Every day I get an email, text, DM from clients and readers just like you asking me for recommendations on everything from suits for work, to workout shoes, to even pens and condoms.

After 3 years of this site, dozens of private clients around the world, with feedback from thousands of daily readers, I decided to compile a list of 100 of the best (and most stylish!) things right now.

A guide so massive I had to split it into two!

For the first part, I’m covering what most of you are here for…Recommendations on clothes, grooming, and accessories.

Here are the rules/criteria for making this list:

ONLY PRODUCTS I HAVE PERSONALLY USED, OR HAVE BEEN VETTED BY MY PRIVATE CLIENTS

Here’s a dirty little secret about a lot of those “Best of” lists on some of the big-name men’s magazines and blogs: A lot of the writers don’t even test or use the products they’re recommending.

How do I know?

When I worked as a menswear designer, I was in charge of sending a lot of these writers info about our new collection, and they’d write praise for it, WITHOUT EVER COMING IN TO SEE AND TRY ON THE CLOTHES.

That’s why for my list, I’m only recommending products I’ve tested or have been used by my private clients or me.

“BEST” DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN THE MOST EXPENSIVE OR HIGHEST QUALITY

My pick won’t always be the most expensive or highest quality option, I also take into consideration accessibility, “bang for the buck,” and something as simple as how often I personally use it.

A good way to think about it: I could pick the burger at Raoul’s as the best burger in NYC, but it loses points for the fact that they only make 12 a day.

Whereas the burger at Shake Shack beats it for the price, quality, and the fact that it’s much easier to get your hands on.

GIFTED PRODUCTS DON’T GUARANTEE A POSITIVE REVIEW (OR REVIEW AT ALL)

I’ve grown The Essential Man to a point where I get at least 5 emails a week from brands wanting to send me some new travel bag, shoe, or beard oil (Attention grooming brands: I’m Asian and can’t grow a beard.)

I always make it a note to the brands that sending me something for free doesn’t guarantee you a positive review, or even a post at all.

I spent 11+ years designing high-end menswear here in New York and studied at one of the best design schools in the world. I take my reputation very seriously.

It’s why I think The Essential Man has been so successful. I’ll tell you when $400 sneakers are really worth it, and when $10 t-shirts are worth it too.

Related note: I’ll always make a note and disclose any product I’m gifted that’s actually good.

I’LL LET YOU KNOW THE GOOD WITH THE BAD

Nothing good is without its faults. Along with recommending what I think is the best right now, I want to give you the best, most useful kind of recommendation list.

That’s why I’ll try my best to include what I don’t love about products I love, whether it’s their price, how long they last, or even if something might be TOO popular. (Cause yeah, sometimes even I get sick of seeing the same shirt on every dude.)

Let’s get to the recommendations!

To make your life easier, I separated the recommendations into categories in a table of contents below. You can jump straight to what you’re looking for by clicking below.

Some products might crossover into two categories. I just go with the category I use it for.

TABLE OF CONTENTS


CLOTHES

THE BEST “GO-TO” MEN’S BRAND: BONOBOS

For years, J.Crew was my go-to brand whenever I went shopping with a client for their timeless pieces. But in the last year or so I noticed a problem.

Pieces would sell out and either never be restocked or just completely disappear from the roster next season. This was annoying for me as I would have to re-educate myself with the products. It was annoying for my clients who loved the pair of jeans they got last season but could no longer find it the next.

This is why I love Bonobos.

Their main advantage over J.Crew is they solely focus on menswear (The bulk of J.Crew’s business is women’s, which means men’s is an afterthought).

Their classics – like the chinos that made them famous, are available year round. And my favorite part is almost everything they stock comes in a variety of size combinations. So if you’re tall with a thin waist, or short with athletic legs, you can find the perfect fit.

The only downside is their stores don’t actually sell products, they’re “try-on” stores. The plus is you don’t have to carry a ton of stuff home, and shipping from their warehouses are as fast as 1-2 days if you’re on the east coast.

SHOP: BONOBOS WEBSTORE

THE BEST ONLINE SHOP FOR MEN: MR. PORTER

While Bonobos is still considered an online shop, I thought I’d give this slot up to one of my other favorite places to shop online, Mr. Porter.

While Mr. Porter stocks classic brands and styles from places like Polo, Converse, and Levi’s, where they really shine are the trendier items and designer pieces.

I’ve always stress building an essential core wardrobe with timeless pieces first. But I’m a huge fan of dabbling into trends once you’ve got that covered, it’s how you’re really going to develop a unique personal style.

Mr. Porter also has a fantastic selection of accessories like bags, grooming products, even luxury watches if you’re ready to invest.

The only downside is items tend to sell fast, so I highly recommend checking out the “What’s New” section often.

Plus side, they have amazing sales if you are lucky enough to score something in your size.

SHOP: MR.PORTER WEBSTORE

THE BEST VINTAGE SHOP IN NYC: FRONT GENERAL STORE

Scoring a good deal on vintage clothes in NYC is like eating healthy at McDonald’s. It’s possible, but you can’t really complain when it doesn’t happen.

Once you accept that most things in NYC are going to be pricier because of the economics of real estate, head on over to Dumbo and check out Front General Store.

The shop is run by a bunch of Japanese people, so you already know it’s going to be stocked with some amazing finds. The founder was the former buyer at the equally famous second hand NYC institution “What comes around goes around.”

F.G.S. has a mix of new and old items. The real gems are in the back: vintage german army sneakers, french work jackets, silk tour jackets. Just be prepared to pay some “retail” prices for these items.

VISIT: FRONT GENERAL STORE IN DUMBO, BROOKLYN

THE BEST BUDGET-FRIENDLY MENSWEAR BRAND: UNIQLO

What can I say that hasn’t already been said about Uniqlo?

They’re the Chipotle of fast fashion. One of the few “mass” brands I don’t feel completely terrible after shopping there.

One of the best places you can go for basics like tees and socks, or last min seasonal pick-ups in a pinch ($50 cashmere beanies anyone?!).

I recommend stick to basics as their more tailored pieces, like coats and jackets, leave a lot to be desired. (I’ve always found their coats subpar when it came to actually keeping out the cold.)

I have been pleasantly surprised by their denim though, and at $50 a pair they’re hard to top as your “beaters.”

SHOP: UNIQLO WEBSTORE

BEST PLACE TO GET AN ENTRY LEVEL SUIT: SUIT SUPPLY

A spot once occupied by J.Crew, Suit Supply has been my go-to shop for clients in need of more formal tailored pieces.

The huge variety of styles, cuts, and extremely knowledgeable, well-dressed staff (employee go to a Suit Supply “Bootcamp” to learn about suits and fits before they start working the floor) makes this one of my favorite places to shop.

Their off the rack items can be hit-or-miss, especially when it comes to fabric selection. Suit Supply cuts costs by buying fabrics in vast quantities and producing as many suits as they can until they use it all up. The downside is not every suit comes in every colorway.

But one solution and probably the best deal you can get is their custom suit service, where you can tweak a suit to your liking from cut, lapels, fabric choice, down to whether or not you want belt loops or side tabs.

And as long as you don’t go crazy with the fabric choice, you can have a sharp suit for less than a thousand dollars.

Also big bonus for having amazing in-house tailors who will tweak anything you buy there quickly, sometimes as fast as an hour.

SHOP: SUIT SUPPLY WEBSTORE

MY FAVORITE SUIT RIGHT NOW: SUIT SUPPLY “WASHINGTON”

My absolute favorite suit from Suit Supply? Their “Washington” – a wide peak lapel, high rise trouser suit. It’s incredibly flattering, especially on shorter guys like me as it lengthens my legs and never fails to get me compliments.

I picked one up in a beautiful midnight navy, and am about to order a couple of custom ones in different colors for Fall. At less than $500 it’s such a steal.

BUY: SUIT SUPPLY WASHINGTON SUIT, STARTING AT $499 

THE GO-TO SPORTS COAT MY GUYS BUY: BONOBOS UNSTRUCTURED ITALIAN WOOL BLAZER

Bonobos’ Unconstructed Italian Wool Blazer hits the sweet spot of solid quality, price, design, and availability.

It features all my favorite details when it comes to a more casual jacket, especially in the warmer months: light lining, relaxed construction, and easy to use patch pockets.

Are there “better” sports coats out there? Sure, but you’d be hard-pressed to find one at this quality in this range of colors that has a better price tag than $400.

If you need a versatile sports coat, get this one.

BUY: BONOBOS UNSTRUCTURED ITALIAN WOOL BLAZER, $320

THE BEST GO-TO BASIC TEE: UNIQLO SUPIMA COTTON T-SHIRT

This list almost ran the risk of being occupied by Bonobo’s products.

Bonobo’s yarn spun tee is a luxe upgrade made from Supima cotton, a long strand of cotton with a softer feel. (A good way to think about it vs. regular cotton: think about how soft a woman’s long hair feels when you run your fingers through it versus your short hair.)

The only downside is the $30 sticker price. It’s why my original recommendation of Uniqlo’s Supima cotton tees wins. They’re just as solid and 1/3rd the cost.

BUY: UNIQLO SUPIMA COTTON T-SHIRT, $9

THE BEST PLACE TO GET GRAPHIC TEES FOR GROWN MEN: SATURDAYS NYC

Graphic tees, especially as a grown man, can be tricky. You run the risk of looking like some college kid who still shops at the mall.

I always recommend Saturday’s. Their graphic tees pass what I call “The Museum” test. They’re minimal, refined (translation: not obnoxious), and can be had for less than $50 bucks. They’re the perfect place to get graphic tees and still feel like a grown man.

BUY: SATURDAY’S GRAPHIC T-SHIRTS, STARTING AT $24

THE BEST POLO FOR THE SUMMER: BONOBOS LA POLO

I love me a good polo, but I’ve never been a fan of the classic heavy pique fabric. That’s why I love Bonobos LA polo. Imagine your polo had a baby with the perfect vintage tee.

Light, soft, and beautifully broken in. Looks great by itself, or wear it my favorite way, underneath an unstructured sports coat. (Make sure you leave the top button unbuttoned for extra effortless style vibes.)

BUY: BONOBOS LA POLO, $48

THE BEST TIMELESS DENIM JACKET TO BUY RIGHT NOW: ACNE’S TENT DENIM JACKET

Every guy needs a classic denim jacket. Here’s the problem with most denim jackets on the market: despite the fact the 90s are supposedly in, the washes are way too light for my taste. (Leave those to Zack Morris)

My biggest gripe? Most don’t have pockets. And anyone who’s tried on a denim jacket before without pockets knows the pain in motioning to put your hands in your pockets and finding nothing there.

Acne’s denim jacket this season hits all the points – a perfect medium wash with side pockets. The only downside is the price. But at the very least it’ll be the last denim jacket you’ll ever buy.

BUY: ACNE TENT DENIM JACKET, $420

THE JEANS ALL MY PRIVATE CLIENTS ARE ADDICTED TO: RAG & BONE

There are dozens of denim brands out there, but Rag & Bone never fails to make my private clients feel cool and get them endless compliments.

R&B has 3 fits which will cover most guys (from skinny to straight). Guys with a more athletic body (larger butt/thighs) might not be able to get something flattering. In this case, I’d recommend Bonobos jeans athletic cut.

But for everyone else, Rag & Bone’s denim line is my top choice.

BUY: RAG & BONE JEANS, STARTING AT $195

THE PERFECT SUMMER SHORTS: BONOBOS SUMMER WEIGHT SHORTS

This is sort of cheating, but Bonobos’ chino shorts are everything you love about their chinos but…shorter. Same excellent fits and fabric. These are a no-brainer for your summer wardrobe.

When it comes to length, you want it above the knees or almost hitting it, never past it.

For my private clients, I always recommend finding a length that hits 1-2” above the knee.

BUY: BONOBOS SUMMER WEIGHT SHORTS, $78

WHERE TO BUY A PROPER HAT FOR GROWN MEN: GOORIN BROS.

Let’s save baseball caps for your run or actual baseball games.

Wear a hat like a grown stylish man and go for a proper straw Panama style hat. The key is making sure you get one with a wide enough brim to shade you from the sun and prevent you from looking like you picked it up at your local Urban Outfitters. I recommend a brim at least 2 1/2″ wide.

Goorin Bros. Is one of my favorite places for hats not only for the quality but for the solid entry-level prices.

BUY: GOORIN BROS. BIG JOHN WIDE BRIM FEDORA, $160

THE MOST COMFORTABLE UNDERWEAR THAT’LL MAKE YOU LOOK SEXY AS FUCK: LULULEMON NO BOXER BOXER

Here’s what I look for in solid underwear for men: support for your junk, fit (does it hug your body, or are there annoying gaps?), breathability, and longevity (does the stretch last, or does it end up becoming a loose diaper after a few washes?)

Lululemon’s line of boxer briefs for men hits all these points, especially when it comes to supporting your junk. Check out the contoured seaming around the crotch area! It’s one of the most comfortable pairs of underwear I’ve ever worn.

BUY: LULULEMON NO BOXER BOXERS, $24

THE KING OF TANK TOPS: CALVIN KLEIN’S CLASSIC 3-PACK

When you need a tank top, it’s hard to beat a classic 3-pack from Calvin Klein.

They’re long enough to tuck into your pants and hug your body just right, without being suffocatingly tight. They’re perfect to wear under your shirts to absorb any sweat or hold you in. (You ARE wearing it under your shirts and not by itself, right?)

BUY: CALVIN KLEIN TANK TOP 3-PACK, $19

WHERE I’VE BEEN BUYING MY DAILY SOCK FOR THE LAST 10 YEARS: UNIQLO

Uniqlo has been my go-to spot for day to day socks for over a decade. They’re affordable ($2.50 a pair!) and come in a billion colors. What more do I need to say?

BUY: UNIQLO SOCKS, $2.90/EA

THE BEST INVISIBLE SOCKS OUT THERE: FALKE INVISIBLE STEP SOCKS

Falke has been knitting things like socks since 1895, so it’s no surprise they continuously make the top of my list.

The exposed ankle isn’t just a stylistic choice, it can surprisingly help keep your lower half cool when temperatures rise. Just don’t make the amateur mistake and thinking the “sockless” look actually means going sockless.

When it comes to wearing no-show socks, there’s only a couple of rules. They should not show (duh), and you should always match the sock color to the color of the shoe lining. That is, if your shoe has a black lining, wear black no-show socks.

Luckily, Falke makes invisible socks in enough colors to cover your bases, including one of my personal favorites, a white invisible cool sock that’s perfect for white sneakers.

BUY: FALKE INVISIBLE SOCKS, $18


ACCESSORIES

THE BEST DRESS BELTS YOU CAN BUY: CROCKETT & JONES

Protip: If you want good belts, look at brands that make good shoes. Crockett & Jones is the cream of the crop when it comes to traditional handmade men’s footwear.

Yes, you’re going to pay a premium, but what you get out of it is a belt that has the same high standards as the shoes they’ve been making since the 1800s (in matching colors to boot!)

BUY: CROCKETT & JONES BELTS, STARTING AT $180

BEST BELTS TO WEAR WITH YOUR JEANS: BEST MADE CO.

For your casual belt needs, I’m a big fan of Best Made Co., which I often describe as a “Ron Swanson meets Barney’s” shop. They stock everything from aesthetically pleasing axes to engraved flasks and rare Japanese books about whiskey.

Their casual belts (identifiable differences between casual and dress belts: look for rounded buckles and lack of edge stitching) are no frills: polished buckles made of vegetable tan leather, designed to break in beautifully. The perfect belt to throw on your denim.

BUY: BEST MADE CO. “STANDARD” BELT, $98

THE NO FRILLS MINIMALIST WALLET: DRIES VAN NOTEN CARD HOLDER

I’m a big believer you don’t need to carry a lot in your pockets, especially nowadays with apps like Apple pay and Venmo. A card case with enough slots to hold your ID, debit card, and a credit card is all you need.

To get anything from Dries Van Noten (my favorite designer) for $120 is a steal. To get something from Dries that is timeless is a gift.

His no-frills leather cardholder is precisely what I preach to my clients: Great style is subtle and invisible.

BUY: DRIES VAN NOTEN LEATHER CARD HOLDER, $120

MOST STYLISH WATCH FOR GUYS THAT DON’T WEAR WATCHES: TIMEX MK1

I’ve noticed a trend where a lot of my reader and clients are moving away from using their phones as timepieces and are looking for recs for watches.

This is a case where I always recommend going for something a little friendlier on the wallet, just to see if you like wearing something on your write all day.

My go-to recommendation for a starter watch: Timex’s MKI line, which is based on a military design. The watches aren’t too flashy, less than $100, and are the perfect way to dip your toes into wrist-wear.

The only downside is that they are a bit on the light side, which makes them feel cheap and fragile.

I own both the nato strap and metal band, and at these prices, I’d recommend getting both to give you more options.

BUY: TIMEX MK1, STARTING AT $99

THE BEST “PROPER” WATCH THAT WON’T COST YOU HALF YOUR SALARY: IWC MARK XVIII

Look, I love me a good Rolex too, but something can be said for doing things that aren’t expected. IWC is one of those brands where watch guys will look at your wrist and give you the “Oh, he knows.” nod.

Their Mark XVIII model is their entry line and is the perfect first grown-up watch. It’s the ideal set it and forget it watch. A daily grinder that doesn’t demand a lot of attention.

BUY: IWC MARK XVIII, $3,950

THE MAN JEWELRY BRAND YOU SHOULD SHOP AT IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START: MIANSAI

For those looking to dabble into the world of man jewelry, Miansai is the brand to shop. Their cuff designs are minimal, masculine, and come in a variety of metals that fit all budgets.

For first-timers, I always recommend a classic metal cuff in silver. Check out their necklaces too, I personally picked their Cuban cigar palm tree pendant and regularly get compliments on it.

BUY: MIANSAI ONLINE @ MR. PORTER

MY FAVORITE BUDGET FRIENDLY EYEGLASS BRAND: WARBY PARKER

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Warby Parker. The prices are AMAZING. The designs are cool and trendy. The quality though is just, ok. And let’s not forget the slight annoyance of everyone wearing the same thing as you.

You can’t expect much for a pair of glasses with prescriptions for about $100 bucks. But the pro here is you can get multiple pairs and change up your look for the cost of one designer frame and lens combo you’d get at your local optometrist.

I generally recommend Warby as a solid choice for a secondary (or third) pair.

SHOP: WARBY PARKER ONLINE

BEST EYEGLASS BRAND IF YOU WANT SOMETHING NO ONE ELSE HAS: CUTLER & GROSS

For something a bit more substantial, I’ve been taking my private clients to Cutler & Gross, the British label responsible for those ultra cool glasses featured in The Kingsman.

Their styles are the perfect blend of classic with just enough of a unique twist to make them stand out.

SHOP: CUTLER & GROSS @ MR. PORTER

BEST PLACE FOR SUNGLASSES IF YOU’RE PRONE TO LOSING YOUR SUNGLASSES: WARBY PARKER

For anyone in need of prescription sunglasses, Warby is a godsend. You’ll pay slightly more (roughly $120 per sunglass), but it beats wearing contacts. All the other cons regarding Warby though still apply here.

SHOP: WARBY PARKER SUNGLASSES ONLINE

SUNGLASSES THAT ARE TOTALLY WORTH THEIR PRICE TAG: TOM FORD

Handling a pair of Tom Ford glasses once will immediately tell you why they’re worth spending a bit more money on. All Tom Ford eyewear features a spring hinge, which flexes outward when you put them on and springs back for a snug fit when you’re wearing them.

This helps extend the life of the hinge of your glasses as well as ensures an excellent fit when wearing. It makes you wonder why don’t all glasses have these.

SHOP: TOM FORD EYEWEAR @ MR. PORTER

THE MOST USEFUL AND GENIUS EYE/SUNGLASS CASE: WARBY PARKER’S COLLAPSABLE “PARKER” CASE

Any glasses owner knows the struggle of trying to decide if the bulge of a case is worth the risk of breaking or losing your glasses.

Warby solves this problem with the genius origami case which looks great, has a soft interior to protect your glasses and folds up when not in use. Watch it in action here on my Instagram.

BUY: WARBY PARKER “PARKER” CASE, $15

THE KEYCHAIN THAT WILL MAKE YOU THE HERO AT EVERY PARTY: CORTER’S “BOTTLEHOOK” KEYCHAIN

I’ve been a huge fan of Corter’s Bottlehook since it’s original Kickstarter. It occupies a rare overlap of great aesthetics, functionality, and brilliance. The hook loops around your belt loop securely so you never have to worry about losing your keys.

But the real magic lies in the small tab at the top of the loop – a functioning bottle opener, which will make you the hero at every impromptu party.

BUY: CORTER “BOTTLEHOOK” KEYCHAIN, $36

THE PERFECT DAILY WORK BAG THAT ISN’T A BACKPACK: WANT LES ESSENTIEL’S LEATHER TRIMMED COTTON CANVAS TOTE

If you always felt like you looked like a freshman lugging around your laptop in a backpack, it might be time to consider a tote.

Want Les Essentiels upgrades the tote from paper thin cotton you’re used to carrying into something worthy of a business meeting.

Interior pockets perfect for your laptop, removable strap for easy carrying, and a beautiful leather handle when you don’t want to ruin your perfectly tailored suit jacket.

BUY: WANT LES ESSENTIELS TOTE, $250


SHOES

THE MINIMALIST SNEAKER WHEN YOU’RE SICK OF STAN SMITHS: GREATS “ROYALE”

White sneakers are as an official staple in a man’s wardrobe as a pair of blue denim or charcoal grey suit.

If you’re as sick of seeing everyone else rocking some Stan Smith and Common Projects are just a bit out of your budget, then Greats Royale is what you should pick up.

The quality is top notch, and unlike other minimalist white sneakers out there, these are a style that’s always available.

BUY: GREATS ROYALE, $179

THE BEST (AND LEAST ANNOYING) SNEAKER YOU SHOULD HAVE ON YOUR SHOERACK: NIKE “INTERNATIONALISTS”

Streetwear is huge right now. I love streetwear. My interest in men’s style started in streetwear, but some of the newer styles of sneakers are just an eyesore, and def are more popular thanks to hype than good design.

But I’m a fan of adding a running sneaker to your wardrobe, and my all time favorite is the Nike Internationalist. A throwback 80s running sneaker you can give the Nike ID treatment.

It’s the black leather jacket of sneakers: a style that never looks dated and will go with almost everything whether you decide to pair it with jeans or your casual Friday suit.

BUY: NIKE INTERNATIONALISTS SNEAKERS, $110

MY FAVORITE ENTRY LEVEL LOAFERS: MEERMIN BLACK CALF LOAFERS

A box calfskin loafer for less than $200 that’s actually comfortable to wear? Meermin loafers regularly top must-buy lists for entry level shoes for a good reason.

My problem with most lower end loafers is the matte leathers (calfskin is not just pricey, but notoriously difficult to work with as it scratches easily.)

For me, the perfect black loafer has a high shine, and these Meermins are the perfect starter loafer until you can upgrade.

BUY: MEERMIN BLACK CALF LOAFERS, $175

THE ONLY BOOTS YOU SHOULD BE BUYING: THURSDAY’S “CAPTAIN” BOOTS

I own boots that are nearly 3x the cost of a pair of Thursday’s Presidents, yet I wear and recommend my Thursday boots more than anything else.

That should tell you something.

BUY: THURSDAY “CAPTAIN” BOOTS, $199

THE SUMMER SHOE YOU HAVEN’T BOUGHT YET BUT WILL TODAY: CATANER’S ESPADRILLES

If you haven’t considered espadrilles this summer, there’s still time. If flip-flops are cheap beer, espadrilles is the perfect mezcal margarita.

Castaner are still made on the same machines the family-owned company originally used over a 100 years ago.

Castaner’s were Yves Saint Laurents favorite espadrilles and still, in my opinion, the best you can get out there.

BUY: CASTANER ESPADRILLES, STARTING AT $105

THE LAST PAIR OF OXFORDS YOU’LL EVER BUY: CROCKETT & JONES

Crockett & Jones have been making Goodyear welt shoes since the late 1800s, and is to proper dress shoes what Rolex is to watches.

It’s hard to beat if you’re looking for a serious Oxford. (If they’re good enough for James Bond in Skyfall, they’ll be good enough for your office job)

BUY: CROCKETT & JONES HALLAM OXFORDS, $635


GROOMING

THE COLOGNE YOU SHOULD SWITCH TO THIS SUMMER: DEPENDS…

As much as I would like to share my choice here, I understand part of picking a cologne is finding something that suits your personality. That’s why for this one I’m calling back to my Summer Style article’s resident scent expert Rachel with her recommendations:

From top, left to right:

  1. Raymond Matts: Tulile (fresh, green, citrus, polywood). $200 (contact Raymond Matts at ray@raymondmatts.com)
  2. Escentric Molecules: Molecule 1 (sandalwood, cedar, fresh), $60, Barneys.com
  3. Comme Des Garcons: Hinoki (incense, moss, dry fresh wood), $120, Nordstroms.com
  4. Scotch and Soda: Barfly (citrus-herb, lavender, sandalwood), $55, Scotch-soda.com
  5. DS & Durga: Burning Barbershop (lime, spruce, lavender, hay) $155, dsanddurga.com

THE HAIR PRODUCT I KEEP GOING BACK TO: BAXTER OF CALIFORNIA’S CLAY POMADE

I’ve been road testing at least a dozen different hair products in the last few months, but I always find myself defaulting back to Baxter of California’s Clay Pomade.

It’s the perfect consistency (almost like playdough), has an extremely long-lasting hold and has a smell that won’t compete with your cologne or deodorant.

The only downside (or possible upside?) is its matte finish. I prefer a bit of shine. But there are a couple ways to remedy this.

You can “activate” it by spraying your hair lightly with water after working in the product. (The water beads will bond with the pomade and give it a shine)

Or you can do what I usually do and apply a small (I mean small) amount of a higher gloss product on top of it (in general, the higher the shine, the weaker the hold). I’ve been finishing my hair off with R+Co’s Glossing Wax.

BUY: BAXTER OF CALIFORNIA CLAY POMADE, $21

THE FACE WASH EVERY SKIN EXPERT KEEPS RECOMMENDING TO ME: URSA MAJOR FANTASTIC FACE WASH

On a recent Instagram Q&A, someone asked me what my favorite face products were.

My personal skincare routine is pretty minimal. I use a face wash, toner, then a moisturizing sunscreen.

My facewash of choice is from Vermont based Ursa Major, a gentle foaming face wash with ingredients like aloe, white tea, and lemon to gently strip away dirt without over-drying your skin. Did I also mention it smells amazing? (Think cedar, spearmint, and lavender.)

BUY: URSA MAJOR FANTASTIC FACE WASH, $28

THE DAILY SUNSCREEN I WEAR TO AVOID LOOKING LIKE A PRUNE WHEN I’M IN MY 50S: IMAGE SKINCARE DAILY MATTE MOISTURIZER 32+ SPF

Like many men, my skincare routine consisted of bar soap in the shower.

I recently started taking it seriously after 1) realizing I’m getting older and 2) freaking out after noticing how my dad’s skin has aged. Thankfully I’m not a smoker like him, but it was enough to scare me straight.

I recently went to Heyday at the recommendation of Megan of Style GF, where my specialist told me if I only did one thing, it would be to wear sunscreen daily.

She recommended Image’s Prevention + SPF 32 Daily Matte Moisturizer. I’m loving’ it. It smells good, goes on smooth and matte, doesn’t feel like regular sunscreen, and my wife loves touching my face.

She loves it so much I had to make her get her own after she started mine for almost a week.

BUY: IMAGE SKINCARE DAILY MATTE MOISTURIZER + SUNSCREEN, $39

THE BEST SELLING BEARD TRIMMER OUT THERE: PHILIPS NORELCO MULTIGROOM SERIES MG3750

I don’t have the beardiest beard (thanks Asian genes), but here’s why I love about this trimmer: It doesn’t have a bullshit charging base taking up a ton of room in storage or when you’re charging.

It has 18 different length settings so you can get the exact size you’re looking for.

And most importantly, it has a nose-hair trimmer attachment. Trust me, she’ll thank you for the last one. (Oh yeah, it has 4,200 near 5-star reviews on Amazon.)

BUY: PHILIPS NORELCO MULTIGROOM SERIES MG3750, $19

THE ONLY SHARP THING I’LL LET NEAR MY CROTCH: PHILIPS NORELCO BODYGROOM SERIES 1100

Don’t make the amateur mistake I once did of using your beard trimmer in such a sensitive area. The delicate skin around your groin requires finer blades, otherwise you’re just asking for your skin to get caught and (ouch) cut. And nothing puts you out of the sex game longer than open wounds.

I was a huge fan of Norelco’s Bodygroom trimmer when it first launch, and was extremely surprised with the upgrades they’ve made.

First it’s wireless and uses a battery, which solves the huge problem the previous model had of losing its charge after a while. (Slow blades means unwanted cuts)

The teeth are finer and include two soft silicone blade guards. This not only make trimming a breeze, it’s pretty much impossible to cut yourself, especially in super-delicate areas like your balls!

A couple of downsides.

If you got a big bush, I definitely recommend taking scissors or your beard trimmer on a 3 or 4 setting to give the Bodygroom less to struggle with. The Bodygroom works best as a tidying tool.

Probably the most annoying con, the blades fill up fast with hair, so you’ll have to stop every few passes, pop off the blades and use the mini brush to clear the build up.

And while Norelco says you can use this in the shower, it’s definitely most effective dry.

BUY: PHILIPS NORELCO BODYGROOM SERIES 1100, $17

THE ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH I LOVE (EVEN THOUGH I HATE ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSHES): QUIP

Here’s what I love about Quip toothbrushes.

They come with a travel cover that doubles as a toothbrush holder. The holder has a magical strip which somehow never loses its stickiness, so you can keep taking it off and moving it around as many times as you want.

Last, I don’t have to worry about changing my toothbrush, as Quip’s subscription service sends you a new replacement head every 3 months.

BUY: QUIP TOOTHBRUSH, $25

NEVER HAVE SWEATY ARMPITS EVER AGAIN: SWEATBLOCK ANTI-PERSPIRANT PADS

Sweatblock will change your life.

SweatBlock is an antiperspirant towelette you wipe on at night. The towelettes contain an FDA approved proprietary formula blocks sweat up to 7-days per use.

With over 3,000 nearly 5 star reviews on Amazon, SweatBlock is a top-rated and effective solution against sweat.

The only downside? While it does block sweat effectively and reduces some odor, it doesn’t eliminate it. (B.O. is caused by the lack of air flow your pits get.) SweatBlock recommends you use it along with a deodorant. Luckily, I got a rec for that!

BUY: SWEATBLOCK, $18

THE DEODORANT TO SPRAY OVER YOUR SWEATBLOCKED PITS: AESOP DEODORANT SPRAY

My beef with most deodorants is I always end up smelling like I just left gym class.

Aesop’s describes it’s deodorant spray as “woody, herbaceous, earthy.” It always makes me feel like I just left a stroll through the woods.

The scent is strong enough to be noticed but subtle and “natural” enough to take a backseat to any cologne you might wear. It’s the perfect way to combat body odor without resorting to a sport, fresh scent.

BUY: AESOP DEODORANT SPRAY, $35


FITNESS

THE (ALMOST) 5-STAR GYM EARBUDS THAT COST LESS THAN $30: SOUNDPEATS MAGNETIC EARPHONES

I’m not much of an audiophile to notice the difference, and these have served me extremely well in the gym. If you’ve never used bluetooth headphones before, especially in the gym, you’re in for a real treat.

The first time you use them it’ll feel like magic, and you’ve been wondering why you put up with all the constant unplugging and dropped phones during your workout.

What I love about these compared to my previous over the ear recommendations is the in-ear buds don’t get in the way of my glasses.

Each ear bud also has a handy magnetic back which snaps together, making it a cinch to carry around your neck when not in use.

BUY: SOUNDPEATS MAGNETIC BLUETOOTH EARPHONES, $28

THE WORKOUT TEE I WORE WHILE LOSING 50LBS: LULULEMON METAL VENT TECH TEE

Ok, it’s time to get over the fact it’s Lululemon. They’re one of my favorite brands for workout gear (right behind Nike). Their cuts are amazing and fabrics are on par with Nike, and their designs are getting better and better. Their standard workout shirt, the Vent Tech shirt is extremely lightweight and has anti-odor properties. They feel much nicer than my previous go-to, Nike’s Dri-fit tees.

My current workout routine is extremely fast paced (think Crossfit style) and clocks in at an average of 1.5 hours. Even after brutal workouts, Lululemon tees are almost dry to the touch. Pure magic.

Best workout tees on the market.

BUY: LULULEMON METAL VENT TECH TEE, $68

THE GAMECHANGING WORKOUT SOCKS: LULULEMON T.H.E. SOCKS

Socks are one the places I always rolled my eyes at when it came to spending a bit more money. 10 pack of white cotton socks at Target for $10, I’m good to go!

Lululemon’s sweat-wicking T.H.E. socks are like truffles, a small addition to your gym routine that makes a huge difference.

See those sections in the socks? Those weave patterns, changing directions to form to your feet and give you better support and fit. The socks are also treated with Silverscent technology, which prevents bacteria from building up and making them smell. No more sour smelling socks.

BUY: LULULEMON T.H.E. SOCK, $18

THE BEST GYM SNEAKERS TO WEAR IF YOU LIFT WEIGHTS: NIKE METCON 4

Nike Metcon’s have been my go-to gym shoe since version 2. Which each iteration, they’ve made subtle tweaks, and they just keep getting better and better.

The Metcon’s low profile are perfect for my workouts that require stability, like my kettlebell swings. They’re extremely lightweight, making them great for sprints. The most important part though is they’re the best looking low profile shoe out there. (If you wear those Vibrams toe-shoes, please stop reading my site.)

BUY: NIKE METCON 4, $130

STAY TUNED FOR PART 2! IN THE MEANTIME I’D LOVE TO HEAR SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PRODUCTS

Anything you love that didn’t make this list? Share it in the comments below!

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