Wednesday, June 23, 2010

If I Were a Man, This is What I'd Wear

I was recently asked by a male friend, “What should we wear?,” and though I’m not sure I’m all that qualified to dress men, I’m going to give it my best attempt. Please keep in mind this is truly my point of view; these are things I like to see a man wear, things that compliment a man and make him look dapper. I again refer to these as staples.

A Suit

Every man should own a plain-and-simple, basic navy suit. No pinstripes or details. The suit coat should only have two buttons and worn with a crisp white button-down (staple number two), a simple tie, and black shoes. This entire ensemble can be worn for a first interview, wedding, funeral, or a nice dinner out on the town. When hemming the suit pant, keep in mind the length and break of the leg. I like a full break, which is hemmed to reach the top of the shoes’ heels, with the front of the hem “breaking” naturally over the shoes. Love this look!

Dress Shirts

There are two staples in a men’s dress shirt, white and blue. The blue is a standard blue, not French blue, royal blue, or denim. A dress shirt can be worn with almost anything in your closet. Above it was paired with a standard navy suit. You can also wear a white button-down with a simple tie, sweater, jeans, and a corduroy blazer for the fall season. Again, pair the white shirt with a black, wool trouser and a houndstooth blazer. Wear the blue shirt with jeans and a basic navy blazer (not your suit coat) for a laid back but sophisticated look. These two shirts have endless opportunities. They are an investment. Find one that fits and wears well. If you are unsure of the correct size, refer to this Nordstrom link on how to find the perfect fit.


This blazer is different than the suit blazer mentioned above. Again, a classic navy blazer can be paired with so many things and kicks your look up a notch. I love a man in dark jeans, a crisp white shirt, and a navy blazer. Simple, yet oh so chic! That same navy blazer, a blue button-down, simple tie, and a gabardine khaki trouser looks cool for a night at the theater and drinks after. Another invested piece that will last years. Keep it classic, not modern.

Another blazer staple is made of a cotton and corduroy blend. This is so versatile during the fall and winter months. It keeps your look casual but adds just a hint of style. Worn with jeans, a light sweater over a white button-down, and casual shoes, you can take casual Fridays by storm. I love when my husband sports a similar look for date nights.

Dress Pants

Again, a dress pant is different that a suit pant. When shopping for this look, try a light weight wool in either khaki or black. The wool is comfortable all year long, wears well, and looks polished with dress shirts, sweaters, blazers, and ties. This pant runs in typical men’s sizing.You can find them un-hemmed and if you chose to go this route, refer to the break rule mentioned above about suits. A flat front trouser looks best. There is less material to work with when wearing sweaters and blazers, and the look is a little more polished when shirts are tucked in.

A classic chino is needed as well. Not as dressy as a wool trouser but just as necessary. Cotton, flat-front chinos in khaki, black, and navy are all a must and can be worn with any of the items you would pair with the dress pants and jeans. 


Like women, jeans are a very important staple to a man’s closet. If you are part of a casual Friday environment, then you know jeans make up 50 percent of your working wardrobe. Gone are the days of your acid-washed, button-fly jeans of the ’80s. Instead, invest in dark denim with a straight leg. A relaxed leg is nice as well. I am not a fan of boot cut on a man.

Jeans go with everything. Dressy and casual blazers, polo style shirts, casual, print button-downs, sweaters, and the occasional t-shirt when appropriate. Your jeans should fit your waist. If you can see more than the elastic of your chosen style of underwear, put them back and try a different size. There is nothing more sloppy than exaggerated, baggy jeans.

Casual Shirts

A disclaimer: When I say casual I’m not talking about the shirt you’ve had since college. The one that’s faded beyond its glory days or ripped from that awesome night out with the guys; it is no longer acceptable to wear. I’m referring to cotton button-downs in either solids, stripesor plaids, polo style shirts, and the occasional t-shirt. T-shirts advertising a concert, company logo, or vacation print are best suited for shorts when lounging around the house or running errands on an early weekend morning. Take the casual look as seriously as you do your work look. It’s just sheer respect.


When living in the Midwest like we do, you know it gets hot in the summer. Shorts are a must! You probably wear them everywhere—after work, on the weekends, even out to dinner or backyard BBQs. Cotton, flat-front shorts are great. They can be paired with all the casual shirts listed above. I love the look of khaki shorts and a long-sleeved, Chambray shirt rolled up to the elbow. Too hot for that look? Go for a polo style or plaid, short-sleeved button-up. They are everywhere right now and look great with a contrasting t-shirt layered underneath. Please wear an undershirt when sporting these looks. It helps capture sweat that will otherwise leak through without it. Trust me fellas, no one wants to see that!

I would love to your get your feedback on what I consider men’s staples. If you like what you read but feel stumped, I would also love nothing more than to shop with you! Shopping for men’s clothing is just as much fun as shopping for myself. Again, these are just my ideas of what every man should have in their closet and it just so happens to be everything my husband owns, with a few exceptions. Like I tell my female readers, shop out of your closet first to see what you have. Fill in the gaps where needed. The links I provided are just some of my favorite designers and retailers but not the gospel. Find the ones that work for you and report back!

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