5 Staple Pieces Your Guy Needs In His Wardrobe

menswear 5 staple wardrobe pieces topman blazer

Jean: H&M jacket sz 2 (Current version),  Cuyana Silk Blouse c/o xs,  Steve Madden SANDALS sz 5.5 (runs narrow),  J.Crew skirt (similar)
Nick: similar TOPMAN BLAZER sz 38,  Similar Slim-cut Jeans 31×30, Sperry Gold Cup shoes (3 colors on sale at Nordstrom)

Below is a guest post by Nick, husband of Jean:

Like a lot of guys, I have a very precise clothes shopping strategy: buy one thing and wear the crap out of it for a year, then go shopping again. So when it comes to sales, I try to steer clear of the white leather pants and, instead, look for versatile items I can wear in a variety of situations and seasons. Want to employ the same strategy while shopping for the men in your life? Here are 5 staples that you can sneak into your man’s closet for an instant upgrade:

5 Men’s Wardrobe Pieces That Can Be Worn (Almost) Year-Round


Boat shoes are some kind of magical foot chameleon. I’ve worn them to bars, beaches, and weddings. They work equally well with swim shorts as they do the aforementioned blazer.

Sperry Gold Cup Boat Shoes – You know what they say, once you go Gold Cup you never go back. Oh, what’s that? No one actually says that? Well they should. Softer, more supple leather. Cushier insoles. Refined details. Is this higher-end line by Sperry worth nearly three times the price of their regular boat shoes? Debatable. But twice as much, like they are right when on sale? Definitely. I have a pair I’ve worn for years. In fact, I’m wearing them as I type this and let’s just say my toes are very, very happy (of the three colors available at Nordstrom, the Sahara Leather looks mighty handsome).

mens style staples navy tailored blazer outfit


A good pair of dark denim is probably the most versatile piece of clothing there is. But if you buy a guy $200 designer skinny jeans, there is a good chance he blows out the crotch doing burpees during a bar crawl.

Topman Stretch Slim Fit Jeans – These fit similar to the discontinued Levi’s 508 (RIP), which were my preferred cut of denim. High-rise, slim but not skinny, and tapered below the knee. For fit reference, me and my thunder thighs can’t usually fit into anything labeled “skinny.” I once tried on a pair of European cut super skinny jeans and needed the jaws of life to get them off. My condolences to the Zara fitting room attendant.

UPDATE: These jeans are sold out but these J.Crew Mercantile ones are pretty similar (although they run more true to size – I wear 31×30).

3. TAILORED Blazer

Blue blazers are ubiquitous for a reason. But avoid the traditional navy with brass buttons (unless you’re shopping for a sea captain), and look for a tailored fit in a versatile hue that can work with both chinos and jeans.

Topman Slim Blazer – This blazer is an easy one to dress up or down (as you see here, with jeans). Size-wise I usually take a 38S or 36S depending on the brand (J.Crew Ludlow Suit Blazers in 36S are my go-to, but are usually excluded from sale). Topman tends to run smaller and snugger, so the 38 regular works for me.

UPDATE: The darker color is sold out but this lighter blue is new for 2018 w/ the same fit.

casual menswear mens style outfit ideas

Here’s an easy style formula: Take any fall or winter outfit a guy is wearing with sneakers. Replace with chukka boots. Outfit improved.

Clarks Desert Boots – The Clarks Desert Boots in beeswax are an all-time classic. Even at regular price, they’re worth it. These Red Wing Chukka Boots are similar and feel a little sturdier and more durable, especially their version of the crepe sole, but that also seems to be reflected in the higher price.

mens casual jacket fall outfit style tips


What should your guy wear when it’s cool out, but a blazer is too fancy and that tattered old hoodie of his is, well, too gross? A casual knit jacket offers the comfort of a sweatshirt, while cooly letting people know, “It’s true, I no longer live in a dorm.”

Billy Reid Quilted Jacket (NEW for 2018: similar jacket)- In 2016, I picked out (ok, fine, Jean picked out) a Ted Baker knit jacket that I’ve worn basically for 365 days straight. I’m giving this Billy Reid one a try, but only time will tell if it also permanently attaches itself to my body. It’s a steep price for an unlined jacket in a sweatshirt material, but the fit is good, and it will layer well under winter coats. Both Ted and Billy are pricier brands, but they both have a knack for making pieces that can be casual yet tailored.

Ted Baker, though, always finds a way to incorporate a little edgy accent into all of their pieces while still feeling grown-up. So check out this quilted jacket or this track-ish style jacket if you’re okay with spending a little more. Their sizing system is a little funky, but I’m consistently a size 2 there, and a Small in most American brands.

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Leave a Comment


  1. Laura wrote:

    This post is so cute! If I had a boyfriend I would definitely share this with him lol

    Posted 8.17.17 Reply
  2. Sharon wrote:

    Thank you Nick! Great suggestions. Please continue posting.

    Posted 8.10.17 Reply
  3. I need to share this blog post with my bf! Totally agree on the boat shoes!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Posted 8.9.17 Reply
  4. Valeri Pighini wrote:

    Hi Jean and Nick. GREAT post from Nick – thank you. I think my guy would really appreciate these pieces and will be a great gift for him. At least it would get him started on trying something new. He’s also quite slim, like Nick, so I appreciate the reference to slim cut. Thanks you guys!!!!

    Posted 8.7.17 Reply
  5. Anonymous wrote:

    Love this post!

    I’d love to read a post in which you discuss buying bracelets for girls with extremely small wrists. 🙂

    Posted 8.7.17 Reply
  6. jen wrote:

    hi jean & nick, would you have recommendations for messenger bags for guys (one that can hold a laptop)?

    Posted 8.7.17 Reply
  7. Joules wrote:

    My husband has most of these staples, though he’s never tried on Chukka Boots, so thanks for the reco!

    Style by Joules

    Posted 8.7.17 Reply
  8. Kim Evangelista wrote:

    I loved the recommendations for the men’s department! Jean, your husband’s personality definitely showed in this. It cracked me up! I definitely enjoyed this. Thanks!

    Posted 8.7.17 Reply
  9. kim wrote:

    I love the new blog layout! I am very pro lazy wireless tshirt bra.

    Posted 8.6.17 Reply
  10. Elizabeth wrote:

    Definitely some very sound and practical tips! 🙂 Thank you so much Nick! Loving all of these versatile and effortless outfits that you pulled off!

    XO, Elizabeth

    Posted 8.6.17 Reply
  11. Marissa wrote:

    Nick, please do more staple posts! I love these!

    Posted 8.6.17 Reply
  12. Nona wrote:

    That was hilarious and informative! More please!

    Posted 8.6.17 Reply
  13. Kiran wrote:

    I think it’s great when Nick does a guest post! I love the blazer recommendation and already picked it up as a surprise. On a side note, Jean – where is your orange Hermes belt from? It is so lovely and I want to get one just like it as well! Thanks!!

    Posted 8.6.17 Reply
  14. Cat wrote:

    Love this post, thank you! Question for Jean, how were you able to hem the sleeves of the suede jacket? It has a zipper!

    Posted 8.5.17 Reply
  15. Kathy wrote:

    LOVE this post! Definitely made me laugh. Hubby was sitting next to me as I read him parts of the post :p Thanks you two!

    Posted 8.5.17 Reply
  16. Kathy wrote:

    LOVE this post! Definitely made me laugh. Hubby was sitting next to me as I read him parts of the post :p Thanks you two!

    Posted 8.5.17 Reply
  17. Alvina wrote:

    Lol love Nick’s commentary and side comments.

    Posted 8.5.17 Reply
  18. Ashley wrote:

    OMG Nick is hilarious!

    Posted 8.5.17 Reply
  19. Ray wrote:

    You both look really amazing.


    Posted 8.5.17 Reply
  20. Mizeats wrote:

    This post is so helpful! Thanks for the great suggestions, Nick! Now I know what to target when clothes shopping for my boyfriend! Not only is the post informative but humorous as well 🙂 A big thanks,Jean, for always taking our requests and suggestions into consideration!

    Posted 8.5.17 Reply
    • Mizeats wrote:

      Hi Jean – My boyfriend loves the navy blazer from Nordstrom.! However, the size 38 was a bit snug for him in the arm area, but we’ll just exchange it for the next size up…no biggie! Thanks!!

      Posted 8.11.17 Reply
  21. Kay Nguyen wrote:

    Love your blog! Both of you look amazing <3


    Posted 8.5.17 Reply
  22. I love your content for guys! And loving your suggestions too, Nick! I’m definitely going to look at the blazer and chukka boots! My style has gone through a pretty major rehaul this year ha!

    I hope you have a lovely Saturday,

    Posted 8.5.17 Reply
  23. Ophelia Tang wrote:

    HELLOOOO NICK! Aw thats awesome! I agree with all the staples! You two look so so cute together!

    XOXO //
    SINCERELY OPHELIA | NYC Petite Fashion Blogger

    Posted 8.4.17 Reply

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