There are men and then there are gentlemen. The latter are a distinguished, almost extinct species. Nothing attracts ladies more than gentlemen. There are a few wardrobe staples, as essential as the little black dress in a woman’s closet, which no gentleman should be without. Purchase the following at the highest quality possible for the best fit and lasting value. If budget doesn’t allow, wait for end of the season sales at department stores or go to outlets such as Off-Fifth and Century 21.
There are two types of coats indispensable to the gentleman’s wardrobe. A long trench coat in a neutral color is essential for mild, rainy weather. A long wool pea coat is optimal for cold days instead of the puffy ski jacket type. One in navy blue could bring you the elegance you need, but black is just as good.
At minimum, every gentleman needs at least three pairs of black leather shoes. One should be dressy, to be worn to work or special occasions. Beware of penny loafers with little pom-poms hanging. They are so fifty years ago, yet are still rampant even in the most cosmopolitan cities. Black leather sandals are suitable for warm summer days. Too many men walk around in cheap flip flops in the summer. Sandals epitomize elegance, the gentleman’s primary characteristic. Do not wear them with jeans because it’s tacky, or to work because it’s too informal. Wear them with khaki shorts and polo shirts on summer outings. The third is black sports shoes. By sports shoe, I mean dressier than a sneaker, but more casual than a shoe. They should be worn with jeans or khakis at casual affairs in the winter.
Three different types of shirts are absolutely paramount. A cashmere sweater is a sharp and polished look for the winter. Buy the first one in black and slowly add other colors such as navy blue, brown and gray. The second is a white button down shirt. Though they are as basic as it gets, a high quality one is remarkable and by no means ordinary. It can be worn with a suit, or under a cashmere sweater. To get through the summer, a gentleman needs at least two polo shirts. As with the sweater, start out with a basic black and white and slowly branch out to others. Pair them with jeans or shorts for the weekends.
Even if a gentleman’s work does not require suit attire, his wardrobe should include at least one. It should be black, tailored and crisp. It is better to have one excellent suit, than five cheap ones. Wear the suit with a tie (which every gentleman should have at least two basic colors of) and cufflinks. Ideally, cufflinks should be worn with the suit each time. Otherwise, reserve them for special occasions such as weddings and society functions.
A gentleman can get along with two pairs of pants. The first is fashionable jeans, which should flatter his stature. Loose jeans are immeasurably unattractive, as are jeans that fit you too tight. The second is a pair of khakis, in brown, tan or olive green.
Every gentleman’s wardrobe needs something pink. Favor light pale pink over dark. He who wears pink shows that he is not afraid to reveal his feminine side. This is an irresistible trait in the eyes of a lady. It could be a pink button down shirt, polo shirt or tie.
These are just a few things to get started on your way to dressing like a gentleman. Start with the basics, and then build as time goes on. Remember to wear your wardrobe with an upright posture, not forced, but effortless and graceful.