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There are certain staples and splurge-worthy wardrobe essentials that every man needs. Tracy James, of ChicMadeSimple, joins us today with some of her top selections for the season. Here are the key items to keep the man in your life fashionable for fall.

Whether you’re shopping for your husband, your father, your son or just a favorite male friend, there are certain wardrobe staples that should be on your radar this season. When you’re out and about, keep your eyes peeled for these hot seasonal finds:

Colored Premium Denim

Hopefully, every man already has a great pair of blue jeans in his closet. To qualify as “great,” jeans should NOT fit like “dad jeans” (too high, too baggy in the leg and butt, too light of a wash) and should be able to be worn with a sport coat. Since he’s got blue covered, consider adding a pair in a neutral color — like brown, khaki or gray — to his wardrobe. Colored premium denim jeans typically have 5-pocket styling, but are often made of brushed twill, resulting in a luxuriously soft finish and dressier look. Two of my favorite cuts are The Protege by AG Adriano Goldschmied (pictured below) and Brixton by Joe’s Jeans, both available at The Baer’s Den at Cahaba Village.

The Protege by AG is a favorite of many.

The Protege by AG is a favorite of many. Image credit:

Patterned Sport Coat

Your dinner date go-to for fall should be jeans and a sport coat. I love a light brown-based subtle glen plaid. To make sure your jacket is of current styling, look for a two-button slim cut and side vents. If you don’t do custom, don’t expect to be off-the-rack; usually slight alterations are required and imperative to a jacket looking polished. One of my pet peeves is sleeves that are too long! (At least one-quarter inch of your shirt cuff should be visible.) Workable buttons on the sleeves, known as surgeon’s cuffs, are the mark of a bespoke jacket and add a nice detail. If you do have surgeon’s cuffs, it is considered en vogue to leave the bottom button undone. Sometimes this buttonhole will even feature a contrasting thread color.

A 2 button brown glen plaid will

A two-button brown glen plaid, like this one by Robert Graham, looks great with jeans. Image credit:

A Dressed-up Brown Boot

Move over work boot! Now there’s something dressier. Less heavy than your wear-to-the-farm or hunting camp boot, the “it shoe for men this fall is an ankle boot that looks a bit more polished with those colored jeans and stylish sport coat. Whether a pull-on chelsea or lace-up wingtip, a boot in brown will complete your fall look. (Read: BROWN. Black shoes are for courtrooms, funerals and limo driving.) Check out Frye’s Oliver Inside Zip boot, available at Von Maur. Or at Allen Edmonds at The Summit, find the Longbranch Wingtip Boot.

Brown ankle boots are

Brown ankle boots go with just about everything this fall. Image credit:

The lace-up wingtip ankle boot is a bit dressier.

The lace-up wingtip ankle boot is a bit dressier. Image credit:


A Checked Shirt

The checked shirt (also known as “gingham” when bi-colored) is an item that even the most fashionably inept individual can relate to. It’s a classic piece that transcends the wardrobes of men across the globe – from sharply dressed city boys to rugged, blue-collar workers. A casual style essential, the checked shirt is now so commonplace it risks being a little boring. If wearing on its own, don’t be afraid to mix it up via the color or size of the checked pattern. More basic patterns work well layered under vests, sweaters or sport coats.

Shaia's has great Billy Reid options, such as this spread collar navy and red plaid shirt.

Shaia’s has great Billy Reid options, such as this spread collar navy and red plaid shirt. Image credit:

A Lightweight Knit V-Neck Sweater

Whether in lightweight merino wool, cashmere or a silk blend, a V-neck sweater is the perfect piece for Southern weather, which rarely requires chunky, woolen sweaters. When layered over a button-down shirt, a V-neck sweater is a great business-casual option for the office. Add a blazer in cooler weather or for an evening out.

A well made sweater adds polish to jeans or dressier pants.

A well-made sweater adds polish to jeans or dressier pants. Mobley & Sons has some great options. Image credit:

Rugged Vest

I’m a fan of third pieces when it comes to my female clients, and my male clients are no exception. For men who may already be wearing fleece or sweater knit vests offered by the likes of North Face and Patagonia, consider one with a nod to fashion in addition to function. See, for example, this handsome leather-trimmed, quilted, suede version from Remon’s, which will have you looking ready for the cover of Garden & Gun.

A quality vest is a great staple to have when the weather starts to cool down.

A quality vest is a great staple to have when the weather starts to cool down.

Weekender Bag

No reason to lug your suitcase or, worse, carry your gym bag on short business trips and weekend getaways. Every man needs a handsome, medium-sized travel bag. Fashionable and functional, the Saffiano leather hook+ALBERT Garment Weekender bag, available at The Baer’s Den Birmingham, is not only roomy and sleek, but has a secret, in that it unzips to double as a garment bag. Check out this video of how it works.

This weekender doubles as a garment bag!

This weekender doubles as a garment bag, making it ideal for any short trip.

A Jeans Belt

Dress belts are meant for slacks and suits. A jeans belt should be wider and with a larger buckle. There is no need to perfectly match your belt to your shoes, however keep coordination in mind: for example, brown leather boots could certainly be worn with a brown suede belt. Is your style more refined or more rugged? This accessory can be a great way to play up your personal preferences. Once you start paying attention, you’ll notice some beautiful options out there. I’m loving the ones I recently spotted at The Baer’s Den: tan suede with a copper buckle and distressed brown leather with a rusted/patina buckle.


These two belts have a bit of edge adding polish and character to a casual look.

As always, style rules are written in pencil, not ink. Play around with fashion, be daring, show some personality and discover your own style.

Thanks for these great suggestions, Tracy! To learn more about Tracy and all the ways she can turn your closet conundrums around, click here.

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