As a younger man, I thought I could get away with the bare minimum. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that this is not true.
Yes, in a way you can wear and use whatever items you want. Hell, you could walk around in a trash bag if you wanted. However, it won’t make a good impression on others and more importantly, you probably won’t feel very good about yourself.
While I don’t claim to be a menswear expert, I do consider myself a style-conscious man and for me, the items I use on a daily, weekly, or occasional basis have a tangible effect on how I feel and how others perceive me.
With this in mind, here are 46 things every classy man should have.
To make it a little more accessible, I have divided this post into 4 sections; clothing, accessories, grooming, and in the home. Feel free to jump ahead to the section that interests you most!
Section 01: Clothes
01 A Great Suit
Unless you work in a very formal industry, the days of wearing a suit on a daily basis are gone. However, a man should have at least one great suit. If you’re like most men, you won’t need it too often, but when you do, it is essential.
Funerals, weddings, and formal celebrations still call for a suit. It is simply good manners to have one in your wardrobe for when the occasion arises.
If you’re only going to have one suit, I’d recommend a charcoal wool suit. Many men gravitate toward black for formal events but I would advise against it as it lacks the versatility of charcoal.
I’ve had a charcoal wool suit for about 5 years now and it has taken me through weddings, funerals, and everything in between without missing a beat.
Also, stay away from anything too trendy so that your suit will remain in style and serve you well for years to come. That means no skinny fits or oversized fits.
Finally, make sure to choose a quality material. Unlike many menswear bloggers, I don’t hate polyester. That said, it does not belong in your suit. Choose a heavier wool that will drape well. It’s worth spending more here if you can afford it; don’t cheap out on this item.
02 A Pair Of Dark Jeans
Every man needs at least one pair of dark jeans, which will go with almost all casual items in your closet.
Steer clear of anything too skinny or baggy. You want a pair that will work as well with a t-shirt as they will with a button-down shirt and sports coat.
Pay attention to the quality of denim. Selvedge denim is more expensive and harder to come by but it’s worth the extra cash.
While others might disagree, nowadays I don’t think it’s necessary to spend an arm and a leg on a pair of jeans. And frankly, I don’t think it’s worth it.
I tend to reach for chinos these days but when I wear jeans, I choose Levis and some selvedge jeans by Uniqlo. They are affordable and look great.
If you have it to spare, spend your hard-earned cash on a great suit, shoes, or some of the other items on this list.
03 A Pair Of High-Quality Formal Shoes
While you might not wear them every single day, you should have at least one pair of quality dress shoes in your closet that match your suit (see point 1).
You see a lot of young men choosing brown but I would highly recommend you opt for a pair in black to compliment your suit. Brown is more informal and can look out of place in very formal settings.
Black shoes are more versatile as well. You can wear them to a funeral but they will also work out on the town with dark-wash jeans.
I’ve had two pairs of black leather shoes for the past 4 or 5 years, which I actually wear on a near-daily basis(I wear them with slacks and a polo for a smart daily look).
Unlike jeans, I would highly recommend that you spend a little more on leather shoes.
As a young man, I didn’t see the point but having owned cheap shoes that fell apart after just a few months, I now see the value.
If you buy the right leather shoes, they will look better and actually work out cheaper in the long run.
No pair of pants are as versatile as a pair of chinos. They look great with a button-down shirt and a blazer. They can also add a touch of class to almost any casual outfit. Chinos can be worn with any casual outfit you might normally choose jeans for but will give you a more grown-up, classy look.
No matter where I happen to be, chinos are almost always my go-to pants for daily wear.
If you don’t have a pair already (you absolutely should) choose a classic color like tan, navy, or khaki. Stick with a classic straight or slim fit and please, please stay away from anything in a skinny fit.
Unlike some items on this list, I don’t think it is necessary to spend a lot of cash on chinos. While you could splash out if you have the budget, stores like Uniqlo and Marks & Spencers do excellent chinos at very reasonable prices.
05 Polo Shirts
Similar to chinos, polo shirts are versatile and elegant. A stiffer collar or button-down collar polo shirt will also look very stylish with a blazer or sports jacket for a more formal look.
Again, avoid extreme fits, nothing too tight and nothing oversized. The sleeves should gently hug your biceps (not squeeze) but make sure to have a little room in the torso to not only allow you to breathe but to give you a more relaxed, classic look.
Like chinos, stick with solid colors in classic shades and please, stay away from anything with huge logos or a lot of branding. Cotton or wool are the best materials for a classy look but polyester blends can be good for sporting or outdoor activities.
If you would like to learn more about this, we have a full article comparing the materials used in polo shirts.
06 A Sport Jacket
There is no item that adds a nonchalant touch of class to any outfit quite like a great sport jacket does.
It’s an essential part of every man’s wardrobe and while you might not wear it every single day, you should definitely have one in your closet.
A well-cut sports jacket works well with chinos or wool pants for a smart casual office-appropriate look or with a polo, jeans, and sneakers on the weekends.
Pay attention to quality fabric as this will affect durability, comfort, and lifespan. Quite simply, if you live in a colder or moderate climate, opt for tweed. It’s the most classic. If you live in an area with hotter weather or need something for the summer months, linen is the way to go.
Being based in South East Asia where it is hot almost all year round, I have a navy linen sports jacket. I also have a tweed one which I leave back in Ireland for when I visit.
07 A Pair of Leather Boots
A good-quality pair of leather boots should be in every classy man’s wardrobe. Not only can they complete a more formal look but they are also perfect for autumn weather (or rain).
They are the perfect combination of rugged, masculine, and refined all in one. You can wear them with chinos or even jeans if you choose a boot that is less formal.
Some good quality leather boots will last you a lifetime so it’s worth spending a little extra to get something that looks and feels great.
I have a pair of brown leather boots which I wear often even though I live in a warmer climate. They are incredibly comfortable and bring an element of classy ruggedness to almost any outfit.
08 A Pair Of Loafers
For summer style, there is no better choice than a pair of quality loafers. Skip the sandals or flip-flops unless you are pool lounging or on a beach.
They look great with a pair of chinos or shorts and will work in any casual situation.
I’d recommend that you opt for leather loafers as they are much more durable and easier clean than the suede variety.
Also, if you’re only going to have one pair, choose brown. They can be worn both casually and semi-formally depending on the outfit you choose to wear them with. Their versatility makes them a great investment.
09 Good Socks
Socks are often overlooked but classy gentlemen know it’s all about the details. An inappropriate or old loose pair of socks can easily ruin a great outfit. Unless you don’t intend on sitting down, you need to invest in decent socks.
To keep it easy, you should match your sock color with your shoes or your pants.
Let me be clear here when I say good socks I don’t mean you should break the bank on them. Spend a few bucks more to get some cotton or wool blend ones.
Throw away the old ones (no holes or elastic that have passed their sell-by date) and make sure you have some appropriate socks for different occasions. It’s simple.
10 At Least One Classic Tie
These days, it’s likely you won’t have to wear a tie all that often (that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t) but when you need to, you need to. You should have at least one classic tie in your arsenal.
You can choose a silk tie if you want to be a little more formal but I think a regular cotton or wool tie in the right shade goes a long way. Avoid shiny ties made of polyester.
I don’t wear ties too often but when I do, I have a few to choose from ranging from conservative to a little bolder.
Also, avoid those dreaded skinny ties. You are a man, not a child. I’d go with a tie width of at least 8cm. Most of my ties are on the wider side (around 10cm) but you should do what works for you. If you are slimmer choose a slimmer tie (not skinny) and if you are bulkier, choose a wider tie. It’s also a good idea to match or almost match your tie width to your jacket lapel size.
11 A Few Button-Down Cotton Shirts
Button-down collar shirts fall into the same category as chinos in that they are incredibly versatile. You can wear them with a suit and tie, under a sport coat, or with a pair of jeans and sneakers.
Choose classic colors like white and powder blue and make sure they are well-ironed before wearing them.
I have a few from Uniqlo in white and light blue which I love. I wear them constantly. They don’t last forever but no white shirt will. Luckily they are reasonably priced!
12 A Merino Wool Sweater
When the temperature drops, there is little classier for a casual look than a merino wool sweater.
I have one in charcoal gray which I don’t use often as I live in the tropics but when I visit home, it is my go-to sweater.
Merino wool is such a great material. It is lightweight so you can easily pile on multiple layers if needed but it keeps you warm when worn alone (but never hot). It is also naturally odor resistant. Do be careful when washing, however. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions or risk ruining it.
Merino wool sweaters are everywhere and should be easy to find. Just make sure to get one that is actually 100% or close to 100% merino wool. There are a lot of sweaters made from synthetics that look similar to wool. They are not wool and do not offer the same feel, thermal benefits, or style.
13 A Wool Overcoat
If you’re going to invest in an expensive suit, you need an overcoat to go with it for those colder days.
A more casual coat will ruin your look. A wool overcoat is the most classic choice and will work great for formal occasions.
It should be long enough to cover your rear end and at least part of your legs (depending on the length of your coat).
It’s worth spending a little more here as a good wool coat will serve you for years if not decades to come. Choose one in black, dark grey, or camel.
14 A Waxed Cotton Jacket
For more casual occasions, you can’t beat a waxed cotton jacket. They are incredibly versatile, can be worn with almost anything outside of very formal wear, and look incredibly sophisticated in an understated way.
They also look to keep you dry in the rain (just make sure you re-wax every so often).
I have a classic green waxed jacket which I wear when I travel home. It’s perfect for Ireland’s unpredictable and rainy weather.
15 A Linen shirt
When the summer heat kicks in, a linen shirt is invaluable. It is a casual staple for summer gatherings.
As a material, linen is very breathable and dries quickly making it perfect for hot, humid days.
That said, they crease. And when I say they crease, I mean it. This makes linen shirts unsuitable for very formal occasions or office attire. However, in the right setting, it’s all part of the charm of the material.
16 Gray Slacks
Gray slacks are an easy style upgrade to update your wardrobe without going full-out. They are more versatile than a suit and will go with anything from a summer tie to a full formal outfit.
I have one pair of gray pants that I added to my wardrobe several years ago and they have been with me ever since. They are extremely versatile and great for smart casual looks between a suit and chinos.
Again, go for wool here. I would say heavier wool is best as the material will drape better.
If you want to wear your gray slacks for years to come, you need to keep them classic in terms of fit. Stay away from anything skinny, cropped, or low-rise.
Section 02: Accessories
17 A Good Watch
I get you to have a phone that tells the time. You still need a good watch.
Whether consciously or unconsciously, people treat you better if you wear a watch. A watch suggests that you are timely and punctual.
Also, a good watch can enhance almost any outfit. Just get one.
I wear a leather-banded classic-style watch as well as a simple metal bracelet watch. The leather strap watch is great for more formal outfits while the metal bracelet watch works great with more casual outfits.
If you can only afford one, I would recommend getting one with a simple, classic face and an interchangeable strap. Get a black leather strap for more formal events and a textile strap or metal bracelet for everyday wear. Unless you have very large hands, resist the temptation the get a watch with a huge face (45mm +).
Watches can be a great investment but I’m not of the opinion that you need to spend an arm and a leg to get something decent. If you’re just getting started and want to save a little cash (we hear you), something like a Tissot Classic Dream should do the trick.
18 A Leather Wallet or Cardholder
Throw away your velcro wallet if you have one. I don’t care how practical it might or might not be. That is for children. Go and get yourself a leather wallet, preferably in top-grain or full-grain vegetable-tanned leather.
Your wallet is always with you and makes a distinct impression every time you take it out to pay for anything. Having a good one is essential.
A good leather wallet is one of those items that will last you a lifetime if you can resist buying into all of the “it” wallets that come out each year.
I used to own a leather accessory company and hence use a wallet I designed years ago. It’s made from top grain vegetable tanned leather and as a result, has been my daily driver for about 5 years.
Again, a wallet is an item that is worth spending a little more on. In the end, it will actually be cheaper than buying a cheap wallet.
19 A Leather Briefcase
Like many young men, I was a backpack wearer when I was younger but I switched to a briefcase almost a decade ago.
In fact, I have two that I use day-in-day-out.
One is a slim black briefcase which is great when I want to look polished and don’t need to carry the world(which is most of the time).
The other is a larger brown leather bag that does everything a backpack does with way more class. I use this one when I need to carry my camera and when I travel. It holds everything I need for short weekend trips and when I go for longer, I use it as a daily bag along with my hard suitcase.
Ditch the backpack. Invest in a good leather briefcase or messenger; you won’t regret it.
20 An Umbrella
There’s nothing more annoying than not having an umbrella in your hand when it starts to pour down.
A classy man is prepared and does not arrive at appointments looking like a wet dog.
This is another item on which it’s worth spending a few extra dollars. You don’t want an umbrella that will break easily and it should complement your style. A good umbrella should last you for years.
For a classy look, stay away from anything sporty like a golf umbrella with logos on it. Instead, choose one in black or one with a tasteful pattern and minimal branding. A wooden handle will give you extra style points.
21 A shoe polish kit
Do you have leather shoes? Of course, you do.
You need a shoe polish kit and you need to use it regularly. People judge you by the shoes you wear and if you have invested in good-quality leather shoes, you should have them looking their best.
22 A Lint Roller
Often overlooked, lint rollers come in handy when you want to freshen up your clothes and remove small fibers from your suit jacket, pants, or sport coat.
They are cheap but incredibly useful. It’s as simple as that, just get one and use it.
23 A Shoehorn
Somewhat a forgotten item, shoehorns make it easier to put on shoes, especially dress shoes. Using a shoehorn can also help to prolong the life of your leather shoes.
I have a simple wooden shoe horn which does the trick but you could also opt for one in metal or leather if you are feeling a little luxury.
24 At Least One Leather Belt
Ideally, you should have a leather belt to match each color leather shoe you own. If you only wear black leather shoes, you can get away with a mid-width black belt.
If you have brown shoes of different, you should have a belt to match each tone (or close to) each tone.
Personally, I have just one black belt and one more casual woven leather brown belt. These get me through all the situations life throws at me. I’ve had them for years as I invested in real leather. You should do the same.
25 A Good Quality Suitcase
If you travel a lot and carry your own bag, you need a good quality hard or soft shell suitcase. You are judged by the bag you carry and if it’s disheveled and falling apart, then people will assume you don’t take care of anything in your life.
Get a good quality suitcase, one that looks sharp and will last you for years if taken care of properly.
Last year I picked up an aluminum carry-on-sized suitcase which so far has worked a treat. It looks polished, has great wheels, and seems like it will last for years to come.
26 A Lighter
Even if you don’t smoke, it’s a good idea to have a quality lighter on hand.
People who do smoke, be it cigarettes or cigars are often in need of a lighter. Having one can be a great way to start a conversation, particularly if it is a high-quality or interesting lighter.
Choose something classy and understated. A zippo will do just fine but is a little typical making it uninteresting. A lighter by a company like Colibri (not sponsored or an affiliate link – I just like them) might be a good conversation starter.
27 A Name Card Case
Yes, I know, people don’t carry business cards as much as they used to. We have phones, why do we need physical cards? Because it’s classy, that’s why.
Handing someone a business card or name makes a great impression and is a lot less awkward, more efficient, and more professional than handing someone your phone to somebody you just met so they can type in their number.
Even if you don’t have business cards for work, get some name cards made up with your contact details. Then put them in a quality name card case so that they stay clean and in pristine condition. It’s all about the details.
I have a slim name card case in aluminum. It’s nothing fancy but it is a huge step above stuffing cards in your wallet or just keeping them in your pocket.
28 A Notebook/Journal
Journaling or writing in a notebook has many benefits; it helps you to focus, keeps your brain active, and can be a great creative outlet and is interesting to look back on years later.
Iphones are distracting and it can seem rude to use tech devices in a business meeting. You will know this if you work with people who are over 50 years old. A clean simple notebook, however, is a perfect meeting companion.
I actually use two; one for whenever I get great ideas from books or podcasts I listen to and another for taking notes at work meetings.
29 A Good Quality Pen
Get rid of those plastic Bic pens. You are not in school anymore.
I am aware that we don’t use pens as much as we once did. So why buy a good one you may ask? Because when we do use pens today, it’s usually for something important….signing important documents, taking notes at an important meeting, or taking notes of something you learned.
These things are important and deserve a good pen that makes a good impression, and most of all one that makes you feel good when you use it.
You don’t have to spend the world here.
I use a Lamy pen in stainless steel and it works a treat. As far as I remember, I picked it up for about 30 USD. It might have been 28 Dollars more than a cheap one but it was 28 Dollars well spent as far as I am concerned.
30 Classic Sunglasses
They are a classic manly accessory and an absolute staple in your wardrobe; for both summer and winter.
Black, classic sunglasses are a wardrobe essential and it’s always worth investing in a great pair; you will use them forever if you take care of them well.
They can go with any outfit and look stylish no matter where you are going.
I have a simple pair of black aviators which I use when driving and anytime the sun is high in the sky.
I’ll leave it up to you to choose your specific style as it is personal but what I would say is to stay away from anything too sporty and make sure they are polarized.
31 A Passport Cover/Sleeve
Your passport is without a doubt one of the most important pieces of documentation you have but it is fragile. It’s a no-brainer that you should protect it.
I use a leather passport sleeve in brown which a company I owned produced. It keeps my passport clean and looking good. Being leather the cover itself just gets better the more I use it.
32 Leather Gloves
When the temperature drops, gloves are essential and a classy man chooses leather ones.
I have a leather pair made by Yamaha. They are actually motorcycle gloves and I do use them when riding my motorbike here. However, they have minimal branding and are all black making them great for wearing in Ireland where the weather gets cold.
33 A Cable Pouch
As I’ve said, it’s all about details. A cable pouch is an overlooked item that every classy would do well to have.
I use a cable pouch to store my keys, mobile phone, and other cables which I don’t need immediately but need to have close at hand.
It keeps my briefcase neat and it ensures that I have the various connectors and cables I need when called for.
Section 03: Grooming
34 A Cassic Razor
Growing up, I used standard Gilette cartridge razors. I didn’t love them and I would get razor burn quite often but I didn’t know any different. That was until my good friend a ManlyStuff gifted me a metal safety razor.
To put it briefly, I never looked back.
I’ve been using safety razors for almost a decade and couldn’t recommend them more. I’ve written a full article on it here but in short, they are just better.
They make you feel like James Bond. They give a better shave with almost no razor burn. You have a much better selection of blades to choose from. They last for so long (my first safety razor took daily use and abuse for 8 years before giving up).
And guess what? In the long run, they are actually much cheaper than cartridge razors. Just pick one up and thank me later.
Straight razors are also great but take much more time to get used to and much longer to shave with. That said, if you are a bearded gentleman, there is no better tool for giving you a crisp, clean beard line.
35 A Nail Clippers
Being a classy man is all about the details. Don’t neglect your nails. They should be neatly trimmed.
To do this you need nail clippers. You don’t need anything fancy. Just get a pair that work and call it a day.
I use a decent pair of nail clippers and they work perfectly fine.
Smelling good is key for every man. Better yet, have a pleasant recognizable scent that will make you more memorable.
Look, scent is an extremely personal thing. Test a few that you like and ask some trusted friends what they think and make your choice.
Some would say that you should have different colognes for different occasions; I think this is overcomplicating it unless you are really into colognes.
For most men, it’s best to find something you like a lot (this make take some trial and error) and stick with it.
37 A Comb/Brush
Yes, yes, yes….we are not as formal as we once were, and less combed looks are all the rage right now. I know. However, there will be occasions when you need to (and absolutely should) use a comb or brush to style your hair neatly.
The only men who are excused from having a comb or brush are bald men or those rocking a tight buzz cut.
I use a short brush as I have thick, wavy medium length hair but you do you.
38 A Beard/hair Trimmer With Different Length Settings
Even if you are clean-shaven every classy man needs a trimmer with different settings.
We don’t always have time to make it to a barbershop especially it traveling. This does not mean you are excused for looking sloppy. A trimmer is essential for keeping your beard or mustache neat, tidying up sideburns in between trips to your barber, and keeping, well other areas neat too.
I have one by Phillips which does the trick quite nicely. It is rechargeable and has multiple length settings.
Section 04: In The Home
39 An Iron
Having the right clothes is not enough. Your clothes need to be well-presented and free of creases. Even worn or cheaper items that have been cared for and made presentable will trump expensive items that are creased.
Unless you have the time and/or budget to have all of your clothes professionally laundered and pressed (I’d bet that most men don’t), you will need an iron and you will need to use it. While you could go out and buy something very expensive, in my experience it is not necessary.
I have this iron by Phillips. It’s small, simple inexpensive and does the job required. Its size is a great advantage if I ever feel the need to take it traveling. It doesn’t have a steaming function but I don’t think it needs it as I have a bottle of clothing starch which I use to moisten the items that I want to be super crisp (dress shirts etc).
40 Real Books
Real books in the age of kindles? Yes.
While digital books have many advantages in terms of portability (and I do also read e-books), there is nothing as good as feeling, and turning the pages of a physical book.
I have also found that opting for real books allows me to be more focused. If you read books on your smartphone or laptop, you will know how easy it is to get distracted as well as how it can cause eye strain.
If you are interested in my thoughts on some books that every man should read, we have a full post on it here.
Whatever your drink of choice, you should be drinking it from the right glass. It adds a touch of class and a welcome sense of occasion to relaxing times with guests.
Pick up some wine glasses, whiskey glasses, and a few for cocktails (if that happens to be your thing).
42 Good Sheets
Don’t neglect the importance of sheets. They are the first line of defense against being too hot and too cold as well as being downright uncomfortable. Sheets are an extremely important consideration when picking a bed set.
If you want a great night’s sleep in a cold climate, look into getting some thick crisp cotton sheets (in a plain color like white or black). If you live in a warmer climate, look toward natural linen sheets (in a plain neutral color like off-white, charcoal, or tan).
Lighting plays a huge role in creating atmosphere. Ceiling lights tend to be too bright when you want to wind down after a long day so you need some lamps.
It’s well-accepted that lighting can have a great effect on your mood and happiness. Notably, it is very important in Hygge, the Danish art of creating a soothing atmosphere. Keep in mind the Danes are some of the happiest people in the world so there must be something to it. To learn more about this check out this post.
I prefer battery-powered table lamps as they give soft light but also give me the option to move them around as needed without the hassle of cables.
44 A Good Speaker
Music is important and for you and your guests to enjoy it in its truest form, you need a good speaker.
As with most things on this list, you could spend thousands of dollars on a speaker system. However, you can find decent ones without breaking the bank.
In Ireland, I owned a huge, vintage stereo system with a vinyl player but I have now downsized to a simple affordable Bluetooth speaker. Is it as good as the big system? No, it’s not. However, it is very good, good enough in fact. I love that it is rechargeable, can be moved around, and is so small that I can put it in my suitcase when traveling.
Whatever you choose, you need something to allow you and your guests to enjoy music together.
No matter how big or small your house is, it needs some plants.
On top of the health benefits they bring, they create a natural ambiance that is so soothing and calming. For me, it helps me to be at ease and focus on the tasks at hand.
I truly believe a plant or two really makes my apartment a more pleasant place to be.
46 A Corkscrew
If you drink wine, like ever, you need a corkscrew. Even if you don’t use it often, it is essential that every classy man has one in his home.
You’ve probably been in the position of forgetting a corkscrew and as result, not being able to open a bottle of wine to share with that special someone or a group of friends. It can really upset the mood of a night.
Go a little higher than your local supermarket and get something quality. It will last you for years and be at hand when you need it.
I hope that you found this post useful.
There are many other items I could have included here but I wanted to really pare it down to the essentials. If there are any other things that you think should be included in the list, we’d love to hear them in the comments below.
Keep it classy.