If you're like most guys, your wardrobe consists of everyday basics with a mix of seasonal stand-ins — things you wear for a few months only to replace them with items better suited to a particular time of year. Beanies in winter, shorts in summer. So on and so forth. You know the drill.
But what if dressing nowadays no longer meant the cyclical rotation of similar outfits but rather the careful composition of trending styles and mainstays? Dad shoes next to work boots. Vintage tees and performance underwear. A pair of $900 sweatpants …
With the pandemic waning and dressing rules more relaxed, if not forgotten completely, there's never been a better opportunity to revisit the products inside your closet. Get weird. Let the mundane act of getting ready transform into sartorial mixology. And, most of all, have fun with it.
These are the new essentials. Click the buttons to explore guides for each category (footwear, tops, bottoms and accessories).
Although most men would argue they own too many shoes, footwear is the part of the wardrobe that's imbalanced most often — in my opinion, at least. If you love sneakers, for example, you probably own quite a few pairs of sneakers; same story if you're obsessed with boots. Rarely do men have a stable of solid options; affection for one type of footwear almost always leads to a shortage of others. Are you following?
Our list of new essentials covers all of the bases: boots, sneakers, sandals, socks and dress shoes. I'm clearly doing my best to justify buying one from each section, but surely adding just one (or two) to your rotation will greatly improve it — like when a sports team adds a few superstar players and suddenly wins a championship.
Even though pants play an important role in the wardrobe, most men own the same two or three styles in the same two or three different colors. Expand your repertoire; you shouldn't limit yourself to just blue jeans and basic khaki chinos. These two examples make excellent pillars in your pant rotation, but there are so many other options to explore.
What about wider-fit chinos with billowing bottoms? Work trousers with designer paint splatters? Sweatpants with a heavy cashmere construction? These all sound cool, right? They are, along with a handful of others you'll have to keep reading to uncover, the new essentials; the must-haves. Each signals you're as in the know — aka on top of trends — as you are aware of what makes something classic.
We've covered it all: standout pants you can wear around town or to the office, antibacterial underwear to wear beneath them and loungewear you can, well, lounge in, but also wear to games or even the bar. (Gasp!)
Hi there, T-shirt collector, jacket addict or sweatshirt snob. If I had to guess, you, the one reading this right now, are probably one of these aforementioned people. I'm, by virtue of my job, a little of each, and therefore I understand why someone might gravitate toward owning a ton of similar jackets or a museum-worthy archive of band or movie T-shirts.
It happens: you find something you like, whether on the rack or on you, and you wear it all of the time. (Maybe even too much, your friends or family could argue.) Why not if looks good, right? Life's all about experiences, and, honestly, you're not living dressing life to its fullest potential if you find it impossible to part ways with your North Face puffer every once in a while. Get out there, experiment. A mundane uniform may soothe some people's minds — see: Steve Jobs — but keeping it interesting keeps things, well, interesting.
Accessories are admittedly extra. You could get by without a single ring, bracelet, necklace hat or horological instrument (aka a watch). But where's the fun in that? These extras are where your personality can really shine through if you can't wear graphics and patterned shorts to work or on errand runs. Let a necklace hint make strangers wonder whether it's brand-new or an heirloom; let a ring send mixed signals (which finger you wear your rings doesn't really matter much anymore, aside from showing you're wed); let your fragrance linger (in a good way) in an elevator after you leave — make it one potent enough they can smell it through their mask.
I know, scents aren't technically accessories. But for the sake of this guide, it is. Accept it. Although it may be something some people turn to daily as a part of their morning routine, I'd argue most men don't need it every single day. Spritz it on for special occasions or important meetings. Make an impression; make it fun! That's what all of this is about.