Today’s question comes from Derek:

“Do you have any recs for washing/drying clothes? I’ve stained clothes in the past, and it’s made me wary of buying nicer clothes.”

The older I get, the more I realize the value in investing a bit more upfront to save me a headache in the future.

Perfect example: a few years ago my wife I and took a trip to Cedar Point, an amusement park which houses some of the most famous roller coasters in the world.

We made the decision to pay an extra $50 for the “Fast Pass Plus”, which let us skip to the head of the line on all the rides.

Sure enough, we ended up making the smart choice, as the most popular rides had hour long waits. But not only that, just a few hours into our trip they had to close early as there was a storm coming.

By the time the park staff ushered us out, we’d already rode all the popular rides at least 3 times. (I don’t recommend doing this if you plan on eating that day.)

NICER CLOTHES, BETTER FEATURES

I sometimes work with clients who aren’t used to investing a bit more upfront in nice clothes. Like Derek, they’re hesitant out of fear of the upkeep, and I can understand why.

The ironic thing is, you’re probably more likely to need to constantly replace your cheaper clothes for the exact same reasons.

Why? Because premium brands can offer clothes with a lot more benefits, from stain repellent technology, odor shielding, or something as simple as making washing easier. These feature are just too pricey for budget brands to implement. As I like to say, things are cheap for a reason.

To put it simply: When you invest in better clothes upfront, you get better benefits, and you can actually worry LESS about your clothes when they get dirty or need to be washed.

I call this “Thinking about future you.”

Whether that’s paying a bit more to skip lines at the airport or amusement parks, or investing in clothes that are easier to take care of, that small bit upfront you invest into your clothes is going to make future you much happier. (And cleaner)

Today I want to share some of my clients and I’s favorite low maintenance pieces high on style.

NN07 Chase GORE-TEX Coat

THE LAST RAINCOAT YOU’LL BUY: NN07 CHASE GORE-TEX COAT

I’ve tested a handful of budget raincoats from fast fashion companies over the years, and they’ve always left me disappointed.

Most do a decent job during light rainfall, but get soaked when heavier downpours happen. They also lack windproofing features, which means you’ll have to add more layers underneath during peak winter. It’s why now as a general rule, I recommend my clients stay away from coats at most fast fashion and budget brands like Uniqlo.

For raincoats, I prefer a minimalist Mackintosh style coat than a classic double-breasted trench. You can’t go wrong with an original Mackintosh.

My pick this season is one from NN07, which features an outer wind and waterproof GORE-TEX shell and a detachable down lining for extra chilly days. The minimalist, classic style and color ensures you this coat will never go out of season, and that you’ll never have to buy another one ever again.

Benefits summary: 

  • High wind and water repellence
  • Removable down lining so you can wear it on warm and cold days
  • Timeless design and extremely versatile – throw it over your suit or t-shirt and jeans

BUY: NN07 CHASE GORE-TEX COAT, $885

 

Bonobos Italian Performance Suit

MY JETSETTING CLIENTS FAVORITE SUIT: BONOBOS ITALIAN PERFORMANCE SUIT

Bonobos has been really stepping up their game, investing in products that have the working man in mind. It’s no surprise that it’s one of my private styling clients favorite places to shop.

Their Italian Performance Suit, which I’ve previously written about, has also become a new favorite with my clients that are constantly traveling.

Here’s why:

“Bonobos teamed up with their Italian Suiting mill to develop a fabric with all the bells and whistles of something you’d find at Nike or Lululemon, while still maintaining the elegance and feel of a proper suit.

Their new Italian Performance suits feature 3% stretch (great to wear on a plane!) and are wrinkle, water, and stain resistant.

What does this mean?

No more stressing about your suit getting wrinkly, dirty, or funky between trips.

And like all Bonobos pieces, the suit is available in all their different fits so you’ll look sharp whether you’re tall and lean (go for the slim & tailored fit) or built like a linebacker (go for the athletic cut).”

Benefits summary: 

  • Wrinkle resistant – great for stress free travel
  • Water and stain repellant – liquids bead off, which means less reasons to visit the dry cleaners
  • Unlike most technical fabrics, Bonobos’ custom technical wool feels and drapes like a traditional wool suit

BUY: BONOBOS ITALIAN PERFORMANCE SUIT, $750

 

Bonobos Daily Grind Dress ShirtTHE BEST NO-IRON DRESS SHIRT: BONOBOS DAILY GRIND

Again, Bonobos hits it out of the park with their Daily Grind Dress shirt, another client favorite.

There are a handful of brands out there that offer wrinkle-free dress shirts, but what I like most about Bonobo’s daily grind is the options you have for collars (I’m a semi-spread or button-down guy), along with the wide range of prints and patterns, and all their fits.

For a first buy, go with a classic pale oxford blue, oxford white, and blue stripe before experimenting with checks and pop colors like pink and burgundy.

Benefits summary: 

  • Wrinkle resistant – no iron required
  • Tons of different collar, color, and pattern options
  • Machine washable

BUY: BONOBOS DAILY GRIND DRESS SHIRT, $98 EACH OR 3 FOR $225

 

Outlier UltraFine Merino T-ShirtTHE WORLD’S BEST T-SHIRT: OUTLIER’S ULTRA FINE MERINO T-SHIRT

I was actually recommended this tee by a client of mine who constantly travels the world in a single backpack.

Outlier is known for their minimalist, technology-driven take on men’s classics, and their treatment of the classic tee is deceptively simple.

They start with using ultra-fine merino, which is specially knit for them by Global Merino, resulting in a unique blend that’s light, drapes beautifully, and retains merino’s natural “performance fabric” properties.

Outlier puts it best:

“Merino has an incredible dry hand feel because its surface repels water while it simultaneously pulls moisture into its core, creating a dry body climate.

This cools you in the heat and insulates you in the cool, allowing you to wear it further and farther in comfort. In addition, it is naturally bacteriostatic creating a cleaner fabric that resists odor, allowing for longer use times.

We could go on too, it’s UV resistant, naturally springy, and phase changes at just above body temperature for extra cooling effects. But ultimately the real way to know the beauty of fine merino is to wear it.”

Benefits summary: 

  • Odor repellent – wear it longer and more often between washes
  • Naturally water wicking and repellant
  • All weather – ultrafine high grade merino cools you in heat and insulates in winter
  • Machine washable

BUY: OUTLIER ULTRAFINE MERINO T-SHIRT, $110

 

Bonobos Weekday Warrior Pants

THE ONE PANT I COULD WEAR FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE: BONOBOS WEEKDAY WARRIORS

I don’t think I’ve ever said this about any other pants before, let alone item of clothing, but if I had to choose one pair of pants to wear for the rest of my life it would be these.

To me, The Weekday Warriors are the perfect in-between pants if you feel chinos are too casual, but wool dress pants are too formal.

They’re cut like dress pants, making them perfect for the office when you pair them with a button-up and sports coat. The athletic fit in a 28″ inseam is perfect for shorter guys like me with slightly larger thighs. For everyone else, you can pick these up in their other cuts and lengths.

Best part: no need to dry clean. These are 100% machine washable.

Benefits summary: 

  • Dress pant style and cut made in an easy care cotton – office appropriate without the upkeep of a wool dress pant
  • EXTREMELY comfortable
  • Machine washable

BUY: BONOBOS WEEKDAY WARRIOR PANTS, $108

 

Bonobos Washable Merino Wool

THE WOOL SWEATER YOU CAN MACHINE WASH: BONOBOS MACHINE WASHABLE MERINO WOOL SWEATER

Knitwear can be intimidating. Do you go wool or cashmere? How do I take care of them?

Let me make your life a bit easier and introduce you to machine washable wool.

You can skip the dry cleaners and throw these sweaters in the washer with your next load. (Just make sure you skip the dryer and lay flat to dry.)

Bonobos has a ton of great machine washable sweaters this season, from crew necks to vnecks, along with quarter-zips.

Which one should you pick up? You can’t go wrong with neutrals like navy, charcoal grey, or camel.

I’ve been personally wearing the burgundy herringbone lately and been getting a ton of compliments.

Benefits summary: 

  • Fine merino – not itchy (this is coming from a guy that prefers cashmere)
  • Machine washable (just make sure you lay flat to dry, don’t dry in a dryer)

BUY: BONOBOS WASHABLE MERINO WOOL SWEATER, $98

 

Lululemon No Boxer Boxers

THE MOST COMFORTABLE PAIR OF UNDERWEAR I’VE EVER WORN: LULULEMON NO BOXER BOXERS

I’ve been a long time champion of Ex-officio underwear. That is until my friend Cass (who was a former buyer for Equinox’s in-gym stores) recommended I look into Lululemon’s men’s line. In her expert opinion, it’s the best men’s fitness line, and she was completely right.

Their top notch quality and fit extends to their line of undergarments (I’ve already written about how I’m a huge fan of their socks). And now they’ve taken over my underwear drawer.

Their No Boxer Boxers have the most flattering cut I’ve seen in a pair of boxers. I especially appreciate their front pouch seam, which perfectly hugs and supports your goods.

Made from Lightweight Power Luxtreme® fabric, these boxers wick sweat and keep cool (perfect for workouts too). The added Lyrca gives it 4-way stretch while retaining its shape and fit.

Benefits summary: 

  • Sweat wicking and odor repellant
  • 4-way stretch for a closer, flattering fit that prevents boxers from riding up
  • Unique front pouch that offers extra comfortable support for your package, also helps prevent chaffing
  • Keeps shape thanks to Luxtreme fabric with Lyrca
  • Machine washable

BUY: LULULEMON NO BOXER BOXER, $24

 

Darn Tough Socks

SOCKS SO GOOD THEY COME WITH A LIFETIME GUARANTEE: DARN TOUGH

Darn Tough socks definitely earn their name.

These merino wool socks are legendary not just for their construction, comfort, and quality, but the brands guarantee.

They’ll replace your socks if you get a hole in them, for life.

They feature multiple weave patterns that conform to your foot for a closer fit, along with a True Seamless construction making those annoying seams invisible. Every pair is antimicrobial, repelling bacteria and odor, sweat-wicking, and machine washable.

There are a ton of options here, I recommend starting with the mid-calf sock in any of the neutral colors like navy and grey.

Benefits summary: 

  • Sweat wicking and odor repellant
  • Anti-slip and blister fit
  • Multiple weave patterns for a “put it on and forget it’s on” fit
  • All weather: stays cool in the summer and insulates in winter
  • True Seamless construction – no annoying sock seams
  • Lifetime guarantee: If your socks get a hole in them, Darn Tough will replace them with a new pair for life

BUY: DARN TOUGH “THE STANDARD” MID-CALF SOCK, $23

 

Thursday Boots Suede Statesman Shoes

SUEDE SHOES YOU DON’T NEED TO BE PARANOID WEARING: THURSDAY BOOTS

Thursday Boots stands out on this list as they’re a solid entry-level brand when it comes to footwear.

They’ve begun making some of their timeless designs using WeatherSafe™ Suede, a treatment done to suede during the tanning process that makes the suede stain and water repellant.

I’m a big fan of suede in footwear, as it adds an extra layer of texture and style to your look. But if you’re like me, getting caught off guard by sudden downpour thanks to hit-or-miss weather apps is a constant nightmare. Luckily Thursday’s got your back on this one.

While I’ve always been a fan of Thursday’s boots, and I love the President’s in suede, I recommend you look into their suede derby.

A nice casual lace-up shoe you can wear with a sports coat and chinos as well as a sweater and blue jeans.

Benefits summary: 

  • Weathersafe technology: treatment of the suede beyond the surface level for the best out of the box water and stain repellence

BUY: THURSDAY BOOTS “STATESMAN” SUEDE DERBY SHOES, $180

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FOR MORE IDEAS ON WHAT TO WEAR WITH THESE RECS, CHECK OUT THESE ITEMS TO COMPLETE YOUR LOOK

EASIER UPKEEP STARTS WITH INVESTING IN WELL MADE CLOTHES

Taking care of your clothes don’t have to be a headache if you invest in clothes that make it easy for you to start. Luckily, fabric and construction technology is constantly improving, and brands are experimenting and investing more to incorporate these into your wardrobe.

This post was in partnership with our my friends over at Bonobos, who’ve been my go-to shop for my 1-on-1 client work. Thank you for working with me on this featured story!

peter@theessentialman.com'
Author

Hi, I'm Peter. I spent 11 years as a menswear designer here in NYC. Now, I help some of the most successful men look really good as a Private Personal Stylist and writer of The Essential Man. You can learn more about what I do by clicking here