Contrary to popular belief, men care about how they look as much as women do. However, compared to the hundreds of magazines, websites and TV shows dedicated to women’s fashion advice, men do not have a lot of resources out there to help them learn how to dress and look their best. It also doesn’t help that most clothing stores have limited selections in men’s fashion, and men’s clothing tends to be more expensive.
But despite these hurdles, it is still possible for men to dress well. And it doesn’t require having as much money as David Beckham or living in a fashion-savvy city like Cape Town or New York to do so.
What men need to understand is that instead of following trends, to become well-dressed in all occasions, we have to have certain essential men’s fashion items that can be customized and styled to suit your environment and personality.
1. Cotton T-shirts
The casual t-shirt is a very common everyday clothing item for men. However, many men tend to forget to update their t-shirts and continuously wear over worn and faded t-shirts that don’t fit well and make them look unkempt.
The thing is, the main reason t-shirts age so quickly is because they lack quality. Men should invest in t-shirts made of natural fibers, preferably, 100% cotton. Moreover, they should have t-shirts in a wide range of colors including:
Basic colors like white, black, and grey
Colorful colors like yellow, dark green and baby blue
T-shirts are incredibly versatile, and can be paired with other clothing items to create a whole new look. For instance, pair a cotton t-shirt with a casual cardigan or even blazer for a chic smart casual look. You can also pair a printed t-shirt with khakis or basic colored chino pants if you want to stand out more.
2. Polo Shirts
Every man should have a few polos in his closet as they are the perfect cross-breed between luxury and practicality, making them a great choice for casual weekend wear.
Moreover, polos offer men the opportunity to experiment with color. The year-round sunny Tanzanian climate always makes it appropriate to wear bright-colored polos for the perfect summer look.
3. Casual button-down shirts
Many men struggle with identifying the right occasion to wear the casual shirt. For most, it’s too laid back for the work environment (unless the dress code is business casual), and it’s too formal for casual weekend wear.
Nevertheless, there has been a resurgence of the casual short-sleeved shirt and a wide variety of solid colors and sleek prints are available to match many personalities. Find one that reflects yours and pair it with jeans and boots or sneakers. This is a great day and night look on a casual weekend out.
4. Formal dress shirts
Depending on your profession, this is the one item you will spend the most time wearing and as a result, will greatly reflect your style and personality. If your job entails meetings with clients, the dress shirt is all the more important. Nevertheless, even if you don’t need to wear a dress shirt every day, occasions like weddings, formal events or meetings will require you to.
So, for starters, have a few well-fitted shirts in white and light blue as these colors are versatile and can easily be accessorized with different colored ties.
While it should be hard to look bad in a dress shirt, many men do because they wear shirts that are either too big or too small for them. The main difference between people who look good in clothes and those who do not is knowing how to dress according to their body type. No one has the perfect body so the key is to put together items that accentuate your best features and understate the less appealing ones.
For the longest time in Tanzania you would very seldom find a man stepping out of the house wearing shorts, but as of late, more and more have started treating shorts just like any other casual dress item. They are perfect for the hot Tanzanian climate and are available in different styles, including, African prints, giving men the opportunity to add a unique flare of personality to their shorts.
Pair them with a colorful polo and nice loafers and your look will go from chilling at home to ‘a distinguished gentleman who just stepped off a yacht’.
However, there are certain styles that aren’t appropriate for men of all ages. So, if you are over 30, please donate those denim shorts for they are a wardrobe disaster waiting to happen.
6. Chino Pants
In between jeans and formal trousers are chinos; comfortable and super versatile pants which can be worn just about anywhere. The most amazing thing about chinos is the large assortment of colors they come in – just like polos, chinos provide you with many options to match with shoes, shirts, and other accessories to further express your individual fashion sense.
Jeans are one of the greatest inventions of mankind because they fit such a wide variety of purposes. One can never run out of places/occasions to wear jeans.
Whether it is casual Fridays at work or a night out, jeans are probably the friendliest clothing item to accessorize with – tuck in your shirt and wear a nice pair of dress shoes and you can look very professional. Untuck the shirt and switch to a pair of leather loafers for a smart-casual look.
However, instead of having 15 pairs of ill-fitting jeans, you are better off having 2 pairs of high-quality, well-fitted jeans. We’d recommend Levi’s as the standard for jeans as they have a wide array of designs and colors which are affordable and do not compromise on quality.
8. Suit Jacket
Every man should have grey and dark/navy blue suit jackets in their wardrobes. These colors are compatible with both formal and informal occasions and can be paired with different colored shirts and shoes.
However, more important than the color, is how the suit fits you. So make sure your suit goes well with your body type. But take caution, being well-fitted doesn’t mean it should be tight – your suit jacket should but nicely frame your body.
9. Underwear: Boxers & Socks
First and foremost, love yourself enough to always wear nice, clean boxers. Secondly, someone will see them at some point so save yourself the embarrassment. If they are worn out, please throw them out. Also, boxer-briefs are much more comfortable and practical than boxer-shorts.
The same applies to socks. As a man, you need to have a wide variety of socks for different occasions – casual, formal, cozy (yes, cozy is an occasion to some). Remember that in remaining true to the art of being a gentleman, your socks are supposed to be a lighter or darker shade of your trousers. Colorful socks are trending at the moment but know your boundaries. If you are going for a formal meeting, colorful socks can do more harm than good.
Though this is last on the list, men must always remember that shoes are the first item on your body to get noticed (especially by women). This means shoes can easily make or break your outfit so please take them very seriously. The most important element is always the cleanliness and sharpness of your shoes and not the brand.
A gentleman keeps it simple
Like all great things, a stylish wardrobe takes time to build. You need to experiment until you find the look that works for you, however, it never hurts to keep it simple. Luckily, these men’s fashion items will ensure that you look ‘your’ best with very little effort.