Fashion trends come and go, sometimes quickly. It’s not always the best idea to sink a lot of time, money and thought into “what’s hot” right now. But you can count on one thing to be consistent – that the basics never go out of style. When you’re caught in a bind on what to wear, know that the basics will always work.
Jeans are the backbone of your wardrobe. I absolutely love jeans. Not just because of their comfort, but because it’s one of the most versatile items in my closet. You can dress them down with sneakers and a t-shirt, or even dress them up with a blazer and a tie. I recommend the $75-$125 price point (at places like Nordstrom Rack, it’s easy to find jeans at half their retail price – $250 jeans for only $125). It’s really worth it, especially if you wear them numerous times a week. But even a $50 pair of Levi’s can serve you well. If cared for properly, they will serve you well for a very long time, and look better the older they get.
Oxford Cloth Button Down
The Oxford Cloth Button Down (OCBD) is a staple. They’re comfortable, classic, versatile and easy. They pair excellently with a pair of jeans and some casual shoes. Sneakers? Sure. Chukkas? Even better. They’re great to layer under a v-neck sweater or a cardigan (tie or not, it’s up to you). Or just throw one on and haphazardly roll up those sleeves! The OCBD can be considered the jeans of button-ups – they can be worn with nearly anything. It’s one of the most versatile tools in the arsenal of the casual, well-dressed man.
When you need a break from jeans or dress pants, chinos are your friend. Chinos are an in-between point of dress pants and khakis. They’re almost as flexible as jeans too, in that you can dress them down with sneakers and a polo, or dress them up with a nice OCBD (as mentioned above) and dress shoes.
Chino’s have become a lot more popular in recent years as different brands broke out of the typical colors (brown, tan, black, etc.) and brought in more variety. And different colored pants means you can have some interesting variety in your closet. If you go with standard colored chinos, you can get a little funky with a brightly colored, or patterned shirt. If you get a pair with bit more personality in the color, stay subtle with the shirt so you don’t overdo it. Overall, there are tons of options with chinos.
The blazer has been considered a classic men’s wardrobe staple for quite some time. There’s a reason for that. It’s perfect when a suit is just too formal and you want to step it up a notch. Or when you just want to add a little extra style to your casual outfit. Like everything else in our staples list, the blazer is quite versatile and essential for giving yourself many layering options – with a classic button-up and tie, over a v-neck t-shirt for a casual look, over a v-neck sweater (by itself or with a button-up), and on top of jeans, chinos, smart shorts with dress shoes, classic and clean sneakers, and boots. Depending on the styling, details, materials, and cut, the possibilities are endless, as long as the blazer is well fitted and tailored to you.
This article first appeared in a slightly altered version at A Curated Style.