10 Essentials for a Menswear Wardrobe

Published on 18 June 2021
by ASI Team
Category: Industry Insights

While fashion can sometimes be seen as a frivolous thing, getting dressed each day really contributes to our mental wellbeing, whatever our gender. In light of Men’s Health Week (June 14th-20th 2021), I’ve created a list of items for a masculine-styled wardrobe. These pieces are quite classic which enables each garment to suit a wide range of personal styles. If you’re yet to figure out your own style, start by mixing these key garments to create some versatile outfits. who knows, you might even own most of these pieces already!

Remember if you need someone to talk to, there are plenty of services that can support you as well as reaching out to someone you trust.


Basic Tee

With the ability to be dressed up or down, a basic tee is something that every wardrobe needs. And not to be underestimated either – I mean, have you seen ASI’s insider guide on 4 ways to restyle a white tee? And that’s just a white T-shirt!

While a monochrome tee is the most versatile, any colour can slip easily into a wardrobe. It’s more important to focus on the fabric when purchasing your chosen basic tee, as it’s going to be worn frequently so needs to be of a good quality.

The fit is up next. Whether you prefer a fitted tee or an oversized style, Sydney brand Citizen Wolf is a great place to start. They can create your chosen style to fit your body shape perfectly using their Magic Fit technology.


Another basic for every wardrobe is our trusty old friend – denim. Unfortunately though, denim doesn’t have a very positive impact on the environment. One pair of jeans, including its production and general wear, uses up to 2,900 gallons of water. With this scary statistic in mind, it’s best to source your denim at the op shop if you can. When op shopping, keep an eye out for iconic brands such as Levi’s. Levi’s have created jeans for around 150 years, so you know they’re going to last.

If op shopping isn’t your thing, head over to Outland Denim or Denimsmith for some ethically produced denim.

Denim Jacket

While we are on the subject of denim, another essential for any street style icon-in-training is the denim jacket. Similar to jeans, a perfectly worn-in denim jacket can be found at your local op shop.

No luck at your local? Levi’s new range, WellThread, combines hemp and organic cotton to create a low impact denim jacket. Can’t wait till 2040 when you’ll be able to find pieces from this range in an op shop – the ultimate sustainable find!

Tailored Suit

Whether you only have the need for an occasional suit or work in a 9 to 5 corporate environment, a well-fitting suit is still a staple in any wardrobe.

Since it’s technically a blazer and pants, a suit can be broken up and worn individually to build multiple outfits! You can create a business casual look by pairing the suit pants with a knitted jumper and derby shoes. And adding the blazer to jeans, a sweater and sneakers can dress up a casual weekend look.

While op shops are loaded with good quality suits, it can take persistence to find the right fit. Another option is to invest in a tailored suit that’s cut specifically to your body and style. V&J Menswear can tailor a classic suit to your needs. If you’re looking for something a little more casual, head over to linen specialist Anna Cordell to bring all your 70’s style dreams to life.

And while the cost of a tailored suit may seem a lot upfront, once you break it down and realise how often the suit is worn, you can see that it’s a great investment for your wardrobe. In other words, great cost-per-wear. This is a term we bandy about a lot when rationalising the price of slow fashion pieces. By the way, if you’re looking to expand your sustainable vocab, you can check out my helpful guide.

Trench Coat

Nothing can complete a classic outfit quite like a trench coat. It’s an especially perfect throw-over for commuting to the office each morning. As this is an item designed to last, it’s a piece worth saving your dollars for in order to invest in top quality. Details like heavy cotton and a lined inner will help you get the most from your coat. A Burberry Trench wins my vote – that iconic check lining just oozes style. Op shops boast groaning rails of vintage-styled trench coats, so you may just get lucky and find your dream coat sustainably. But for a sure thing, head over to The Real Real or FarFetch to score one for a lot less than retail.

Button-down Shirt

Button-down shirts are the perfect accompaniment to any wardrobe, no matter the season. Lightweight linen worn open over a basic tee in the summer, or layered beneath a slim-fitting jumper in the winter – so versatile!

There really is a shirt for every style. Like the casual look? Opt for a linen or hemp short sleeve button-down from Hemp Clothing Australia. Feeling bold? Seek out Melbourne-made Windsor Lane and their clashing prints. And for your 9-5, a never-fail classic shirt can be found in Bassike.

For an easy sustainability win, keep an eye out in your local op shop (while looking for those Levi’s) first before buying new. Op shops are basically powered by preloved shirts in all different fabrics, prints and cuts. Plus, you’re not likely to turn up to the office matching with anyone else.


While jeans are ideal for casual cool, a pair of chinos steps it up a notch. Usually cut in a cotton elastane blend, the chino offers comfort and can add some refinement to a casual look. Keeping to a classic colour such as black, navy or beige provides versatility in your chinos. All you have to do is pair with a basic tee, some white sneakers and you’re ready for brunch! These Kloke chinos are my pick for the perfect addition to your wardrobe.


Suitable for nearly any situation now, sneakers have cemented themselves into all wardrobes. While a minimal white pair is a safe bet to anchor any look, experimenting with different styles and colours can add a whole new vibe. Veja creates environmentally-friendly, fairtrade sneakers. Their vegan collection uses corn waste and organic cotton instead of leather.

Not willing to stray from your all-whites but still want to inject some colour? For some low-commitment experimentation, just pair your favourite sneakers with a printed sock and jeans for a quirky daytime look.

Classic Boots

Like sneakers, your classic boot will pair with everything from jeans to chinos but is a dressier option – and also a great wardrobe essential for those colder days. While a tan or black is the ideal shade (these Chelsea boots from Vegan Style are perfect if looking for a traditional style), different colours can create a focal point in an otherwise casual look. Or as mentioned before, invest in a classic tone but just add in a colourful sock or shirt for some fun vibes.

Top Tip: Chelsea boot styles are often seen in op shops for a fraction of the price of a new pair. If it’s a luxury name you’re after at a discount, seek out your local consignment store or visit Vestiaire Collective for some preloved Prada.

The It Bag

This one might seem a little unexpected, but as the recent Afterpay Australian Fashion Week in Sydney demonstrated, bags are back! Instead of relying on generous pockets to carry our essentials, complete the look with a statement or structured bag.

Bum bags are still on the radar and versatile enough to be slung over the shoulder or worn to the front. This Sans Beast one ticks all the boxes. For those with classic taste, Matt & Natt also have a huge collection of corporate styles. Plus, we all need a spot to put our reusable drink bottles!

Building a wardrobe that encompasses your individual style can help to grow your confidence, these are just the essentials to get you started. If you are feeling a little nervous to begin your style journey, try heading to an op shop with a seasoned friend for some insider knowledge. Or call in a professional – a Stylist’s main goal is to help you feel empowered in the clothes you wear.

By Jenna Flood

ASI Sustainable Stylist

Jenna studied her Masters Certificate of Professional Styling with Australian Style Institute and is now a Personal and Editorial Stylist based in Melbourne. Interested in sustainable fashion? You can find more of Jenna’s articles here or follow her on Instagram @ironicminimalist


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