The Wardrobe: The Official List of Clothing to Include in an Urban Gentleman’s Wardrobe.

Early last month I received an email from a gentleman in London who needed help choosing his college wardrobe. He had a budget of 500 pounds, which equals to about $1000 (if you round up) and he wanted to know what to buy. I started and stopped my reply to his email several times- changing the way I organized my suggestions each time, but now… almost a month later I have finished the email. And I’ve tailored it to be an article for everyone. So, below is a list of suggested items to buy if you’re in need of a new wardrobe. There is also advice on who to use as inspiration and much more.
*I get alot of emails from readers, and quite frankly I’m not able to answer them all in a timely fashion simply because I’m a busy person (sorry guys)... so if you ever email me it may take awhile, a long while:-(.

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 Wardrobe

There are 3 main sections in a wardrobe: the core section, defining/signature section, and finishing touches section. And in a wardrobe, you need to be able to mix and match- so all the sections will include pieces that you will use to create a variety of looks and outfits.

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.

Part I: The CORE

+ 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.

With these items you can create a variety of looks:
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.

**[The prices above are just estimates that total to $790, but all of the items can be purchased for much less. For example, you can buy all of the above clothing at a store like Express using their monthly coupons and online or in-store deals for around $380: $150 of 2 pair of jeans, $40 for 2 polos, $50 for the cardigan, button up for $30, trousers for $80, and 3 t-shirts for $30. Then you can head over to a site like Nordstrom and look at their "Under $100" shoes and find Kenneth Cole dress shoes for $90, Converse for $30 which total $120. So you get all of the above for $500. ]

Part II: The DEFINING PIECES & SIGNATURES


+ 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)

+ shoes
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.

+ accessories
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.

Part III: The FINISHING TOUCHES

(these are just the extras, most will probably be trend items).

+ trendy coat/jacket
Military or Marching band inspired jacket.

+ sunglasses
Wayfarers or aviators.
Example: Ray-ban, Tom Ford.

+ scarves
Plaid, animal print, or designer logo.

+ jewelry
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.

+unique accessories
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.

So that is the Urban Gentleman Wardrobe list for now. This list is subject to change at anytime, but it’s a good start for any gentleman looking to create or re-vamp his wardrobe.

*Other items not accounted for, but are important:
-underwear, black and brown leather belts, socks.

The Urban Gentleman
______________________________________

More Wardrobe Tid-bits.

+ Best stores for the items above and for men in need of building a wardrobe:

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
2. DSqaured
3. Dolce & Gabanna
4. Basically whichever designer you feels captures the essence of your style the best.

I recently realized that it’s all about quality above quantity. This ideal was further instilled in me after watching a Ralph Lauren video a friend shared with me. I remember having a phase in middle and high school in which I would not repeat clothes for 3 or so months at a time. I would write down everything I wore everyday and I would probably only wear an outfit twice each school year- crazy right? If I couldn’t find something to wear I would literally go to the mall and buy a new outfit… when I look back on it I think “how wasteful!!”. That type of mindset left me with tons of clothes and shoes that were nice, but not great… and it left me with tons of trendy items. I pretty much grew out of that mindset a few years ago, but only now do I truly understand the ridiculousness of my mindset at the time. It is, for example, much more important to have one really great quality pair of boots that will last a lifetime (though expensive) oppose to 2 pair of boots that will probably only be good for 2 seasons.

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

_________________________

More Advice.

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).

The Urban Gentleman

________________________

Now, a few pictures for inspiration:








(search the site for more photos, we have tons)

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19 Comments


  1. Loring(BK in the house)

    Wow. This list is uber uber impressive. I’m printing this out tonight and will begin to re-build my wardrobe (which is pretty wack).

    And did I mention that I love you Jacinda. This blog—- is THE best.

  2. Great setup. Must have for anyone who is trying to learn about becoming a brand. The only problem is gold. Im not a fan of the all jewelery gold, I lean to white gold/ silver. To me it feels clean and fresh. I dunno. Great post either way

  3. Yeah, I’ll have to agree with Loring. This list is going on my fridge– THANKS!

  4. Your blog is always fresh and insightful.

    I was surprised that I own a lot of this stuff already. But I just bought it because of the blog.

    I think one thing that can be added is a good underwear. If it looks old you need to throw it out. I mean everything from, wife beaters to boxers to socks. A gentleman should get at least 7 new pairs of under wear and socks every 6 months. That way u will at least have some for every day of the week.

    But anyway girl you really should turn this into a magazine. Or this blog really needs to be in somebodies magazine. Im thinking a section in GQ would fit just nicely.

  5. I think that the metal and the color of the jewelry depends upon one’s preference and income. Yellow gold looks absolutely beautiful on dark sin. I use as a rule avoiding being garish or gauche. Noticeable and well made jewelryon a man can appear very elegant and polished.

  6. Great article, looks like you spent a lot of your time on it for us.

    Thank you very much

    Have a good weekend

    Shane

  7. What a great website!!! I loved this wardrobe list. I immediately made my son and husband read the article and print it out! Please give more pics of the pieces arranged in outfits for overwhelmed men like mine. LOL

    If only someone would do this for women too (hint, hint!) Do you know of any websites for women with this much detail on wardrobe building?

  8. OOOOOOOH my freakin gosh, Jacinda, you’re getting carried away- how the heck do you have enough time to do this. This is the most detailed wardrobe list I’ve ever seen and I think I’m the blog/magazine King- ha!

    But seriously, this is much appreciated. And.. I think I may even have to donate a little for this one.

    Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  9. Jacinda, I’m going to have to agree with Antonio and Andrew. This blog IS the freshest- you SHOULD turn this into a magazine or it should atleast be in a magazine like GQ to offer a fresh young yet mature perspective- I may need to start calling people.

    This article is much appreciated and like Andrew I’m going to have to donate today for the first time.

    Still waiting on some Valentine’s Day tips though… I really want to impress my lady this year

    Have a great weekend!

  10. robotsandskateboards

    I know this post must have taken you a while but I come here everyday and I want more lol

    I do disagree with the colored pants thing though, I think that stuff is for clowns. I know it is the trend now but I guess I’m old fashioned when it comes to jeans

  11. Is this wardrobe appropriate for a 51 year old man?

  12. I live in london and i have to say this is very good, your hitting all the nails right on the head, and theres not a lot fashion advice for young black men… keep it up,

  13. i think this is a good list of ways to stay fresh. im still n high skool but im gettn a job soon and will finally be able to shop on more than 10$ a week allowance

  14. This blog is absolutely incredible!! I'm building my wardrobe from scratch (literally nothing)… I'm learning as we go. I've never given much thought into how i dressed until I would see how girls "would like at me" like i was nuts for looking so unorganized and bomby.

  15. Good stuff here….I'm in that 'shifting job' position so these couldn't have come at a better time. Thanks

  16. Really this blog is awesome, learned many this from it and now i will try to implement some of them…

  17. Many thanks for your blog. So many top tips! Please keep it up.

  18. Really helpfull thanks, going shopping tommorow for new things. very thought provoking list. plenty of great ideas!

  19. I was just seeking this info for some time. After 6 hours of continuous Googleing, at last I got it in your site. I wonder what’s the lack of Google strategy that don’t rank this kind of informative sites in top of the list. Generally the top websites are full of garbage.

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