Building Your Essential Wardrobe: Menswear Staples

How many times have you thought to yourself “I wish I could re-do my entire wardrobe”? I know I have. It’s a bit of a first world problem but getting bored of your clothes can sometimes be a reality and buying new items of clothing often alleviates this, but for how long?

I’ve (slowly) come to realise that having a solid base for your wardrobe is always the best way to go. It doesn’t matter what sort of style you’re going for, you should build a foundation of essential items then branch out from there, this ‘branching’ allows you to fill those gaps for your personal desire that may be fueled by your burning desire to include a sheepskin jacket or pair of Raf Simons sneakers into your rotation.

Obviously, everyone’s style is going to be different, I’ll list my personal go-to’s along with some wish list items for the future to try and give you some inspiration to build your own personal wardrobe. I’m going to fill up this article with loads of pictures because I personally prefer to see images when people give recommendations, hopefully it helps you too!

So, what are the essentials?


I could probably dedicate a whole article to just this category alone, with so many variants there’s a range of possibilities available to keep you warm yet looking fashionable and on top of your game.

My current jacket style of choice is the overcoat, I have both a black and camel colourway, they are super versatile as they can be dressed up, even worn with a suit or rocked more casual like I have styled it below with jeans and converse. Other notable mentions would be pea-coats and trench coats (see Burberry).

If you want to go a little more casual whilst combining functionality AND being on trend, bubble or puffer jackets have been very on trend lately and with the amount of cold weather going around it’s no wonder. These are perfect for day-to-day use, they will keep you warm and dry and can still be paired up easily with a pair of your favourite sneakers (or hiking boots haha). Other notable mentions here would be a parka, raincoat or Barbour-style jacket.

So you have your versatile yet stylish jacket, and your weatherproof but functional jacket, what next? I’d say something inbetween, for me this would be a denim jacket. A timeless piece that will never go out of style. I currently have a black denim with a grey borg collar, but I have recently taken a step out of my all-black comfort zone and picked up a blue denim jacket, stay tuned to see how I style that…when it arrives.

Other jackets that fit this meta would be bomber jackets which have been pretty big lately, I quite like the Alpha Industries bombers with the logo zip on the sleeve. You could also opt for a leather jacket if you think you can pull it off, I haven’t got one in my wardrobe but I know plenty of people who can pull them off with ease.

Alpha Industries MA-1 VF 59 Flight Jacket  Dark Green  1



Another very broad category, for me the past year or two has been all about turtlenecks. The warmth around the neck is unmatched and they provide a more well-dressed vibe to your outfit than a crew-neck sweater or T-shirt alone. I have grey, black, navy and forest green colours, pretty much all bases covered. I typically pair these with the aforementioned overcoat for a smart yet comfortable fit.

Sweatshirts and hoodies will always have their place, I prefer to keep these simple, sticking to a single colour and using them as a layering piece. Weekday is one of my favourite places for these, I recently got gifted a light pink sweatshirt which I haven’t been able to take off since Christmas. Brands like Arket, COS and APC also offer some quality staples that will be sure to appeal to your minimal side. You could also check out overshirts which kind of fall between a shirt and a jacket (or shacket), I’ve had my eye on these and may venture into this realm soon enough.


Quality is essential here, although it probably should be with all your items as quality goes much further than quantity (unless you’re one of those people that buys clothes to return them after one picture). Some of my favourite places for t-shirts are Reiss, Norse Projects and Maison Kitsune. Again, I like to keep my tees pretty minimal and tend to stray away from any graphic prints or huge logos. On my wishlist at the moment is one of the Comme Des Garcons Play tees, there’s something so cool about them, not to mention it would go flawlessly with my CDG converse.

Comme des Garcons Play Gold Heart Logo Tee  Black  1


The same goes for polo shirts, keep the quality high and the branding relatively low. One of my favourite polo is one from Tommy Hilfiger that is a plain navy but has the TH logo on the sleeve of the shirt, pretty sleek. Other brands like the classic Ralph Lauren polos are great, particularly for summer or warmer holidays, go for clean whites and light pastels, and they will fit right into your wardrobe. I do have a statement polo which comes in the form of a camouflage Guess piece, this may not be for everyone but it’s good to have in my arsenal should I want to stand out a little.


Lol, only messing. Unless you want to go for that CJ from San Andreas vibe, if so you’re on the wrong article…this ain’t it, Chief.

Image result for CJ san andreas


Admittedly this is an area I lack variance, no I don’t walk around town without pants but I do tend to stick to my comfort zone of black jeans pretty much 24/7. So apart from those I can’t give personal advice but maybe we could both explore some options together and hopefully inspire you as well as myself for options to branch out in the leg-wear department.

I see a lot of guys I follow on Instagram opting for trousers or even cropped variants, these look pretty cool especially when paired with Doc Martens. I’ve also seen cropped grey trousers paired with plain white sneakers which also looks really minimal yet on trend. I picked up some cropped check pants last summer but only donned them once, maybe I went too flashy from the off and should go with a less in-your-face pair this upcoming summer to switch it up.

Other options include chinos which seem to go with a lot of clothing but aren’t really my style, or something out-there like cords, again probably something out of my line of sight but maybe they work for you!


As a solid starting point I would go with a classic white sneaker, a black variant and a more dressy option. Of course not many people will stick to just three pairs but this is definitely a good starting point to allow you to branch out from. For the white sneaker I would go with something minimal yet high quality, think Common Projects, Axel Arigato or Stan Smith x Raf Simons. Personally my go-to white sneaker is the Nike Air Force 1, though I have had my eye on the Clean 90’s from Axel Arigato for a while now…

With the black pair you could go for any of the above in a black colour way. again I have the Air Force 1s in the black suede and gum sole colour way which work perfectly for me (no guessing what my favourite sneaker is). Vans Old Skools are a pretty popular option, never owned a pair myself but I know a lot that do. I also have the Converse x CDG collab sneaker which I’ve worn to death since buying them and they’re still in pretty good shape, they’re double the price of normal Converse but the coolness makes up for the price tag…right?

For the shoe that can be dressed up whilst still looking cool, I would go with something like a Dr. Marten boot, I prefer the higher ones like the 1460s but I’ve seen plenty rock the low 1461s. Alternatively another all-round would be a Chelsea boot, I recently picked up the Yeezy Season 6 boots but decided to pass them on after I got the wrong size but if they did fit you bet I would be wearing them almost as much as the CDGs.

Accessories and others

As far as accessories go I don’t dive too deep, for me a solid silver watch is more than enough personally so I would suggest checking out a solid design that you like an invest a little into it. It won’t go out of style and will always come in handy.

Other items that probably fall into that list would be socks and underwear, for socks Arket is my favourite, you can get 5 pairs for around £20 and they are much better quality than your classic pack of 5 sports socks from the sports shop. Boxers, something classic like Calvins, Bjorn Borg or Ralph Lauren will see you through and keep you comfortable.

Having a solid backpack is also a wise move to make, I have a Tommy Hilfiger bag which looks great and does the job, I’ve been complimented quite a few times on it so people do notice! Other nice backpacks include Rains, Fjallraven or Coach.

That just about wraps up my article, I’m currently going through a process where I am trying to build the wardrobe I want, one that will be versatile, functional and look stylish. If you want to follow me on this journey you can check out my Instagram where I will no doubt be posting any new arrivals!

If you have any selections that I may have missed out then leave a comment below.

– Jack


1 Comment

  1. January 27, 2019 / 4:37 am

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