Men’s Style 101: My Five ‘Essential’ Items for Men
by Nathan Beesley
Of all the words thrown around within the fashion industry, the word ‘essential’ has to be one of the most criminally misused.
This struck me yesterday while I was perusing an article lauding metallics as the future of menswear, asserting that they were an ‘essential’ investment for any fashion-forward male.
Now, I’m not sure if you have become acquainted with this trend yet, but if you haven’t, basically it entails looking like the combination of the foil-wrapped turkey consigned to the fridge after Christmas and a vibrantly coloured contraceptive product.
Well, a picture says a thousand words and all that jazz…
This got me thinking: what are the ‘essential’ pieces in the well-dressed man’s wardrobe? Is anything essential in a world where self-expression and individualism seem to take precedence over timeless classicism?
Maybe not, but to take such a position would be to undermine all that I preach when it comes to menswear. As a firm advocate of ‘style’ over ‘fashion’, I have to believe that there are some items that every man should have hanging in his closet. To claim otherwise would be to concede that men can wear whatever they want and the more perceptive amongst you may have detected my subtle assertions throughout this blog that this is NOT a view I adhere to.
So here goes, my five ‘essential’ (shudder) pieces for men.
1. A good quality pair of slim indigo jeans
The problem with jeans is that there is such a varied spectrum of cuts, washes and prices available on the market, it’s near impossible to decide which pair works for you. My solution is to keep it simple: I prefer my jeans to be as refined and minimalist as the rest of my wardrobe. A dark indigo wash with minimal detailing will see you anywhere, working with a blazer and brogues as easily as a cardigan and plimsolls.
As for cut, keep things slim. I personally prefer mine halfway between slim and skinny, therefore incorporating a nod to my fondness for indie rock without showing off my emaciated bottom half. Boot-cut jeans are like Jimmy Saville: everyone used to love them, but recent events have proved them so, so wrong.
2. A Navy Suit
True, grey is more versatile. True, you may struggle to wear black shoes with it. But honestly, who cares? A navy suit always floors all other competitors, whether paired with a camel trench coat and tie for work, or with an evening scarf for hitting up those swanky bars. Only one more thing: please, please make sure it fits.
3. The Oxford Shirt
Classic. The definition of smart casual. Need I say more?
4. Desert Boots
You just can’t comprehend how versatile these shoes can be. Chinos and a blazer for preppy perfection? Sure. Skinny jeans and a black biker jacket for a more edgy look? Go for it. With shorts and a Breton top in summer? Knock yourself out.
5. A quality pair of dress shoes
This may sound somewhat shallow, but there are few things I treasure more in this life than my tan pair of Barker brogues. They are the first thing I see when I wake up and the last thing I think about when I go to bed. I clean them, polish them and protect them after every wear. Go forth, invest and indulge!