Men’s Style Must-Haves

Men's Style Must-Haves

Men’s Style Must-Haves

Nothing to wear? Problem could be your closet’s full.

Yes, that’s right: full. Too full. Full of clothes too old, too threadbare, too dopey or too marginal to wear.

“About a year and a half ago I spent a good three weeks clearing out pieces in my wardrobe that I had been collecting for 15 years,” says fashion designer James Perse. “You find pieces that you remember spending so much money on and you hate to dispose of them, but in the end you just have to let them go.”

10 Key Pieces Crucial To Any Guy’s Closet

Men in particular hold on to items that are past their prime, says Ginny Snook Scott, spokeswoman for California Closets.

“Our design experts have been in hundreds of thousands of closets across the country,” she says, “and we’ve found that men are especially prone to holding on to items from their past–high school letterman jackets, favorite concert T-shirts, their first baseball mitt–things that are 10 or even 20 years old.”

The result: rows of ill-fitting, dated duds and stacks of shoes no longer fit to wear.

The sad thing is, most men need only 10 items to look well dressed. Where the male wardrobe is concerned, quality always trumps quantity. Most pieces in a man’s closet, says Scott, “just sit there, adding to the clutter” or worse, “concealing hidden gems.”

Fast Fixes

Step one: Clean your closet!

Step two: Buy some decent stuff.

Begin by investing in a few well-fitting basics. Norman Usiak, owner of Camouflage, a high-end men’s store in New York City, is a firm believer in having, for example, one great-fitting pair of jeans.

“Denim used to be reserved for very casual settings and people maybe had one or two pairs; but now, denim is as common as owning a white shirt,” he says. “If you go out anywhere, the majority of people in the room will be wearing them. The last thing you want to do,” he says, “is have a pair that look like you bought them in 1992, when you were 10 pounds thinner.”

Shoes, too, are an essential basic. You really only need one great pair of casual shoes, so don’t be a cheapskate: Treat them as an investment.

Our pick? Gucci Moccasins. They’re at home equally in town and country. When you have to dress up, have one good pair of shoes more formal–and don’t feel limited to black. Ferragamo Raul Lace Ups, which are made of dark brown leather, will do nicely. They’re distinguished by a slight but handsome detailing on the front of the shoe.

“If you take care of these shoes,” says Samuel Ahn-Cooper, men’s manager at Faconnable in New York City, “they’ll keep their shape and still look their best even after years of wear. Brown looks great with gray and navy.”

You need one decent belt. The right one not only holds your pants up, it pulls your whole look together, by adding just a touch of color and a glint of metallic. Our choice: theHermes Black and Blue Jean Leather ‘H’ Reversible Belt, which can be worn either with a suit or with your one good pair of jeans. Turn it inside-out and wear it with a pair of khakis.

As for other accessories: You need one good watch and one good pair of sunglasses. A Rolex Submariner is our choice for the former–a classic that goes with virtually every outfit. Glasses? Another classic: Ray Ban Aviators.

Whatever qualified as a must-have 10 years ago doesn’t any more, so be brave: Throw wide the closet door and commence the throwing out.

“When you realize you are wearing the same suit you wore in prep school,” says Perse, “you’ll give it the heave-ho, making room for new and few essentials.”