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).
Cindy says, "The best things about button-collar shirts are the versatility, every urban gent should own a few… actually, more than a few (Ralph Lauren has great ones too)"
Product Details: Price $225 at barneys.com
2. Native-American Beaded Necklace
Andre says, "I wear it almost everyday — even when nobody else can see it, it's under there somewhere."
Cindy says, " Everybody has that one thing that they always wear for whatever reason, Andre's is a native-american necklace, one of my best friend's is his braided leather bracelet… whatever it is, it should be appropriate and tasteful and you should hide it, like Andre does, when it doesn't match."
3. Wes Montgomery
Andre says, "With Jazz I get a pure mood music for my own thoughts instead of being bombarded with another person's lyrics. I can think alot clearer. It's the next best thing to silence."
Cindy says, "I completely agree with Dre, I use jazz to relax and just be free. When you're stresses and trying to chill go to pandora.com and listen to John Coltrane radio."
4. Converse Chuck Taylors
Andre says, "Black, navy, or natural will always work. For me,, they bring any look down to earth."
Cindy says, " Ditto- Converse were on the Essentials of Cool List I made a few weeks back"
Product Detail: Price $44.99 at converse.com
Andre says, "It's a lifesaver when I'm out of the country during football season. I get to watch whatever game is on my television at home. College or pro, I'm always down to watch some pigskin."
Cindy says, "I've heard of the slingbox, but have never looked it up to find information on it, but now that I have it seems like the perfect gift for someone who travels alot"
Product detail: Price $179 at slingmedia.com
6. Italian Style
Andre says, "Anywhere I can jump of a plane and spot a gent in the summertime looking cool as the winter is a place for me."
Cindy says, "Ummmm, duuuh, Italian style is always great, I love seeing pictures of Italian street style- it's flawless"
7. Blackberry 8700
Andre says, "Sad, but my crackberry cell phone has become my linus blanket. I never put it down. Brain tumor, here we come."
Cindy says, "Back during high school and early college I was all about the Treos, but now that I have a blackberry it just doesn't seem possible to go any other way- the email system is the BEST hands down, but the iPhone is giving Blackeberry's some stiff competition."
Product Detail: Price $100 at t-mobile.com
Cindy says, "It's aaaallll about Atlanta enough said. lol"
9. Benjamin Bixby Braces
Andre says, "Either navy-and-white-striped or firehouse-red. I feel safe and comfy in them."
Cindy says, "I love braces on men, but you have to wear them right… I'll do an article on them pretty soon. Nordstrom has some of the best braces"
Product Detail: Price $135 at barneys.com
Cindy says, "This hat is a must, I even have it and I'm a girl. Whether you're from Atlanta or not, this hat is something that's signature classically Andre' and it doesn't hurt to have it in your closet.
Product Detail: Price S22.99 at shop.mlb.com
1. Aviator shades.
They’re an instant swagger booster.
2. One pair of designer jeans.
Navy, blue, or black and it should have a good fit.
4. A pair of Jordans or your favorite popular sneaker.
My motto is: everybody needs atleast one pair of J’s in their lifetime. But you can rock your favs as long as they’re sickening!
5. Fitted hat that reps your city.
I personally encourage an A’s fitted.
6.Fresh white sneakers.
You must have a fresh pair of white kicks, they instantly brighten up any outfit.
7. A trendy item.
At the moment that would be something like an arab scarf or a vest.
The Essentials of Cool…
Navy blazers are perfect, they’re preppy yet grown and sexy. Plus navy blazers often match with outfits the best because you can easily dress it up or down- preppy, urban, or professional.
2. Calvin Klein v-neck tshirt
They feel and fit great. It’s a great t-shirt that you could wear under neath a navy blazer or by itself. Great for a night in the club or afternoon in the park with your boo:-)
3. Red Converse
It’s just a standard, all the men with swagger rock em from Usher to Diddy to Nascar drivers and famous athletes- you just gotta have a pair.
5. Bold-colored Lacoste Polo
Lacoste is the original polo shirt, it Always looks good and fits great… that little green alligator just makes you look better. A bright color is modern, edgy, and shows confidence.
6. Generic Gold Watch or Plastic Casio Watch
They’re a must have accessory for every stylish guy.
7. Black Framed Glasses
You don’ have to need glasses to wear them . Black framed glasses are just really cool and they can make you look completely different in a good way.
8. Gray or Brown New Era Fitted Hat
Gray and brown are the “other neutrals” they match good with any color and they look edgier than white or black.
9. White High-Top Pumas
One thing my brothers taught me is that you can never go wrong with high-top white pumas, they just naturally look fly. To be honest, you can’t go wrong with any color high-top Puma.
10. Something signature Kanye, Lupe, or Pharrell
They’re at the top of the style charts, so it’s always cool to have something they rock on a regular like a coin wallet with a chain.
11. Baby Milo Shirt
I don’t think your whole wardrobe should be A Bathing Ape, but one Baby Milo shirt is needed for a little street cred.
12. Creative Recreation
They’re original, unique, and have the sickest color combination. Creative Reaction Shoes make you look instantaneously edgy.
13. Your Signature Cologne
Everyone has a scent and it’s important that yours smells good.
14. Most Importantly- Something That’s Signature You
Express jeans are so nicely tailored. And they’re the first jean types that I have friends try-on when they are changing their style from baggy to more tailored and fitted.
2. 7 for all Mankind
aka Seven Jeans
These were my first real “designer” jeans. Seven jeans
are super soft, top quality, and can last you a lifetime. These are everyday jeans for stars, especially when they’re in movies.
3. LRG Jeans
4. True Religion
Japanese jeans are on top these days, and Evisu is one of the top brands stealing everyone’s thunder. They’re a happy medium between extra baggy and extra fitted.
When in doubt- Buy Levis. Levi’s are the classic jeans, and they ALWAYS look good. The brand develops with time so they work hard to keep the latest styles in stock.
(Levi’s skinny jeans shown above- most guys shouldn’t wear these though)
8. Rock & Republic
Once again, these are jeans worn by the rich and famous. I really like the way these jeans fit on most guys. . . they make men look trim and not that it’s important to guys, but they also make your ass look great.
9. Tommy Bahama
Some of you may be thinking, WTF! Tommy Bahama?? Yeah, thats right Tommy Bahama. This pick is specifically for the older gentleman- I would say 35 and above (hopefully that doesn’t offend anyone). Tommy Bahama offers a great variety of styles and washes that are very comfortable, they’re especially good for older gent who are unsure of what type of jean to wear.
For some reason, not everyone knows they make jeans. But they do – and they’re flawless. Stars like to rock these on the red carpet.
THE URBAN GENTLEMAN