I thought today we’d try something a little different. Rather than giving you my rundown on the essentials of male fashion (I’ve written an e-book all about that else), I’d take a look at what other fashion-lovers would put on their lists.
The following list comes from designer Tom Ford, and has been posted just about everywhere on the Internet. The commentary is, of course, my own personal opinions and shouldn’t be taken as anything but.
1. The perfect pair of dark denim jeans
A good start if you ask me. I’ve talked at great length before on the benefits of picking out a great pair of rich, inky jeans; just remember to avoid the tie-dye and stonewash – there’s nothing wrong with good ol’ fashioned Levi 501s either!
2. A sense of humor
Looking to perfect your sense of humour? Then may I recommend learning a few good quality jokes you can pull out at your next dinner party or pub crawl. Please ensure you avoid the profane and obscene though – firstly there’s no need, and secondly you’re guaranteed to offend as many people as you amuse.
3. A daily read of an intelligent online newspaper
Don’t forget to grab an appropriate app for your Smartphone or tablet computer at the same time; if diner table conversation turns to current affairs, you’re only a sly tap away from being up to date on the latest news.
4. Good manners
Really do cost nothing. Try to be courteous where you can, and bring out the big guns for the in-laws and new neighbours: you never know when that friendly gesture will be rewarded in kind.
5. A nail clipper
Another topic covered previously on Guy Style Guide. Don’t forget, good quality clippers will last an absolute age, so it’s worth investing in a couple of sets – one for the bathroom and one for your travel kit.
Great for capturing stray hairs, removing splinters and general wheedling tasks. Just be weary of plucking your eyebrows just before going out for the evening unless you want your date to be starring at large red patches of skin all night; it’s much better to pluck well in advance.
7. Magnifying mirror
While fantastic for getting a good look at awkward areas, be careful of falling under its hypnotic power; it’s guaranteed to get you obsessing over the tinniest of facial flaws.
8. Beautiful toothbrush
I don’t know whether beauty should play a part in your choice of brushes, but a good quality scrub twice a day is a must if you still want your pearly whites in tact at sixty. Personally, I use Philips Sonicare
electric brush. The replacement heads are pricy, but the built in timer is a real boon, ensuring you get adequate brushing time over the entire mouth.
9. Bottle of mouthwash
Again, it’s worthwhile keeping your teeth and gums in check; if you find most brands to be too strong, try using ‘kids formulated’ mouthwash. Not only is it gentler and less abrasive, it’s also known for coming in fantastic flavours too – who needs strong mint when you have bubblegum?!
10. A good cologne that becomes a signature
I’ve written extensively on this subject; just be sure to remember the rules on the topic, and avoid those perfume counters at all costs!
11. A well-cut dark suit
It should come as no surprise that I’ve written a book on this one too, although you can download it entirely for free, so you have no excuses. Navy and charcoal look spectacular on most men so don’t be afraid to give that black suit a miss.
12. A pair of classic black lace-up shoes
Covered this one extensively too, but it’s worth remembering why they’re so important – they can really make or break a suit. Don’t forget to buy in the afternoon for the most accurate sizing; your feet will swell throughout the day so a snug morning fit may be too tight come the evening.
13. Black loafers
Tom and I differ slightly here, in that I’d plump for brown loafers first. Still, if you can afford it, why not buy both; smart enough for everyday business-wear, but still casual enough for the weekend – effortlessly flexible.
Blazers truly man’s best friend, especially when a thick overcoat would be overdoing it. Blazers are incredibly versatile and can give your casual clothing a formal boost without having to resort to suits. Just don’t go too ‘nautical’ unless you’re planning on roaming the high seas.
15. Lots of crisp white cotton shirts
I currently have a dozen in my wardrobe and could still do with some more. You can never have enough great white cotton shirts. Having problems with size and fit? Then get yourself over to blank-label, Proper Cloth or Shirts My Way for individually customized glamour.
16. Always new socks and underwear
As Tom recommends, “Throw the old ones away every six months”. I’d also add slippers to that list too – nobody likes stinky, flea-bitten undergarments, especially those lurking around your neater regions.
17. A classic tuxedo
Okay, this is where Tom and I disagree. Whilst a great tuxedo for a black tie event is essential, most men won’t need one of these often enough to warrant splashing out the cash: a good quality rental from a groom store will usually be more fortuitous, especially if you’re only going to be wearing it once a decade! If you are planning to hob-nob on the red carpet, however, make sure you avoid those wacky collars, cuffs and colours.
18. A beautiful day watch with a metal band
If your salary is hitting four digits a month, you should start considering something more significant than your aging Casio or Swatch for everyday. Don’t go too bling though – restraint is always more dignified.
19. A beautiful evening watch with a leather strap
As before, subtle and subdued is far more elegant and blasé than flashy pieces. Read more about the watches you should own here.
20. The perfect sunglasses
Remember the rules about matching glasses with your face shape for maximum impact. Avoid going too retro; sometimes throwbacks can just look too old for their own good! Read more about finding the perfect pair here.
21. A good bed, crisp sheets, down pillows, and a down duvet
While the sheets, pillows and duvet are up for debate, a good quality bed is a must. A new bed is a huge chunk of change, but you’re going to have to see it as the investment it is – remember, you spend a third of your life in these contraptions!
22. Perfect teeth
Okay, so being from Britain I don’t know the meaning of the phrase. But in all seriousness, good oral hygiene is a must. While research is sporadic, early investigations into the matter seem to suggest a strong link between good, clean teeth and low incidents of heart disease and a longer lifespan generally. If you are saving to have them fixed, just be careful to avoid the ‘ultra bright’ caps or veneers – movie star white is best left to those in Hollywood; there’s nothing wrong with a natural tint for a genuinely authentic smile.