How to Build a Menswear Wardrobe – The Next 10

February 18th, 2012

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After you’ve mastered the first 25 wardrobe essentials, here is a list of the next ten peices you can look to add to your closet.

Keep in mind, you want all (or as many) of the pieces in your wardrobe to work together – maximizing versatility and interchangeability.

I realise these lists are seasonally oriented, but the concepts can easily be tailored to different lifestyles and climates. We will also be running “must have” features of this kind every season.

Without further adohere are the next ten essentials, in no particular order.



Great as a layer, or a jacket on it’s own. Stick to a classic shape, that fits well through the body and sleeve and hits a couple inches below the waistband.

My favorites are denim (dark as shown, or vintage like here), leather (like here), suede (likehere), brushed cotton (like here) and corduroy (like here).


It’s important that this fits snugly through the body, to give you the option of wearing it as a layer (under the parka, peacoat, trench, etc). You will likely want to go down one size.

A dark solid color will give you the most versatility, although these things come in all kinds of cool fabrics now.


It should be slim enough to wear as a sweater for layering, but chunky enough to stand on its own as lightweight outwear.

It doesn’t need a belt or patch pockets, although these details make it slightly more style-forward and convincing as an outerwear piece. A simpler style would be more versatile since it can be layered under a tailored jacket.

You can dress this thing up with a shirt and tie, dress it down with jeans and sneakers, or style it anywhere in between.

Check out our posts on chunky cardigans: here and here.


As always, fit is very important here. It should be elegant enough to wear with a suit (like here), snug enough to wear on the body under a shirt (like here), and have just enough room to fit over a shirt (and perhaps a tie) too (like here).

Check out last year’s post on Henley Layering.


The most important thing with washed jeans, other than the fit of course, is that the distressing looks authentic. They should look like they were naturally broken-in from years of wear, not like some clothing designer dipped them in chemicals to mimick the effect.

With that said, your best bet is actually breaking-in a pair of raw denim.


Can’t go wrong here. These can put a casual finish on just about anything in your new upgraded wardrobe.

Keep them all white and simple/classic in shape, like these awesome full-leather Chuck Taylors.


Lots to choose from (see here). Just make sure it fits naturally into your day-to-day and yourstyle.


No matter where you live, it will rain (and maybe snow too).

A classic pair of rugged rainboots simply makes life less stressful.


Sometimes there are those days when it’s so cold you don’t even want to step outside. You need a coat that you can throw on and not have to worry about the elements.

A streamlined parka that fits well through the body and sleeve, and is longer than your suit jacket, can finish-off just about anything in your new upgraded wardrobe – from corportate suit to sweater and jeans.


A hat can instantly redefine an entire look and is great for those times when you want to lay low (or not have to comb your hair).

A driving cap in a neutral color like brown, grey or navy looks good on just about anybody and can easily be dressed-up or down.

They come in wools/tweeds/cashmeres for the wintery crowd, or cottons/linens/silks for those in sunny places.


Again, you will need to put some thought into tailoring this list to your specific needs and lifestyle (last month we had readers in more than 190 different countries, so we can’t really make it all-inclusive).

With that said, this bonus item can represent a number of accessories, depending on the climate where you live.

In cold places it could be a nice pair of cashmere-lined leather gloves (chocolate brown is probably the most versatile). In rainy places a quality stick-umbrella or a pair of rubber shoe protectors would make sense. In sunny places maybe it’s a straw fedora or a stack of no-show ankle socks. And so on…


In the two following outfits, I am wearing all of the next-10 essentials (with a couple items from the original 25) .

Keep in mind, there are hundreds of different outfit combinations between these ten pieces, along with the original 25 essentials.

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    • Jose

      Pictures are not working :/

      • Kyle Leon Norville

        Yeah, it’s the same for me too. Is there a way to upload the pics again?

    • Phil

      For anyone thinking about buying bean boots, the brown on brown style (pictured above) has been discontinued apparently. Very sad face from this guy. When I asked the live chat guy when (I’m assuming) the new styles will come out, he said probably around August.

    • S.T.

      Could you tell me where the Fine-Gauge Henley is from ?

      • Chad M.

        Rag & Bone

    • Luis D.

      I was just wondering if you would happen to know where I may find just a quality leather belt (not so highly priced) for a silver engine-turned belt buckle that I own?

    • zalamander

      your “like here” links don’t match up with the items that you talk about – they all seem to lead to a guy in a black shirt and grey suit

    • Miguel Ramalhão

      Great Post! Essentials are always very important and people sometimes forget about them. 1st we should get the important pieces, and then the others!…

    • FN

      You should be charging for this advice. Thank you

    • SanS

      I’ve just started to read the blog but I’m already learning so much. My big question is about pant length, for shorter guys I’ve heard that having your pants cut off just before the shoes can make you look shorter but I like the look that you have here and in the “Dress you body type” post.

      Any comments on the old norm of pant length?

    • Anonymous

      Best mens style advice on the internet!

    • TO

      Killer post… Best from TX! Missing some great bball action, haha!!

    • Ambyr

      Your Chunky Shawl Cardigan is great. Nice colors and print to mix with a bunch of different looks. Great 10 picks.


    • Linsanity


      Another great post !!! Knicks are going crazy.
      @ I lock543. The gloves are from hilts and Willard. Style blogger always list the product on the bottom of each photo.

    • Gloves

      I have always been wondering where your leather gloves are from. They look like they’re from bottega veneta. Can you confirm?

      • HarrisonK

        “Gloves by Hilts & Willard”

    • MN

      Love these instructions posts, as well as the more “inspirational” ones!

    • Ilock543

      Nice… I’am slowly building wardrobe…a little at a time.
      I’ve been looking for a quality driver hat, and I was hoping you could tell me what kind is the one you posted. Also I wanted to say I’ve been coming to this blog religiously. Keep up the good work.


      • cam

        well do you read the blog or just look at the pics? i would also suggest reading it

      • MR

        Wool herringbone cap by JCrew

        • Ilock543

          thanks Mr
          @ Cam. yes i read the blog, I just didn’t see it under the last picture. No need to be sarcastic.

    • Maurice

      Awesome insights.