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The Basic Wardrobe 2.0(r/malefashionadvice)
> Removed pointless swearing
I’ve been seeing a ton of posts about dressing college students, high school seniors, and whatnot. The current sidebar guide to the basic wardrobe might be slightly dated and it doesn’t really cover where to get these so called basics, so here it is an updated guide.
This guide applies to all ages, body types, social standings, or self-perceived personal archetypes. This guide just lists the absolute BASICS and will point to some budget-minded options for this. Yes, I know about other articles of clothing like chinos and cords, but this guide is for the noobs. Read this guide understanding that a lot of noobs can’t afford $150 Gitman shirts, or $300 for sick Ervell knits. Remember though, generally, you get what you pay for.
Before you say this guide isn’t for me cuz I’m in middle school, high school, college, graduate school, whatever – please read the guide.
Side note: Fit is king, nothing can make cheap clothes look better like a good fit, and conversely, nothing can make expensive clothes look terrible like a bad fit. Tagged clothing size varies widely by manufacturer, a small isn’t always a small and a large might be a medium.
SECTION I – THE BLUE JEAN
The classic blue jean, the most basic piece of workwear and staple to any man’s wardrobe you can imagine. Anyone can wear these.
- Levi’s 511 – Clean Dark – $39.99 – Slim fitting, tapered leg for the skinnier guy.
- Levi’s 514 – Tumbled Rigid -$ 37.99 – Slimmer than you’re used to, if you’re actually skinny, go for the 511s.
- Levi’s 501 – Clean Rigid – $42.99 – A cornerstone of Americana, the original cut, which has been recut into mediocrity. The original 501 fit closer to what the 511 is today. Wear these if you’re a bigger dude.
SECTION II – THE SHIRT
Someone said that a shirt’s collar frames the face, which is pretty important cause people look at your face. For this reason I prefer V-necks, plain ol’ V-necks, maybe some solid colors here and there. Graphic tees you ask? Wear them at your own risk, you’re probably half as cool as you think and when you wear a graphic tee you look a third as cool as half you think.
- Mossimo V-Neck Tees – $7.99 – Multiple colors – you can find these at target, they’re slim fitting and v-necked. There are however other shirts available too, collared button down shirts. But you say, “Collared shirts are too mature for me, I’m too young for that.” I say, “No way – unless you’re still swimming in your mom’s womb, you’re old enough to wear collared button downs.
- Mossimo Polos – $9.99 – Multiple colors, another basic, less versatile than collared button downs. Many types are availables, these ones from target are easy.
Button Ups – Stick with long sleeved versions for now, wait till you have some experience before you make the transition. Keep ’em slim fitting and close to the body, off the rack shirts will typically need tailoring. Generally speaking, thicker and heavier weaves are more casual (oxford and twill) and lighter weaves more formal (poplin and broadcloth). There are exceptions to these rules, but this is just a guideline
- Lands End Canvas – They have sales on all the time, the shirts aren’t the slimmest, but safe.
- Alfani Red “Dress Shirts” – $20-$30 – “Sport Shirts” – $20-$30 – These are decent slim shirts on a budget, dress shirts are usually longer and have to be tucked in. Prices vary between $20-$30 and a lot of sales go on.
SECTION II – THE LAYERS
Like Ned Stark loves to say, “Winter is coming.” So what do you wear? I like sweaters and cardigans, maybe a hoodie here or there. We’ll save the pea coats, blazers and trenches for the heavy hitters.
- Merona V-Neck – $22.99 – Here I am again, all up on your face about collars framing the face, same thing applies for sweaters. V-necks are pretty sweet, crew necks are pretty awesome too.
- LEC Sweaters, Cardigans – $20-35 – Cardigans are versatile as can be for layering. They definitely give off a more mature vibe, but think of the people who wear ’em: James Bond, Mr. Rogers, Jimmy Carter – men’s men.
- American Apparel Cardigans – $22 – Simple and basic, what is said above applies.
- American Apparel Hoodies – $30 – These are raw. Some people may say hoodies are immature, but I don’t think a slim fitting solid hoodie really look that bad. These are for you college kids and youngsters.
SECTION IV – THE SHOES
Ah, shoes. Before I learned how to dress myself, I had a pair of ratty athletic nikes, some flip flops and some bulky dress shoes. Shoes are great, however shoes are pretty expensive, so I’m only going over some cheap basics.
- Canvas Sneakers – Converse Chuck Taylor All Star – $45 – Vans Authentic – $45 – These are basic low-top canvas sneakers, they usually look good with jeans and other casual outfits. White is usually the safest color, I recommend Optical White for Chucks and True White for Vans.
- Boat Shoes – Sperry Authentic Originals – $75 – Boat shoes, some people say they’re kind of a southern fratty thing, but they’re a classic and they can fit in wherever you can wear canvas sneakes. Classic Brown is a great color, $75 at Zappos.
- Desert Boots – Clarks $60-80 – These are parroted left and right here and I’ll recommend them again. The Beeswax are inoffensive looking chukka boots at a reasonable price. They go well with jeans and chinos.
SECTION V – ACCESSORIES
Accessories, the little details, sometimes these make an outfit, but leave that to the pros. Two basic accessories that can work for any man are a belt and a watch.
- The Timex Weekender – $40 – Ah, the NATO-strapped Timex. The hardest circlejerk that MFA has ever experienced, but for good reason. It’s a good looking watch, with a lot of options for being you in the strap. Just please don’t post a picture of it when you get one. Black faces are more casual than white watch faces.
- 4 STR / 4 STA Leather Belt – $35 – I got a decent leather belt from this store on ebay. The wider the belt the more casual, brown is generally more versatile than black, if you wear leather shoes, try to match the color with your belt.
Here are a few brick and mortar/mall stores which you can easily find some reasonably priced basics in person.
- H&M – Cheap, fast fashion.
- Zara – Cheap, fast fashion.
- Uniqlo – Only available in New York, much more availability outside of the US.
That’s it for now. These are just some basics, something to point you, the clueless plebe towards dressing better. Yes, the initial cost of dressing better might be a lot, but there’s a high return on investment here. Dressing well gives you confidence and with confidence, the world is your oyster. If people like this guide, I’ll follow up with some additional information and perhaps an intermediate guide.
If you don’t take anything else away from this guide, remember, fit is king.