A way to keep clothing from cluttering up your life and taking over your bedroom is to have only a basic wardrobe. Stocking your closet with essential pieces limits frustration and saves you time and energy. An upcoming post will focus on the elements of the basic wardrobe for a woman, so watch for it in a few days. This post targets the items for a man’s closet.
The basic wardrobe is a little less trickier for men than it is for women. Still, what is basic for a 30-something man who works in a corporate environment is very different from what is basic for a 60-something retiree. Climates, social demands, and fashion preferences also weigh into the differences. I’ve tried my best to construct a list for the widest audience, but keep in mind that your specific needs might be different. Consider this post as a “big picture” look at building a basic wardrobe.
The basic wardrobe for a man should contain:
- A navy blue suit in a four-season wool fabric.
- A charcoal grey suit in a four-season wool fabric.
- Three white long-sleeve dress shirts and at least one light blue long-sleeve dress shirt. If you work in a corporate environment, you’ll need more than this to make it through the week (less than 15 total, however). If you work in a casual environment or from home, these four long-sleeve dress shirts will very likely suffice.
- One short-sleeve knit polo shirt.
- A cotton-blend front-zip jacket to wear with jeans or khakis.
- A small collection of silk ties (the number varies with how many days in a year you wear them). Your collection should contain at least a solid color tie and a striped tie that work with both of your basic suits.
- Seven white undershirts and 14 pair of underwear.
- Two/four pair of jeans as discussed in my fewer clothes post.
- Three to five additional shirts that are appropriate to your social schedule. If you’re a t-shirt and jeans guy, let these shirts reflect this.
- A heavy sweater in a solid color. Black and solid grey v-neck sweaters always seem to be in style.
- Two pair of dress khakis and a pair of khaki shorts.
- A set of athletic pants and a t-shirt you wouldn’t mind if paint were spilled on it.
- A swimsuit.
Any additional clothing is beyond the limits of a basic wardrobe. If you build up around the basic wardrobe, make sure that what you buy can be worn with many of the pieces in the basic set. It can be good, too, to set a number of how many items above the basic wardrobe you will own. The fewer additional items, the less cluttered your wardrobe will be.