The 5 Foundation Wardrobe Pieces for Men


You may already be the best-dressed guy you know, but it doesn’t hurt to update your style with some essential “look”-builders. These five essentials are tailored just to you, and will leave you with enough cash to show them off after work.

  1. Update your ‘do. If you’re still sporting the same haircut you had last year, it’s time to take a look at hot celebrity styles and find one that fits your personality. Whether you go with long, bed-head, or close-cropped, make sure you know how to look your best. Get tips from your stylist on how to make your hair an asset, and not a liability. Tip: Independent stylists will often negotiate their prices for loyal customers.
  2. Upgrade your shoes. Well-fitting, high-quality shoes can make or break any outfit. Spend a little more on shoes that can transition from work to a night on the town, and learn how to take care of your shoes. A good cleaning and buffing can extend the life of your shoes and keep you looking your best. Tip: Many of us wear shoes that are too small. Visit a high-end retailer for a fitting to find out your true shoe size (or use a handy online tool), then buy a less expensive brand and add quality inserts if you need extra support.
  3. Mind your socks. While your work look may not allow for much of a personality injection, your socks can speak volumes. Buy five pairs of top-quality socks, and as they fade, replace them. Whether they are stripes, solids, or throwback argyle, keep a sock-buying schedule or sign up for a Sockscription from Blacksocks for regular new-sock infusions. Tip: Keep all socks the same to cut down on laundry loads and folding time. Upgrade to RFID-chipped socks, and you’ll never have to worry about shabby ankles ruining your look again.
  4. Keep shirts solid. A Superman tee might be your favorite for an impromptu game of football, but your personal—and public—brand deserves a little more strategy. Pick three colors that look great on you, find a shirt that fits you well, and buy that shirt in each color. If it’s hard for you to find shirts that fit well, you may want to buy two of each color to stock up. If you’re not sure what your best colors are, try them on in the virtual dressing room. You can even share your try-on photos with friends to get their opinions on which shirts look the best. Tip: Well-fitting undershirts can be the key to that high-end look. Stock up on your favorites; they make your shirts look more polished and prevent stains from sweat and skin oils.
  5. Budget more for jeans. “What we would recommend for guys is that you spend a little bit more than what you’re probably spending right now,” says Sarah Crossman Sullivan, co-founder and co-CEO of “With the right pair of jeans, you can immediately dress up or dress down.”

Sullivan recommends you try on those edgy looks using the virtual dressing room, and be willing to make an investment in a classic jean that looks great on you. Spend some time initially to try on lots of options; it will be worth it when you’re the hottest thing in denim since the latest Hollywood eye candy.

Tip: Sullivan says we’re all washing our jeans too much. Keep your investment looking as new—or as broken-in—as the day you bought them by limiting washings as much as possible.


About Author

Becky Dolgener

A seasoned writer and editor, Becky Dolgener is the Executive Editor and a contributing writer for Strategy Magazine. With a BS in Speech Communication, she has more than 12 years' experience in business, communications, and marketing, as well as special interests in wellness, DIY, budget-friendly living, and child wellness.

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