There are a handful things in the male closet which should be given more credence than others. Pieces that are worth spending the money on and researching before you buy. We like to think of these items as ‘evergreen’, in that they seldom, if ever, go out of style and will always be seen as intelligent fashion choices for the distinguished man.
Now, the items listed below may come under scrutiny for some. After all, fashion is a personal thing; but we feel that the five article of clothing mentioned here are your best bet for getting the most out of your wallet, and your wardrobe.
The Tan Trench Coat
Commonly known ‘the mac,’ in England, a quality tan raincoat has been donning backs for nearly a century. What began as garment for soldiers fighting in adverse weather conditions, this belted – or belt-less – raincoat has evolved as a fashion staple well beyond the trenches for which it got its nickname. The magic of a trench is that it’s practical, fashionable, and yet pushes a historic beauty seen in very few items.
It looks great with a suit. It looks great with jeans and a sweater. Hence, it is also an item worth spending on. Despite the amount of modestly priced trench coats available, you can be assured that an investment in a pricier model will always be a sound decision. Check out Burberry, Aquascutum, and London Fog for a fine example of this timeless item.
The Casual Plaid Shirt
I think the only thing that goes in and out of style with plaid shirts is the type of fabric. Some seasons it’s flannel, some seasons it’s cotton, but the concept remains the same. A simple plaid shirt has stood the test of time and come out more popular than ever.
Traditionally, the plaid shirt evolved from the Mackinaw jackets made by Métis women and worn by early North American loggers and voyageurs. The style became a workwear choice for those laboring in the great outdoors. The 1960s saw a fresh take on the style, with The Beach Boys and surf culture. From there, it was completely embraced by the hardcore scene of the 1980s and by the early 1990s, the only thing left for the plaid shirt was all out runway status during the Grunge era.
Today the plaid shirt remains as versatile as ever. With button down collars, double and single trunk front panels and more tartan plaid options that you could ever count, the casual plaid shirt remains a manly classic. For the upscale version, try Brooks Brothers, J. Crew or Gant. When you want that rugged look, go with Woolrich or Levi’s.
The Tennis Top
More commonly called the “polo” or “golf” shirt in North America, this name is actually a bit misleading.
In truth, the classic pique knit top was invented by French tennis great, Rene Lacoste in an attempt to design a stylish garment with a more breathable, moisture-wicking fabric. Only after seeing it in the 1926 US tennis Open, did polo players take on the style for their sport.
It was the mods of the 1960s who realized the value of this combination of fabric and style when dancing all night in steamy clubs. After this, the tennis top began its life as a street-style, and runway staple.
From ska to casual, preps to athletes, one thing we can almost all agree on,is the importance of a nice tennis shirt. Available in one, two, and three button designs, it’s the subtle differences between each that make them special. For a truly heritage look, try Fred Perry, Lyle & Scott, Lacoste, or Polo. However, this is not an inherently expensive item and many well-cut, more-generic tennis shirts can be had for a very low price. Either way, as men we all need at least a few in our wardrobe.
Lace Up Oxfords
Even sneaker freaks can’t always get away with athletic kicks in every situation. A nice timeless pair of lace up oxfords are a proven foundation of the male wardrobe. The beauty of the style is that it can go to bat in both semi-formal and casual situations simply by what you decide to pair them with.
What began in the 1800s around Oxford University, the style is the result of a rebellion on part of British university students, who, made a move away from knee-high boots that were standard at the time and into something more youthful and versatile.
Known by several names including “Balmoral,” “bal-type” and “Richelieu” in France, the classic lace-up shoe generally bears a leather capped toe and most importantly, shoelace eyelets which are sewn underneath the vamp. It is this small but refined detail, which distinguishes an oxford from a derby.
Over time, the oxford has become synonymous with any dress shoe. Brogues, wingtips and crepes have all been miscast as oxfords; but it is the plain, simple 4 or 5 hole, semi tapered, capped toe classic, which has stood up as an absolutely timeless must for all men.
The Tweed Jacket
Sport coats have been around for a very long time. Historically, The sports in question were of the hunting and equestrian varieties, thus, the classic jacket bears features which originally incorporated to accommodate these activities.
Unquestionably, the most popular type of sport coat is the tweed jacket. Once exclusively made from the famed ‘Harris’ tweed fabric, the jacket was ideal for crisp outdoor weather. The shooter’s style often bears a cotton or suede shoulder patch and matching elbow pads to ensure durability in these overburdened areas.
Evolving into a few different styles, its common cousin, the blazer is an adaptation of the sport coat usually cut more like a suit jacket and often incorporating metal buttons in tribute to its nautical origins.
What makes the tweed sport coat so versatile is, that like oxford shoes, it can be incredibly upscale/dapper or downplayed and casual. In either case, the classic nuances of a tweed jacket have remained a staple of the perfect male silhouette and will continue to do so for generations to come.
Having a contemporary wardrobe is important. You want to feel and indeed be seen as relevant. However, we feel the best outfits are ones, which capture the essence of current fashion movements and combine them with heritage pieces. For us men, having a good collection of the timeless “standards” which you can use as foundations for numerous outfits will ensure a confident image and genuine style.
Disagree with our list? Have a piece that you feel will never fall out of favor? Let us know!