Must-Haves for Men

Read our style interview


What are the basic staples that all men need in their closets?
A go-to, button down, trim-fitting shirt. You can never go wrong with white, blue or pink. A great pair of slim, straight, dark denim jeans. A tailored, unstructured blazer that’s soft shouldered so it hugs the body better. The go-to color is always navy, but in spring and summer you can lighten it up with a khaki shade.

Let’s talk shoes. What two pairs should all men own?
A great pair of dress shoes – brown over black. Brown goes with much more, and black can be limiting. I love a lighter shade of brown, like a walnut. Many guys tend to stay safe and want a plain oxford with no detail, but I advocate dressing it up with brogueing or a cap toe. Also, a good pair of well-worn boots: a Thorogood Moc Toe boot or a Chukka military-style boot in suede.

What’s the one key piece for spring?
Typically, men wear either five-pocket denim or a cotton chino. To switch it up for spring, we’re seeing a blend of both. It’s lighter than denim but heavier than cotton, and comes in a multitude of colors. Lighter colors and sandier colors are perfect for the warmer weather. They wear like denim and appear nice and

Are those blue pants you’re wearing the blend?
Yes, these are. What I like about this pant in particular is that they pipe the seams. I cuff my pants, so in rolling these up, you get a pop of detail. I stock these all year round.

Speaking of popping, I see you pop your collar. Is that still in?
Well, I pop my jackets often, but my shirts never. It’s easier for women to get away with popping shirt collars, as women’s fashion has always been very experimental. With men, we’ve always had a uniform – we’re told to stick to the basics. But, to each his own. Personal style does not follow rules.

What are some of the best selling brands in your store?
My Wharf shirts. I have them made right in Fall River. Any Wharf private label stuff will always be made in the U.S. For denim, I sell tons of dark wash Baldwin and
3Sixteen .

How should a man’s style grow with age?
Hopefully, like him, it will grow wisely. It’s knowing your body type, knowing what’s appropriate and learning what fits well. You should always wear your clothes and not let them wear you.

Robert owns Wharf Clothing & Wares in Downtown Providence.