What Every Man Needs in his Wardrobe: My Two Cents by Terry

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what every man needs in his wardrobe

Many of you have asked for an update to my post, “What Every MAN Needs in his Wardrobe.” And I have been saying to myself that it's about time I updated it.  Since the last update in 2010 (original in 2006), men's fashion has changed pretty drastically, from casual footwear to the cut and wash of denim.  I began the process, but then decided it would be more authentic and accurate if written from the perspective of a man interested and aware of style.

When deciding who would be best for the job I immediately thought of Terry S., the man behind Terry’s Two Cents. Terry’s has real-life attainable personal style, he knows how to dress for the workplace and the everyday in a current manner without being too trendy or too out there. As a husband, father, and a job in higher education, Terry understands the sartorial needs of many men. Let's see what Terry thinks of my 2010 list (click to read the details and the whys to each piece) and how he would adjust it for 2015:

what every man needs in his closet

The lovely Alison has graciously asked me for my “two cents” on updating her 2010 post of what every man needs in his wardrobe. Naturally, I jumped at the chance. Here is her original list, and my thoughts on whether I agree or disagree with it, as well as any changes I'd like to make.


1. Crisp White Cotton Shirt

ABSOLUTELY. Every single man should have at LEAST one of these in his wardrobe. Narrow and more tailored cuts are preferred.


2. Comfortable Jeans in a Semi-dark Color

I agree with having a dark wash jean, but I'd even say that also owning a pair of light wash jeans are great as well. Jeans are extremely versatile, and can be used to be casual, or even dressy. Some people may not like bootcut, so I always recommend going with what is comfortable to you. Slim, or even straight legs are great. Stay away from going too baggy.


3. A Black Merino V-neck Sweater

Yes. I'd even go to add a red and/or a blue one to this. Most men are a little hesitant to experiment with color, and a sweater is a great way to try it out. It can also give your look a little something extra when going with a color.


4. Flat Front Tropical Weight Wool Trousers in Grey

Agreed. I would go with a medium weight so that they could be worn year-round without worrying about being too hot or too cold. Flat front is definitely more modern than pleated, and grey is pretty versatile.


5. A Black Suiting Blazer with Three Buttons

A great blazer is ALWAYS a good choice to have in the wardrobe. Personally, I prefer two buttons instead of three, as it tends to look better on just about all body shapes and sizes.


6. A Grey Suit

Yes. A charcoal grey suit should be a great first (or even only) suit for men. It has a little bit more versatility than a black suit, and should be every bit as timeless and classic.


7. Three Solid-colored Polo Shirts

I'd even go further to say four: black, white, and two colors you like to wear. Usually something like red and blue are safest, but this is another great way to experiment with colors.


8. Flat-front Chinos in a Khaki Color

Absolutely. While the grey trousers are great for more dressy looks, khaki ones are great for more casual looks, and still look dressier than wearing jeans.


9. A Pair of Sandals

Definitely, especially for the summer months. What's better than rocking a beach-inspired dressy look of your white button up shirt, sleeves rolled up partially, khaki chinos, and a good pair of leather sandals?


10. Longer Shorts in Olive or Khaki

Longer shorts are definitely great. I like to wear shorts that either to right to the knee, or an inch or so above the knee. Any shorter might make them look like they're too small, and longer cargo-type shorts aren't really that stylish nowadays. Definitely in khaki. I'd also lean more toward a grey pair over an olive pair.


11. A Casual Sweater with a Crew Neckline

Sometimes. To me, crew necklines for sweaters tend to be more limiting. If pairing them with a collared shirt, you will only be able to see the collar, so forget wearing a tie with it. If having to choose, I'd go with a v-neck sweater first.


12. Black Leather Slip-on Dress Loafers

Yes, yes, YES. Great way to even instantly dress up a fairly casual look, and also great to showcase some crazy socks (like I like to wear).


13. A Pair of Euro Sneakers or Rugged Leather Oxford Shoes

Yes. I personally prefer these type of sneakers over athletic ones, because you can dress them up and still look put-together.


14. A Wool Winter Coat

Absolutely. I'm a personal fan of either a peacoat or a car coat. Both are classic and timeless.


15. Black Leather Dress Belt

Agreed. I would even go further to add a brown leather dress belt as well. Or, even better, a reversible belt. Kill two birds with one stone.

What would I add to the list?


16. Trenchcoat

These are about as timeless as one can get. Super stylish, and they NEVER go out of style. It might be tempting to go for one in color, but I would recommend sticking with the traditional khaki color. If you can find one with a removable liner inside for the colder months, that's even better.


Terry's Two CentsTerry is a husband, father, Apple techie, stylist, geek, gamer, Starbucks drinker, people watcher, fashionisto.

Read more about his two cents on life and style at his blog, Twitter, and Instagram.


A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. These are very solid choices. The controversy in the comments below over the validity of slip-on shoes is adorable and hilarious. I kind of love how discussions of fashion (and food, I think) bring out the most strangely deep-seeded feelings in people.

  2. Great list!

    Instead of a black suiting blazer, I recommend a navy sports coat. Not only would it be flattering for a broader range of skin tones, but it serves as a great compliment to a variety of pants/jeans without being too harsh as black can be sometimes.

  3. I would say that a young man should watch the fit of his suit carefully.
    Many styles are very slim, which is fine, but if you’re athletic and muscular the ultra slim suit isn’t necessarily the most flattering. Make sure it fits without pulling. Some guys need more ease.

    I’d also add, a hat that isn’t a baseball cap.

  4. Interesting. Two comments: a guy in too much black and white looks like a waiter. Get some olive, gray, slate blue, and navy in there, especially with the coats and jackets. I’d add one or two button-down shirts that enhance a guy’s eyes (blue stripes for blue eyes, gold/tawny stripes for brown eyes).

    And…some aspects of men’s style are regional. I work in IT and I live in Wellington, NZ and there are three male style modes: Suited Dandy/Organization Man (works for the government/legal/medicine), IT Hipster (ranges from waxed mustachios to merino hoodies), and Bogan (casual as, bro). The polo shirt, here, is relegated to the 1980s – if you’re wearing a polo shirt here, you got lost from your cruise ship. It has been replaced in the Antipodeas by a range of t-shirts: designer/printed with funky robot/printed with important IT event/sports performance suitable for falling off a mountain. Seriously, guys here are wearing short-sleeved plaid button downs before they wear polo shirts.

  5. This seems fine and sensible except for the slip-on dress shoes. They seem creepy to me. What is wrong with a nice pair of lace-ups? As classic as possible please.

    1. Ruth,

      I understand that you don’t like slip-on dress shoes. You described them as creepy. I’m curious why you used that particular word. Do you associate slip-on dress shoes with men who are involved in questionable or even illegal activities? Or did you mean something else entirely?


      1. I think originally they were creepy because they were worn by men who needed to get their shoes (and clothes) on and off in a hurry. Now they just seem to be the shoes that lazy men wear because they can’t be bothered with laces. And in the end I just don’t like them. I always expect to see them with a cheap suit and a tie with cartoon characters and maybe an imitation Rolex watch. There, have I exposed enough of my prejudices? Also subliminally I may have made an association with ‘brothel creepers’ which in fact are lace-up shoes with thick crepe souls, so a different kind. And while we are on associations, do you know about co-resondent shoes – the black and white lace ups that were typically worn by the men who acted as the hired co-respondents in staged divorce cases. The only other derogatory shoe name I can think of is Cornish pasty for the kind of brown lace up with thick ergonomic soles worn by men who care more about comfort than appearance. Irrelevant, but I am enjoying this…

        1. Very interesting, Ruth! I learned a lot from your reply. I hadn’t heard of these perceived “sketchy shoes” before.


  6. I would change the black sport coat for a blue blazer (with metal buttons). Navy is flattering for a broader range of skin tones. And a true blazer with metal buttons doesn’t look like you are trying to wear a suit jacket with casual pants (pet peeve of mine; I know I’m old fashioned!).

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