A well-chosen 20 make the man
Adding classics to the closet makes sartorial sense
Get down and give me 20 Ñ items, that is. Because that's the number of pieces that you're going to need to get your wardrobe in shape.
It doesn't take a senior strategist to see that the contents of your closet could use the attention of a Daisy Cutter.
Buck up, soldier. It's not entirely your fault that you're still sporting that Members Only jacket. Sartorial savvy hasn't exactly been encouraged in Stumptown over the years. In fact, for a long time there seemed to be an inverse relationship between a guy's actual and perceived net worth. Meaning the more you made, the worse you looked. (See that guy easing out of the BMW 750il in the thrashed Dockers? Loaded!)
But all that's changed in recent years, largely due to an infusion of retailers who 'get it.' Thanks to the likes of Mario's, Saks and Barcelino, Portland guys find that they don't need to book a flight to get a look.
To prove it, the boys at Barcelino in Pioneer Place helped tally the 20 pieces needed by the urban warrior. Manager Todd Slenning says the following items will cover you in style, regardless of the season or day of the week.
Now do your duty Ñ to the economy and to those of us who have to look at you Ñ and buy this stuff.
1. Gray, single-breasted midweight suit Ð A good suit is the backbone of your wardrobe; navy works, too.
2. Lightweight tan suit Ð Classic suiting for spring through fall. A featherweight wool is your best investment.
3. Black sport coat Ð Go with a single-breasted style and spend more than you'd like Ñ this pivotal piece will get a lot of wear.
4. Single-breasted dark topcoat Ð Even if you can't do cashmere, buy the best wool possible; you'll wear this piece indefinitely.
5. Lightweight raincoat Ð A critical part of an Oregon wardrobe. Avoid removable liners because they are bulky and lack a certain Žlan.
6. Gray trousers Ð Pleats are more elegant than a flat-front trouser. And cuffs are a good choice for trousers with plenty of fullness in the leg.
7. Taupe trousers Ð See above.
8. Cognac dress shoe Ð Keep it simple and elegant, and this shoe will give you plenty of wardrobe mileage.
9. Brown suede shoe Ð This shoe adds flair to more casual looks.
10. Navy cashmere crew neck sweater Ð No gimmicks. This timeless piece can be worn over a white T-shirt or polo.
11. Black turtleneck sweater Ð You'll get maximum wear with wool or cashmere, as cotton fades when washed. Mock turtlenecks tend to look trendy.
12. Jeans Ð Unless you enjoy chasing fads, steer clear of trendy washes and distressed styles. Straight-leg, five-pocket jeans are a sure thing (read: Levi's 501s).
13. Corduroy trousers Ð Darker colors and wider wales tend to look dressier and are a good match with your navy and black sweaters.
14. Flat-front khakis Ð Think Ernest Hemingway, not Dockers. These trousers should have a rugged feel Ñ a little fray is OK.
15. White T-shirt Ð And I don't mean Hanes. This shirt is meant to be seen, so fit is important. It also wouldn't kill you to press it.
16. White dress shirt Ð No button-downs or polyester blends, please. Go for a simple, spread-collar style and it will serve you well.
17. French blue dress shirt Ð If only because women love this look. Again, go with a spread collar Ñ and French cuffs if you're feeling continental.
18. Tan linen shorts Ð Midthigh length is best; leave the voluminous knee-length variety to your nephew.
19. Solid color polo shirt Ð Solid white and navy are your best color bets. Go for texture: A pique weave ages better than a soft knit.
20. Hawaiian print short sleeve shirt Ð Every wardrobe needs a little whimsy.
Because few things in life are absolute Ñ this list included Ñ the following items are submitted for consideration as you compose your own style index:
• White buck shoes Ð This surprising classic suggests old money and a sense of humor Ñ both valuable commodities.
• Denim jacket Ð The more broken in, the better. Additional points for blanket-lined jean jackets in the winter.
• Peacoat Ð Equal parts warmth and panache. Sailors swear by their allure.
• Leather or suede jacket Ð Classic car coats are a good investment. Flight jackets are best left to the Air Force.