16 Essentials for a Man’s Wardrobe

Yes, sixteen essentials. Not five, not ten, not fifteen, but sixteen. Sure, it may seem like an odd number, but who said you can’t have a top sixteen anything anyway? Are there rules? Because if there are, they have been deservedly tossed in the rubbish bin and I am officially making the “Top Sixteen” the new “Top Ten.” There, now that we’ve settled that, we can finally delve into why I’m doing a post on men’s wardrobe essentials. Well, my good friend Phil dropped me a line the other day, asking sort of haphazardly if I had an article for men on how to “revamp your wardrobe with just 16 pieces.” I’m sure he sent it in jest, but I decided to take up the challenge, and see if I couldn’t put together a list of what I thought a man’s 16 piece wardrobe should look like.

Women like to think they know what looks good on a man, because we know what we’re attracted to. But as women, we’re also more inclined to purchase pieces that we’ll wear once or twice. Just look at a woman’s shoe collection for pete’s sake, it is oozing with impracticality, mine included. Just because I can admit I have a problem, doesn’t mean I’m immune from buying more shoes that I’ll wear only once. Enter eye roll here. When it comes to the wardrobe of most men, practicality, and versatility is a must, so with that in mind, and in no particular order, here are my top sixteen male wardrobe essentials:

A Pair of Medium Wash Jeans (oh yes, we’re getting that specific)
Keep it simple, stay away from the butt bling as I like to call it (bejeweled asses are so not sexy). Stick with a relaxed fit so you’ll always be on trend (if you care), and avoid whiskering (don’t ask), it’s very early 2000’s and we are far enough out of that decade that people will notice.

V-Neck Shirt
This is a personal preference for me, but I’ve also put some thought into this pick. V-necks are completely versatile, and it’s a cut that flatters most men. It doesn’t need to be so low that you’re seeing ‘meevage‘ (that would be man cleavage), but what it does is give the illusion of broad shoulders to men who don’t have them, and for those that do, it doesn’t make you look as boxy as a crew neck does.

V-Neck Sweater
All of the same rules from above apply.

Athletic Shorts
Fairly self explanatory, but I will say this, if it’s above the mid-thigh, technically, it can be called a booty short, so unless that’s what you’re going for, you’ve been warned.

A Sports Jacket or Blazer
The ultimate date night piece and something that every man needs in his wardrobe (Phil, I hope you’re taking notes). If you want to look a little more GQ, go with something that has thinner lapels.

Plain Cotton T-Shirt
I’m sure most men have several of these, and if not, you should. You can never have too many.

A Suit
I could spend hours talking about this one piece (and no, it’s not cheating if I call this one piece, I don’t know any men who buy their suits in pieces!). Typically, a man should really have two suits. A winter suit, and a summer suit, and preferably in blue and the other in black. Maybe I’ll dedicate a post just to men’s suits later.

Dress Pants or Slacks
This is where somewhere like the GAP (Phil adores the GAP) or Banana Republic comes in handy. You want a pair of slacks to go with your sports jacket.

Dress Shirt with French Cuffs and Removable Stays
The design of the cuff lets you roll up the sleeve and take your look more casual if you want. And removing the stays in the collar has the same effect.

V-Neck Sweater
For the same reasons I like the V-neck Tee, this sweater design can be dressed up with your collared shirt, or dressed down with a regular T-shirt underneath.

Bamboo Underwear
Cotton is so last decade gentlemen. While it’s breathable and comfortable, we all know it stretches out, and honestly, I’d rather see a dude wearing depends than a pair of sad, saggy, bloomers. Bamboo is antibacterial, breathable, softer than cotton, longer lasting and only slightly more expensive!

A Pair of Dress Shoes
Personally, a prefer something with a little pizazz, perhaps something with beautiful brogue detailing.

A Pair of Casual Shoes
No, for the love of Pete, Toms don’t count, I don’t care if it’s for a charitable cause, they’re ugly. Donate a pair of shoes if you want to ease your conscience.

A Pair of Running Shoes
There are so many brands to choose from, I defer to the experts on this one.


  • A set of cufflinks
  • A leather belt
  • A Tie (I guess that brings the list to 17, oh well, I tried).

So there you have it. Sixteen items. Eighteen if you count the tie I had to add at the end and a voucher for the GAP for my dear friend Phil who claims to need some creative inspiration.

Comment below and tell me what your wardrobe essential is!


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1 reply
  1. Simone Lerwick (@simonelerwick)
    Simone Lerwick (@simonelerwick) says:

    i really agree with all of this, having this items are not vain, its just that sooner or later there will be an event in which you will need a certain item that wasn’t in your closet, better buy one earlier than rush with time buying/looking for one.


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