If we talk about the things every man should own, they’re endless. As they say, the world is designed against you. Wherever you go, someone wants you to buy something. And we stack today more than we used to need 50 years ago. That's consumerism for you. But if you're looking to Marie Kondo your life and you need a guide for which items you should hold on to, this is your guide.
We made you a list of the top items every man should own according to his age. We started with the things men should own in general, then added two lists for the things we think men should own in their 30s and 40s. After all, your needs change as you age, as does your income and priorities. So which things should stay and which ones need to go?
Things Every Man Should Own No Matter Your Age
These are the things men need in their life, no matter how old you are. These items can help you achieve your goals whether at work, in the dating world or in your personal life.
Keep in mind that we're not telling you to go buy all the things on this list. Instead, this is more of a guide for what items actually have a positive impact on your life. So if, for example, some of these items don't suit your lifestyle, it doesn't mean you're any less of a man or less of a success.
1. A tailored suit (at least one)
They're status symbols and show people, especially women, that you're serious about what you do. James Bond, Ethan Hunt....all heroes wear suits, even The Avengers had suits too. Occasions like important meetings, weddings, formal gatherings and more require you to wear a suit, so you're better off having one made than renting one that doesn't fit you at all. As for color, I'd suggest something neutral like navy blue, dark grey or dark brown.
Studies show that wearing a suit makes you think positively about yourself. Suits also inspire trust from people. Another study showed that pedestrians were more likely to cross the road - even when the lights are red - when a man in a tux did it first.
Yes, humans are that easy to persuade.
Going one or two levels above what everyone else is wearing puts you in good light especially with women. I remember one day I was asking a girl in Havana for directions and she was cutely blushing like she met someone important. And I wasn't even wearing a full suit.
But you know what's even worse than not wearing a suit?
A suit that doesn't fit.
Why? Because it says that you’re either cheap or have really bad taste in fashion. Most brands tailor their clothes for the average male/female size. If you're too thin, tall, short, or fat, then you'll need a suit designed specifically for you.
2. Good-quality slacks
If you hate wearing a suit and wanna roll it the Zuckerberg way, then you still need a pair of slacks in your wardrobe. It's one of the things every man should own when they want to be treated like a professional.
Again, tailor these boys unless you’re above 5'7" because they will often be oversized in stores. Those in Zara and H&M may look good for your budget, but they won’t look great on most people (and they'll wear down in a few months). So pick a pair of slacks from a high-quality store that you can wear for years to come.
3. Cooking utensils, a recipe book + the 4-hr Chef
Women like a guy who cooks, probably because it says he lived a lot by himself and maybe used his seasoning skills to wow more women into bed. Plus, a man who knows how to use a knife is always exciting to women.
You might also benefit from learning a few healthy recipes if you live by yourself and want to maintain your shape. Too much fast food is bad for your health, mind and wallet. Why throw money on crappy food full of sugar and fat when you can cook a delicious meal at half the price with double the benefits?
But where can you start?
The best way to start is with a chef's knife, an iron skillet, a good recipe book and Tim Ferriss’ bestseller, The 4-hr Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking. Ferriss also has a great way of learning how to use a knife like a Michelin Chef.
A good starter chef's knife is the 8 inch Zwilling Classic. It's a solid mid-range knife that will last a long time and can serve most functions you need from a knife in the kitchen. With a little creativity, it's the only knife you will need.
For a recipe book, start with The One Pan Cookbook for Men. It has a lot of great recipes that are very simple to cook, taste delicious, and don't use a lot of dishes.
4. Six or seven pairs of shoes
You can be a minimalist with everything but not shoes... Unless you really don’t care about how you look.
Shoes compliment clothes. The more items you have the more shoes you’ll need since each attire goes with its own shoe type. Like perfumes, investing in the right pair of shoes can be too much for your budget, but – assuming you clean them right – they will save you money along the way.
Now, here comes the question, which shoes should a man own?
At least a pair of these types:
- A pair of good Oxfords: Yes, you can wear white sneakers with a suit, but not all the time. There’s always time for some classics. Your wardrobe needs a black pair of Oxfords. And if you wanna go wild, then throw in a couple of blue and brown pairs.
- Loafers (optional): A pair of loafers can be your favorite if you want a semi-formal outfit like slacks and a polo shirt. I prefer black loafers because they almost work with everything – including jeans and shorts - but if it will make your wallet bleed then just stick to the Oxfords.
- Running/gym shoes: Duh. Being fit requires proper footwear unless you want to sprain your ankle!
- White sneakers: It’s what everyone’s wearing right now and it works on everything, including suits. It's the perfect pair of casual shoes that you can wear anywhere. Just beware that with whites comes great responsibility. You must either clean it consistently or buy a new one every few months.
- Chelsea boots: Nothing from the shoes I mentioned handles rain better than a pair of good Chelsea boots. Throw a Chelsea pair on dark jeans and a nice coat and you’ll look like a hotshot.
5. Leather belts
Nothing compliments all of the above better than a nice, unscratched leather belt. Belts should be of the same color as either your pants or your shirt, especially if you’re short. A brown belt middling blue jeans and a blue shirt will cut their symmetry and make you look shorter. So go for two or three good belts that won’t wear off in a month or two.
6. Boxing gloves
Not a common fixture on lists of things men should own, but it's worth adding. I wanted to go with a pocket knife but that can get you in jail in some cities, so I’ll go with what you wear to cover your natural, God-given weapon.. your hands.
Every man must know the basics of self-defense. The world is a much safer place today than it was a hundred or even fifty years ago… but who knows. You don’t know when you find yourself backed into a corner and waiting to get mugged.
Start with Everlast's Training Gloves and see how you do. There are plenty of more expensive gloves out there but you really don't want to invest into a nicer pair until you know you're going to stick with boxing. The Everlast's will last you for a while before you need to upgrade.
You don’t need to dedicate 5 years of your life to a Shaolin temple to kick a man’s ass. You can always settle a fight with a nice jab or two. Take a boxing class before you try martial arts. It’s way effective in the short term.
Also, you can try Krav Maga, Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, then Aikido (in that order). These are the most effective when it comes to street fighting.
7. Two or three wristwatches
Every phone has a digital watch. Yet men still take pride in their wristwatches. A nice matching wristwatch will tell people a lot about your status, taste, and how much you take care of yourself.
I prefer my watch to compliment the color of what I’m wearing, so I’d say: Get as many watches as you can if you can afford them. However, if you’re minimalist or have a tight budget, then the least you can go for is:
- A smartwatch for the gym
- A pair of classic leather watches to switch between when you go out (Go for a mix of brown, black and dark blue)
8. A grooming kit
Every man needs a quality grooming kit, whether he likes it clean or grows a beard. A man who knows his worth is a man who makes sure he leaves home looking like a million dollars. Grooming gives you confidence and women dig it too. Women are detail-oriented and having dirty nails or long nose hair will turn off many of them – at least the good ones.
9. A journal
You are what your thoughts say you are, and if those thoughts aren’t of great quality, then the quality of your life will deteriorate. Writing down your thoughts will help you filter and improve them. You gain lots of insight when you take the time to write down your thoughts, your plans, what's worrying you and what you're grateful for. Studies found that keeping a journal for 30 days can boost your confidence, reduce depression, and make you lose weight. And it won’t take more than 10-20 minutes every day.
C.R Gibson's brown leather journal is a favorite of ours. It's simple, rugged, and it just FEELS better writing in a leather journal instead of some legal notepad. At a little over $10 it's really hard to beat and we love it.
10. A personal library
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin
You can’t be a better man without books. It can never happen. And I’m not talking about 50 Shades of Grey… I mean real, informative books that open your mind to new ideas and inspire you to take action and understand yourself better. There are, at least, three types of books a man needs to read:
Self-help success books:
To improve your thoughts, make better decisions, be more productive and grow mentally, physically, and financially. My favorites:
- Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
- The 10X Rule – Grant Cardone
- Daily Rituals – Mason Curry
- Tools of Titans – Tim Ferriss
These are specific niche books that will make you an expert in what you do. Depending on your profession, these books can be anything from trading stocks to welding metals to sculpting.
You can have all the things men need except for a woman who loves and cares for you. So if you're lagging behind in that aspect, these relationship books can help you out. They will tell you everything about masculinity, the female nature, and how to date and keep quality women. My 3 most favorite books are:
Things Every Man Should Own by 30
Everything I listed earlier can be used by any man in their 20s, 30s, and beyond. However, just to be specific, here’s another list of the things every man should own by 30.
11. A passport
If you don’t travel in your 20s or 30s, then when are you going to do it?
12. A few good stories to share
The more you experience life, the more stories you will collect.
A man needs to collect as many experiences as possible before he turns 40 not because it’s a universal law, but because these experiences will make him wiser and able to move forward with his life, family, and business.
If your 20s weren’t your best years, then there’s no reason your 30s should follow suit.
13. Dating experience
You may have been young, wild and free in your 20s, but once you're in your 30s, you need to up your game. By now you should already know the basics of how to attract women or how to make online dating work for you.
By this age, you should have some decent dating skills. Whether you decide to stay single or settle down, you must – by the age of 30 – have enough dating experience so you don’t waste your time, energy, and maybe money on the wrong one.
14. Six-pack abs (or at least a healthy physique)
A man will have a strong physique in his 20s then lose it for work, marriage, and kids in his 30s.
But this is the ordinary man, and by no means, you shouldn’t aim for just ordinary. Being in a bad shape in your 30s will make you suffer mentally, physically, and emotionally. Zero confidence, negative thoughts, body pain, and bad sex… that’s bad.
So you need to take care of your looks whether you’re 31 or 39, married, or single.
I find it easier to build a good physique in your 30s than 20s. You may not have the same energy, but – at least on paper – you should have enough money to eat well, workout consistently and even hire a coach to help you reach your goals fast.
Also, if your relationships with women have been declining over the years, then a toned body will put you on the dating map pretty fast.
Things Every Man Should Own by 40
Some people say that life starts at 40. I'm not sure how true that is, but at 40, you should no longer be wandering through life trying to find yourself. By now, you already have a clear idea of who you are and what you're capable of. And, ideally, you'd have been established enough in your career that you can afford to invest: in yourself and in the things men need in life.
15. A house
I don’t think a house should be a priority as long as you’re not losing money on rent. I’d rather start a business with my money than buy a house that I can neither rent nor flip and will cost me a lot on taxes.
However, at 40 you must, at least, be able to afford a house. Not because owning a house is important but because it means you’re doing well financially, which is what you should expect from yourself by the time you blow out your 40th candle.
16. A pet
Some people don’t get a pet until they have a family. Others may postpone the idea just because they travel a lot or have strict neighbors/landlords. But, men at 40 tend to travel less. They also have enough money to either own a house or rent on their terms which will include the freedom to have pets.
17. A successful 6-figure business (or more)
You may think it’s superficial but it isn’t. Money does buy happiness, and you should be happy by 40.
You owe it to yourself and your loved ones.
There are lots of stories about those who succeeded at their 50s and beyond. But if you don’t take your career/business seriously at 40, then when will you do it?
18. A portfolio of assets
"If you don't find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die." – Warren Buffet
At 40, your business is probably growing and you might think of having a full or mini-retirement. If that’s you, then the next step should be letting your money work for you. This can be by investing in other businesses or buying assets in stocks or real estate.
19. A plan to take care of yourself as you get older
Both your testosterone levels and metabolic rate drop as you reach 40 and beyond. Forty is also the age where most men start to feel the full effects of whatever lifestyle they lived in their 20s and 30s. Good on you if you led a healthy life, but sometimes it's all a genetic lottery.
So by 40, you need to have a plan in case you need or want to retire. I'm not just talking about a 401k (though that is important). I'm talking about...
A plan to feel alive again
This can include exercising, eating healthy, having hair surgery, and maybe getting a little TRT. And, remember, it should always be under doctors’ supervision.
You also need a retirement plan
What do you want to accomplish over the next 10 or 20 years that you haven’t accomplished yet? A better relationship, a long vacation, a skill you wished to build but couldn’t. This is probably the last chance to turn your life around if it hasn’t been going well so far.