Men’s Wardrobe Essentials – Q&A With Michael Barkin of Trunk Club


The men in my life often ask me how to buy good-looking clothes without putting spending hours at the mall. Since I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to go shopping, I normally don’t have any good advice for them. Well, that was until heard about Trunk Club –  an online personal styling and shopping service. They select merchandise based on a survey about your taste and then the clothes are shipped directly to you. You can try everything on at home with your existing wardrobe and decide what to keep with no pressure. Michael Barkin, Head of Sales at Trunk Club, gave us advice on how to start a great wardrobe!

by Jessica Moore

SB: What are the ten basic pieces every guy needs in their wardrobe and why?

  1. Navy Blazer – the single most important piece of clothing in a man’s wardrobe.  Infinitely versatile with jeans, cotton pants and slacks alike.
  2. Crisp white dress shirt – Because there’s no better shirt to wear under a suit, blazer or any other piece you’d layer formally.
  3. Casual white oxford shirt – Because you shouldn’t wear a dress shirt with jeans.
  4. Gray v-neck sweater – A layering piece that is appropriate with any color and for any environment.
  5. Great pair of dark denim – Think about how often you’re in jeans; make sure that you’re wearing ones that flatter and that feel good.
  6. Investment quality brown loafers – You’re in them all day long, so you may as well be comfortable.  Plus, shoes make or break your look – just ask your wife.
  7. The Belt to match those investment shoes – Mismatched belts and shoes are for kids.
  8. A sturdy weekend bag – Buy a good one and it will serve you for life, plus it will make you walk a little taller knowing your gear is carried in something as stylish as the place you’re headed.
  9. 1-Button Peak Lapel Tuxedo – Because renting a tuxedo is just gross.  Think about it.  Plus, they pay themselves off after only a few wears!
  10. A Solid charcoal gray suit – Gray wears the best and is nondescript – so you can wear it for any occasion and as often as you like (without people recognizing the suit)

SB: A lot of guys get stuck in a casual outfit rut and wear the same button-up and jeans everyday. What’s another outfit option they should consider this fall?

M: That’s what guys are comfortable in, so I say stick with what you like.  The main consideration should be around how you add to what you already know how to do.  My suggestion would be to use sweaters and blazers to elevate the complexity of your look.  It will show you take pride in putting yourself together and will undoubtedly distinguish yourself from your competition.

SB: Wearing a wide variety of colors can be tough. What are your four favorite color combinations and how do you recommend pulling them off?

  1. WHITE & NAVY –  The classic example is a dark pair of denim and a white oxford shirt – nothing is more tasteful.  For a more modern play, consider white jeans and a navy blazer.  The contrast between the two colors will never go out of style.
  2. BLACK & WHITE There’s a reason a tuxedo looks great on most men – because it only involves 2 colors, which are at opposite ends of the color spectrum.  The look is striking and is the epitome of elegance.
  3. PURPLE & GREEN – It takes a confident man to pull these colors off, but it’s refreshing to see when done well.  A classic lavender button down with a kelly green v-neck sweater is one of the most striking and unexpected combinations a man could consider.
  4. PINK & NAVY – For guys who think pink is just too much, have them use a navy layering piece to minimize its effect.  One thing is for sure though, a woman appreciates a guy who can wear this color with pride.

SB: Any ideas for what guys can wear for a night out for casual drinks or a date? 

M: Just look put together.  Spend a few minutes thinking about how you want to be perceived.  A look that will never fail is a pair of dark jeans, a tucked in solid color oxford button down and a casual blazer.  If those pieces fit right, there’s nobody who could tell you that you’re poorly dressed.

SB: What clothing pieces are worth splurging on?

M: The above ten essentials are all splurge worthy.

SB: Layering can be a tough concept – what is a no-fail formula? 

M: The items closest to your body should be the lightest colors.  The further away from your body, the darker the piece should be, relative to the outfit.  A perfect example is the white shirt with blue blazer concept.  Another valuable concept:  when you mix patterns, be sure that the patterns are noticeably different in size.  ideally, the smaller patters are closest to the body and the big patterns are furthest away.

SB: In “Crazy, Stupid, Love”, Ryan Gosling taught us that New Balance aren’t cool to wear as everyday shoes – what are some good shoe options for casual outfits? 

M: Driving shoes are the tasteful way of being casual.  You can wear them with jeans, cotton pants, or shorts and they should always be worn without socks.

SB: Any outfit mistakes that guys can easily avoid? 

M: Tuck your shirt in if you’re older than 22.


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SB: What do you wish guys would try more? 

M: In general, I wish guys took more time to think about how they put themselves together.  People form perceptions of us every single day based on the way we dress and I think it’s important to ask yourself how you want to be perceived each morning when putting clothes on for the day.  You never know who you’re going to meet, so why not be at your best.

Connect with a personal stylist at Trunk Club 

  1. Men are in confused stage while choosing Stylish dressing, color, casual dressing or formal dressing. Your sharing will be useful to take decision about way of dressing.

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