What Should Be in a Gentleman’s Wardrobe: Man Essentials

A well-kept wardrobe is essential for a modern man. With so many clothing choices, it’s tough to begin. This guide outlines the essentials for every event—business or weddings. Whether a suit veteran or new to the game, these tips will help you dress well.

Gentleman Wearing a Suit and Drinking Coffee

It’s The Midway Gentleman’s guide to cover you from attending a black-tie wedding to showing up on a date. Remember that quality will outweigh quantity – always. Now let’s see the items that should be in every gentleman’s wardrobe.

When it comes to building a wardrobe, less is more. It’s about putting those staple items together in a way that you get maximum versatility. So, here’s a list of things you’ll ever need.

20. Gentleman’s Wardrobe Essentials

1. A Stylish Suit Selection

Suits would be the foundation of any gentleman’s wardrobe. These would keep your outfit checked for formal occasions. 

More importantly, suits are your hidden armor for those business-casual situations. 

What Should Be in a Gentleman's Wardrobe: Suit Collection
Photo by Alexander Naglestad

Even if you don’t want an ostentatious collection, at least buy one suit. You can then start building a collection. 

The navy, charcoal gray, black, and khaki suits can be a part of the gentleman’s wardrobe.

But if it’s your first suit, nothing is better than a navy suit. It’s timeless, versatile, and classic. 

The charcoal gray, khaki, and black suit would come after the navy. 

And before you start thinking about the suit fabrics and styles, always regard the fit first. A well-fitted $300 suit is much better than a poorly-fit $3,000 suit. 

2. Tuxedo

We admit that black-tie events are not that common anymore. But a tuxedo is still among the gentleman’s wardrobe essentials. 

After all, owning a tuxedo is better than renting it. 

What Should Be in a Gentleman's Wardrobe: Tuxedo
Photo by: Jason Briscoe

Believe us, all those black-tie optional or creative events require a tuxedo. The optional and creative are just there for courtesy.

To complement the tuxedo, you should complete the whole black-tie primer. This means having a black self-tie silk bow tie, a tuxedo shirt, suspenders, and proper shoes. 

Plus, the tuxedo is a once-in-a-lifetime investment. It will last years, if not decades, and is always great for enjoying the gentleman’s wardrobe experience. 

3. Sports Jacket

A sports jacket or blazer is the most versatile item for the gentleman’s wardrobe. 

It could be a daily driver to style up casual outfits. Or a statement item for more serious looks. 

What Should Be in a Gentleman's Wardrobe: Sports Jacket
Photo by Alexander Naglestad

But regardless of its use, a sports jacket has impeccable versatility. Therefore, it should be among a gentleman’s wardrobe.

We recommend starting with a blue or gray blazer. 

4. Dress Shirts

Dress shirts are a must-have, even for a minimal men’s wardrobe gentleman. These pair with suits, dress pants, chinos, jeans, you name it. 

The choice of a dress shirt, however, can be tempting, especially when versatility is the goal. 

Dress Shirts on Hangers on Rack

We recommend five dress shirts; White poplin, light-blue oxford cloth, white oxford button-down, oxford stripe, and checked shirt.

For an ideal wardrobe, all of these would be essential gentlemen’s wardrobe. But the order of the shirts in our recommendation is from most to least essential. 

You can select the number as per the feasibility and the required usage.

5. Dress Pants

Have you ever felt that urge to wear dress pants casually? Try this with a polo and a T-shirt, and you’ll feel much more stylish. 

This ability to match almost every shirt type makes dress pants so special. And this is one of the reasons to be in the gentleman’s wardrobe essentials. 

What Should Be in a Gentleman's Wardrobe: Dress Pants

Dress pants also provide that preppy look for your everyday smart to business casual outfits. 

For the choice of pants, we suggest charcoal gray as our top choice. It’s so versatile that it can go with practically any dress shirt. 

Navy and black dress pants are the two alternative options. Both of these are adaptable to the style variations in the dress code. 

6. Dress Shoes

Gentlemen with the finest sense of style are extremely careful of their shoes

We also feel that somehow gentlemen and high-quality dress shoes feel synonymous with each other. 

What Should Be in a Gentleman's Wardrobe: Dress Shoes
A Pair of Brown Leather Shoes Captured by Noah Smith

So, dress shoes are necessary for building a timeless wardrobe. 

Regarding what should a gentleman have in his wardrobe, a plain black oxford is the most elegant option. 

If you want to add functional sophistication, you can try brown cap-toe oxfords. Brown leather loafers are a pleasantly casual alternative to oxfords. 

Besides black and brown, there are many other shoe colors. Burgundy cap-toe oxford boots, for example, are our favorite for a revamped classic style. One of the most important things with any dress shoes is to keep them in the same condition as when you bought them.

7. Casual Leather Sneakers

Casual sneakers in the wardrobe mean taking a break from classically stiff style. Instead, it’s about focusing on an everyday wear wardrobe. 

What Should Be in a Gentleman's Wardrobe: Leather Sneakers
White leather sneaker captured by Bannon Morrissy

Minimalist sneakers are appealing for two reasons: first, they lend themselves to a suitable gentleman’s wardrobe, and second, their versatility makes them suitable for pairing with suits and jeans equally.

With their practical design and timeless appeal, minimalist sneakers are a great addition to any wardrobe aiming to achieve a balance between style and functionality. 

8. V-Neck Sweater

A v-neck sweater is necessary when building a wardrobe to maximize your outfits.

It will create your off-duty smart-casual outfits. Plus, it’s an almost perfect layering item. 

What Should Be in a Gentleman's Wardrobe: V-Neck Sweater

A navy v-neck sweater is essential. The elegance, sophistication, and versatility all make it our top recommendation. 

You can also choose a gray V-neck sweater. It’s a casually debonair layering item. 

Go with the maroon and green sweaters to expand the options. 

9. Overcoat

The use of overcoats by style icons made gentlemen naturally inclined toward having one. 

But the practicality of the overcoat makes it special and one of the gentleman’s wardrobe essentials. 

What Should Be in a Gentleman's Wardrobe: Overcoat

An overcoat will protect you from cold weather. Plus, it can flare up your casual outfits. 

You can wear an overcoat over a suit for both practicality and style. 

We consider charcoal gray the most stylishly versatile option for choosing an overcoat. 

10. Pea Coat

While an overcoat is a great wardrobe item for dressy occasions, a pea coat is exceptional everyday wear. 

A pea coat best matches chinos or jeans and a navy knit sweater for a laid-back style. 

What Should Be in a Gentleman's Wardrobe: Pea Coat
Black Double Breasted Peacoat © Admiral USN

But you can play with formality by switching between a turtleneck and a dress shirt with a tie. 

A navy pea coat creates the most dressy combination. At the same time, a camel pea coat creates some great casual outfits. 

11. Bomber Jacket

A gentleman’s winter wardrobe capsule is incomplete without a bomber jacket. The reason is the functionality and style of a bomber jacket. 

You can wear chinos, a T-shirt, sneakers, and a bomber jacket for a casual look. 

What Should Be in a Gentleman's Wardrobe: Bomber Jacket

Switching to dress shoes and a dress shirt will instantly create a more formal outfit. 

The versatility of bomber jackets is evident from the fact that almost everything pairs with a bomber jacket. 

As a gentleman, you never want to miss anything so functional. 

12. Denim Shirt

A denim shirt has that unspoken charisma. Gentlemen who understand it consider it a must-have for their wardrobe. 

What Should Be in a Gentleman's Wardrobe: Denim Shirt

A denim shirt can dress down your regular suit and adds a flare of personality. Or you can wear it with jeans as a casually relaxed outfit. 

A denim shirt also remains unaffected by the changes in weather. So, it would be a timeless addition to your wardrobe, providing many unique outfits.

13. T-Shirt

Nothing speaks of a laid-back style more than wearing a T-shirt. In a gentleman’s wardrobe, a t-shirt is not just a relaxed, cozy item but also a layering item. 

What Should Be in a Gentleman's Wardrobe: T-Shirt

We recommend starting with three t-shirt collections: plain white, gray, and black.

You can then move towards having polos and henleys. Both of these t-shirts are highly versatile and will add new dimensions to your wardrobe. 

14. Chinos

Chinos are a nice transition between formal dress pants and casual jeans. 

It’s probably the best to wear to look preppy but not overdressed. 

Khaki Chinos Paired with Burgundy Shirt

Wear a T-shirt with chinos for a casual look. Swipe the t-shirt with a dress shirt, and you’ll fall into a small casual dress code. 

Add a blazer to this look, and you’ll be in business casual attire. 

Navy and khaki chinos are essential. But gray chinos are also nice to have. 

15. Jeans

A gentleman’s wardrobe is incomplete without a pair of well-fitted jeans. It’s not because jeans are the epitome of versatile casual wear. 

Instead, we recommend jeans because of their relaxed sophistication and extreme comfort. 

What Should Be in a Gentleman's Wardrobe: Jeans

And to stay in that classic style realm, don’t buy ripped, extremely skinny jeans. 

Nice dark wash slim fit jeans are the best casual wear for a gentleman. 

You can even wear these jeans with a sports coat and a button-down. 

Dark and light blue, black, and gray jeans are the best color options. 

16. Dress Watch

Whether we talk about an antique gentleman’s wardrobe or a modern one, watches are always there. 

We believe that “a gentleman is known by the watches he keeps.”

What Should Be in a Gentleman's Wardrobe: Dress watch
Photo by Ruthson Zimmerman

But you don’t need a Patek or Vacheron to look exquisite. Any good quality simple dial will do the job for you. 

It’s best to have two watches. One is a leather strap for your dressy needs, and the other is a metal strap for sporty looks. 

17. Dress Belt

For some gentlemen, belts are just functional accessories. And for others, it’s a fashion-forward styling item. 

Regardless of your clan, dress belts are a must-have for a gentleman’s wardrobe. 

What Should Be in a Gentleman's Wardrobe: Brown Dress Belt
Photo by Hermes Rivera

The choice of the belt should correspond to your dress shoes. But black and brown leather would be appropriate for most of your needs. 

Go for a plain and simple dress belt, avoiding flashy logos. 

18. Cufflinks

Mastering the details creates a dapper stylist and a true gentleman. Wearing cufflinks is one such detail. 

Although it might look rudimentary, cufflinks speak volumes about elegance, especially when dressing up. 

What Should Be in a Gentleman's Wardrobe: Cufflinks
Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash

The best option is to wear cufflinks matching other metals of your outfits, i.e., ring, belt-buckle, etc. And choose some subtle ones. 

19. Navy Grenadine Tie

A tie to cover you for dressy occasions is among the gentleman’s wardrobe essentials. We recommend the navy Grenadine tie because it’s arguably the most versatile tie ever

What Should Be in a Gentleman's Wardrobe: Navy Grenadine Tie
Grenadine Silk Navy Blue Tie – Fort Belvedere

You can think of any suit and shirt combination, and the navy Grenadine tie will somehow work with it. 

Plus, the tie is perfectly balanced in formality, neither too dressy nor overly casual. 

20. Pocket Square

A pocket square can complement the formality of the outfit. Or it provides the opportunity to be playful. 

Regardless of intent, it’s great for any gentleman’s wardrobe. We recommend two pocket squares. 

What Should Be in a Gentleman's Wardrobe: Pocket Square
Photo by Tyler Harris

A white pocket square would cover you for all the formal occasions. In comparison, choose a patterned pocket square for jolly outfits.

Other Gentleman’s Essentials

Take Care of Your Investments

Building a wardrobe is not about just buying things. It’s about caring for those things that help you look your best

Invest Into Basics

  • A gentleman wardrobe dresser, for example, would be your inventory. A mirror is also essential for an outlook on your outfits. 
  • Good quality wooden hangers, tie hangers, shoe racks and trees, and a cufflinks box are also some nice essentials. Learn more here.
  • A travel suitcase and a leather briefcase are also quite handy gentlemen’s wardrobe essentials. 
  • If you have a couple of watches, a watch box is nice to have. And finally, a good quality umbrella to stay stylish on rainy days. 


In conclusion, a well-curated gentleman’s wardrobe comprises essential pieces that embody style, sophistication, and versatility. From tailored suits and classic dress shirts to timeless accessories and polished shoes, investing in these man essentials ensures a confident and refined appearance for every occasion.

Keep on reading: How to Dress like a Gentleman

What Should Be in a Gentleman's Wardrobe: Man Essentials
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What Should Be in a Gentleman's Wardrobe: Man Essentials
Building a gentleman's wardrobe can be overwhelming with endless clothing options. Our guide covers the essentials for all occasions, from business to weddings.
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Midway Gentleman
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