I really think a lot of the same things I post for women in terms of building a wardrobe translate easily for men. First, I would always recommend going online or flipping through a magazine to find the look that you’re after. Then go through EVERYTHING in your closet. Literally pull everything out. Anything that doesn’t fit, is damaged, or doesn’t fit the style you are going for moving forward gets donated. That way you are starting with what you currently have to work with and shopping only for the things that would supplement and build onto that wardrobe.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to pick a few basic colors with which to build a wardrobe. If you buy within a similar color family, it makes pairing items much easier. For example, I do not buy anything brown, so my basic color family is heather gray, black, navy, and white. Then I buy pops of color depending on the season and mix/match everything. It means that I don’t have a bunch of gold or brown that I’m only able to wear with a few things. I stay within my color family with more classic, simple pieces so that everything goes together season after season. If you love browns or tans, then buy those plus crisp whites, navys, olive, but stay away from black or gray.
For work or more casual environments where you want to look pulled together, polos are always an easy option. They are comfortable and still look professional. I would note that cotton polos are 1. going to shrink in the wash after that first dry and even some the second and 2. are going to wear out more as they wash over time (i.e. the color will fade). Golf polo materials hold up well and still offer comfort plus some level of professionalism, too. I like the look and fit of one like this:
Fit-wise, it is good to keep your shirts slightly looser but not oversized. T-shirts in a V-neck fall into the same category as the polos and you want a cotton blend so that you don’t see them shrink in the wash. Basic colors are your friend. Add in stripes as you feel like you have the basics down. For tees, good soft cottons (not thick or stiff fabrics) like the ones Express has that are nearly always in their sale category (Sundays in the evenings they always have extra 30-50% off your orders and usually free shipping) are great.
I’m a big fan of denim. While I would recommend having a good pair of khakis (nothing ever with a cargo pocket), Lucky Brand jeans are a fantastic option for men. Amazon and Nordstrom Rack both carry them for under $40 a pair. Depending on your size you can usually get them closer to the $30 mark. I recommend having a pair of dark wash denim like this pair in ‘Pine Slope’, a lighter wash, and then a gray wash if you feel up to that option. That way you have 3 shades of denim plus a khaki to mix and match throughout the week with different shirts.
Target has an awesome men’s selection now with most under $40. Buying in grays or tans without logos or bright pops of color will mean you have basics that can pair with whatever. And they’re tennis shoes but look nice so they’re great for work in our offices.
These also come in a darker tan that is really nice.
Always good to have one or two jackets that mix in well within your color family but aren’t too heavy. One nicer winter coat that has a slightly dressier feel is a staple, otherwise I’d keep it casual like the rest of these options so that the whole style fits together and no one item feels super dressy compared to the rest.
I love the look of this olive jacket from Target! It is a simple color with nothing crazy to it except that the fabric is quilted (makes it great for fall/winter in terms of the look). The fabric is a cotton/nylon blend so it will be really lightweight but still look nice.
If you like the idea of jackets or do stay cooler, a 1/4 zip always looks nice:
Just starting there and having a handful of each of the above gives you a ton of mixing and matching options so that you aren’t wearing the same thing every day yet your style always looks cohesive.