Back to Basics

This month I had the opportunity to film a segment for Hello Iowa, a midday lifestyle and wellness show, focusing on men’s fashion staples and basics. I had never really gone through my closet and thought about what items I would consider the foundation of a wardrobe.

It was a bit of a challenge to narrow down but I ended up with several items I consider must-haves while still keeping to my personal style. I have included some links to some of my personal favorites from each category.


-A wardrobe staple for everyone, no matter your style. I chose a darker wash with minimal to no distressing which is perfect for going to happy hour straight from the office. A pair in a medium to light wash with a bit of distressing is great to keep in your rotation for casual days, weekend errands, etc. If you’re ahead of the game and already have those in your closet, opt for an overly distressed pair or colored denim. The most important factor when it comes to jeans or pants, in general, is the fit. Every brand has several different fits and that fit isn’t consistent across brands so it might take a bit to find the right one but keep an open mind.



Nordstrom AG:


-This is another item everyone already has. What I want to stress on this category is to find your fit. Just like jeans, all brands have their own fits when it comes to shirts. Regular, slim, tailored, athletic, are all terms you might see. Once you find a brand and fit that works for you, buy several in the colors you wear regularly. For me, that is primarily black and gray and I have them in short sleeve and long sleeve.

Old Navy:



-Yet another item most guys already have so this is an area to try something new. If you’re a crewneck guy, try a hoodie or vice versa. If you only have solids, try a pattern like camouflage or something more trendy like color block or sherpa.

Todd Snyder:


J Crew:

Sweaters and Cardigans:

-This might be a category some guys are less familiar with. It’s always a good idea to have a neutral sweater in your closet for date night or a nicer event. I personally think cardigans are a bit more casual than a crewneck sweater and therefore see the value in having both. Cotton, wool, cashmere, the options are endless but don’t get overwhelmed. If it’s your first sweater, gray cotton or wool is a good place to start.

J Crew:


Dress Shirts, Button-Ups, Button-Downs:

-Fit reigns supreme in this category. Formal dress shirts should be tailored and fitted to your body; button-ups/downs can be a little more relaxed. Don’t be the guy wearing a baggy, oversized shirt that’s billowing out of his pants. In the same vein as the fit, pay attention to the length. There are shirts made with the intention to be left un-tucked. Those will typically be shorter and have an even hem all around the bottom just like a t-shirt.

Charles Tyrwhitt:

J Crew:


-This is a broad category both in content and applicability depending on where you live. I have all four seasons where I live so my outerwear needs to vary and therefore I tend to look forward to layering. Vests are a great staple to help transition into the cooler months of fall. Easily dressed up over a button-up or dressed down over a hoodie, the versatility makes vests a top pick for me. The denim jacket is another must-have as they can be thrown over just about any t-shirt, sweater, or sweatshirt and makes the outfit more interesting while still feeling casual. I’m also a fan of bomber jackets, baseball jackets, field jackets, and parkas; honestly I can justify the need for any type of jacket.


Denim Jacket:

Other Jackets and Coats:


-Yes, I understand we all have shoes but your Nike Shox don’t belong…well anywhere, really. I think shoe basics should include a brown dress shoe, a (primarily) white sneaker, and boots. You can mix and match these three with different outfits for different purposes, which make them the foundation. You have those already? Okay, great, now add some other colors or styles such as a wingtip dress shoe, a boot with a colored sole, or a trendy sneaker from the latest collaboration.


Dress Shoes:


*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This is not a sponsored post or paid promotion*


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