9 Style Essentials For Men

Dress for success by incorporating these nine items into your closet right now

Words: Paul Sanctuary | Photography: il Retallack | Styling: Akim Jardine

What makes a man? Is it looking back on a life of achievement, on challenges met, competitors bested, obstacles overcome? Is it being prepared to do the right thing? Whatever the cost? Or is it something as simple as choosing the correct clothes to cover up your testicles with?

Every dude should strive for the above mentioned, including the latter, as clothes maketh the man just as much as that other stuff. And because the goal posts keep shifting we’ve gone and done you a solid by providing you with the new take on classic pieces, so that you, the everyman, might work these items into your wardrobe with confidence and be a much better dressed you.

Menswear trends can be somewhat intimidating, however, if there’s one item that looks as good on the runway as it does on your back, it’s the denim jacket. Denim is like the man you want to be – tough, rugged and gets better with age. So go ahead and splurge, as you’ll wear your denim jacket to death – yours - and then, unless you choose to get buried in it, your kids can inherit it.

Bomber jackets are the bomb, simple as. Which is why we keep coming back to the 90s style icon’s simple shape and lightweight construction, which is an integral transition piece that will take you from winter to summer with ease. The style this season is casual for cool and comfortable looks, made possible by fabrications in much more contemporary colours and materials.

The preppy look is dominated by designers like Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger, and Ivy League University students named Bennet who wear signet rings, but you can get that classic collegiate look without splurging on designer names or rowing in a regatta by simply rocking a polo shirt. Keep it classic and clean and pair with blazers, checks, cable knits and preppy loafers.

Remember when this style used to make you think of a politician on holiday? And then Earl Sweatshirt and Frank Ocean started rocking them in garish prints – pineapples, anyone? – and now they’re a festival favourite and your go to shirt option for the summer months? Yeah, just thought we’d remind you.

Although science has come up with alternatives that are lighter, come with more storage, are much more water resistant, and can make you safer on the roads by reflecting light, it has yet to create a tech-fabric that feels as good against the skin as wool. The lightweight knit is a must-have layering option that is office appropriate and a sartorially elegant layer to upgrade your more casual looks.

This sturdy cotton trouser is a much softer and comforable pants option, and sit somewhere on the scale between joggers and jeans. Also known as khakis, these came into fashion after 1945 when college men returning from the war began wearing their olive drab slacks to classes. Chino, a military cotton twill fabric was carried into civilian life and the style never left us. Nowadays we wear them everywhere and they’re available in a wide spectrum of colours and not just the military issue khaki.

How do some dudes like Beckham look cool regardless of whether they’re in a suit or sweats? The secret is all in the detail, and when you pay attention to the small things you win big. The sportsman’s staple has taken to the streets and thanks to hip-hop you can wear sweats all day, every day, and not just to the gym. The secret’s in the fit, the new slew of luxury fabrications and the way smart sweats play so nice in the sneaker game.

Shoes are a telltale indicator of style, and a guy wearing fresh duds with dud kicks is not someone anyone would want to be associated with, ever.  In the same way that underwear should never be worn two days in a row, your white sneakers should be treated the same as the whites, and if you can’t afford to buy enough pairs so that yours are always at their best, we’re talking sneakers now, you can take solace in the fact that sneaker cleaners will create the illusion of a closet full of pristine white sneakers.

The sneaker game is all about standing out, whether that’s the fresh-out-the-box whiteness of your pristine white sneakers, light up technology in your soles, or rocking an extremely limited pair that nobody else has and cost ten stacks. However, sometimes your outfit calls for a simple sneaker that doesn’t shout look-at-me, and leaves limited editions and garish colourways for the Hypebeasts. The preppy plimsole is a menswear classic that’s all about restraint.