While we all strive to have an impeccably edited closet at our fingertips, for most of us, our wardrobes are a work in progress—which is perfectly fine, according to David Christopherson, director of retail strategies and operations at Huntsville, Alabama-based men’s clothier Roosevelt & Company. “Building a great wardrobe is a marathon, not a sprint,” he notes, adding that it’s more important to purchase quality items over time, keeping a keen eye toward fit and versatility. To help men get started compiling their closet essentials, the experts at Roosevelt & Company created a list of five staples that belong in any timelessly stylish collection of menswear. Here, they share what they consider to be the key pieces:
A pair of well-fitting denim. First and foremost, a well-fitting pair of denim is a must. When selecting a pair, Christopherson suggests paying particular attention to color and leg opening. For versatility purposes, he recommends choosing a darker wash, as this will help the wearer dress up an otherwise casual look. A tapered leg can also be helpful in achieving the right fit, so seek out a local retailer that provides custom tailoring (Roosevelt & Company’s complimentary hem services ensure that their clients’ pants fall just right).
A solid textured blazer. Next, invest in a solid blazer. Traditionally, a navy blazer has always been the go-to; however, Christopherson says men should not feel limited to a specific color. “We’ve noticed the emergence of grey and brown tones in more recent seasons, which are great options if you are looking to stray from the ordinary,” he says. Select a versatile hue in a texture that seems best suited to your needs and you’re guaranteed to have a piece you’ll enjoy well into the future.
Multiple dress shirts. “Nothing is more important than having a few quality dress shirts,” says Christopherson, adding that a solid dress shirt is the canvas upon which every great look is built. The workhorses of many men’s wardrobes, these pieces should be refreshed on a regular basis. When it comes to the proper shirt fit, Christopherson recommends selecting a garment that will give you a comfortable amount of room, but not so much that you are drowning in excess fabric. He suggests picking shirts with a small-scale pattern that appears solid from afar yet offers added interest upon a closer look.
A versatile loafer. While it’s easy to relegate shoes to an afterthought, Christopherson is quick to remind that your footwear says a lot about your personal style. A pair of quality dress loafers will not only get you noticed, but they’ll look good with almost anything—and are generally made to last. To help narrow down the many options available, Christopherson recommends Alan Payne loafers. “They will go with about anything in your closet, from jeans to a suit,” he says of the stylish yet classic shoes.
A variety of notable accessories. Like shoes, accessories may seem like subtle additions, but they say a lot about your attention to detail and show you go the extra mile. Christopherson recommends that men consider adding pocket squares, bracelets, and patterned socks into the mix. These often inexpensive touches can have a surprisingly big impact; for example, a pocket square can bring a pop of color to an otherwise simple look, while patterned socks can offer a bit of interest or even whimsy to an outfit.