10 ESSENTIALS EVERY MAN NEEDS TO OWN

Women are known to frequently stare into their closets and lament the fact that we “have nothing to wear.” Guys, on the other hand, don’t dwell on such frivolities. Is it clean? Does it at least appear to not smell/have visible stains? Voila! That’ll do. But just because you’re less picky doesn’t mean you’ve got all your wardrobe bases covered, boys.

Maybe it’s because it’s a new year, but I think beginning a closet overhaul would serve many of you well. But, before you complain that this sounds expensive, realize that you can reinvent your look by integrating just a few staple pieces. As long as they’re the right pieces. So here’s Miss Wingman’s list of 10 Basics Every Man Should Have In His Closet. Enjoy.

*At least 3 custom suits: I know, I know, custom suiting isn’t cheap. But if it’s not bespoke, at least make sure it fits you exceptionally well. You should own a standout black suit, an equally standout charcoal gray suit, and one other. I recommend navy, but I’ve seen guys pull off brown or light gray well, too. And don’t fall into the boring trap – make sure the third option has something different about it, like a 3-piece, or fine pin stripes.

*A pair of fashion sneakers: Please, please do not confuse athletic sneakers with fashion sneakers. Under no circumstances should you pair your white New Balances that you wear to work out with jeans and a shirt. How do you tell the difference? For starters, fashion sneakers, like these, will cost a hell of a lot more. But throwback Nikes, Supras or brands like Common Projects also look a lot cooler, hence the price tag. Play around with what style suits you best, just please leave the cross trainers at the gym.

*A pair of non-cargo shorts: Are you a kangaroo? No? Then you don’t need that many pockets. Flat-front shorts flatter your, um, figure better (read: don’t make your ass look droopy). Keep the hemline close to the knee – not below – and you should be alright.

*A classic, chunky watch: This one’s very subject to individual taste, but here’s a good rule of thumb: No plastic (you’re not in 3rd grade anymore). The sportier, the better. And stainless bracelet trumps leather strap – unless that’s not your style. Diving watches, nylon straps, chronographs – it all works, so long as it suits your personality. It doesn’t have to be a Rolex Daytona, but every man should eventually own a quality watch. 

*A versatile jacket: Sure, this will vary depending on what climate you live in, but you don’t have to rock a down parka or a cashmere overcoat – there’s definitely a happy medium. Surplus styles tend to look handsome on men, as well as waxed cotton field coats, like the one above (J. Crew). And if you’re really feeling baller (like, $800 baller – yikes), the Mackintosh Duncan coat is one of my absolute favorites.

*A fitted dress shirt: Measurements are taken for a reason, boys. Use them. Also, women like the way your chest looks in a dress shirt. It’d be a pity to bury it under all that extra fabric.

*The perfect sports jacket: Solid-colored and well-fitting through the shoulders, all men should own a go-to sports jacket. Pair it with jeans or pants, tees or a button down, if it’s the right cut it’ll work with everything.

*Dark wash jeans: Faded went out with 90s hair metal bands, and ripped are only acceptable if you’re Joey Lawrence (“WHOA!”). Make sure they’re flat-front, dark enough to wear out at night, but casual enough to wear hanging around. No high waters – seriously, dudes need to watch the length of their pants. And please, for the love of God, no embellished pockets.

*Crewneck tees in solid colors: Black, gray, navy, olive, these should all be in your closet. Why? Because you can wear them as base layers or alone. Score.

A man-friendly, functioning carryall: Dispel everything you know about the “murse,” (that’s “man purse” for those worried about the stigma) and stop using your work-issued laptop bag to tote your life. There are options that serve both fashion and function, if you put a little thought into it. Modern briefcases and messenger bags are perfect for the urban guy-on-the-go. Buy quality and it’ll last even longer. Distressed looks cooler anyway.

So that’s the rundown, gentlemen. An exhaustive list, but one that you should all be able to check off item by item. Amassing these pieces over time is allowed, but the sooner you’ve covered your basics, the better. Just remember, being a well-rounded man may be the most important thing, but having a well-rounded closet is a close second.DAPPER WINGMAN

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MAN-GAGEMENT RINGS? I CAN’T.

Well well, Wingman faithful, it’s been a minute since last we’ve met. My apologies for the lengthy pause, but I’ve recently rejoined the world of working stiffs and have taken on a salaried job in addition to my Wingman responsibilities (mama’s gotta pay the bills, what can I say?) The gig is great. The people are great. The fatigue is making me feel 90 years old.

In related news, office life hasn’t changed since last I left it. Nor has my inability to juggle my time effectively. I flop down after work exhausted, my fitness is suffering, my tan is suffering, and my apartment has surpassed resembling a hoarder’s lair and is rapidly nearing health code violation status. Good times. But most importantly, I’m not going to get evicted and have to move home. It’s hard to write about romance when you live with your mom and dad.

But have no fear, Miss Wingman will remain alive and thriving, and the added bonus is that now I’ll have even more love in the workplace fodder to include. See? It’s a win-win. And speaking of things I’ve picked up in the office lately, I recently learned of a trend from my coworkers that I couldn’t help but pass along to all of you. And by “pass along,” I mean shame mercilessly. Behold! I give you the man-gagement ring.

I know. I wish I was kidding.

First of all, if you need a definition of the term A) you might be a little slow on the uptake, I thought I was the only one in need of serious caffeine, and B) ask and ye shall receive. A man-gagement ring is a ring that guys wear after they’ve proposed to their significant other (or vice versa, but that’s a whole other ball of crazy that I can’t really get behind), and this ring alerts the rest of the population that said male is OTM. That’s “off the market,” for those who aren’t in 7th grade.

For the record, it also announces that he’s also officially whipped, but that’s beside the point.

There are several things wrong with this idea, not the least of which being that it’s a well-documented fact that Miss Wingman hates man jewelry. But since wedding/engagement rings don’t really fall into that category, I’ll let them slide. That still doesn’t mean dudes have any business wearing engagement rings, though.

My biggest issue with this phenomenon is that if you have to broadcast that your man is off the market, then you’re either a very insecure individual or else you just don’t trust him. But if it’s the latter, then you shouldn’t even be dating him, let alone marrying him.

Also, that’s just a little too Jonas Brothers/purity ring for my liking. Or should I say “too Michael Buble,” as he has openly worn the dreaded man band himself in public. If you’ve asked a woman to spend the rest of her life with you, shouldn’t it just go without saying that you’re going to forsake all others (at least until someone younger/hotter comes along?)

I’m putting the man-gagement ring right up there with couples who have a joint Facebook account. And we all know how I feel about that.

Some things, while they seem like a good idea at the time, are simply – in a word – unnecessary. So what do you think, boys? Am I being too judgmental? (Who moi? Never). Or are the people who rock this craze straight up crazy? Incidentally, I’m not talking about guys who marry each other who choose to wear man-gagement rings – that’s totally fine – just in case you were going to come at me like that.

Log on and weigh in, because I’d love to hear the male perspective on this one. Apparently this whole man-gagement mania is common practice in several European countries and Norway and Finland. But since Norway also brought us Swims, I think it’s fair to say their opinion no longer counts.

So hit me up in the comments section or at misswingman@gmail.com. If you’re ranting, I’m listening. Just don’t try to convince me to like Croakies or Crocs, boys. Thanks.DAPPER WINGMAN

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