Monday, August 9, 2010

The Ever Growing List of "Basics"That A Gentleman Should Own

I figured my first entry of this blog should contain a list of the basic objects (suits to accessories) that a young man should have to seperate him from his Man-Boy bros. I am by no means an expert on fashion or well versed on the names of the high end clothiers around the world but I have managed to compile most of my wardrobe for rather little. However, I do believe that you get what you pay for so if you can swing it purchase items made by makers of good repute.

Also, as the title insinuates the term "basic" means different things to different people. The number of objects could easily grow into triple digits before you know it. I've try to make this list reasonable as I am aware that our current economy has put the pinch on us all. Well, without any further ado, here we go.

1. A dark suit- While you're free to own as many suits as you like, I recommend a navy or black suit because they match almost anything. In addition, dark colors show dirt less than light ones. Black can make you look like an undertaker so if that's a concern navy is a safer bet. Single breasted versus double is a personal choice as is the number of buttons. I personally like three button single breasted but you may not so try them all out before you buy. I don't mention waistcoats here because they vary in styles and living in Texas I dislike an extra layer of warmth.

2. Dress shirts- The number of shirts depend on the number of days you need them. You should change your shirt daily even if you don't think it smells. People around you notice things like that and one of those people may be important to your future success. A good number to start with is probably three especially if you work Monday thru Friday. Three shirts gives you enough time to make sure you always have a clean,ironed shirt in the line-up. If you have the cash by all means get five shirts but that's your choice. White and blue are my recommended colors because they match most things and don't go overboard. A loud shirt can ruin an otherwise great looking suit and tie.

Knowing your proper shirt size is very important. If the neck is too tight you'll feel like you're being strangled. If it's too loose you just look sloppy. I suggest trying on shirts at a store until you find the perfect fit and feel. When you've achieve this write down everything about the shirt including the brand name and the store. Unfortunately, sizes are not as standard as they once were and a large at one store may be the size of a XXL at another.

Long sleeves are a must. If you get hot you can "fold up" your sleeves. The short sleeve shirt brings to my mind the drunk salesmen that frequented a bar I used to work at. I can't explain my disdain for the short sleeve dress shirt other that it seems to look like an incomplete piece of clothing. There are two popular styles of cuffs available today. The regular and the french cuff. The french cuff is the style without buttons instead needing to be folded up once and then held closed with cuff links. While both look good,the french cuff can give you that little extra look of sauveness. Collars work on a similar angle with button down and non button. Additudes are for and against both styles but I guess in the end I vote slightly more toward non-button down. As I said there are pros and cons to both so let your heart be your guide.

3.Fine leather shoes- I've often heard that a person's shoes can tell you alot about them. I guess if that means a good shine is important I agree. A slob surely would'nt take the time to clean up his shoes or even pay attention to that detail in the first place.

A well dressed male has always been recommended to own a good pair of brown and black shoes. If you're only able to have one pair I recommend black because as I've said before it's a color that matches almost everything. It is paramount that you keep your shoes clean and shined . If you don't know how to shine shoes you can learn on a great website Learning to do this is even more important due to the unfortunate lack of shoe shine stands. Shoes are one of the objects I recommend you don't skimp on. A comfortable and quality pair of shoes will last a great amount of time and will look better than a cheap pair.

4.Ties- Styles and looks of ties are on of those things that are based largely on personal taste. I will however give a few bits of advice. I've seen very few men able to pull off the bow tie. The ones that can look good but are usually older and much more wiser than most of us.

A tie should be made at least of silk. There are higher quality fabrics available but since silk is even for sale at Wal-Mart it's not price restrictive. Besides silk looks good and polyester falls apart too easy.

The large end of you're tie should'nt be wider than about 4 inches. After that they start to look clownish and that's the opposite of what you going for. The skinny tie can look good as long as it's not to skinny. Neal Caffery pulls it off on "White Collar".

Just make sure you know how to tie a tie and you'll be ahead alot folks out there.

5.Hats- Hats are not an easy thing to talk about especially in a time when the only kind people wear are baseball caps. They are important in cold weather because they keep your head and body warm. Since I'm not much of a hat wearer I only have knowledge of a few styles. The fedora, the style men wore for about 50 years is my personal favorite for dress hats. The derby comes up a close second but can't be pulled off by everybody. The hat I wear the majority of the time in cool weather is the driving cap. It's a good style paired with most any ensemble.

One thing about baseball caps with a suit. It looks awful and anyone caught wearing them together should be drawn and quartered.

Oh and by the way take your hat off indoors!

6.Overcoats and raincoats- While it looks very good to wear a wool pea coat with a suit the best combination is the full length wool overcoat. While they can be pricey,the style is unbeatable.

On the other hand most of the time I wear the classic trench length raincoat. you know the one worn by flashers the world over. It manages to keep me dry when I forget my umbrella and also does a good job of keeping me warm.

Even though other coat styles can be worn with a suit I consider these two a "must have basic" for a well dressed gent.

7.Umbrella- Many people own umbrellas these days but usually forget them when it matters. Since a gentleman should always be prepared for the unexpected carrying an umbrella during the rainy season is wise. Regardless of how many you own you should have a formal looking one preferably matching your suit and coat. It may seem a bit outdated but it is a great way to strike up a conversation with a beautiful,wet lady.

There are of course scores of other accesories that could easily be put on this list but I have attempted to make it as basic as possible for a young man of meager means to begin to dress himself. I'm sure others will come up with more ideas. I just hope this list will be as helpful as it was for me. Jerry

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