip. Very loose pants should be donated to the homeless.
5. Good fitting jeans – Nothing beats a good pair of jeans on a fine, fine piece of man. Any preferred shade of indigo will do, so will black. Colored jeans when you’re beyond 17 will bring you straight to fashion hell. Choose jeans that are a little low rise, a little snug on the hips and has a comfortable seat. Always remember, jeans were made to show off butts and crown jewels so if you have it, flaunt it.
6. Chinos in gray and khaki – It’s the in-between of casual and formal. Perfect for those dinners with your girl (or boy) friend’s parents cause when you pair it with the right shirt, it makes you look responsible (don’t ask me why). Follow the guide for jeans when choosing chinos but you may opt for something a little more loose.
7. Ties in conservative colors and prints. If you have those ties with prints even remotely resembling a cartoon character, burn it. It’s not cute. Stick to solids and stripes.
8. Black loafers or moccassins – formal shoes but can work well too with jeans. Avoid chunky shoes and those with large buckles or unusual textures and materials. Keep it simple and comfy ’cause you will be wearing it a lot. Don’t be ashamed to own a lot of shoes. Men have that addiction too, we just don’t admit it.
9. Basic jewelry. Simple chain necklaces and bracelets are like parsley – they add that final zing. Silver or gold it doesn’t matter as long as it’s minimal. Good watches are also wise investments – except if they’re the size of saucers and lined with those fake diamonds (ugh the thought of it makes me cringe). Stick with conservative designs ’cause these will never go out of style. Finally, remember the rule of 5 in accessories – maximum five pieces anytime.
So there you have it kids, my first raid into your closet. Like I always say, don’t expect people to swoon over you if you insist on looking like a formless piece of clay.