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Banana Republic white dress shirt - Credit:
Versatile pieces you can't live without in your wardrobe

Some guys live to shop, while some guys would rather die than set foot in the shops. If you fall into the latter category, you might be the kind of guy who will do anything to avoid visiting a mall, let alone an upscale boutique. Or, maybe you’re so busy with work or school that you don’t actually have the time to dedicate to zeroing in on all the latest trends. Another type of guy who doesn’t do much shopping is one on a limited budget since it’s obviously more important to eat than to build an expansive wardrobe.

Everyone likes to look attractive, however, and just because you may not have the patience, time or budget for regular shopping escapades, it doesn’t mean you have to look like you’re out of the loop when it comes to style. The trick for those who have limited resources when it comes to looking great around the clock is to buy separate pieces that can be mixed and matched to create different looks. These items should be purchased in neutral tones, and they should be relatively timeless in their design. We've laid out a core wardrobe that will give you years of wear, so read on to discover versatile pieces you can't live without.

Navy suitPaul Smith navy suit - Credit:

The most versatile suit you can own is a navy-colored one. It’s equally appropriate for daytime activities or evening ones, and you’ll have no problem pairing it with bright clothing or accessories like a tie. Known for his ability to make gorgeous suits that are both classic and modern, British designer Paul Smith is the man to turn to when you’re searching for a contemporary suit for all occasions. Made from finely woven wool, this suit is slimming and flattering on practically every body shape. The two-button blazer is also a classic, meaning that it will be easy to wear with jeans or other items in your wardrobe. For important meetings, job interviews or non-formal evening soirees, make this suit your go-to ensemble. During the day, in chillier seasons like fall, winter or early spring, try layering this blazer over Gap’s red cashmere V-neck sweater and slip on a pair of jeans for a casual, yet pulled together, look.

White dress shirtBanana Republic white dress shirt - Credit:

A white dress shirt is a must for any closet. Everyone looks good in one, and it’s a classic that pairs with practically anything. In fact, if you can afford it, buy three when you find one that looks good on you -- that way you’ll always have a clean one and you can cut down on the time you’ll have to spend shopping now and in the future. This fitted, 100% cotton option from Banana Republic is machine washable and has a textured stripe that distinguishes it from all the plain white dress shirts out there, and gives it a modern edge. Pair it with jeans for a crisp and clean all-American look that works day and night. At the office, layer this shirt underneath a brightly colored sweater and team it with some dress pants or jeans, depending on the dress code. For a smart, casual occasion, add either your navy or gray blazer, and for an occasion that requires something dressier, wear this piece with a navy suit and have fun playing around with the color of your tie.

Polo shirtOld Navy striped polo - Credit:

Not every day requires you to be dressed to the nines, so for those times when the look you’re going for is decidedly casual opt for a cotton polo. Don’t think you have to get all fancy and shell out the money for a designer shirt because an inexpensive one will work just fine. This 100% cotton blue and brown, horizontally striped polo from Old Navy is a great example of how you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money to be well-dressed. On weekends and in the summertime, this shirt looks amazing simply paired with some blue jeans. When you need to take things up a notch, throw on a separate like French Connection’s gray blazer to create an ensemble that exudes effortless cool.

These are versatile pieces you can't live without in your wardrobe...

JeansPaper Denim and Cloth's Alec jeans - Credit:

Just as you would for a white dress shirt, buy three pairs when you find perfect-fitting jeans that you love. Before you head to the shop, however, you should be aware that a dark-rinse jean is more versatile and figure flattering than light-wash denim. Paper Denim and Cloth’s Alec model is a relaxed bootcut that’s fairly dark, but has been treated with some hand sanding to make the jeans seem more lived in and natural. Most importantly, these jeans don’t have a colorful label anywhere and are free of any other noticeable extras that you often find on higher-end, stylized denim -- meaning that they’re appropriate to wear everywhere and not just to the hottest new club. For timeless style that will impress everyone, but that’s far from boring, mix these jeans with a white dress shirt layered under a brightly colored sweater, as adding a bit of color will really make this basic outfit pop and seem fresh again. A good sweater to try with these jeans is Gap’s red cashmere V-neck.

JacketFCUK trompe jacket - Credit:

Coming in at a close second to the navy blazer is the gray blazer in terms of wardrobe versatility. A strong, masculine color, gray mixes just as well with other neutrals as it does with both bright and pastel shades. Making this two-button gray wool blazer from French Connection an integral part of your wardrobe will mean that you’ve always got something to throw on at the last minute without thinking about what will pull your outfit together. At the office, wear it with jeans and a white dress shirt and simply add some edgy sneakers when you’re going out at night. When temperatures drop, try pairing this blazer with Gap’s deep-red V-neck sweater for a lively twist on a traditional combination that will make your look so very now.

Cashmere sweaterThe Gap red v-neck cashmere sweater - Credit:

Utterly luxurious and never out of style, a V-neck cashmere sweater is versatile and should be a staple in every man’s closet. If you can, spend a bit more on this piece, but if you can’t, don’t worry since plenty of companies make great ones with affordable price tags. This one, from Gap, is available in several colors and the red version is our favorite because the intensity of the hue will make your outfits more interesting, but red is not a color that will seem dated in a year’s time. Wear it with Yoko Devereaux’s basic black peacoat to perk up a classic jacket and take your outfit from ho-hum to wow.

Classic coatYoko Devereaux peacoat - Credit:

A peacoat in a color like black or camel is another item that’s a must when it comes to building a functional wardrobe with only a few pieces. Made from heavy-weight cotton fleece, this black peacoat from Yoko Devereaux will ensure you are both warm and stylish during the colder months. Thankfully, it can be thrown straight into the wash when you want to revive its appearance. This smart topper is lined in satin and chic enough to wear with a suit, but it’s also fantastic for classing up a basic ensemble of jeans and a white dress shirt. A word to the wise: When searching for a peacoat, do try to buy it on sale because you can get some incredible steals that way. And although you’ll own it forever, this piece isn’t one you need to splurge on.

va-va-voom versatility

If you’re going to have less in your closet, don’t be afraid to spend a bit more. Having said that, know which pieces are better to splurge on and which ones you can save on. A navy suit, for example, is something you definitely shouldn’t be afraid to fork over some dough for, whereas you can be much thriftier when it comes to casual cotton clothes, an everyday blazer or sweater and your jeans.


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