Men’s Style Guide – Basic Building Blocks

Over the years one thing that’s been asked for by both women and men has been for a post on basic men’s style.  Recently Nordstrom asked me to talk about men’s style and it was the little kick in the butt I needed to finally write about it!

A lot of you have told me that you appreciate how my style is simple because it feels accessible.  I believe the same is true for my husband Benson’s style, but even more so.  He’s not “stylish” the way that guys in fashion blogs or magazines tend to be.  He doesn’t wear trendy clothes or crazy patterns or complicated outfits, but, guys regularly complement him on his style.  He looks really “normal,” but like he’s got himself together, and I think he is a great example of how dressing well can be easy and attainable.

Since Benson’s style is so simple, it’s pretty easy to replicate his wardrobe.  I thought it’d be helpful to talk about the building blocks that make up his wardrobe and recommend some of Benson’s favorite brands and pieces.

Here are the building blocks of Benson’s wardrobe:

men's style basics
Shop the Items:
one  |  two  |  three  |  four  |  five
six  |  seven  |  eight  |  nine  |  ten
eleven  |  twelve  |  thirteen  |  fourteen  |  fifteen
sixteen  |  seventeen  |  eighteen  |  nineteen

Please note this is not a capsule wardrobe and is not meant to be exhaustive.  This is just meant to show types of pieces but does not indicate how many of each category someone might need.  That’s totally dependent on lifestyle, like whether you need more or less dress shirts in your life depending on your job, for example.

If this were Benson’s wardrobe it’d have 5 t-shirts, 1 henley, 1 hoodie, 3 short sleeve button ups, 3 long sleeve casual button ups, 2 dress shirts, 3 pairs of chinos, 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of slacks, and 3 pairs of shorts.  Well under 30 pieces of clothing–year round–because we live in San Diego with mild weather and because he’s kind of a minimalist.

Favorite Brands and Items
As far as recommendations for specific pieces, here are brands and items that Benson loves and why.  Benson was a really good sport and was willing to pose in a few outfit pictures so that you could see some of the pieces above put into action.  Also, several of these pieces are part of the NSale and discounted until Sunday in various colors.  

Outfit #1 – Casual

Henley – Benson mostly wears plain v-neck tees, but he’s been wanting a henley and has been very pick about them.  (#minimalistproblems)  We finally found a winner!  It’s a slim fit that’s not overly tight, and every time he wears it he comments on how soft it is.

Shorts – He owns these same shorts in multiple colors.  They don’t have bulky pockets which gives them a clean line and helps his casual outfits from looking sloppy.  The cut is a little slimmer too, again without being overly tight.  Benson says they are lightweight and comfy, and the material is good because it’s not stiff and is mildly stretchy but still maintains good structure.  They’re currently on sale HERE and HERE in different colors!  He says they run true to size.

Sneakers – These are his go-to’s, and they’re currently part of the NSale in another color that I think is really cool!  Other color options that aren’t on sale are HERE.

Shop for the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact, exact in light blue, exact with subtle stripes–fully stocked)
Shorts: Volcom (exact–on sale!, exact in grey)
Shoes: Zappos (exact–on sale in another color!, exact in more colors)

men's style basics shoes

Outfit #2 – Smart Casual

Seersucker Polka Dot Button Up – Benson saw a shirt like this on someone in a YouTube video and like the good blogger wife that I am, I hunted down a similar or possibly exact version.  It happened to be from Bonobos, which is one of his absolute favorite brands for both tops and pants.  He loves them for their slimmer fits.
This is a great “casual dressy” or “smart casual” top.  It works well with shorts like the ones above, or chinos like these with the sneakers from above.  Or it can be slightly dressed up with the Ted Baker boots shown here.
Boots – He loves these and always feels cool and stylish in them, haha!  His aren’t sold anymore, but there is a super similar pair available HERE.  The main difference is the toe box on Benson’s is more square and flatter.
Chinos – These are one of 3 pairs of non-jeans pants that Benson owns, and he’d rather wear these than jeans.  These exact pants are available in other colors HERE or in a similar color by Bonobos HERE.

Shop for the Look:

Top: Nordstrom (exactvery similar)
Shoes: Ted Baker (super similar)

Outfit #3 – Professional

Benson almost never needs to dress professionally, so there’s nothing fancy happening here except the pants.  These pants are “non-iron” and wrinkle resistant.  Um, can we make ALL clothes out of this material, please?  It’s another piece by Bonobos, surprise surprise.  They feel great and come in 10 different colors HERE.

Shop for the Look:
Top: Everlane
Pants: Bonobos (exact)
Shoes: Nordstrom Rack (similar)

I often say that style doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated if you can find the right pieces, and that’s true for both men and women.  Hopefully this helped point some of you in a direction forward for any guys in your life who need it.  (Or for yourself if you’re a guy!)

created in partnership with Nordstrom
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