5 Essential Pieces for the Menswear Look– I’m joining my friend Jennifer of A Well Styled Life today to share our favorite basics! She is a fashion blogger known for her “Dressing Room Diaries.” Jennifer, a former personal stylist and image consultant, is helping women over 50 get dressed and feel good about themselves– while enjoying the process! Make sure to follow her on Instagram here.
First, let me just say that I have very few clothes, and I like it that way; I suspect that when Jennnifer asked me to join her for this post on basic wardrobe pieces, it was that reason that made her think of me. I love fashion, I do, but I usually stick to the basics. My style is very menswear inspired for the most part.
Every season I make a list of the basics I will keep and what needs a refresh in my closet.
Why do I stick to the wardrobe basics when there are so many options?
I think it’s all about how clothes make you feel. I want to feel confident in my clothes and comfortable. Both in the sense that it’s “comfortable” – no scratchy wool sweaters for me– and that I feel dressed for the occasion. That occasion might be out to dinner or a trip to the market.
What is the “menswear” look?
A blazer is a definite must for menswear.
The menswear look includes blazers, trousers, sweater vests, and button-down shirts. I have always dressed this way with little veering off this timeless look. I may occasionally wear a floral blouse, but that’s about it.
A black, navy, tweed, or check blazer is perfect for any wardrobe. I can wear a blazer and still be super casual, or I can dress up a look with a blazer.
I think my height and overall love of timeless design are why I lean into the menswear look. I’m 5’10” and wear a size 10.5-11 shoe. Wearing menswear seems natural to me. It’s where I am most comfortable. I want to feel confident quietly, not in a “look at me” way. I am definitely not trying to draw attention to myself with clothing.
Diane Keaton exudes the menswear look.
I found this article in The Cut from 2014 titled: Praise Diane Keaton’s Glorious Menswear Style. Nine years later, Diane Keaton still wears high-wasted pants, tweed suits, and turtlenecks as she did in Annie Hall in 1977. I can’t wait to see her new movie, “Book Club, The Next Chapter,” just to see what she’s wearing.
She also wears neckties and bowler hats. But she’s Diane Keaton…sooooo, there’s that!
I mentioned that I’m tall and lean into the menswear look. But you don’t have to be tall to wear it. Diane Keaton is 5’7″. I think it’s a look anyone can wear…if it appeals to them. One of the main reasons I love it is that everything in my suitcase can be worn together when I travel.
My daughter is 5’5″ and wears blazers and loafers with socks and looks absolutely adorable! I had the good fortune to visit the KULE Sample Sale in Brooklyn last week before it opened to the public and found several fun pieces for both of us! She arrived home to stay for the weekend, and we were wearing almost the same thing! And…I loved it!
The One Thing in My Closet that Elevates Every Look
A pair of expensive shoes can elevate a very basic look. A pair of jeans, a T-shirt, and a pair of Guccis, and you’re dressed. Or jeans, a button-down shirt, done. A long skirt, a t-shirt, and a denim jacket or a blazer; add a pair of Gucci loafers, and you’re dressed.
I would rather have one pair of really nice shoes. If I had to guess what each wear cost me for a pair of Gucci Brixton Loafers, I would say well under $1 each wear. And that will continue to go down because I’ll keep wearing them for years. I do need to have them repaired occasionally, but I polish them at home!
Plus, they are the most comfortable shoes! I have walked 20,000 steps (according to my fitness app on my phone) without even thinking about my feet! That’s almost 10 miles. Now, wearing sneakers for that much walking is a much better idea!
Samabas; The Sneakers I Wear and Love – Perfect for the Menswear Look
Thank goodness sneakers are fashionable. Remember just a few years ago, when wearing a white sneaker still felt like you were going more for comfort than fashion?
I love that sneakers are so fashionable now at any age. My favorites are Adidas Sambas. Since I have large feet, I was concerned that men’s shoes would not be flattering. They are surprisingly sleek and comfortable right out of the box. I have both white and black.
The right sneaker looks great with jeans, pants, shorts, skirts, dresses, with a suit…really almost any look. Especially with basics like olive green pants, Kule striped Tee, and a denim jacket embroidered by Mermade Brooklyn! This was in NYC on Monday as everyone was arriving for the Met Gala; it caused quite a scene with lots of interested spectators.
My Favorite Jeans & Casual Pants
I have one new pair of AG jeans that I love. They are not perfect. A little short (on me), but that’s okay. They have a frayed hem, which I love right now. I never buy more than one pair of jeans at a time because styles change.
Allow me to clarify “one pair”–one blue denim, one white, and one black pair of jeans.
I also rely on a good pair of olive khakis that work with a blazer, a T-shirt, or a button-down. I just found these at Alex Mill and bought them in two colors. That’s how much I love them! A little wide-leg, but not overly wide-leg…if you know what I mean.
I guess that’s what we call them now. A button-down shirt used to mean a collar with buttons. But apparently, it’s now just a shirt (or blouse) with buttons down the front.
I love my GAP boyfriend Linen Shirt. They come in petite, regular and tall, and quite oversized. Great to wear over a T-shirt. I also love the Cotton Big Shirt from GAP. A little more polished than linen.
Alex Mill has this ruffle shirt in three colors. I have it in olive and wear it all the time year round! thinking I need to get the white and the navy shirts. The cotton is so beautiful!
I love a messenger bag, but lately, I’ve been leaving the house with a tote bag! They are so roomy and easy to throw over your shoulder. I love this one from UASHMAMA or this one from Garnet Hill.
That’s it for me today! Let’s see what Jennifer says about five must-have basics!
A Well Styled Life
If you liked reading; 5 Essential Pieces for the Menswear Look, you may also enjoy: The Ultimate Packing List for France – You’ll recognize many of the same pieces!
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