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5 Items Of Casual Clothing Every Man Needs

Looking to add some casual clothing to your wardrobe? These 5 items every man needs...
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In this article today I’m going to show you the five casual items that every man should own, but casual clothing is often misinterpreted…

Casual wear does not mean gym stuff.

There’s already a vast amount of articles and videos out there on how to look good in the gym where as this article is all about finding the balance between feeling comfortable, looking casual but still looking good.

Casual wear doesn’t mean that you can get lazy. Casual wear is simply a way to dress down, to feel more comfortable, and to look better in certain situations where you don’t have to dress so formally.

So what 5 casual items of clothing does every man need in their wardrobe? What items of clothing will make dressing casually but stylishly easy?

Let’s dive in…

1. Denim

Denim is a casual essential that every man needs and at first you’ll typically think of jeans. Every man needs a good pair of jeans, if not a few pairs of jeans in their wardrobe.

I recently shared a post showing you the three pairs of jeans that every man needs and it highlighted how versatile the right pair of jeans really are. A dark denim wash, a light denim wash and black denim can be worn with numerous outfits and are suitable for multiple occasions.

Let me give you an example: If I’m wearing a grey sports jacket, a white button down shirt and I’m wearing a pair of wool trousers I’m going to be wearing quite a formal outfit.

formal outfit

But all I need to do is simply replace the wool trousers with a pair of dark denim jeans and that dresses it down completely. The outfit is still smart but it bridges that gap perfectly between smart/casual just by switching out one item of clothing.

casual outfit

With jeans you want to focus on investing in good denim, making sure the jean is understated alongside of course focusing on the overall fit. Baggy jeans that get caught under your shoe aren’t stylish.

Another casual alternative that falls under the denim category is a denim shirt. A denim shirt can be dressed up, it can be dressed down and can even be the focal point to an outfit.

You also have the denim jacket, again something that’s extremely versatile and bridges that gap between smart and casual.

So make sure you invest in good denim, starting with a good pair of jeans (dark denim) and then look towards the denim shirt and jacket too.

2. White Leather Sneakers

The second casual item that every man needs is a good pair of white leather sneakers. A white pair of leather sneakers are really going to bridge that gap between a dress shoe and a very casual shoe.

I’m personally a big advocate of good shoes, I believe that if you wear good shoes it’s going to improve your outfit dramatically. But with this being said I’m not going to walk around every single day wearing a pair of leather brogues, it’s not going to be comfortable and most importantly it really isn’t needed.

Dress shoes aside we’re often very guilty of simply wearing the same sneakers we run in or we’ll grab some sneakers we bought a while back which look like they’re ready for the garbage.

white sneakers

You want to invest in a good pair of white, leather sneakers. Again these are very versatile, you can dress them up and you can also dress them down. For me personally, I like the Adidas Stan Smiths and also the Jack Purcell Converse leather sneakers. Those are great places to start but there are a lot of other options out there. A tennis shoe is a very, very good alternative.

white stan smiths

3. A Grey Sweatshirt

The third thing is a grey sweatshirt or a grey jumper. Now with all of the clothing items I recommend in this post the way the item fits is of course very important. A grey sweatshirt can look terrible if it’s ill fitting and most importantly if it’s bad quality.

A grey sweatshirt is one of the most versatile pieces in my wardrobe, I’ve put together outfits where I’ve worn it with a sports jacket over the top, a bomber jacket over the top, I can wear it on it’s own as the top layer, I can dress it down with a pair of jeans or dress it up with some chinos or wool trousers… the options are endless.

Again it bridges the gap between dressing up with a shirt but at the same time it adds that warmth and comfort in comparison to a t-shirt.

grey sweatshirt

4. A Leather Jacket

The fourth one really is the epitome of masculinity, every man needs a leather jacket in their wardrobe.

Now the leather jacket is something that a lot of men are put off by. I was before I invested in one and the reason was because I simply had never worn a leather jacket before. Every time I tried one on it took me outside of my comfort zone and the investment always seemed to big of a risk for an item I couldn’t see myself wearing. But investing in a leather jacket is a decision you won’t regret.

leather jacket

With a leather jacket it’s important to remember that there’s a vast array of different styles. You can get a classic leather biker jacket, a leather bomber jacket and you can also get a leather jacket that’s very subtle with not a lot of detailing. You have the choice of black leather and brown leather (in different tones) and there’s a leather jacket out there for every man.

The one thing you want to remember is make sure you invest in good leather. Don’t go for cheap leather (typically called pleather) because cheap leather will simply make you look cheap.

Remember a leather jacket is an investment piece that can last you years if not decades, so don’t skimp and go for the cheapest option as you’ll typically be investing in cheap leather.

brown leahter jacketblack leather jacket mens

If a leather jacket is not for you opt for a different alternative.

I recently highlighted the 7 Jackets Every Man Should Know and choosing one of those jackets is another option to have as a casual item in your wardrobe. The Bomber Jacket, the Harrington Jacket, a Suede Jacket and a Denim Jacket are all alternatives to the leather jacket if it isn’t for you.

5. The T-Shirt

Last but not least, one of the most simplest items that every man can own is the T-shirt.

The T-shirt is probably one of the most boring items and right now you’re probably thinking: “Paul, you’re not really giving me any groundbreaking advice here…” but a T-shirt is something that’s extremely versatile.

You want to make sure that your T-shirts are well fitted and at the same time they’re well made. A lot of times we’ll go for the cheapest T-shirt and it isn’t made from good cotton, it isn’t manufactured well and after a few washes it will start to shrink and wear making it look garbage ready.

mens striped t-shirt

Therefore you want to invest in good T-shirts, don’t spend ridiculous amounts of money because, yes, it’s a T-shirt but make sure you’re buying good cotton and you’re buying a T-shirt that fits you well.

I recently picked up a few T-shirt’s from UNIQLO and for £9 each the quality is better than I’ve worn before.

Go for your classic styles and keep your T-shirts as plain and as minimal as possible. Avoid outlandish logos or prints and invest in a good white T-shirt, a grey T-shirt and a black T-shirt. Those 3 every man should have in their wardrobe.

black t shirtgrey t-shirtwhite t shirt

If T-shirts seem to casual for you step it up and go for the Polo Shirt or the Henley T-shirt. Both a Polo Shirt and Henley are smarter alternatives to the T-shirt but they still fall on the casual end of the scale.

How Many Do You Own?

So out of those five items which is your favourite? Most importantly, how many do you own?

Hopefully you own all five, if you do, let me know in the comments below.

Is there any casual items of clothing you’d add to this collection?

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Paul McGregor
Paul McGregor

Founder of MFM, and short course lecturer at The London College of Fashion teaching all things marketing. Read my personal blog here.

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1 COMMENT

  • Vipul

    Excellent article on essential things to own !
    I don’t wear leather jackets for religious reasons. I would switch with bomber jacket which is more versatile and good looks good anybody type.

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