Side Note: The basic Urban Gentleman look is partially classic/preppy and partially fashionable/trendy. To be an urban gentleman is to be a modern gentleman- a man of style, class, culture, and of course one must have “swag”.
The core wardrobe pieces consist of clothing that you absolutely require. These items are timeless and really capture the essence of any well dressed gentleman’s look. You literally can’t live without your core items and they should be a combo of (your) personality and practicality.
The next section or layer of your wardrobe should be 90% of you and your style and 10% trend. Sometimes trends end up being a part of your style and that’s okay. This section of the wardrobe should also include signature items. Basically these are the clothes that really make your look and captures the essence of your personal style.
The third section is all about finishing touches and extras- items that you don’t need, but really want.
+ 2 pair quality dark denim jeans.
Straight, relaxed, or skinny fit and one boot cut ( needed for dress shoes and boots). [$250]
Example: Sevens for All Mankind and Express/Levis (one top quality brand and one good less expensive good quality brand).
+ 1 pair of khakis/chinos/trousers
Flat front or pleated depending on your size. Navy or khaki. [$65]
+ 1 cardigan in a neutral color
Navy, black, or heather gray. [$50]
Example: Ralph Lauren, Lacoste.
+ 3 quality white or black t-shirts
V or Crew neck (whichever you prefer). [$35]
Example: Slight v-neck Calvin Klein or American Apparel.
+ 2 polos – 1 neutral 1 bright
Choose your favorite brand. [$125]
Example: Ralph Lauren and/or Penguin, one black one red.
+ 1 button-up
Any style, color, or brand. It should be one that you really like and it should coordinate with the colors of your other core items. [$55]
Example: 1 Sean John long-sleeve plaid button-up.
(*The shoes you pick for you core are totally up to you, they should reflect your style and they are potentially shoes that you could wear everyday with everything.)
+ 1 pair of casual shoes
Example: navy Vans, black Chucks, white Pumas, brown Sperry boat shoes, neutral colored moccasins, driver, casual oxford-type shoe. [$75]
+ 1 pair of dressier/less-casual shoes
Example: oxfords, wing-tips, mid or ankle boots, dressy pair of drivers, tassel- loafer, slip-on. [$135]
That is your core and it is timeless… meaning all of the above will never go out of style and can easily coordinate with any trend.
very casual: slight v-neck tee, dark denim jeans, and moccasins.
everyday living: polo, cardigan, dark denim jeans, chucks.
weekend relaxing: v-neck, cardigan, khakis, boat shoes.
dressier: button-up, cardigan, khakis, boots.
+ 1 pair of colored skinny/baggy skinny jeans
Red, green, blue, or purple.
Example: LRG, Uniqlo, Levis.
+ 2-4 graphic tees
Choose your favorite type and brand. It should basically fit your overall look. If you have a dressier style then choose tees that would be the “dressed down” version of your look (if that doesn’t work then get a t-shirt from your favorite brand ex: Lacoste tee).
Example: Vintage (go to local vintage and thrift stores), funny, retro, etc.
+ 2 jackets (light coat)
A signature jacket and a neutral yet stylish jacket or light coat. Jackets can really set-off the look, it’s the frosting on a cake- the cake taste good without, but it taste even better with it.
Example: bright colored aviator jacket, vintage jacket, designer jacket like MCM, or sport coat.
+ 4-6 shirts/tops
In the style of you choice.
Examples: plaid button-ups, bright colored graphic tees, etc.- whatever gives you your look.
+ 3 pants/bottoms
In the style of your choice.
Examples: chocolate colored corduroys, light-washed jeans slashed at the knees, black jeans, black flat-front trousers, etc. (again, whatever gives you your look)
Choose a pair of shoes that are really hot to you, they can be sneakers or dress shoes or a hybrid of the two. These should be your “stuntin” shoes, the ones that really stand out and make your look.
Example: Limited edition Creative Reactions, Marc Jacob sneakers, Kanye West Louis Vuitton shoes, or a pair of Supras.
2 scarves, 2 hats (1 fitted, 1 fedora), 2 skinny ties, 1 pair of glasses.
Just like a jacket can be seen as the frosting on a cake, accessories are the sprinkles and toppings- they complete the cake. Choose accessories that enhance your look.
1 of these items should be signature, like signature pair of Oliver Peoples glasses or your signature damier LV bookbag, or a signature skull scarf.
Examples: scarves, glasses, buttons, suspenders/braces, ties, hats, pins, “manbag”. You should own all different types of accessories, but you will have more of one type of accessory depending on your look.
** This is also where you would include your dressy attire. Every man should own atleast one tailored suit in black or navy blue. A suit can cost you anywhere from $200-$2000 depending on where you purchase it.
(these are just the extras, most will probably be trend items).
+ trendy coat/jacket
Military or Marching band inspired jacket.
Wayfarers or aviators.
Example: Ray-ban, Tom Ford.
Plaid, animal print, or designer logo.
It’s all about gold jewelry these days, but choose a material and color that fits your wardrobe and style. Examples: one watch and one gold chain.
Accessories that are different or uncommon to the vast majority.
Example: buttons, broaches, pins… like the lego Dee & Ricky brooches.
+official trend items
Remember the must-haves of 2009.
Velvet, bow ties, and plaid.
+ more basics
Add more basics/core items into wardrobe.
Examples: more solid colored cardigans, polos, and shoes.
*Other items not accounted for, but are important:
-underwear, black and brown leather belts, socks.
1. Macys/Bloomingdales (if you’re in America)
2. Harvey Nichols/Harrods/ Debenhams (if you’re in the UK)
3. GAP/Heritage 1981/Urban Outfitters
Those are great stores to use if you want to purchase everything in one place. But if you want to save money and want more options then shop from a variety of stores online and in store.
+ Best celebrities to use as inspiration when building a wardrobe:
1. David Beckham
2. Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, or Pharrell Williams
3. (your best dressed star)
4. Friends of yours whose style you admire.
+Best designers to use for inspiration when building a wardrobe:
1. Ralph Lauren
3. Dolce & Gabanna
4. Basically whichever designer you feels captures the essence of your style the best.
Now more than ever (with this worldwide recession) you really need to tap into your personal style and utilize vintage and thrift stores. If you shop there you can find the same trendy garments, but they’re authentically from the 70s or 80s or 90s and they cost less than half the price. You should mix up your vintage finds with the new clothes you purchase.
You should invest in your one main signature item, if you can afford to.
1. signature watch
2. signature frames
3. signature jacket
4. signature bag
Be confident in your wardrobe, put thought into it, but don’t over analyze it to confusion. Remember one important Urban Gentleman rule: keep it simple or go hard. (either or only- to keep it stylish). When in doubt on how to coordinate always resort back to the Congolese Sape rules of 3, never match more than 3 colors.
Here’s a few looks random looks, that can help you mix and match your wardrobe items.
1.vintage tee, colored skinny jeans, thick frames, converse, aviator jacket
2. button up, sweater, tie, dark denim, oxfords
3. v neck, cardigan, khaki or cords, vans or lace-ups
4. button up, jacket, skinny tie, tie clip, dark denim, solid trainers or oxfords
Oh and don’t forget, a gentleman is always well-groomed.
1. haircut every 2 weeks, shape-up in between cuts
2. nails should be cut, long nails are for women only.
(this is technically more important than the clothes you wear).