The 6 Items Every Guy Should Have in His Closet
Sid Mashburn isn't just a very stylish guy, though he is that. He's also the proprietor of one of the best men's stores in America. His eponymous Sid Mashburn retail empire has locations in Dallas, D.C., Houston, and L.A., as well as the original temple of good taste in Sid's hometown of Atlanta.
Sid and his team dress everyone from modern menswear aficionados to good ol' boys, all with a mind for service and comfort that makes each of his shops a mecca for guys who know about that kind of thing. Which is precisely because Sid himself knows about that kind of thing—inside and out.
That's why asked him for his personal list of the five essential pieces every man should have in his closet. He gave us that, plus a bonus for good measure. Read on for his picks.
Dressing is mostly about good manners—about making the people around you feel important and at ease.
We always say that dressing is mostly about good manners—about making the people around you feel important and at ease. So when we talk about essentials, we mean things that will take you anywhere and be prepared for anything: a board meeting, a date, a funeral, a concert, a life change. They're things that are polished enough to look like you made an effort for the people around you, but are understated enough to not draw too much attention to yourself.
The five we chose all party well together, but each can be taken out depending on the general vibe—you have to know your audience. (If everyone else at the party is in shirtsleeves, you can leave the jacket in the car and still look great; if no one at the wedding has a tie on, you can put yours in your pocket or your date's purse; if jeans feel better than trousers, then you can swap 'em out.) There's not this precious balance, so it doesn't ruin your look to take out one item. Nothing should feel too over-torqued. Essentials make your life easier.
A Navy Suit
A navy suit is going to take you anywhere. Almost everywhere, actually. Of course, you can split it up and wear the jacket with jeans or the trousers with just a shirt. A navy jacket is so foundational and versatile to us that we made an entire matrix out of it.
This fresco fabric is fantastic–slightly crunchy, open-weave, and travels well because it springs back into shape. It's not so precious. And for us, it needs to be full canvas. Plus, with the pockets, there's more function than you'd think. It works like a briefcase, a pencil pouch, and a dopp kit (I've carried a toothbrush in mine).
You can carry what you need without resorting to a bag or an extra piece. (That in itself is essential.)
Good Shoes and A Matching-ish Belt
Your shoes are kind of like your anchor. These strike the right balance between being casual enough to wear with jeans and polished enough for everything up to black tie. (You need black shoes for that one, sorry.)
And then your belt needs to match your shoes—sort of. Don't get too hung up on exact color synchronicity, because listen, there's always going to be three-plus feet of distance between the two. They just need to be similar enough.
A Navy Grenadine Tie
There's a quiet power to this one. The combination of the serious color and the slight irregularity of the grenadine weave is very cool to us and strikes a good balance–sober enough for a funeral or an important meeting, but loose enough for a more fun gathering. And these days, wearing a tie is practically an act of rebellion…which we dig.
A clean wash is the most versatile. They can't be too beat up. A well-loved pair of jeans is great—not processed or pre-distressed; you have to earn your own whiskers and wear—but a lot more difficult to dress up with a jacket or a tie. A more uniform wash makes for a more neutral canvas, in a way.
A White Shirt
A continuation of the "neutral canvas" thing. Make sure that you roll up the sleeves if you're wearing it sans jacket, otherwise you're in danger of being asked for a napkin or another drink. You need at least two rolls; we like three and I do three and a half.
For the fabric, we like poplin or roxford (also known as royal oxford), which travels well and has a really amazing texture without drawing too much attention to itself. Keep it pressed and keep it clean. It's easy.
Something That's Your Own
Especially if you don't dress up all the time, it's easy to feel a little uncomfortable in a suit or a tie–but it shouldn't be. Call it a signature or a trademark or whatever, but if you wear something that's unquestionably your own, you'll feel a little more ready and able to focus on the people around you.
For me, it's a strand of beads under my shirt or this pocket square that my wife embroidered for me. For other guys, it's a ring, a pocketknife, their dad's watch, a comb, a lighter, a bandanna. Maybe there's sentimental value or maybe it's something more functional. And maybe it's just something that makes you feel good, like a rabbit foot or a tin of Altoids. But it's something that makes you feel like the best, coolest—and yes, most essential—version of yourself.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.