Take a moment to think back…
Ever found yourself stuck in the rain with a wonky, bargain-barrel umbrella that would be of better use to a suicidal Mary Poppins?
How about bringing home a date knowing that you haven’t washed your only set of bed sheets since The Unspeakable Accident of 2014?
If you answered yes to either of the above, this list is undoubtedly for you.
It’s for the man who’s always seeking to better himself.
It’s not about being materialistic. It’s about understanding that the things you surround yourself with are an indication of your values, confidence, and self-respect.
These are the 50 things every man should own. Let’s get to it.
A Book Collection
A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one. – George R.R. Martin
Make no mistake.
A book collection doesn’t kick off this list by accident. Reading is the crowning workout for your mind. It boosts intelligence, improves memory function, makes you more empathetic, and helps you relax.
These are crucial functions in every aspect of a man’s life. As an avid reader, your conversation will be more interesting, your relationships more rewarding, your training performance will improve, and you will make better financial decisions.
Does Reddit count as reading? I can’t believe you just asked me that.
If you think you’ll struggle to build a reading habit, one hack I’ve found useful is to listen to audiobooks. When I’m going for a run, hitting the gym, or even doing the dishes, I’ll put an audiobook on rather than listen to music (well, not always, but I’m getting better).
I do genuinely feel like I’m being more productive, and it helps to break up mundane tasks. Sign up for a free 30-day Audible trial to give it a go for yourself. Here’s one of my favorite books to get you started:
Prefer the classic text-on-paper approach? We’ve got you covered. Flick through our list of the 75 Books Every Man Should Read.
A Well-Made Weekend Bag
You will notice a trend as you develop into a self-respecting adult man. The growing importance of appropriateness. Appropriate clothing, appropriate demeanor, and in this case, an appropriate bag.
An impromptu weekend away with a new girlfriend? Mid-week work excursion? You’ll need a bag that is the perfect size to carry around a couple of days worth of things while still being manageable enough to handle with ease. Meet my good friend, the weekend bag.
I haven’t found a better value bag for the price than the Weekender from Bespoke Post (pictured above). It’s just $45 if you join the club, plus you’ll get a further 15% off your first box just by following our link.
It has genuine leather handles and riveted buckle straps along the top. It’s super sturdy, fits plenty of stuff, and looks great.
Our favorite no frills carryall. Boasting genuine leather handles and sturdy construction, Bespoke Post's classy Weekender offers excellent value for money.
But if you can afford it, we suggest spending up. A good quality full-grain leather bag like the Polare will last you a good 10+ years:
A Leather Wallet
That’s the number of times you’re allowed to tell the joke about how your wallet is so bulky that it puts George Costanza’s to shame.
When the laughter ends (and it will), it’s time to go out and invest in a slim, leather wallet of quality build. Something like the Bellroy is a solid choice:
If you’re on a budget, we’re fans of Kinzd’s collection of slim leather wallets. Check out our hands-on Kinzd review, and their #1 Best Seller here:
As a general rule, only place those cards and items in it you use on a weekly basis. If you go a week without using an item in your wallet, take it out and leave it at home.
A Home Coffee Maker
I don’t know about you, but I rank coffee up there with sex, great conversation and Arrested Development as one of life’s great pleasures.
However, you don’t always have to buy coffee on the go. In fact, starting from around $3 a pop, this can quickly become a costly exercise.
Even if you don’t like coffee, consider having a way to make real coffee at home. It’s enjoyable to make, smells great and instantly elevates your score as a dinner host.
A Signature Cologne
A little goes a long way. A lot goes a long way toward emptying a room.
A signature scent separates the men from the boys. Why would you ignore an entire sense when it comes to style appeal? Simple. You wouldn’t.
But how do you go about finding your own unique cologne smell of supreme manliness? You’ve got two options. Either go to a store and spray a bunch of colognes until you’re dizzy and pass out or you find the one you like the best.
Or try a custom online fragrance service like Hawthorne, just as we did recently. Hawthorne puts you through a 22 question multiple-choice quiz (including questions like “Where do you work?” and “What’s your ideal night out?” and then chefs up two unique custom colognes for you—one for work and one for play.
By asking the right questions, Hawthorne was able to deliver me custom colognes and bathroom essentials at a solid price point, and while I was hesitant to leave my choice of fragrance up to someone else, Hawthorne won my seal of approval on the first spray.
We were pretty impressed with the colognes we got and so it could be worth trying Hawthorne if you don’t want to invest a lot of time into it. It’s a quick yet affordable option and allows you to outsource the decision to a cologne expert.
A Well-Fitting Pair of Jeans
For men’s fashion, there’s nothing more versatile than a quality pair of jeans.
Go formal with a tucked dress shirt, watch and dress shoes. Rock them with a plain white t-shirt and sneakers for a more casual weekend get-up. Or combine white socks with your two-sizes-too-big blue jeans for that classic “retired American tourist on vacation in Europe” look.
I’m kidding. Never do that.
I can honestly say they’re the best jeans I’ve ever owned. If you have an athletic build and struggle to find jeans that fit well, they might be worth a try for you.
For one thing, they’re well priced. But what I especially like is you can opt to receive an additional free ‘try-on’ pair with a different waist size. You can then keep the pair that fits and send back the other pair free with their pre-paid label.
Despite some minor fit inconsistencies that are, fortunately, addressed with the brand's innovative Home Try-on program, Mott & Bow offers excellent value for money with its growing range of high-quality jeans and basics that easily stack up against the big denim brands.
A Grooming Kit
Man has evolved beyond going to battle with other tribes with our long toenails as weapons. Invest in a grooming kit. At the very least, you should own a quality set of tweezers and nail clippers.
Here’s a highly rated kit we like:
It’s good quality and has everything you need.
Women notice shoes. Potential employers and clients notice shoes. Need I say more?
Invest in quality leather dress shoes. Brown and black.
Check out the dress shoes featured in our list of all 10 Shoes Every Man Should Own.
A Leather Belt
There are two golden rules when it comes to belts.
Match your belt color with the color of your dress shoes and don’t skimp on quality. This advice is as helpful as the “birds and the bees” talk was from your Dad, trust me.
I like this reversible custom belt from Upella. It’s 100% leather and it can be trimmed to perfectly fit your size. It’s nicely packaged and features a scratch-resistant buckle.
Ever been served a glass of wine at someone’s house in what could only be a described as an old Nutella jar?
How about a whiskey in a “World’s Best Dad” coffee mug?
I’m two for two and it’s a big reason why “drink-appropriate glassware” makes this list. Know which glass to use for each drink and more importantly, have them clean and on-hand in your kitchen.
For whiskey, you can’t go past this set from Glencairn as an affordable pick:
Want to hear a secret?
When you walk around in your faded “Mr Men” t-shirt you are not telling the world, “I’m a quirky yet lovable guy with a great sense of humor”.
You are telling the world, “My Mom made my breakfast this morning”.
Start dressing like an adult and incorporate more dress shirts into your wardrobe. It seems obvious, but when choosing colors, select shirts that will match well with your selection of chinos and jeans.
I like Mizzen+Main right now for dress shirts. They’re premium (and yes, they have a premium price tag), but they’re easily the most comfortable dress shirt I’ve worn.
A Tailored Suit
We’ve all spotted the guy wearing the suit that is so big it looks like it’s about to swallow him whole. You know the look. The puffy shoulders and not an inch of cuff in sight. You can almost hear the local missing person announcement as you watch him disappear deeper into the abyss of oversized fabric.
If you’re one of these guys, firstly, I’m glad that you made it out alive. Secondly, with the affordability of modern tailoring, this is something you can and should fix as a priority.
A tailored suit is the hallmark of your wardrobe. Yes, it is a small investment, but it is one that you will only have to make once (provided Bulking Season isn’t on the cards). The pay-off? A timeless look that will inspire self-confidence while offering a lot more comfort than your uncle’s former prom suit ever did.
As to colors? Build a tailored collection of navy, charcoal, and light grey suits. In that order. Once you have the staples down, you will undoubtedly be keen to expand to the blue suit / brown shoes combination.
Bluffworks created an unstructured suit and it's our new favorite travel item. The relaxed blazer, paired with trousers loaded with hidden pockets and secure zippers make this suit an indispensable addition to our wardrobe.
Iron and Ironing Board
Want to be known as the type of man who doesn’t pay attention to the details? Grow yourself a unibrow that Anthony Davis would be proud of.
Alternatively, don’t iron your shirt.
But please. For the love of all things pure and sacred in this world. Don’t do both.
A Manscaping Kit
Put yourself in a woman’s shoes.
With the option of taking the carefully maintained pathway, would you really want to dive headfirst into the forest?
“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.” Danny Kaye.
Inspirational quote aside, traveling is one of the most cost-effective investments you can make in yourself as a man. You will widen your cultural understanding, gain new insights, meet new people, and develop exciting stories. You will be a more informed and entertaining person to be around, increasing your overall attractiveness.
If you’re unsure about your purpose in life and you don’t have a passport, I’ve just provided you with a purpose for the next two weeks. Get a damn passport!
A Good Quality Watch
A watch is not just for subtly hinting that you’re done with that oh-too-forced forced coffee catch up with your growingly distant cousin.
A quality watch (with hands, guys) is the quintessential complement to any outfit. Match the color of your watch band with your belt and shoes. The Vaer C5 (pictured above) is one of my picks for 2020, and is well worth a look if you dig the field watch style:
Featuring a Swiss Ronda movement, domed sapphire crystal, and coming with two straps, this military-inspired field watch by Vaer is easily one of our favorite affordable timepieces.
These are my reviews of some of my favorite watch brands that I personally own:
- Vincero Watches Review: Are They Any Good?
- Original Grain Watches Review: Looking Down The Whiskey Barrel
- UNDONE Watches Review: Can You Craft the Ultimate Watch?
If you’re on a budget, you can’t go wrong with the incredibly popular Timex Weekender:
For more budget picks, take a look at our list of 14 Stunning Minimalist Watches For Men Under $200. And if you’d enjoy the surprise of a new watch delivered to your door every month, check out our Watch Gang review.
A Towel Collection
Nothing says “thoughtful” like presenting your guest with a freshly washed spare bathroom towel.
Nothing says “sociopath” like suggesting your guest use the same towel you used to mop up Ziggy Stardust’s latest surprise on the couch.
I mean, they’re TAM monogrammed, why wouldn’t we love them? You can monogram your own with whatever you like. But feel free to TAM monogram yours as well. More importantly, they’re also made from 100% Oeka-Tex Certified Egyptian Cotton and are incredibly soft.
Featuring super soft 100% Oeka-Tex Certified Egyptian cotton, this towel set is a game-changer if you're looking to level up your linen game.
Protect your eyes from our favorite star while looking like a boss. Need I say more?
I’m really digging Blenders Eyewear lately.
Blenders Eyewear isn’t for everyone. The style of their sunglasses is loud, bold, and fun-loving. But they do offer nice balance between quality and value, so if loud, bold, and fun-loving describes you, well, you’re in luck.
Wet Shaving Kit
Wet shaving really is just about the manliest thing you can do. While that should be reason enough to make the switch, you’ll also experience a cleaner shave and healthier looking skin and it’s much cheaper than cartridge razors.
As a self-respecting man, shaving is going to be a big part of your life forever (yes even you, bearded bushranger). This one really is a no-brainer. What are your waiting for?
If you’re completely new to it and want to give it a try, I recently reviewed a subscription box that may be of interest to you called The Personal Barber (use code TAM15 for 15% off your first box).
They ship you everything you need to get started with traditional shaving, including a free safety razor, shaving brush, and even an instruction booklet. Everything is hand-selected and I estimated that you get about double the retail value as you spend on your first box. They’re UK based but they do ship to the US.
With its high quality of curation and value for money, entry-level wet shavers will struggle to find a better priced launching point into the world of traditional shaving, while the variety of new products and ongoing convenience of new blades is sure to attract the attention of experienced shavers alike.
If you’d prefer to make a one-off buy, I picked up this kit a few years ago and was pretty impressed with it:
It’s high quality and includes everything you need to join the respected Wet Shaver’s Club (it may or may not be a real club).
A Sturdy Suitcase
Traveling with a backpack makes you look like a 5th grader. Invest in a quality suitcase and travel light wherever possible.
When I see a guy with scuffed dress shoes I have a similar thought to when I see a man with a rat-tail haircut. I think, “that problem could be solved in 10 seconds.”
Shine your shoes and standout as a man that cares about the finer details.
A Tool Set and Workbench
A man with tools is a man with the desire and means to shape the world he lives in. A man without tools very likely watches The Kardashians. For the story.
A Leather Jacket
One word. Attitude.
Check out Alpha M’s clip above for an excellent rundown on how to choose the perfect leather jacket for you.
A Must-Read Coffee Table Book
Do you know what would look better than that empty Chinese food container on your coffee table? A stunning, full sized coffee table book that best captures your interests.
It looks great and your guests will thank you for providing them something to skim through when you spend 30 minutes in the bathroom due to drunkenly scoffing down those Chinese food leftovers two days too late.
A Classy Pen
In a world filled with tweets, emojis and snaps, a classy pen makes a real statement. Set yourself apart from the biro chumps and ride the fountain.
At Piece of Art on the Wall
Look, sadly it’s time for the Scarface poster to come down. Yes, I know it’s totally awesome but does it really speak to your personality? Find a decor or style of art that does, and slowly introduce relevant pieces into your living space.
Better yet, have a piece “commissioned” on the cheap from an artistic friend. Whether it’s a painting, photograph, or a lifesize replica of your childhood dog, you will enjoy a completely original piece of artwork serving up fresh vibes daily in your home or apartment.
The Egyptians aren’t just great at building pyramids…
If you think your sheets might suck, check out our list of the 5 Best Sheets for Men in 2020 which also includes some basic tips on how to choose the right sheet for you.
A Solid Umbrella
Let’s face it. If you even own one, your umbrella probably sucks. If it doesn’t, congratulations. You’re one step ahead of most modern gentlemen.
The honest truth is that the mighty force of Mother Nature will ultimately always defeat a $6 umbrella. It’s like pitting a ten-year-old boy against Chuck Liddell in a no-rules cage match. Something’s going to give.
It seems obvious, but the best umbrellas are waterproof. They’re also durable and should be small enough to tuck away when the sun is shining.
Make the one-time investment in a quality $30 plus umbrella and only get wet when you want to.
At Least One Plant
Do you like breathing fresh air? If so, get yourself an indoor plant. If not, I’ll let you get back to World of Warcraft.
If the thought of sustaining a living thing other than yourself still frightens you, the ZZ Plant is the perfect low-maintenance option. You could neglect one of these bad boys for as long as you neglected your ex-girlfriend and it still wouldn’t perish. Brown thumbs rejoice.
A Portable Sound Device
The first step to becoming a good tunes merchant is having portable speakers on hand. The second step is developing an art for playing music that everyone in the room will enjoy.
If it’s just you in the room, I suppose you can keep playing Nickelback. Just know that it’s very unlikely to entice anyone into joining you.
Bear food. That’s what becomes of the man who isn’t prepared.
I opted for a dramatic example here for good reason. Another key trend that those paying attention would have noticed developing across this guide is the importance of preparedness. A man should be ready to deal with anything that life throws at him, which often requires having the right “things” on hand.
Get yourself a car emergency kit and travel with the piece of mind that you’re far less likely to become at one with the grizzly.
A Scotch Collection
Want to be a little more alpha ala Don Draper of Mad Men? You should. Haven’t seen Mad Men? You really should.
There is something undeniably cool about a man who drinks scotch. Dripping with masculinity, it screams to the world that you know what you want out of life and more importantly, that you know how to get it.
Unlike scheduling a “Gossip Girl night” with your little sister Becky, having great soap in your life is not a feminine act. It’s the staple of every man’s grooming routine. Smell great and you shall prosper.
Whether it’s a dog, cat or an iguana named Ziggy Stardust, a pet can add a lot of value to a man’s life.
From companionship to stress relief, you will also enjoy the satisfying feeling of taking care of another living thing voluntarily.
As opposed to involuntarily, like when you kept that rat alive in your college dorm room by never cleaning your kitchen.
A Toiletry Bag
Have a pre-packed wash bag ready to go at all times. Save space in your suitcase/weekend bag and never taste leaked cologne on your toothbrush again.
Something like the Vetelli is perfect:
I like that it has a lifetime quality guarantee and over 900 (mostly positive) reviews. You can’t really go wrong with it.
What’s the link between card games and Coco Puffs? Both probably formed a big part of your childhood, unless you’re still devouring Coco Puffs in the morning like a savage man-child.
A deck of cards and a few fun games up your sleeve is a fantastic thing for any man to have. Have a girl over for the first time but you’re struggling to take things to the next level? You wouldn’t be able to playfully suggest a game of strip poker without owning a deck of cards now, would you?
Having strong sock game really is the too often forgotten frontier of men’s fashion. Yes, it takes confidence to pull off but doesn’t anything worthwhile?
Jerky Subscription's attractive price point and excellent customer service make them a top choice if you’re looking to get your jerky on, monthly.
A monthly sock subscription box is a cost-effective way to kick off your collection.
A Cast Iron Skillet
The cast iron skillet is the De Niro-in-his-prime of cookware. Dynamic and versatile, this thing is what your Grandpa used to impress your Grandma on their third date and it’s still the best piece of stovetop cookware you can have today.
It’s indestructible, it retains heat like nothing else and it costs about as much as two steaks. Get one.
I’ve got this one and it does the job just fine:
There’s nothing more romantic than a camping getaway under the stars. Be a man that owns a tent. Don’t be a man that tries to cook in one.
A Cutting Board and Chef’s Knife
Listen guys, a butter knife is for buttering your toast. For general all-purpose meal preparation, get yourself a Chef’s knife. At least 6 inches in length.
The best part? If treated with care and always used with a cutting board, you’ll only ever need one.
An All-Purpose Pump
Flat bike tire? No problem. Basketball looking pretty sad? You’ve got it sorted. Found yourself in the doghouse and need to blow up an air-bed? I think you see where I’m going here…
Let’s be honest. Every man’s home should have a grill. If you don’t know why you haven’t tasted grilled ribs.
Also, a grill turns cooking from a boring old dinner into a full-blown party. A delightful, rib-filled party.
If you’re looking for ideas, I’m digging The Coleman. You can assemble it quick as a flash and it’s small enough that you can take it camping or anywhere else where it’s appropriate to sizzle delicious meat on the go.
Check it out here:
Outside of playing ball, your Converse shoes are for impressing girls at a Taylor Swift concert. Not for running.
Take the plunge and invest in some quality running shoes that fit you well. Your ankles and knees will thank you for it.
If you’re not going to be running every day, you can’t go wrong with these:
White Plate Set
Food presentation is important. Is that something I thought I would ever see myself writing down? Probably not, but it’s true and it’s something you will appreciate as you improve your cooking skills.
With fewer distractions for the eye, white plates make food look better. White plates are also easy to replace when you drunkenly drop them. Okay, enough plate talk. Go and get yourself some white plates.
The surfaces in your home love you. Why don’t you love them back?
Candles are awesome. If you’re the average guy who never thinks about candles, you should definitely be thinking about them more.
Do candles make your questionably odorous house smell better? Check.
Are good scents mentally healthy for you? Check.
Do good smelling things turn women on? Checkmate.
A Home Office
The modern man should have a space to work and play that’s clean, comfortable and well lit.
A clean desk is a clean mind and a clean mind limits those Facebook binge-spiral sessions where you end up on your high-school gym teacher’s cousin’s page 4 hours after sitting down to start your project.
Pair of Good Quality Headphones
Your ears have provided you with years of pleasurable audio experiences. All they’ve ever asked in return is that you keep them at a fair distance from knives scraping against a glass bottle. You feel it just reading it, don’t you?
Why then, do you insist on jamming those cheap and nasty ear-drum zappers inside of them? Trust me, once you opt for quality, you’ll never go back to ear-abuse.
See more of the outdoors…
Help the environment…
Get fitter while making that third round trip this week home after again staying at that girl’s place who but for those seven drinks should really have been a “swipe left”.
A Gym Membership
Last but certainly not least, is a gym membership. No, I didn’t say gym selfie—why are you taking your shirt off…?
Your health and your body has an impact on every aspect of your life. From your happiness, to your confidence, to your quality of sleep, to your stress levels, to only hitting snooze four times in the morning as opposed to 10. Look after yourself and good things will follow.
At the very least, have some kind of exercise regime. Whether it’s running, playing social sport, or chasing your cat around the house.
There you have it.
These are the 50 things every man should own. Let us know in the comments if you think we missed something important (note: a selfie-stick is not important).
And finally, if you feel you haven’t found your passion in life yet, check out our massive list of 101 hobby ideas for men to get your inspiration flowing.
See you at the candle store, fellas.