The Versatile Gent’s 2014 Wardrobe Essentials

My housemates and I sat around the other night and wrote out a list of things we individually wanted to achieve in 2014. When it came to our wardrobes there were a number of overlapping items we discussed upgrading and buying, throwing around words like ‘serious’ and ‘quality’ especially when it came to trousers. I decided to sit down and piece together a list of wardrobe staples every man should seek to obtain in 2014.

Blue Suit:
If you’re going to purchase one good suit in 2014 make sure it’s a blue one. Last year we ran an article about wearing a navy P.Johnson suit three ways, this is the sort of versatility you’re looking for in 2014 and can only be found in shades of blue.

Your suit needs to be both practical and formal, preferably in a material that will provide good contrast to other trousers, so it can be worn separately. Fabric choice is vital! Don’t be the fool cruising around in a high sheen worsted wool jacket that makes you look like you’ve left your suit pants at home before heading to the gym and a nice guy at work has lent you a spare pair of trousers.

A jacket with a notch lapel and patch pockets has the ability to be dressed down into a more casual situation as seen in our P.Johnson article. Generally the lighter you go with the blue the more casual you will be able to wear it and vice versa. Add a check or window pane into the fabric and you’ve got a good chance of being able to pull it off as a stand alone jacket with cream/tan (or green!) Chinos pretty much anytime. Check out P.Johnson at $1350+ or his more accessible Suit Shop starting at $750.

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Shoes:
Realistically there are probably six pairs you want in your staples wardrobe: black Oxford’s, brown Oxfords/Monks, tan Brogues, driving loafers, Penny loafers and pair of sneakers. I’m going to prioritise with two: the brown Oxford or Monks and the brown Penny loafers – because brown shoes is the new blue of suits. Wear your brown Oxfords with your suit and tie, or your open shirt and suit, and rock your loafers with your Chinos or your swim shorts and crisp white t-shirt. These two pairs of shoes cover an amazing range of outfits and you can pick them up at Meermin for $230 each. 

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Bold Tie:
Essentially you want a bold but not outrageous coloured tie to go on top of your white shirt and build contrast with your navy suit. My favourite is dark green but a subdued orange or salmon will also work well, as it does in the photo of Tom above. Recently we interviewed Jason Segrott, the man behind Henry Carter neckwear – a great read if you’re fanatical about ties. In my opinion the ties at Henry Carter are pretty unbeatable in terms of quality and price for $89.95. You can check out his range here.

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White Shirt:
Go out and fetch yourself a top-notch white shirt, every man should have that one. Go to Suit Shop or PJ and have one made. Like a suit, nothing off the rack comes close to the fit of a made to measure shirt.

The-Versatile-Gent-2014-Wardrobe-Essentials-Patrick-Johnson-White-TwillLight Chinos:
I said this year I wanted to buy a good pair of trousers, a quality pair of grey wool but let’s be honest I’ll probably wear them once. This article is about wardrobe essentials and building a number of outfits to wear to a range of events so I couldn’t look past a light pair of Chinos, that being beige, cream, clay, khaki, tan, stone etc. In Australia we dress to our climate and flannel, tweed and wool trousers aren’t going to be a huge feature because of the heat, so naturally Chinos pick up the ‘slack’. From a BBQ to the Ballet, the Navy jacket, open white shirt, light Chinos, penny loafers and pocket square combo is one of the most versatile outfits you in your wardrobe. New York outfit Epaulet hand craft their trousers in the USA and have a great range of Chinos as well as more formal wool and tweed options. Their ‘Rivet Chino‘ costs $135 plus postage and comes in a range of colours. Grab a clay…and a navy while you’re there.

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Jeans:
If you’re only going to buy one pair they should be a raw denim, starting dark in a blue or indigo allowing the colour and material to relax as time passes. If you want to wear them to the rugby with work colleagues stay away from super skinny. Opt for slim and get them taken up to the correct height if they are too long, it’ll only cost you $15. Bunched up at your ankle or touching the pavement behind your heel is not at option. You’ve been warned! Andrew Chen of 3Sixteen is doing world-class denim at pretty competitive prices, the ST-10X is our pick for $240.

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Brown Leather Belt:
I’ve prioritised Brown here because I prioritised Brown shoes. If you’re wearing a leather belt its colour should be as close to your shoe colour as possible. Keep the buckle classic and subtle. This one from Lanvin is the sort of style you should look for and is on sale now at Farfetch.

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Weekend Bag:
A good quality leather weekender is absolutely essential, once you own one you won’t believe how you lived without it. It should be able to fit two pairs of shoes and enough outfits to get you through a long weekend. We recently wrote about BNVVT, check out his range here including the Doctor Jones bag below.

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Sunglasses:
Perhaps one pair is enough but personally I find two or three much easier to deal with. There’s a lot to be said about a man’s sunglasses, in fact the saying ‘judge a man by the shoes he wears’ has become as applicable with sunglasses. We can’t recommend OBLYK any more than we already do, and with prices starting at $159 for handmade Italian frames why not get two, or three.

OBLYK Matte Mangrove

Colourful Pocket Square:
A draw full of pocket squares is a luxury but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter how many you have, you always reach for a favourite. When choosing a pocket square you want it to build contrast with your suit and complement your tie. Don’t match your tie and pocket square ever. My personal taste is fairly classic, I wear a lot of navy and white so I like to let my pocket square add some colour and flair. Christian Kimber’s abstract squares are a great choice – $75.

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Collared Long Sleeve Shirt:
A long time ago I wrote an article about how you wear your sleeves; either up or down, and how that lends to the formality of your outfit. I would say the long sleeve ‘polo’ shirt is, by nature of the sleeves, a more formal choice than a casual shirt with rolled up sleeves. This is the reason I’m recommending it for 2014, to add some character to your wardrobe, especially if your known for wearing shirts at every social occasion. Mix it up and try a long sleeve polo, pair it with Chinos and your loafers for a simple yet sophisticated look. Here’s a cracker in dark green and on sale for 100 pounds at John Smedley.

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Overcoat:
Every year it’s the same story, winter arrives and you haven’t planned properly and before you know it you’re without a coat. This year is the year to layer up and what better way to do it than with a serious overcoat. Choose a light colour that will provide contrast to your dark suit or jeans. Wear it with a suit or tie to the office, or open shirt and scarf to the pub. The gents at Oscar Hunt are producing lovely made to measure coats starting at $645. Here’s a photo of Lachie and Lino from Pitti in a killer Oscar Hunt combo.

oscar hunt overcoat

White T-Shirt:
You need to have a draw full of these. Forget the V-Neck from 2005 Harbourlife, just find a nice crew or scoop neck that isn’t too short. This is where the penny loafers shine because you can wake up with a hangover, throw on a crisp white T-shirt, a pair of Chinos and your loafers and you look pretty acceptable. Find one you love and stick with it. We buy ours from AS Colour (and get them in bulk online).

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Swim Shorts:
If you haven’t already, make 2014 the year to acquire some proper swim shorts that sit above the knee. There’s a reason Billabong is broke, it’s time to get a real pair of swim shorts suitable for the beach and the beer garden, and no body does it better than our friends over at Venroy.

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