25 Essential Items Every Guy Should Own

The quest for a well-rounded life seems never-ending, but the journey tends to start with what you wear and what you carry.

In fact, clothing and carry are the two pillars of what we do at WERD, so we’ll keep it simple.

You needn’t look far for the proper essentials. A perfect T-shirt or a finely crafted knife, a well-made pair of boots or a durable jacket are selections to be treasured, worn frequently and trusted in the clutch.

The WERD philosophy also values quality over quantity – buying better, striving for the best and streamlining your daily carry. Your journey starts now: These are the 25 things every man should own.

Durable Work Pants

Crafted from thick canvas and outfitted with large pockets, reinforced knees and handy loops for your tools, the right pair of work pants or work jeans outlast even the toughest tasks.

The last thing you should be worried about is the durability of your gear out in the yard or at a job site – work pants are a supremely valuable investment.

Leather Belt

You’ve put careful consideration into your jeans or chinos of choice – shouldn’t you reach for a properly crafted accessory to keep them in place?

The right leather belt, made from sturdy, high-quality full-grain leather, should ideally last for years while pairing seamlessly with dress shoes or rugged boots.

Slim Wallet

Focus on the details, right down to how you transport cash, cards and valuables. You can meet each of those aims without resorting to an overly bulky wallet. A richly crafted leather or metal wallet with a streamlined profile slides easily into your jacket or pants pocket, while showing you pay attention to the small stuff.

Oxford Shirt

Between the dress shirt and a denim workshirt lies the Oxford shirt.

Cut from thick Oxford cloth fabric, this prep staple has outlasted menswear trends for years.

The best variations on the style feature a buttondown collar with a handsome roll, plus a chest pocket. The right choice should also prove wearable with dark blue jeans or dress pants.

Chukka Boot

If your footwear rotation is like a toolbox, the chukka boot will likely become the essential workhorse of the group.

Durable and casual enough to wear with dark blue jeans, the right chukka boot can add some easygoing business casual polish to chino pants or corduroy trousers (other WERD-approved staples). The style is a trusted favorite of menswear icons over the years.

Small Library

The pursuit of a well-rounded life extends to how you fill your head and spend your time. The online world is inescapable these days, but the charms of a book in almost any genre are a welcome respite.

Round out your bookshelf and your daily routine with an array of valuable classics, and you’ll take another step in that pursuit.

Pocket Knife

You might find yourself surprised at how often you reach for a pocket knife. For camping trips, yard work, day hikes, bonfires and everything else, the pocket knife is a jack-of-all-trades option.

Find one packed with tools or multiple blades, and you’ve given yourself a range of compact tools for whatever lies ahead.

Chore Coat

The classic cotton-canvas chore coat has large patch pockets for helpful EDC access. It also features a collar you can turn up against the cold, along with a useful button front.

These features make the style endlessly useful and impossibly rugged. On the trail or in town, it’s fit for any job, off-duty happy hour pursuits included.

Shirt Jacket

You might often find that hybrid styles are a revelation in your wardrobe. The shirt jacket cycles seamlessly between two categories, making it downright essential for the modern man.

Usually made with canvas, denim or cotton flannel fabric, the shirt jacket boasts oversized buttons, multiple chest pockets and unparalleled layering ability for brisk weather (even atop other buttondown shirts).

White T-shirt

History shows the white T-shirt, once only a layering piece, is about as cool as it gets. The style has grown by leaps and bounds since worn by Brando and Dean, too.

Be it the blue jean or the chino short, as a warm-weather piece or a base layer, the white T-shirt meets nearly any style challenge.

Black T-shirt

If the white T-shirt is bread and butter, the black T-shirt is its slightly edgier, spicier upgrade.

Favored by rock n’rollers beneath denim and moto jackets, the black T-shirt in its many forms is a straightforward staple begging to be paired with blue jeans, olive chinos or black denim and Chelsea boots. It’s absolutely a must-have.


Think beyond your grade school and college backpack to something more mature. The modern man deserves one that’s ready for any situation: A proper backpack these days should slide as seamlessly underneath a plane seat as it does into your tent after a long day on the trail. The best boast plentiful carrying compartments and weather-ready fabric.

Weekender Duffel

TSA-approved luggage is commonplace, but a weekender duffel is as up to the challenge as any suitcase for more casual trips.

Opt for handsome heritage leather or hard-wearing canvas. The weekender duffel does a wonderful job at its intended purpose (three or four-day getaways), but can make cross-country travel a breeze if packed properly.

Leather Gloves

The best essentials in a man’s life hit the right mark between form and function. Durable leather gloves provide critical protection from the cold, but the best pairs add dashing style to most looks. And like a leather wallet or a pair of leather boots, a pair of gloves made with care just tends to get better over time.

Jogger Pants

Casual times call for casual (but not sloppy) measures. Jogger pants, made with a tapered design and elastic cuffs at the ankle (plus an elastic waist) are now a bona fide style move beyond just your couch or a day at your home office.

You’ll find pairs made from stretch cotton for lounging or performance fabric for the gym.

Pocket Flashlight

It’s hard to forecast what you might need for a given job, or a sticky situation, until you happen to be there. But preparation often makes perfect, which is why a pocket flashlight belongs on this list.

Compact enough to fit in a chest pocket,  the right version provides easy, yet all-important, illumination for years to come.

Stainless Steel Watch

The wristwatch seems quaint in the digital age, but that’s all the more reason to wear one. Stainless steel is ideal, wearable on dry land or in the ocean depths. It’s also casually rugged enough to style with your new favorite white tee, yet you’ll find options that add class to a variety of business casual looks.

Chino Pants

A step up from blue jeans,  you’ll find the chino. Designed with four or five pockets and cut from thick cotton chino fabric – usually featuring stretch material nowadays – the chino is casual enough to wear with a tee, but versatile enough to style with an Oxford shirt. Once a military staple, they’re now standard issue for stylish guys.

Polo Shirt

Add the polo shirt to your shopping list. With roots in tennis and of course, polo, the two or three-button placket front is casually classy.

There are options suitable for days on the links, but the polo is at its best for spring and summer outdoor affairs. In navy, black or white, it’s a timeless option.

Dopp Kit

Long gone are the days of carrying your grooming must-haves in a Ziploc bag. The dopp kit could change the way you pack and travel, as modern options have slots, pockets and zippers to carry everything from travel razors to face wash, toothpaste to nail clippers.

Options abound, from finely crafted leather to water-repellent tech fabric.


For all those times you can’t physically bring your toolbox with you, a multi-tool could prove a saving grace. With a compact design, a great multi-tool is the hidden gem of your daily carry, with an astonishing array of handy tools and tricks available within arm’s reach.

Blazer / Sport Coat

In these increasingly casual times, the two-piece suit can feel a bit too formal. But the blazer, particularly in a versatile color like navy, is a reliable workhorse that passes muster.

Avoid options with over-the-top details like gold buttons, and reach for a version made with modern fabric. Then, pair it with chinos or blue jeans.


When a frigid winter day dawns, you’re going to feel that cold in a hurry if you’re not sliding into a pair of proper slippers. Make no mistake, a classic set of slippers can be a man’s best friend for large portions of the year, be it for casual days at home, or a log cabin winter weekend.

Three-button Long-sleeve Henley

The three-button henley has sporting heritage and a more appealing collar design than a plain crewneck tee. You can also wear yours on its own in more temperate conditions or beneath a chore coat, flannel shirt or shawl cardigan on brisk days. We’d go so far as to say every guy looks great in the henley shirt.

Dark Blue Jeans

Made with five pockets from durable cotton, these are a certified menswear classic.

You can find them at old-school brands and recent upstarts alike. They’re versatile enough to wear with a navy blazer at the office or with a three-button henley off-duty. When in doubt, pair with a classic T-shirt.

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