Jeans, chinos, t-shirts: these items and more are what we consider to be fall must-haves for men reaching their middle age. You'll find the rest of our fall essentials for men in their 40s below.
What more can we say about men's jeans? When it comes to men's wardrobe staples, denim will inevitably reach the top of the list. What we will advocate is having two options at hand: a pair of classic, 100% cotton jeans, and also a pair of stretch jeans to wear in situations where comfort is essential, like long train commutes or plane rides. Aside from the comfort factor, having two pairs of jeans ensures that you always have a backup in case one pair happens to bust a zipper or receive a tear that takes time to patch back up.
Men's chinos and khaki pants have become the backbone of the business casual wardrobe for good reason. They're dressed up enough to be worn with navy blazers and sport coats, but can still be comfortably dressed down with casual items like polo shirts, rugby shirts and even tee shirts. If you happen to wear your chinos as part of a business dress code and find yourself traveling frequently, you may want to consider picking up a pair of wrinkle proof pants that will stay crisp no matter your destination.
The men's polo shirt occupies that perfect middle ground between a laid-back tee shirt and a button-front shirt. As such, it's among the most versatile of all upper-body clothing items. When you pull on a polo shirt, you won't look out of place pairing it with shorts, chinos, or denim. It can even be worn under a navy blazer should you wish to give it a dressier look, or add extra warmth when wearing it in a colder season.
Like the polo, the rugby shirt is another item that has its origins in sporting wear. It's not as ubiquitous as the polo shirt in the modern male wardrobe, but we believe that it should be. It remains less casual than a button-front shirt but not as casual as a T-shirt, and its full-length sleeves make it versatile enough to be worn through fall and winter as well. Like a polo shirt, it can even be layered under a navy blazer or a men's sports coat for extra warmth. The woven nature of a rugby shirt also means that it won't wrinkle like a button-front shirt, making it a great choice for travel wear.
In our ever more casual world, the navy blazer has become the new suit. Think of it a blank canvas: it can be paired with virtually any color pant, shirt and tie. That being said, we'll never tire of that classic combination of khaki pants, a blue button-front shirt, a striped tie and a navy blazer. Whether you find yourself attending a meeting, visiting the theater, or just wish to make an evening out on the town feel a little more special, the navy blazer is a staple you'll find yourself reaching for again and again.
Every man's wardrobe needs a men's button-front shirt, which begs the following question: which one? If you only have one shirt, we'd argue that it should be pinpoint. A pinpoint shirt is a finer weave than an oxford, which makes it slightly more formal and preps it for wear with suits. Yet it can still be paired with khaki pants or a navy blazer, and easily dressed down with jeans. If your calendar is filled with travel, consider picking up a non-iron, wrinkle-free pinpoint dress shirt.
We like to think of the flannel shirt as the more outdoorsy cousin of a pinpoint shirt. As a button-front shirt it's not quite as casual as a t-shirt, but is still the sort of thing most at home with a good pair of jeans and a pair of boots. Plus, nothing quite says “fall” the way a plaid flannel shirt can.
When it comes to cotton sweaters, the sweatshirt is a humble staple we can't do without. It accomplishes the number one goal of an extra layer of clothing–warmth–but its cotton weave allows it to breathe more easily than wool. The cotton factor also makes it easier to care for, as you can toss it in the wash whenever it needs a refresh.
Next to blue jeans, the T-shirt might be the most authentically American piece of clothing out there. Whether you plan to wear it with jeans as a throwback look, or just don it on a lazy morning with flannel pajamas and slippers, a good T-shirt should always be there when you need it.
It's no shock that this list of fall essentials calls for a jacket, but we're going to differ from the average by advising you get a packable jacket or coat. With travel‐and the subsequent changes in setting and temperature it entails–being a more frequent part of our life, having a jacket that can be packed into its hood is a convenience you don't want to go without.