My fellow editor Jen wrote an article titled “5 Simple Investment Pieces For a Stellar Guy’s Wardrobe” and she suggested that I read it and do a response if I felt so inclined. Though I am by no means a fashion authority, I do have my opinions. In short, I feel inclined. If you’re reading this Jen, don’t freak out. I really like what you have to say, but I do have some tweaks. For the rest of you, why don’t you open Jen’s blog (linked above), and have it open side by side? Read on!
To recap, Jen’s 5 essentials were:
-A Versatile Pair of Lace-Up Leather Shoes
-Button-up Shirts That Fit
- A Good-Fitting Jeans
I’ll address them one by one, and give you what I’d buy for these essentials… well, because I’m a man.
I would take the lace-up out of the equation and say just a versatile pair of leather shoes would be the essential. I hate laced shoes, and a pair of nice looking slip-ons is definitely easy to find. I really like that Prada shoe from Neiman Marcus, and if I was re-doing my wardrobe, that would definitely be my investment pair of shoes. They cost more money than I have ever paid for a pair of shoes, but we’re talking investment pieces here. I could amortize the cost over 20 years, making them about 30 dollars per year. I got a C in Accounting, so that’s the extent of that skill. They’d go with everything from a pair of well-fitting jeans (we’ll get to that later) to a tuxedo.
To me, business-casual pants are a must. They’re frequently my uniform for work, and they should be just the right amount of comfortable and dressy. I don’t see any reason to spend a lot of money on pants, so this pair from Gap is actually one that I own. Nobody says if you have a pair of Prada loafers you have to wear everything that’s ridiculously expensive. It’s all about picking and choosing the real investments.
When it comes to shirts, that’s another place where I think paying a slight premium is a good idea. My favorite clothing brand is Brooks Brothers (call me old fashioned, I take it as a compliment), and their versatile selection of button downs is cash money, as the kids say. They have slim fit for us broad-shouldered guys, and their regular fit is for people more barrel-chested. Plus, their quality really is second to none. I would say at least five solidly colored button downs are a must, but every shirt after that should have a pattern. You don’t want to be known as Pantone Pete.
The sportcoat is actually where I disagree with Jen. I don’t own one, but I get why I should own one. I don’t think it should be an essential though. I will counter by saying that for me, an essential should be the trench coat. Since we’re talking investments, I won’t mess around and I’ll go directly to the source: Burberry. One well-fitting Burberry trench is the difference between looking like James Bond or looking like a flasher. To me something like this coat (in my favorite color, of course) makes a much better statement than a sportcoat. That being said, all the other clothes should still look good.
Jeans are where I do agree again, but it gets a little bit dicey. The fit is what’s so important about jeans. For years, I wore boot-cut jeans that made my legs look like hams. Remember those elephant pant jeans that used to be a trend? Oh, boy. Anyway, I digress. Back to jeans. Finally I switched to a pair of straight cut jeans. Instead of looking like a rock star in a pair of tight jeans like I thought I would, I actually looked normal. The key here, and don’t get me wrong guys, I hate it too, is actually going to the store to try it on. Personally, these Tommy Hilfiger jeans are what I wear and they aren’t ridiculously priced for a good piece of denim.