How to Build a Basic Wardrobe | Curated Mint

A basic wardrobe is something that every man needs. Keep things simple and allow yourself space to experiment and develop your style further. From simple shirts to a classic pair of jeans, here’s how to build a basic wardrobe.

The T-Shirt

First made stylish in 1950 by Marlon Brando, the T-shirt is an essential yet versatile item of clothing. Your wardrobe should feature at least a dozen in different colours and styles. A plain white T-Shirt and some skinny joggers, though simple, is a timeless classic.

Simplicity is key when it comes to buying your tees, if you’re going for a basic wardrobe then a plain white tee will do you no wrong. You’ll want to a have a few tonal T-Shirts in your wardrobe i.e. black, grey and white just so you have a bit of versatility in your wardrobe.

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A phenomenon first designed for cowboys and miners, jeans have grown in popularity since the 1950s. Once a symbol of youth rebellion, they were banned in theatres, restaurants and schools. Today, they are the dress code for such establishments. A symbol of casual wear, jeans are an essential component of any wardrobe.

Skinny, boot cut, baggy, faded, low-waisted, black – they come in all shapes and sizes – establish a selection that suits your body shape and stick with it.

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The Jacket and Coat

For this autumn/winter, you’re going to want a coat to see you through both with practicality and style. If a basic wardrobe is what you’re after then stick to classic shapes and cuts, wearing a coat in bright yellow with tassels isn’t going to be the most versatile and practical option, but if it floats your boat, go for it.

An overcoat in black or camel is going to last you for years as they are a timeless and wardrobe basic. Versatility is key when you’re compiling a basic wardrobe, as you’ll want the pieces to mix and work with each other, so an overcoat is your best option this season.

With your jacket, you can play around with the shape a bit more – rather than have a straight cut silhouette, you can play around with aesthetics. Jackets such as the bomber and biker may not come to mind when you think of basics, but you’d be wrong, they are such versatile pieces to have and can work with a majority of your basic pieces.

mens Scandinavia overcoat street style

The Shirt

One of the key elements to your wardrobe is a good shirt. A good shirt speaks for itself, you don’t have to go all out and wear something too in-your-face and a basic wardrobe consists of the classics and is very simple (but effective).

Again, you can’t go wrong with a simple and classic white shirt. Versatile and stylish, it oozes confidence and you can then work your accessories around it, giving you a blank canvas to work with other pieces into your look. White isn’t the only colour that can work in a basic wardrobe, try a pale pink or blue to add a touch of colour. This still gives you a basic look, but a little touch of colour never hurt anyone.

mens oxford shirt and bag street style


Classic is always best, especially when you’re building a basic wardrobe. Brogues and loafers are the main go-to’s when you’re picking out classic footwear and that’s because they work. Keeping them in black and brown allows you to wear them with almost everything you own.

mens formal shoes look street style

Having a basic footwear range doesn’t mean simply having classic shoes, they can be a bit uncomfortable and sometimes out of place. Trainers are the next best thing, but remember to keep them simple and classic looking. Vans have a great range of simple basics – forget the 90’s skater look and think of a more sophisticated, grown-up range.

A pair of white trainers is always going to be a hit, especially when you’re building a basic wardrobe – versatile and classic, you can wear them with your suit for the office (trendy I know) and you can team them with a pair of basic jeans, or some black joggers.

mens vans and bomber jacket street style

The Suit

Your suit will be the item that will last the longest, as you may not have to wear one every day. However, if your office requires a full suit, then a basic wardrobe is just for you. You may want to have variations of the same suit i.e. different colours, but keep them neutral, black, grey and navy are the best colours to own.

This gives you a blank canvas to work around as you can mix and match your ties and pockets squares (if you’re feeling fancy). Really play around with the detail to your look, the suit is basic enough to pull off anything you team with it. Or, if you’re not into all of the bells and whistles then a simple suit is just as stylish.

mens navy suit street style

How to Build a Wardrobe

  • Classic items of clothing are essential when building a wardrobe. Start with simple pieces like a T-shirt, jeans and jacket.
  • No man’s wardrobe would be complete without some clothing basics such as a formal shirt and suit. Keep things simple with a classic fit.
  • If you’re unsure, a black and white wardrobe is an easy and stylish way to build a collection of outfits for every occasion.
  • Keep things casual with some slim fit joggers and a pullover hoodie. Men’s joggers are perfect for a casual look.

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On That Note

Building an extensive wardrobe can take years of collecting. However, if you’re after a basic set of clothes to start your wardrobe off then remember to keep things simple. Every great outfit begins with a classic foundation of clothes. However, don’t be afraid to experiment if you find something you like.

Feature image from Pinterest

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