The Basics, Part 1
Fashion trends come and go, sometimes quickly. It’s not always the best idea to sink a lot of time, money and thought into “what’s hot” right now. But you can count on one thing to be consistent – that the basics never go out of style. We’re starting a multi-part series on the basics that you need in your closet. When you’re caught in a bind on what to wear, know that the basics will always work.
Jeans are the backbone of your wardrobe. We absolutely love jeans. Not just because of their comfort, but because it’s one of the most versatile items in our closet. You can dress them down with sneakers and a t-shirt, or even dress them up with a blazer and a tie. We’d recommend the $75-$125 price point (at places like Nordstrom Rack, it’s easy to find jeans at half their retail price – $250 jeans for only $125). It’s really worth it, especially if you wear them numerous times a week. But even a $50 pair of Levi’s can serve you well. If cared for properly, they will last you a very long time, and look better the older they get. In the future, we’ll expound further upon the various types of jeans out there and the utility of each.
OCBD (Oxford Cloth Button Down)
The Oxford Cloth Button Down is a staple. They’re comfortable, classic, versatile and easy. They pair excellently with a pair of jeans and some casual shoes. Sneakers? Sure. Chukkas? Even better. They’re great to layer under a v-neck sweater or a cardigan (tie or not, it’s up to you). Or just throw one on and haphazardly roll up those sleeves! The OCBD can be considered the jeans of button-ups – they can be worn with nearly anything. It’s one of the most versatile tools in the arsenal of the casual, well-dressed man.
When you need a break from jeans or dress pants, chinos are your friend. Chinos are an in-between point of dress pants and khakis. They’re almost as flexible as jeans too, in that you can dress them down with sneakers and a polo, or dress them up with a nice OCBD (as mentioned above) and dress shoes.
Chino’s have become a lot more popular in recent years as different brands broke out of the typical colors (of brown, tan, black, etc.) and brought in a more variety of colors. And different colored pants means you can have some interesting variety in your closet. If you go with standard colored chinos, you can get a little funky with a brightly colored, or patterned shirt. If you get a pair with bit more personality in the color, stay subtle with the shirt so you don’t overdue it. Overall, there are tons of options with chinos.
The blazer has been considered a classic men’s wardrobe staple for quite some time. There’s a reason for that. For when a suit is just too formal and you want to step it up a notch. Or when you want to just add a little extra style to your casual outfit. Just like everything else in our staples list, the blazer is quite versatile and essential for giving yourself many layering options – with a classic button-up and tie; over a v-neck t-shirt for a casual look; over a v-neck sweater (by itself or over a button-up); on top of jeans, chinos, smart shorts with dress shoes, classic and clean sneakers, and boots. Depending on the styling, details, materials, and cut, the possibilities are endless, as long as the blazer is well fitted and tailored to you.
How do I pull off the combination of brightly colored socks with a serious business suit? – Drue A.
The most important part with matching socks is just that… matching. By that I mean color. Take a look at your shirt, tie, or pocket square, and pull a color from one of those items to determine what the color of your socks should be. If the colors of your shirt/tie/pocket square are much more subtle and muted, then choosing a complimentary color would work. But as long as there is some unity in colors, you have free reign in your sock choice. You just don’t want your socks to be competing with everything else that you’re wearing. There are lots of good ideas for socks and suits on Pinterest.
Mostly, I agree with John on this. However, there are some days where I’m feeling crazy – my socks are bold and loud and don’t match anything. The important thing is that they match you.
If you have style questions for us, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.