3 Men’s Formalwear Essentials—What You NEED to Get Your Wardrobe Started

With these three essentials, you’ll never go out of style.

For now, forget the crazy socks or the fancy patterned ties. If you’re new to formalwear, stick with these three essentials to get your dressy look off the ground.

This is seriously all you need:

Essential #1: A Gray Suit

Solid gray never goes out of style. Be you at a wedding or at a funeral, gray is the most versatile suit color. If you can, go for a neutral gray (a gray that’s neither too warm nor too cool) to maximize your options for future shirt/tie combinations.

I recommend a dark to medium gray.

Essential #2: A White Shirt

The only thing more versatile than a gray suit is a white dress shirt. Crisp. Clean. Forgettable. (Yes, forgettable is good!) You can wear a solid white shirt two days in a row and no one will bat an eye. Not so for that trendy polka dot shirt.

Essential #3: A Black Tie

Have you heard that black is the new black? Solid black neckties are your ultimate swiss-army-knife formalwear accessory. Black ties give you a look of understated class. Stick with this simple choice if you don’t want to go too crazy with necktie colors yet.

Guess what? The great thing about black ties is that you can find them for incredibly cheap prices. (Score!)

The Bottom Line

You’ll get a lot of mileage out of these three must-have formalwear pieces. If you’ve never had a need for dress clothes until now, the gray suit, white shirt, and black tie are a great starting point. As your attire grows, you can mix any combination of these essentials with your new pieces. Or whenever you want to go back to basics, you’ll always have this outfit to fall back on.

You truly can’t go wrong.

See more of my thoughts in this video:


~ Dr. Necktie

What are three formalwear pieces you can’t live without? Let me know in the comments below.

Today's Outfit! (#SnazzySunday) 22 March 2020

Suit: Hugo Boss
Shirt: Hugo Boss
Tie: Nordstrom Men’s Shop
Pocket Square: Hugo Boss
Cufflinks: Swarovski
Fragrance: The Scent Intense, Hugo Boss

Still staying snazzy on a Sunday.

Today’s #SnazzySunday outfit is all about clean lines and little details. I opt for a complementary color scheme in the tie-hanky combo. The windowpanes frame everything nicely.

I didn’t want to clutter this outfit up, so I keep it crisp with a solid white shirt. And I top things off with these infinity “rose gold” cufflinks from Swarovski, one of my favorite pairs of cufflinks ever.

Spritzed on some The Scent Intense (review here), and now I’m completely “Bossed” out.

A beautiful marriage of circles and squares!

Stay safe, and stay snazzy…


~Dr. Necktie

Today’s Outfit! (#SnazzySunday) 15 March 2020

Suit: Hugo Boss
Shirt: Hugo Boss
Tie: Hugo Boss
Pocket Square: Eton

I thought I’d share what I wore today and show off my spring combo! I’m going to make Snazzy Sunday a thing.

I chose a color I love, teal blue, and ran it through a stark black/white suit-and-shirt base. Necktie and handkerchief patterns this sweet shouldn’t compete with a patterned shirt. Pinstripes keep the look formal and classy.

Despite being cooped up from the coronavirus, I thought I’d still find some joy in dressing up.

Enjoy your Sunday, and have a healthy, productive start to your week! Stay snazzy…


~Dr. Necktie

Top 5 Spring Fragrances (Fragrance Friday)

Spring is just around the corner (in the Northern Hemisphere, that is), and on this Fragrance Friday I thought I’d share five of my go-to scents in my spring rotation.

This list will ascend from #5 to #1, #1 being the fragrance I’ll be reaching for most this spring.

#5: Arancia di Sicilia from Perris Monte Carlo

The only niche fragrance on the list, Arancia di Sicilia is everything we love about Italian perfumery: citric, clean, and classy.

It begins as you would expect: a sugary, floral orange. However, it takes a beautiful, unexpected twist. It turns dark, opulent, and musky, something you’d expect from a cool-weather fragrance.

As we straddle the seasons of cool and warm, Arancia di Sicilia becomes an obvious spring choice.

This smells expensive. Good thing, because it IS expensive. Well worth the money, if you ask me.

A word of warning: not as strong of a performer as some would like, but it’s so beautiful that it doesn’t matter.

See my review of Arancia di Sicilia here.

#4: L’Homme from Prada

L’Homme aptly matches the blooming freshness that comes with springtime. For a designer fragrance, it’s surprisingly complex. I detect a beautiful three-stage development when I wear it.

Iris is the main player, but the iris skews soapy-clean rather than powdery. The herbaceous base helps ground the fragrance.

Performance is borderline average, but that may be an advantage at work or in settings that you don’t need to stand out. This understated scent will speak for itself.

L’Homme exudes professionalism and class—something I reach for when I’m in my suit and tie and need to smell put together. I reach for this one during those transitory months in fall, but L’Homme is an easy reach for spring.

#3: Au Thé Blanc from BVLGARI

I adore this scent any time of year, but this white tea-based fragrance is a testament to the old adage: “Less Is More.” How simple and straightforward. *Chef’s kiss*

A best-seller in BVLGARI’s Eau Parfumée collection, Au Thé Blanc is light, refreshing, and natural, meaning that you’re not bogged down with cumbersome synthetics.

This also means that its unisex DNA will mold to the sex wearing it. Give it a chance, gents; Au Thé Blanc is peak understated masculinity.

This one is by far the worst performer on the list, Au Thé Blanc being an Eau de Cologne. I, however, combat this by shamelessly reapplying. That way I get to experience this tea-jasmine-musk trifecta over and over again.

#2: Luna Rossa from Prada

What I like to call “a shower in a bottle.” A more casual cousin of L’Homme.

Luna Rossa is incredibly refreshing in the spring. It extends that fresh-out-of-the-shower feeling throughout the day.

You can almost hear a diving splash when you spray it on. Fresh, watery spearmint and sweet lavender keep you invigorated and motivated.

Although Luna Rossa doesn’t project that far, you can take comfort in knowing that you smell clean. This, like the other Prada on the list, makes for a great work scent.

See my review of Luna Rossa here.

#1: Un Jardin Sur Le Nil from Hermès

I can’t think of many better “Spring in a Bottle” fragrances than Un Jardin Sur Le Nil. This one is powerful and juicy! For a fresher scent, it lasts impressively long.

Sur Le Nil has a stunning green mango note and a lively zing of green grasses and citrus. It doesn’t develop very much on my skin, but that’s okay. What you smell out of the atomizer is what you get, and what you get is lovely.

Like Au Thé Blanc, this one is more unisex, but everything about it captures the vibrance of spring.

What fragrances will you be rocking this spring?


~ Dr. Necktie

Fragrance Friday: Y (Eau de Toilette) from YSL

I have one question: Y?

Year of Release



  • white aldehydes
  • bergamot
  • ginger
  • sage
  • geranium absolute
  • violet leaf
  • ambergris
  • incense
  • fir balsam
  • cedar
  • musk

Wear This…

on casual occasions. May be okay for work. Best in all weather.


Longevity: Average

~ 6–8 hours.

Projection: Average

Pushes out for around 2 hours, then pulls back gradually to a skin scent.


Dynamic. The opening is sharp and attention-grabbing (to its detriment), and then it dries down to a generic, musky finish. Meh.


youthful edginess. Y definitely skews young. This fragrance sets out to be a high-school bad-boy scent, but doesn’t succeed. Y is just okay.

There’s some note in Y that I can’t stand, and I can’t distinguish exactly what it is. (It’s worse in the Eau de Parfum.) It feels like an acrid, sharp, herbal thing that doesn’t jive well with the other notes.

After the first few hours, it dies down into a generic, citric-fresh scent that smells good, but unoriginal. Y is a modern scent profile, though … I’ll give it that.


$60 for 40 mL

$75 for 60 mL

$95 for 100 mL.

On par for designers. If you love it, it’s worth the price.

The Bottom Line

This whole thing is incredibly mediocre.

Overall, Y from YSL feels a bit careless in its composition. It feels rushed. It feels poorly blended. Worst of all, it feels generic. There are many other options for a youthful, modern, casual scent that are better executed than this.

Y did we need this release?

Final Rating: C-


Have you tried Y from YSL? Let me know what you think of it in the comments below.

~ Dr. Necktie

Fragrance Friday: Arancia di Sicilia from Perris Monte Carlo

It’s Fragrance Friday! The weather is warming up, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the latest releases from the niche house of Perris Monte Carlo.

Year of Release


Olfactory Family

Fresh Citrus


• Blood Orange
• Almond
• Cinnamon
• Labdanum
• Coffee
• Iris
• Musk
• Amber


Longevity: Average

8–10 hours. Warning: Tiny scent bubble alert. With a heavy heart, I admit that this one sits really close to your skin.

Projection: Below Average

~1 hour. Bummer.


A perfect fusion of classic Italian perfumery and modern fragrance elements that people can relate to. Casual sophistication.

Life Cycle

The most impressive thing about this scent is how dynamic it is. The note list says it all! I get three phases: the sparkling citrus opening; the fruity floral heart; and the sensual, musky, ambery base.


Arancia di Sicilia has a truly “sparkling” texture to it; it reminds me of a sugared candy and a carbonated beverage. You can thank the blood orange for that.


A full, opulent accord of deep fruits and resins. Here is where the labdanum, coffee, and iris kick in. I can’t pick any of these notes out very strongly, but that’s a testament to the high-quality blend. These heart notes contribute to the darkness and complexity.


And then…the gorgeous, warming musk-amber tandem. This phase is the most shocking twist to this fragrance. Uou’d never guess it turned into this after beginning as a bright, clean, citrusy experience.

Rock This…

In a linen shirt with a mojito in your hand. On a summer’s day out with your friends. On a picnic with your date. Keep it clean at work. You can even dress this one up in a shirt and tie. Versatile for all situations that call for smelling well groomed and put together.


100mL = $180

A steep tag for some, but if you can shell out the dough and don’t mind the quiet nature of this fragrance, I think it’s well worth it.

The Bottom Line

Arancia di Sicilia is clearly a safe and inoffensive choice, but it still has an attention-grabbing charm. Why? Few things out there smell quite like this.

I’m in love with this dynamic journey of a scent. I think you’ll love it too, especially if you enjoy clean, Italian-style fragrances. And I think its dark, sensual base will pleasantly surprise you.

*sigh* …if only it lasted longer…

Final Grade: B

I love this fragrance to death, but it loses marks for its underwhelming performance—especially at its retail price. It is a crime to have a scent this lovely be so shy. In some scenarios, however, this light performance may be just right.

If it were stronger, I think that it would get more of the positive attention it deserves. Plus, if it were stronger, I would happily recommend this scent for the cooler weather since its notes develop into something fit for fall and winter.

Arancia di Sicilia is complex, expensive, and high quality—quintessentially niche. I recommend you give it a sniff.


~ Dr. Necktie

What Is the Perfect Tie Length?

This is it!

I’ve seen plenty of men get this wrong. Where should your tie always fall?

Answer: at your belt.

Watch my in-depth explanation below:

Always. It doesn’t matter how tall you are. It doesn’t matter what necktie knot you tie. It doesn’t matter how long your tie is from tip to tip. When it’s cinched up to your neck, it should fall at your belt.

The Bottom Line

Kiss that belt and you’ll avoid looking like a formalwear rookie. Tie wisely, gents!


~ Dr. Necktie