Style / September 2017

10 Items of Clothing Every Man Must Own

The perfect capsule wardrobe can be achieved with fewer garments than you think. Here are 10 essential items that can be mixed and matched to create infinite sartorial possibilities.

Muhammad Ali is fitted for a new suit on London’s Savile Row, 1966. It's worth building a close relationship with your tailor to get the most out of your commissions.

Even though it’s rather common these days to declare that “every man must own this or that,” it’s actually a rather presumptuous statement to insert one’s opinion so boldly into a remarkably personal space - a man’s wardrobe. Your clothing will tell other people who you are before anything else, so what you wear should speak clearly to your tastes, ambitions and goals. At the Gentleman’s Gazette, classic style is our raison d'être. We believe in building a wardrobe that you can keep and use indefinitely. You’ll never be a trendsetter with a classic wardrobe, but you will look like a modern day gentleman who doesn’t throw away money chasing the industry’s ever-changing definition of style. Once a piece enters your wardrobe, it should be there for the long term. Though a classic wardrobe should contain many versatile garments, there are ten pieces that should form the foundation. On any given day, you’ll probably be wearing one of these garments.

These ten key pieces have a lot in common. Since they will be worn often, the higher your standards are, the better. Even if you have every one of these pieces already, it’s worth revisiting each one of them to see if they have the four characteristics that mark a wardrobe staple as worthy of the frequency with which they are worn:  

• Each item should be pretty much perfect. That’s right, since these are garments you will reach for time and time again, they should be the ideal pieces for your wardrobe in terms of fit, fabric composition, price, and durability. They should be so perfect that you seriously consider buying more than one of them, just to be safe.

• The style should be timeless. Trends are inherently short-lived, so one-inch lapels and ankle-skimming pants will soon be in the donations pile. For your top ten most-worn garments, classic silhouettes will serve you the best over the long term. By avoiding the extremes of cut, width, length, and pattern, you’ll never be out of style.

• These pieces may be basic, but they don’t have to be boring. It sounds logical to purchase wardrobe basics in simple cuts and solid colours, but avoiding all detail can strip the appeal out of wearing them. We’ve all seen the flat, plain fabrics favoured by mass retailers, and aside from the one-size-fits-all cut that works for precisely nobody, any garment made from these materials will only make its flaws more apparent. Instead, look for the best quality fabrics you can afford in natural materials with distinct textures and patterns in the weave. A ‘solid’ shirt or sweater can have a tone-on-tone weave, such as a herringbone, or utilise a melange of threads to create the base colour that appears solid only at a distance.

• They are worth spending more money on. Regardless of your budget, it always pays to find ways to maximise the style potential of each dollar you spend. Consider the cost per wear of a piece before you buy; blue suede loafers may cost you $10 per wear but a white dress shirt may only cost you $1 per wear over time. Spending more on frequently worn garments is worth the extra outlay.

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Sven Raphael Schneider

Sven Raphael Schneider is the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of the Gentleman’s Gazette.