To break it down in the clearest way, here is a list of 17 items every guy should own.
8. A brown leather belt. To match the shoes, of course.
9. A simple, dark tie. Suits don’t always require ties (in fact, we find a suit paired with a a nonchalantly unbuttoned-at-the-collar shirt rather attractive). But you will need a tie, so you should have a go-to option. Go with solid gray or dark red if you’re traditional, a Repp tie (thick navy diagonal stripes with a contrasting color) if you’re preppy and a very small, very subdued print in dark colors if you’re daring (think gingham or micro-checks in neutral tones).
10. Dark, straight-legged, unembellished jeans. No rips, no tears (accidental or purposeful), no studs and no pre-fading. No sagging in the butt, no bunching around the ankles and no bagginess around the thighs. That’s all we ask.
11. Dark, straight-leg khaki pants. Same fit requirements as the jeans, but this time, in a dark khaki color — not that stonewash, almost-gray color of Dockers you wore at age 12. Go with a caramel or camel hue that will work with a gray sport jacket or red flannel button-down alike.
12. A plain, solid-colored hoodie. You’re going to want to wear a sweatshirt (like, every day), so be sure to have a nice one on hand. That means something slightly fitted that hits no lower than the hips with sleeves that aren’t too long. Oh, and no logos or writing whatsoever.
13. Plain, solid-colored crewneck t-shirts. Same idea as the hoodie — you’ll want to go casual, so make sure you have tee options that don’t have the names of sports teams, frats or unfunny jokes written on them.
14. A solid crewneck sweater. In cashmere, wool or even cotton, a thin crewneck sweater is one of the most versatile items you can own. Wear it with jeans and a t-shirt underneath with the sleeves pushed up, or try it with a button-down underneath for that preppy look, or just throw it on with khakis or even suit pants for an easy, pulled-together appearance. We recommend light gray, navy, beige or perhaps maroon to complement the other neutrals in your closet.
15. Solid-colored boxer briefs. Boys wear boxers, men wear boxer briefs. (Or briefs, but we’ve taken a highly unscientific survey of straight women and the votes are in: Boxer briefs > briefs.) Stock up on solid colors and, for the love of God, throw them out when they get holes in them.
16. A medium-sized bag that works for both the gym and a weekend away. We know bags are tough for men, ever afraid of the dreaded “murse.” So here are some guidelines: Try a messenger bag or a duffle, go solid or with a subtle pattern and make it leather, cotton or canvas. That’s about all you need to know.