1. A Watch
Not just any old watch, but one that speaks to your personality. A watch indicates that you value your time and that you make the most of it. Unless you're retired, you should be wearing one.
2. The Truth
If it's the Bible or the Koran or the Constitution, somewhere in your possession you have to have a representation of the highest truths you believe. Not having that is almost as bad as not knowing what time it is.
3. Hand Tools
A basic set of hand tools says that you're useful and you try to fix things rather than just throw them away when they get broken.
4. A Notebook / Sketchbook
Some things are worth writing down. The man who ventures outside of his comfort zone will inevitably find something remarkable. Be prepared to relate the experience even if only in reflection. Write it down.
5. A Good Pen
A good pen is for your best signature. Your best signature is your mark, your bond as a man. It's what you write as a witness to your best friend's wedding.
6. A Ring
A watch isn't jewelry, or at least if you have just one, it shouldn't be. But a ring is. In my book it is the one required piece of jewelry for a man of style and sophistication. Oh yeah, and that's what this is about too. Style and sophistication, as contrasted to pretense and fashion.
7. Oxford Shirts
This is the mainstay button down collared shirt of taste. A good one with light blue vertical stripes is practically mandatory. They look great dressed up, they work well dressed down.
8. Black Leather Jacket
I shouldn't have to say anything else. Save up, spend the money.
9. Wool Sport Jacket
I'm not going to say 'a suit' in this list because if you don't want to have a suit you shouldn't ever put on one. Nothing says phony like a man who hates wearing a suit who is wearing a suit, and a suit should never have to put up with that. But a nice wool sport jacket with a good pair of slacks, oxford shirt and tie is just as good.
10. Black hard shoes.
They'd best be wingtips, but a solid loafer is just as good in a pinch. No tassles though.
11. Penny Loafers
Preferably brown, but a black pair is lovely too. Actually you should have both.
12. Levis 501
Now your American man's casual suit is complete. You would be surprised how far you can go with combinations of these. If you are in the Ag business, you may substitute Wranglers for Levis, but you already knew that.
13. Folding knife
At the very least, a small Swiss Army Knife will do, but a simple Buck knife is a classic. Always be prepared.
A good real camera is necessary. You should aim to take photographs, not mere snapshots. No selfies. If you ever have a shirtless photo of yourself, you should know and respect the person who took it. Exceptions can be made for graduating classes of lifeguards.
Never put books on a bookshelf that you haven't read. If you didn't finish it, give it away. If you just started it and are still reading it, it should be on your nightstand, coffee table, desk or floor. A fake bookshelf indicates a fake mind.
16. Record Collection
While it's perfectly reasonable to have all of your MP3s in somebody elses cloud, a collection is an outward sign of inner sophistication. So keep some vinyl and CDs around. It's OK to mix them with the books if you don't have that many, but have something.
A man with character can imbue an ordinary object with his own masculine mojo. You should possess one special object of no significance of its own except what it represents to you. For me, it's my plastic yellow dinosaur, Rousseau whom I have had since 1987. If you were a close personal friend, I might tell you what he means.
18. Family Portrait
Every man should have a family portrait, one photograph or painting that represents family. It might be just your sweetheart or your dad and mom. Maybe it's you and you little brother or your just your spooky great grandfather. This is the first thing you take out of a burning building.
Whether it is digital or analog, you need your workspace. Pay your bills, correspond with associates, handle your business, feed your mind. Your workspace is sacred.
A man who can deal with life and death decisions must put his hand on a rifle, look down the barrel and feel the power and responsibility of that abstract principle made real. It is not the shooting. It is the knowing.
A man who doesn't bring his own skillet to a marriage will live in the mortal fear of its shadow. That means knowing how to cook something, boy.
They can be hicking boots, cowboy boots, motorcycle boots or steel toe work boots. These shoes for a purpose. Every American man needs to walk at least one of those walks.
The guitar is the American man's quintessential musical instrument and no night campfire is truly complete without one. Learn to strum a song.
24. Work Gloves
A pair of work gloves are so essentially manly that I find it difficult to explain if you don't see why it should be obvious.
25. First Aid Kit
A box of bandaids, mecurochrome (or hydrogen peroxide), medical tape and guaze. Cotton balls and aspirin. Man that's so romantic I almost want to go injure myself.
Few things are as annoying as an alcoholic beverage poured into the wrong glass. Life is not a frat party or a camping trip. Put your pilsner in a pilsner.
You know the right hat for you. When it's past time for you to get to the barber, put it on. You are not Mick Jagger.
Because somebody driving in a truck at 4 in the morning thowing a wad of paper at your doorstep was for last century.
If nothing grows around you, and you're not in jail, maybe you just *think* you're not in jail.
Your best friend.