The list of basic essentials that should constitute the wardrobe of every stylish man is not particularly long. From simple (yet high quality) shirts to perfectly cut chinos, to the one suit you have no excuse not to own; here, we've selected the 20 basics that should form the foundation of any successful wardrobe.
1| A White Button-Down Shirt
There's very little that won't go with a button down shirt. Worn with a suit for a more casual look, under a crew neck jumper at the weekend or teamed with a pair of slim chinos and a statement belt, this is the most versatile item in your wardrobe. Opt for a shirt cut from thick, soft cotton.
AMI, Slim-Fit Button-Down Collar Cotton Oxford Shirt, mrporter.com
2| A Pale Blue Shirt
An essential workaday item, this. Wear with a beige, gray, or navy suit and a tie in a darker shade of blue, and wait patiently for your promotion.
Canali, Blue Slim-Fit Cotton-Twill Shirt, mrporter.com
3| A Chambray Grandad Collared Shirt
Not all wardrobe staples are of the clean, crisp variety. Nor are they a cookie cutter go-to. A grandad collared shirt is a firm pivot from the norm, yet easily paired with everything else in your wardrobe. And, instead of pandering to Oxbridge prep, a chambray fabric is a more rugged take that’ll chime with blue, casual denim down south.
Boglioli Grandad Collar Cotton-Chambray Shirt, mrporter.com
4| A Navy Blue Crewneck Jumper
Ok, we did say that the white button down shirt is the most versatile item in your wardrobe, but a cotton mix crew neck in an adaptable shade of navy can be worn with pretty much everything, and will act as a layer in winter and a feature piece in summer. Faultless.
Paul Smith, Navy Merino Wool Raglan Sleeve Sweater, paulsmith.co.uk
5| Slim Navy Chino Trousers
A good alternative to jeans and great if you don't want to wear suit trousers, a slim navy chinos are ideal for summer or winter. Wear with a shirt, shirt and jacket, T-shirt, T-shirt and bomber—the options are endless.
Gucci, Slim Leg Cotton-Blend Chino Trousers, matchesfashion.com
6| Wool-Flannel Trousers
Worn with a white shirt or tucked in tee with a crewneck jumper or navy blazer over the top, a pair of gray flannel trousers are the ideal bridge between casual and formal.
Salle Privée, Grey Rocco Slim-Fit Mélange Wool-Flannel Suit Trousers, mrporter.com
7| A Petrol Blue Suit
If you wear a suit to work (and even if you don't) you should always own more than one. A petrol blue, single-breasted option is a great place to start.
Z Zegna, Navy Wash & Go Slim Fit Wool Suit, mrporter.com
8| A Denim Jacket
The denim jacket, it's easier to wear than you think, worn under an unlined navy blazer, worn over a loopback sweatshirt or simple tee, or even worn with a pair of jeans in a different hue, the look you should go for is casual, but in control.
Lee, Light Blue Slim Fit Denim Jacket, riverisland.com
9| Brown Suede Chelsea Boots
Understated, chic, and as easy to wear with smarter looks as they are with jeans, a good pair of Chelsea boots is a year round essential. And, even better, no more laces!
Common Projects, Suede Chelsea Boots, mrporter.com
10| Minimalist Sneaks
These speak for themselves. Opt for white and wear yours in a few times. The beauty of brilliant white trainers is that they'll anchor almost every pre-made look in your wardrobe—just ensure they remain brilliant white.
Common Projects, Original Achilles Leather Sneakers, mrporter.com
11| Tan Derbies
Brilliant with navy and just as good with gray, a pair of tan derbies works as well with denim as it will with more traditional tailoring.
Grenson, Curtis Derby Shoes, endclothing.com
12| Oxblood Penny Loafers
Team these classic loafers with some cropped, slim chinos (like the blue ones in this list) and invest in some invisible socks to prevent unpleasant smells.
Church's, Wesley Loafers, church-footwear.com
13| A Pair Of Black Lace-Ups
Every man needs a pair of chic black lace-ups. They're simple enough to be worn with a suit, while the elegant shape means that they can just as easily be worn with a tux. Wear with jeans at your peril.
Prada, Cap-Toe Spazzolato Leather Oxford Shoes, mrporter.com
14| Slim Indigo Selvedge Jeans
A good pair of jeans should be slim, but not too tight, stiff but not so stiff that you can't bend your legs and they should also be blue, naturally. A pair of classic dark selvedge denim tick all those boxes and then some.
Rag & Bone, Two Straight-Leg Raw Selvedge Denim Jeans, mrporter.com
15| A Good Quality White T-shirt
Because this will go with everything you own. Just be sure to invest in something cut from high quality cotton. Not only will an expensive fabric feel better against your skin, anything sub-par will suffer at the hands of your washing machine.
Orlebar Brown, OB-T Slim-Fit Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt, mrporter.com
16| A Good Quality Navy T-shirt
Because it's nice to wear something other than white, and this will look chic worn under a simple blazer in a neutral shade, like this Sunspel number, for instance.
Sunspel, Cotton T-shirt, sunspel.co.uk
17| A Beige Trench
Perfect for spring, a proper double breasted trench coat will keep out the rain and look as chic worn over your suit as it will worn with a T-shirt and jeans.
Burberry, Kensington Mid-Length Weatherproof Cotton-Gabardine Trench Coat, mrporter.com
18| A Bomber Jacket
What was once a passing trend is now a bona fide menswear essential. A bomber jacket packs an outer layer that looks good on everyone, so invest in a simple, clean cut in a dark, versatile shade.
Acne, Makio Padded Bomber Jacket, matchesfashion.com
19| A Navy Blazer
A navy blazer is the perfect piece of transition tailoring. For the colder months go for a darker shade in brushed cotton, but know that lighter fabrics will easily slot among other layers.
Orlebar Brown, Edgar Notch-Lapel Linen Blazer, matchesfashion.com
20| A Pair Of Wayfarers
The frames that suit every face, a pair of classic black Wayfarers should be the foundation of your sunglasses collection (what do you mean you don't have one?), helping you stay sharp and squint-free whatever the season.
Ray-Ban, Original Wayfarer Acetate Sunglasses, mrporter.com
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.