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Wardrobe Essentials for Men

Posted by Rishi Chullani on

How convenient would it be to have all of your men's wardrobe essentials? Having enough options that complement each other that you look great every time you step out, even if your only replacing one article of clothing from one event to the next.

Men’s fashion may not change as quickly as Kendall Jenner’s hair color, but it certainly isn’t the easiest thing to keep track of. If you have very few clothes to start with the task of creating a wardrobe can be even more daunting.

In this article we’ll go through some of the wardrobe essentials for men and how to maximize your wardrobe by starting off on the right foot. The essentials of a wardrobe are all about getting together a versatile array of quality items, which seems pretty simple until you throw in the fact that you want to do this all while remaining or becoming stylish.

With the essential pieces of a stylish wardrobe you will have a foundation upon which to grow from a limited number of pieces to a point where you can switch out shirts, ties, and suits easily without much thought.

Eventually your wardrobe will grow to reflect your own personal style and needs, but for the essentials nearly everyone can use the same advice. This list of essentials is aimed at those who are going to a formal office 5 days a week. If you wear a suit and tie more or less often than that you will need fewer or more clothes to keep your wardrobe from getting stale. So without further ado, here are our Wardrobe Essentials for Men!

Essential Suits

If you are hoping to get the most out of a small wardrobe or simply build a foundation of formalwear on which to last you a long time you will need pay attention to the classic colors of menswear.

For suits the classic colors are typically darker colors. When picking out your first suits or simply starting a wardrobe of suits from scratch stick to colors like navy, charcoal gray and brown in order to give yourself a lot of versatility without coming across as wearing the same suits day in and out.

Charcoal Grey Suit

The grey suit is the perfect suit to start off any wardrobe, and may be the most versatile suit option out there. The charcoal grey suit is highly versatile and can be worn to a multitude of occasions, including formal events, daily work or on a date night / social evening! This will be one of your suits that you can expect to get the most return for, given that you will be wearing it many times over! 

From a business standpoint, the charcoal grey suit exhibits trust and authority, two critical elements to coming across professionally in any corporate setting, whether its daily work, a business meeting or an important presentation. 

Navy Suit

The Navy Suit, in addition to the charcoal grey suit, is a staple in every discerning gentleman's wardrobe. While it is nearly as versatile and classically cool as the charcoal suit, it is somewhat limited in its range of use given that it cannot be worn to the most formal of events. Barring that, strut your navy two or three piece to daily work, a cocktail or wedding reception, or while out on the town, and you are guaranteed to look dapper.

Alternatively, your navy jacket can be uncoupled and worn with khakis to provide a more business casual look while out in the evenings! 

Both navy and charcoal grey suits can be worn with a range of ties, making them highly versatile options when dressing your best.

Navy Suit Wardrobe Essential

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Essential Shirts

For dress shirts there are a few classic colors as well, and you will find much more variety when it comes to dress shirts. This is where some of your personal style touches and preferences can come in.

Typically you will want to stay away from the busier shirt patterns, but stripes, checkers and plain dress shirts can still show off some personal style. The essential shirts for any man’s wardrobe are the pale blue and white dress shirts that are easily the most common in the workplace.

While white and pale blue shirts have traditionally been considered the most conservative, given their relatively somber appearance, they have also been considered the easiest canvas upon which to wear different ties against, making tie color and pattern matching almost effortless.

However, if you are looking to add flair to your wardrobe, adding stronger solid colors and patterns such as pink shirts and checkered shirts will undoubtedly add visual intrigue to your ensemble. 

The Dark Knot Tip: The key when matching ties to your patterned shirts is to choose tie patterns of a different proportion. While the pattern can be the same (i.e plaid against checkered, or striped against striped), what matters most is proportion. Ideally, you are looking for a smaller patterned shirt (backdrop) with a larger spaced patterned tie (forgeround) in order to create the right contrast.

To learn more about how to match ties to your suits and shirts, please click here.


A Blue Shirt and Tie provides for a classic look

Courtesy of

Essential Accessories

When it comes to shoes and belts the rules are pretty simple for the essentials. One pair of black shoes and a black belt along with one pair of brown shoes and a belt should do you fine while you are starting out. 

When matching your belts to your shoes, it is essential that the color of your shoes match that of your belt! 

Ties are another place where the essential wardrobe can show some of your personal style again. There are a huge selection of ties out there, but with that said there are a few essential ties.

The solid black tie, the striped tie, the navy or red power tie and the plaid tie should all be on your essential shopping list in order to give you a variety of options that will go with nearly all of your other garments.

Black Silk Tie - A staple in every discerning gentleman's wardrobe, the Black Silk Tie is your ideal piece of neck wear for the most formal events, including Black Tie Events.

The Striped TieThe Striped Tie has been a wardrobe essential for every professional gentleman for the longest time. The Striped Tie allows you to demonstrate a level of authority and trust that few other pieces of neckwear can allow you to do. Whether you are dressing up for daily work, an important presentation or a meeting, the striped tie will always work wonders for you.

Solid Navy Tie - The Solid Navy Tie, in addition to the Striped Tie, is a classic men's tie that will allow you to demonstrate authority and affinity at the same time. Who doesn't want to do business with someone that knows what they are talking about, while appearing trust worthy?

Red Ties - The Red Tie, whether striped or solid, will ensure that you come across as authoritative and business like, ensuring that people will pay attention to what you have to say whether its at daily work, a presentation or an important business meeting.

Plaid Ties - Unique in their pattern and away from you traditional solid and striped ties, Plaid Ties are highly versatile as they can be worn to work against your solid and smaller checkered shirts, in addition to being suitable for a casual evening our or while looking to dress dandy on the weekends!

Feel free to check out The Dark Knot's Black TiesStriped Ties, Red Ties, Navy Ties and Plaid Ties.

The Dark Knot's Canterbury Regimental Stripes Red w / Navy Tie

The Dark Knot's Canterbury Regimental Stripes Navy w/ Red Tie

It’s a Numbers Game

The number of different pieces you need is largely dependent on how often you will be wearing a suit and tie, but for this article we are assuming that you are wearing a suit and tie to work Monday through Friday.

This means that you need to have a minimum of 2-3 suits in the colors previously mentioned with the third possibly in something a bit more personal.

For dress shirts you should have at least one white and one pale blue but doubling up on these is never a bad idea. You should have at least three other shirts to ensure that you don’t need to do laundry during the middle of every week. Make sure these three other shirts can be worn with nearly all of your ties, meaning no extremely loud patterns or non-neutral colors unless you really know what you’re doing. 

The essential ties should allow you to have a bare minimum of 6 ties, which means you will have the opportunity to pick out some ties aside from the ones mentioned above.

Your ties should be a reflection of your personal style, but when you are first starting a wardrobe should be versatile enough to go with any of your suits and shirts allowing you to mix and match for maximum longevity.

If you are looking for help choosing your ties, The Dark Knot's silk tie filtered search system is the perfect place to start. With our our various criteria filters, you will be able to find ties based on matching suits, matching shirts and even the type of occasion / event that you are wearing a tie to!

Blue Shirt with Striped Tie

Courtesy of

 Find Your Fit

The wardrobe essentials for men are more than simply covering each day of the week, in order for the wardrobe to stand on its own it needs to have some continuity and some uniqueness at the same time.

Aim for similar fitting suits, shirts and ties that match when building your wardrobe. Slimmer fits are still on the rise in formal wear so it’s not a bad idea to go slim with your suits and dress shirts. Ties give you more leeway, but opting for ties that match the width of your lapels is a good way to keep things consistent.

Our article on how a suit should fit should serve as a useful guide!

Show some uniqueness in your wardrobe by opting for different types of suits while sticking to the more neutral colors covered. A three piece suit and suits with different amounts of buttons will allow you to show off some style while still having incredibly versatile garments.

Well Fitted Navy Suit

Whether you are just about to start your first job that requires a suit, or are just looking to overhaul your wardrobe in order to get rid of all the things you don’t wear these rules for the essentials will work for you. A solid foundation of a wardrobe like this will allow you to add more items as you go along and develop your very own personal style.

And that's a wrap for this one! I hope that you have found this introductory article to wardrobe essentials helpful!

Feel free to check out our entire collection of ties, pocket squares and lapel flowers here at The Dark Knot!

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