Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, and Frank “Ol’ Blue Eyes” Sinatra all shared one thing in common: these men had an everlasting appeal when it came to their way of dressing. Come what may, they always looked the part. And it’s from their perennial sense of style, that you can learn a few pointers on building that perfect men’s wardrobe. With a trip to the tailor’s for some minor alterations, this list is going to simplify the classic men’s style into 7 foundational items.
When shopping, always pay close attention to the fit of the product. Spend a little more time than usual in the fitting room to assess the drape of the material, the shoulder drop and the ease of movement you have in the item. Take a moment to consider the care instructions that the item’s materials require, because though seemingly insignificant at first, it’s these small details that are going to give your clothes that timeless touch.
What: Breton-Striped Cashmere Jumper, $425, A.P.C at mrporter.com.
Why: A key item on the list of classic men’s style essentials, the striped jumper will serve you well. Slip it over an oxford shirt, or wear it with a pair of selvedge denim jeans for a casual, youthful look.
Tip: The width of the stripes depends on you; so take some time to try a few different widths before deciding on what suits you best.
What: Cotton Oxford Shirt, $165, Billy Reid at saksfifthavenue.com.
Why: Think of the oxford shirt as the workhorse in any man’s shirt collection. Both suitable for casual and corporate dressing, a well-fitted oxford shirt can create the illusion of leaner figure (which, if we’re being honest, is never a bad thing).
Tip: Always remember the golden rule when it comes to wearing an oxford shirt: it’s either collar buttons or a necktie, but never both at the same time.
What: Wool Cashmere Jacket, $5,050, Brioni at brioni.com.
Why: Wherever you are, it pays to have a sport coat lying around. Another classic men’s style essential that’s often taken for granted, the sport coat will take you from sidewalk-style to smart casual in a matter of seconds, literally.
Tip: If tweed is your cup of tea, go for a handsomely cut tweed jacket, because the fabric will age nicely. Otherwise, a wool jacket is a breathable option for hotter days.
What: Green ‘1032’ Acetate Wayfarer, $400.83, Cutler & Gross at oki-ni.com.
Why: The wayfarer style happens to be the most universal frame shape, because it can match most facial shapes. Plus, it’ll sit just as nicely tucked into your chest pocket, as it does on my nose.
Tip: The tortoiseshell print is a more versatile color to wear, which is always a good thing.
What: Knitted Silk Polo Tee, $745, Tod’s at mrporter.com.
Why: There should be no reason for a sloppy t-shirt on any day. Take casual dressing up by half a notch with a polo shirt, and go for a shade of navy for effortless style.
Tip: It’s all about the material here. A well-made polo shirt should be made out of a sturdy knit fabric so that it doesn’t cling to you like Saran Wrap, but still able to keep your silhouette streamlined.
What: Two-Piece Wool Suit, $2,495, Ralph Lauren at ralphlauren.com.
Why: You have to have a grey suit, no questions about it. Able to be worn a number of ways, the grey suit is not as harsh as compared to a black suit, but still keeps you looking (and feeling) good.
Tip: Depending on your skin tone, a cool, neutral or warm tone of grey can make you look smarter or washed out. So pay close attention to the shade of grey you’re wearing before heading to the cash register.
What: Leather ‘Achilles’ Sneakers, $340.83, Common Projects at oki-ni.com.
Why: Though humble in appearance, a pair of white sneakers will keep you looking well put together, even when you’re just in sweatpants and a t-shirt.
Tip: Always coat your sneakers with a waterproof protector, so that your white soles remain pristine for as long as possible.