2014 needs a style refresh. Let’s clean out some of that dusty, stretched-out fluff in your wardrobe and start collecting pieces that are classic and will last a lifetime. These 10 essentials will lay a foundation you can build upon for years to come.
1. The Perfect-fitting Suit. A Southern gentleman starts here. Charlotte suiting label Abbeydale gets it right and brings that modern form. Their number one concern is fit, as it should be. Pick out an incredibly classic suit, and the jacket will double as a sport coat for less formal occasions. Don’t know which to choose? They’d be glad to help.
2. Striped oxford button-down. This shirt has been a staple for years. It can be ironed, dressed up with a suit and tie, or pulled out of your bottom drawer and thrown on with dark denim and some chukka boots. Either way, as long as it fits right, you’ll always be on-point. Read Wall’s “University Stripe” makes your choice an easy one.
3. Slim Necktie. Nashville’s Otis James crafts these killer neckties that will be just the ticket for replacing those wide and shiny chain-store ties. Rock this chocolate wool and blueberry windowpane number with the aforementioned suit, oxford shirt, or even the occasional raw-denim look. Not a bad price tag either.
4. The only pair of denim you’ll need. By now, you’ve probably heard of Imogene+Willie—they’re making big waves in the denim world with their quality, fit, and overall brand. I really mean it when I say this is all you need. This pair will age with you and take on the marks of your life. Tells a story. Oh, and if you’re in Nashville, stop by their gas-station-turned-retail-store. Pretty cool.
5. Double Monk Straps. Shoes are absolutely the item where most men go wrong. Ever since I saw these double monks from Atlanta designer Sid Mashburn years ago, I thought they were the most timeless shoe I’d ever seen. Wear them dressy with a three-piece wool suit or scuff them up and wear daily with the above denim (cuffed of course). And I always say: “Square toed shoes… Just say no.”
6. Roper Boots. When life calls for boots, these are them. Billy Reid designs these perfect ropers for everyday wear. They’re much lighter than expected with none of the flashy designs so common in “cowboy boots.” Just a tough, durable, Southern gentleman’s boot. Pieces like this only get better with age.
7. CPO Shirt. Much of my favorite basic garb has roots in the military. This CPO layering shirt jacket from Raleigh Denim+Workshop will help ward off cold winter drafts while you’re out and about. Again, fit is key here. Otherwise it just becomes a cape. Plus, navy looks good on everybody.
8. Cashmere Cable Sweater. Ledbury from Richmond, Virginia, might be known for its great shirts, but check their sweaters. This cashmere cable number is ideal for a thin extra layer this winter, and even into spring. It's all in the details here: look at the —from site— "carefully positioned crew neck that allows the perfect amount of shirt collar to be displayed."
9. Leather Watch Band. But not just any old leather. These minimalist bands with slim-button closures take away the mass market look of your watch and give it a personal touch. FormFunctionForm out of Orlando brings a welcome and fresh addition to anything from a Timex to a Rolex.
10. Laptop Bag. Colsen Keane from Charlotte hand-makes its heavy-duty satchels for every day use. No matter what you’re carrying to/from the office, this bag will get you there in style. No excess, just the basic function that never fades. As this bag ages, you’ll get more and more compliments, so feel free to toss it around a little.
Tell us what you love about Southern men's style in the comments.