Every man should have his own style, but within that, there are certain pieces of clothing that each man should own.

• 2 high-quality white shirts, one could have French cuffs for dressier occasions

1 nice blue shirt

1 dark, year round suit, preferably navy blue

• 3 or 4 (or more) silk ties — one or two solids, and a few classic stripes and conservative prints

High-quality shirts will have the following:

Split yoke. In the back, coming down from the middle of the collar, most high-quality shirts will have two pieces sewn together. Less expensive shirts tend to have one piece which don’t drape as well

Removable collar stays, also known as collar bones or collar stiffeners, found on shirts that do not have button down collars, and are made of plastic or metal. Less expensive shirts will have collar stays that are sewn inside of the collar.

• Shirt bottom will be longer. They look better when tucked in.

Gussets, sometimes in a contrasting color than the shirt fabric. A gusset is a piece of reinforcement on the bottom of the shirt where the shirt front meets the shirt back.

Nicer buttons, sometimes mother-of-pearl

Thicker, better quality fabric

Most likely cost more than $60 for a good, white shirt. White shirts are the most popular kind of shirt, so they are hardly ever on sale. For other colors and patterns, watch for sales. Some retailers like T.M. Lewin, Brooks Brothers and Charles Tyrwhitt, offer fabulous sales on shirts if you buy them in threes or fours. You can get 3 or 4 shirts for around $150. That’s a steal for good shirts.

Other things to think about. . .
Take good care of them. Launder and iron regularly. Shirts that are handled with care will last longer and be worth the investment.

Try buying non-iron shirts. Typical non-iron shirts can be washed, hung to dry, and worn with just a little bit of touching up from a hot iron. Brooks Brothers and Charles Tyrwhitt both carry good, non-iron shirts. These shirts are great for dads.

If a shirt and suit both fit well together, ¼-1/2″ of the shirt cuff will show beneath the jacket.

Repeat this with me ten times: I will not ever, under any circumstance, EVER let my son, husband, brother, uncle, grandfather, neighbor, postmaster or clergy member wear a short sleeve shirt with a jacket. And if I do, may I have bad luck for 10 years. Got it?

Also, help your man by adhering to this advice regarding suits:

Tall, thin men look better in a slim-fit shirt and a three-button suit

Shorter, portly men should wear regular shirts with a two button suit, which he will find is more flattering. (See? And we thought we were the only ones.)

Tell him to ask for a professional fitting, or have his shirts and suits hand-tailored for an even better fit. Suits off the rack should always be fitted by a knowledgeable sales clerk or tailor to ensure proper sizing.

Personalizing and Creating Your Own Style

Ties are an area where a man can really personalize his wardrobe. Beyond the suggested must-own ties, I suggest buying a few tie
s each year that can be worn seasonally. Wool, tweed ties for fall and winter, fun floral patterns and bold stripes for spring and summer, etc. I love seersucker and oxford ties.

A tutorial on classic tie knots can be found here on the Brooks Brothers website.

Bold checks in fun colors are another way for a man to express himself. Real men should not be afraid to wear pink and lavender! Some of my most favorite shirts that my husband owns are pink and lavender checks.

Cuff knots come in every shade of the rainbow and are a relatively inexpensive way to vary a wardrobe for men who wear shirts with French cuffs.

It’s our duty to make sure our men look good! Some of us are lucky to find a man who knows how to dress. Other men need a little prodding. Keep your eye out for good sales; you’ll always be able to find one. I suggest keeping a card in your wallet with your man’s sizes for easy reference.

Nothing is sexier than a well-dressed man. (If you ask me.)