Recently, I was chatting with a guy friend who'd just broken up with his girlfriend of eight years. (Ouch.) He'd been out of the dating game for so long he felt that he'd let his wardrobe slip and wanted to spice it up his style with more adventurous pieces, as well as replace some of the basics that had gotten kind of ratty and worn.
I thought I'd ask one of my other guy friends, Patrick*, for some recommendations. Now, Patrick has serious street cred as a bachelor. I can't say too much for fear of blowing his cover, but I will say this: When I've gone bar-hopping or clubbing with him, he is quite the ladies man.
This was Patrick's Top 5 list. I ran with it and found examples based on his descriptions.
*Name changed to protect his anonymity at his request.
1. A basic black button-down shirt. A black button-down shirt looks sharp and classic. Unlike its white counterpart, it gives a guy a bit of mystery AND disguises a less-than-toned middle better. Wear it to the bar, the club, the romantic dinner...anywhere really. This would qualify as an investment shirt, so if the Hugo Boss one I picked out below seems a bit pricey, I suggest hunting sale racks for something similar.
BOSS Hugo Boss 'Jaron' shirt, $159
2. Aftershave. In Patrick's words, the aftershave should have a "sexy but not overpowering" scent. His pick? Armani Black Code.
Armani Black code aftershave balm, $48
3. Moisturizer. I know it seems a bit metro, but Patrick and I both agree good skincare is important for guys and girls alike. Patrick swears by Clinique. If that's a bit pricey, this Neutrogena Men Triple Protect Face Lotion with SPF 20 sounds pretty cool too. Ideally, you should get something formulated for men: Men tend to have thicker skin than women, so what's effective for women might not be as great a product for men. Of course, this isn't always the case, so it might take some trial and error to find a moisturizer that works best.
4. Fitted shirts. Throw one on with a black blazer, some premium denim, and a pair of great shoes and you have a fail-proof date outfit every time. Since a black shirt is already on this list, a fun patterned or embellished shirt and a colourful one (Le Chateau and Mexx usually have a good selection) will add versatility and pizazz.
Roar 'United Kingdom' shirt in ecru, $97.37
5. A pair of "smart" shoes. Okay...I'm not really sure what Patrick meant by "smart" so I'm just going to take this and run with it. For a dressier look, try a sleek black leather loafer with a slightly tapered toe. For dressing down, I love the look of colourful street sneakers or eye-catching canvas slip-ons.
Aldo 'Walmund' loafer, $90
Polo Ralph Lauren 'Brisbane 2' slip-on, on sale for $28.97
If anyone else has tips for my bachelor guy friend, leave them in the comments! I'll be posting an addendum to this post sometime soon that lists 3 more essentials which should round out his look.