Since a lot of you guys were asking what items I have and can’t live without, I thought I’d compile this list. I could live without some of these (maybe), so think of it as a list of things I use daily or happen to bring with me everywhere.

my eleven essentials

Clockwise from left to right:

11″ Apple MacBook Air – the ultimate portable productivity machine. I bring this wherever I go so I can whip it out and do work when I have a couple hours of free time (which honestly hardly ever happens, but you never know). Some days I go to the coffee shop and work all morning, and this is my companion.

keys – to lock and unlock things

hanky / pocket square – no matter what, I always take one along with me. You never know when you’ll find yourself sans napkin, or need to clean up a mini spill. Simply fold and carry it in your back pocket; you won’t even notice it’s there, but you’ll remember you have one when you need it.

sunglasses – I’ve had these Montblanc shades for a couple years. I picked them up at Loehmann’s for $50; they were originally $300 if I remember correctly.

I used to buy expensive designer sunglasses until I realized how ridiculous that is. Most consumers don’t know that big brands select models from a display case of pre-made frames, slap their logo on, and charge $300 when their cost was probably in the single digits.

When buying sunglasses, worry about fit and overall appropriateness over brand. If you still want a brand name, go to discount stores like Ross or Loehmann’s for super deals. It’s hit or miss most of the time, but you can get lucky if you’re persistent and patient.

wallet – I’ve had this J.Crew slim wallet for seven years now. It was a bright kelly green but it’s taken on a whole new shade (like a green/black) since it sits in the pockets of my dark denim. I love the slim silhouette and the fact that it allows me to carry only the necessities. Bulky backsides are a no-no.

earbuds – these are from V-MODA (called the Vibe Duo) and they can run $100+. These are the best earbuds I’ve owned, and you really do have to invest a bit more money if you want quality. Doesn’t mean you can’t get a good deal though, so check Amazon or eBay. I found mine on Amazon for around $60. They have them on Amazon for $27 now (aff link) – holy moly that’s cheap.

notebook – I carry this red Moleskine for when i need to quickly jot things down, or want to get ideas out of my head and onto paper. Sometimes writing and sketching things out is easier than trying to outline it on a computer.

pen – this is my favorite pen. It’s one of those 4-color pens that’s really popular among 4th graders and it has green, red, blue, and black ink. It’s helpful when I’m hashing out ideas because I can write stuff in different-colored ink to emphasize things, or differentiate them from whatever else I’m writing down.

watch – My watch is an old Seiko Titanium Perpetual Calendar I’ve had since I was 16, making it my oldest watch in the drawer. It’s lasted this long, and I’ve only changed the battery once, so it’s a trooper for sure. Hopefully I can use it for another 10 years, if not longer.

Apple iPhone – the modern-day swiss army knife. This is the one tool I get upset when I leave at home. It does everything for me. I write EG articles on this thing when I have nothing else, I use it to find my way, keep in touch with people, check my email, update Twitter and Facebook… it’s the best phone I’ve ever owned. If I had to only pick one thing to carry with me all the time, it would be this little guy.

So those are my ten essentials, the ten things I have with me practically all the time. What are yours? Take a picture and tell us about it in the comments below!

Some 5&B news before I let you go

Fifth&Brannan, the menswear line I co-run with Katie, is having a launch event on June 18! So if you’re in or near San Francisco (or even if you aren’t, and would like to attend anyway) check out our official launch event page:

It’s been a long time coming and we’re super excited to finally release our small collection of shirting, which we plan on expanding to tailored pants and fitted jackets in the coming releases. It’s been a labor of love (and the cause of some sleepless, stress-filled nights, to be honest), so we’d love to have you at our launch party to celebrate with us. Once again, here’s the official page for it:

Hope you can make it!

PUBLISHED April 25, 2011

Barron is a Lean Wardrobe Advocate and Founding Editor of Effortless Gent. He's from San Francisco but currently living in New York. Connect with him on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Tumblr.

  • Anonymous

    Nice. I had the V-moda’s for a while, but (if they’re like the ones I had), that woven fabric cord drove me nuts, getting all twisted and gnarled up. I’ve been kicking apple’s in-ears (NOT the junk that comes with the iphone) for a while now, and will DEFINITELY be getting Sculpted Eers’ product if they come out with a model including a mic and ipod controls inline.

    Surprised you don’t carry a knife of some sort; maybe a tiny leatherman on your keychain. Those things are invaluable. I recently made the switch to a leatherman skeletool, and absolutely love it. One of those things, like the iphone, that you find yourself using an amazing amount once you have one. (I’m not *quite* as upset when I forget my knife at home, compared to my iphone…but it’s close).

    I’ve spent the past 4 hours looking for a watch. But, that will soon be added to my daily-carry.

    • Yeah, mine have the woven cord as well. I have to actively make sure i don’t wind them in weird ways so the wiring doesn’t get messed up. I guess that could be considered a negative; I must have just gotten used to it.

      I’ve always meant to pick up a pocket knife, just never got around to it. I’ll check out the ones you mentioned though, so thanks for that.

  • Connor

    I just want to point out that yes, designer glasses are often from the same stock ( brands such as Serengeti and Maui Jim make their own lenses, which are far superior to those of designer brands. Revo, though now owned by luxottica, also has proprietary lens design which can now be found in select models of Oakley brand glasses.

    • Hey Connor,

      Yes, that’s a good point. I was only referring to designer brand sunglasses frames, not necessarily brands like Maui Jim which I’ve heard do have great lenses and serve a purpose. Thanks for clarifying.

  • I would probably switch to iPhone on verizon if it weren’t going to cost me an arm and a leg

    • Haven’t heard much about iPhone with Verizon, surprisingly. Is it that much better? My prediction is that everyone is eventually going to migrate over to Verizon, and then ATT will become an awesome network.

  • 5OCS

    What do you carry all of this in?

    • Ooh, good question. I have a leather messenger from Far Horizon Traders (, found them online. I also have this snazzy number from Incase. I should do a bag feature, didn’t even think about that.

      I usually carry all of this in my pockets, unless I have the Air or the Moleskine with me. I also have the neoprene sleeve for my Air, so sometimes I just hold it and not bring a bag. I usually hate having a bag with me and only take it along when it’s absolutely necessary.

      • 5OCS

        I am kind of the opposite. I hate having a lot of stuff in my pockets.

  • Anonymous

    I wanted so much to ask: what’s so special about the MacBook air ? Is it that much different from the windows PC ? I am asking because they are much more expensive n I need guided advice before come the time for me to buy another laptop someday

    Take care


  • Anonymous

    By the way, you seriously put that much stuff in your pockets?
    How come ? Thought you were a gent n would not say something like that. At least pretend you always use a briefcase

    • These are ten things I keep around me throughout the day. If i were leaving the house, I’d put them in a bag (see the comment below yours). Most of that stuff (sans notebook, Mac Air) fits in my pockets when I wear a jacket.

      Is keeping stuff in pockets not “gent-like”?

      • Anonymous

        Thx for the reply
        I understand now you meant in the office or house.. I thought you would have these in the pockets despite your briefcase.

        As regards, your lest question, I grew up reading Vogue for men and GQ.
        Your pockets should be kept free of stuff if you need to look neat. And slim too. Think about those hours spent working out: would you ruin your silhouette with stuff bulking your pockets? Imagine your breast pocket holding more than you hanky?

        Would you do anyone cruising the infamy of carrying more than your money/ccard n keys in your pockets?
        Even the idea of the wallet.. But I’ll consider that one of a personal choice – more of an unreasonable fetish though


  • Maryanne Theodore

    I wrote a post on ‘8 things I can’t live without’ on my blog, read them here