Men's Must-Haves (According to the Women), Part One

Guest post by Debbie Anderson

I brought this topic up with the ladies, who let’s face it: probably have a lot of say in what you wear. So, given that the holidays are here, I informally asked my friends what they’d like to buy their boyfriends or husbands as stylish gifts. The exact question? “If you could buy your guy five pieces for his closet, what would they be?

Most answers were one or all of the below, and all form the basis of a versatile and classic basic wardrobe.

AG “Hero” Jeans. Photo from Nordstrom’s.

A Good Pair of Jeans

The females voted unanimously that the jeans should be dark wash and not baggy. Find a classic fit such as straight-leg or boot-cut that can be dressed up or down and looks equally cool on a date night as well as bowling night. Tailored jean options can be found at Banana Republic or often on sale at your local department store. Buy as premium as you can afford. These jeans need to last because they’ll be your go-to wardrobe item, take it from the girls.

Cashmere sweater in electric blue from J. Crew.
Photo from J.Crew.
John Varvatos Mini Cable Knit Cardigan. Photo from Barney's.
John Varvatos Mini Cable Knit Cardigan. Photo from Barney’s.

A Cashmere Sweater

The sweater could also come as a wool cardigan, which was another popular answer. Suggested colors ran the gamut from charcoal grey (a great neutral) to royal blue (a good “every man” bright color). J. Crew sports a nice sweater selection, and so does Barney’s if you’re looking to invest big on this piece.

J. Crew Flame Oxford. Photo from J. Crew.
J. Crew Flame Oxford. Photo from J. Crew.

An Amazing, Casual, but Not-Too-Casual Button Down

Easier said than done? It depends where you look. Ralph Lauren is the king of dress shirts, and again, J. Crew offers a nice selection of oxford button downs. Plus, pink really is underrated as shirt color. So many men look great in pink because it brightens the complexion (I know. I sound like a girl) and pink really pops when paired with dark denim or anything grey. If you prefer a “quieter” color, you can’t go wrong with classic white. You can wear this shirt with jeans or dress pants, under a jacket or over a tee, and I’m going to stop before I should like a Dr. Seuss book. But you get the point: this is another foundation piece you can build several looks around.

American Eagle Tweed Jacket
American Eagle Tweed Jacket. Photo from

A Tweed or Corduroy Sport Coat

Best to keep this piece a little less structured than a suit jacket so you can wear it with a tie or a tee. Tweed is classic, but also on trend this season, so you’ll hit two birds with one stone (metaphorically, I hope). Again, buy the highest quality you can afford because you’ll be wearing this often.

Classic buy hip leather jacket.
Rag & Bone “Hoxton” Jacket.

A Leather Jacket

Choose a style with a timeless cut that can be worn for years. Buy this piece in a trim fit and in a shorter length. You might think this cuts out the motorcycle look, but as long as there’s nothing too trendy about it – tons of silver accents, crazy zipper treatments – you can find a hip look that doesn’t go out of style in one season.

In the end, wear what you feel most confident wearing, but it’s nice to know what we girls think every now and then about men’s fashion, right?

Plus, the above pieces were on all my friend’s wish lists for their men, but we didn’t stop there. Next post? What we’d like to on your face, your wrist, and in your pocket. We call it the “sexy accessories” edition.

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