Back to Basics

Todd Snyder denim overshirt

Back to Basics

Now's the time to
invest in the classics

Denim overshirt from Todd Snyder ($168)

Denim overshirt from Todd Snyder ($168)

Here’s what I know for sure: We’ll eventually make it through this pandemic. We're going to emerge more resilient than ever and, hopefully, a little wiser about our own hierarchy of needs. But when we make it to the other side of this, I'm not exactly sure what we'll be wearing.

Because ever since we started social distancing, my style has seemed to quiet down. I'm not shopping for the same things I was buying before I locked down. Sure, I'll occasionally throw on a graphic camp collar shirt to add a little energy when I've got a Zoom call with colleagues. I'll pull on some tie-dye socks to brighten up an otherwise dull Monday morning working from home. But on the whole, my wardrobe has simplified. I'm wearing my Levi's 501s so much that I bought a second pair, this time in black.

After all, there's a comfort to clothing that has a classic look. It also helps that these garments are almost always made from soft, natural materials that only get more comfortable the more you wear them. These are items that are meant to slowly customize to your shape, so that they become nearly imperceptible when you've got them on.

There's also an innate security in pieces that are built to last and look as good in 2020 as they did in 2010, or 1970 or even 1950. These are timeless staples. The basic building blocks of any man's wardrobe that transcend time and trends. Let's face it: A guy is going to look good in a pair of chinos and a white Oxford shirt with its sleeves rolled. He just is. What's more, these simpler styles won't clash with your face mask or bandana.

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Levi's 501 Original Fit jeans on model
Levi's 501 Original Fit jeans on model

It's less flashy, for sure, but it seems fitting at the moment. The news can be overwhelming, many of us are worried about loved ones, along with our own health, and the economy is on shaky ground. It seems safer to invest in pieces that are solidly built without a lot of bells and whistles. The details are subtle and utilitarian. And it seems I'm not the only one thinking this way.

A burgeoning brand like Entireworld, which specializes in superior sweats, socks and underwear, has seen an unprecedented surge in sales—662% over last year, at a time when many brands and retailers are struggling. Ralph Lauren introduced the Icons Shop, a collection of enduring styles from the Polo archive that stand the test of time. Todd Snyder now makes a denim shirt cut from hardy cotton by Italy's renowned Albiate mill and finished with substantial melamine buttons. This is an old school shirt that will always feel fresh.

According to David Morris, MR PORTER's buying manager, “customer interests have shifted toward classic and versatile pieces.” He says that basic T-shirts from their house brand, Mr P., have been selling like crazy. “Sneakers, as a category, seem rather obvious during these times, but it's been interesting to see brands like Common Projects and their timeless styles remain as relevant as ever to our customers.”

Morris also says he's noticed a huge appetite for familiar pieces with a throwback quality. “There's been a global desire for soft and easy garments,” he says. “A tailored chino or a great pair of sweatpants go a long way during these nesting times.” Even at a luxury level, this isn't about frivolity. It may be slightly indulgent, but only in the sense that these are pieces worthy of the investment. And it feels good to buy something you know will be sticking with you for a while—and long after we're able to freely go outside with bare faces.

Worth the Investment

Men's classic clothing staples

501 Original Fit jeans,
$59.50 by Levi's

 
 

Knitted cotton T-shirt,
$85 by Mr P.

Cambridge Oxford shirt,
$165 by Gitman Bros.

 

Twill chinos,
$160 by Save Khaki

 

Denim overshirt,
$168 by Todd Snyder

 
 

Washed cotton sweatshirt,
$89.50 / $49.99 by Polo Ralph Lauren

Recycled cotton socks,
$15 by Entireworld

 
 

Boston clog sandal,
$230 by Birkenstock

 

Vintage Speedmaster chronograph,
$3,000 / $2,475 by Omega

Clockwise, from top left

Cambridge Oxford shirt,
$165 by Gitman Bros.

501 Original Fit jeans,
$59.50 by Levi's

Boston clog sandal,
$230 by Birkenstock

Knitted cotton T-shirt,
$85 by Mr P.

Recycled cotton socks,
$15 by Entireworld

Denim overshirt,
$168 by Todd Snyder

Vintage Speedmaster chronograph,
$3,000 / $2,475 by Omega

Washed cotton sweatshirt,
$89.50 / $49.99 by Polo Ralph Lauren

Twill chinos,
$160 by Save Khaki

NOTE: Items featured in this story are independently selected by the editorial team. Purchasing via our links may earn Valet. a portion of the sale, which helps fund our editorial mission.

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