Minimalist Wardrobe For Men: The Ultimate Guide and Checklist


When you think about minimalism, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? 

Is it dressing like Mark Zuckerberg with the same grey shirt and dark blue jeans? 

Or is it having five sets of clothes and a spacious closet?

These questions aren’t necessarily wrong, but they may not be able to truly guide you through the necessities of how to build a minimalist men’s wardrobe

There are many things to consider to earn the title of minimalist; it’s much more than just wearing the same white t-shirt and worn pair of jeans every day.

Today, we’ll go over everything you need to create a minimalist wardrobe for men that can be both fashionable and stylish.

Getting Yourself A Capsule Wardrobe

The minimalist lifestyle usually comes with the peace of mind and tranquility of feeling less stressed with what you wear. 

The clothes you put on every day and the choices that go into each outfit can affect you much more than you think. 

Quality Over Quantity

The secret to having a functional wardrobe with the least amount of clothes is by trading quantity for quality. 

Getting a minimalist wardrobe for men is somewhat easier than setting it up for women since, generally, we men wear a lesser variety of clothes than women do.

Now don’t go out there and buy yourself $80 shirts; we’re not trying to sell expensive designer brand apparel. There are many great clothes out there in the market that you can buy through retail stores and eCommerce websites that benefit you with a similar level of quality for much cheaper.

While the online fashion industry is increasing exponentially, it’s an obvious fact that there’s no other way to check for quality fabric than by inspecting it in person. You can try your hand with online stores that have a lot of good reviews or with brands that you’ve personally bought from in the past. 

This article won’t limit your expenses or sources of clothes, so feel free to go through this however you like. Nevertheless, if you’re new to this, we highly suggest window shopping and touching the fabric of expensive and inexpensive clothes so you can understand the difference.

Learn Your Fabric

Getting familiar with the right fabric can save you a lot of money and make you a very experienced shopper in only a week. 

Being able to differentiate a shirt that will last you years versus a shirt that’ll die in the washer after being laundered five times is a skill that we cannot undersell. 

Clothes shrink, various fabrics will decolorize with pit stains, and the wrong material will make you sweat like crazy. When figuring out the difference between fabrics, try to imagine the fabric after being washed 10, 20, and even 30 times. 

Having a minimalist wardrobe means that you’ll be wearing that shirt, pair of pants, or jacket multiple times throughout the month. Taking the time to look through guides and tutorials, like this video about common fabrics, can bring you a ton of value when picking out the right material for clothes.

You don’t have to be a cloth and fabric expert to get into this; just figuring out what’s breathable or how to wash certain fibers can help you plan out a long-term wardrobe. 

Figure Out Your Necessities

Unless your name is Rocky Balboa and you’re jogging around the streets of Philadelphia, we don’t expect you to weather out the winter in a grey sweatshirt. 

Getting a jacket for the winter is a necessity that you can’t simply disregard, even if you’re getting into the minimalist lifestyle.

Alternatively, if you live in an unbearably hot climate, then fetching yourself a pair of sleeveless shirts and shorts is something that you should consider. Being a minimalist doesn’t mean having the least amount of clothes in your friend group.

Minimalism is a lifestyle that allows you to live with the bare minimum number of things that you still need to function properly and healthily in your day-to-day life. Don’t restrict yourself from buying a scarf or two if you need it, but try not to get the whole winter collection.

Plot Out Your Schedule With Clothes

Having around seven shirts is more than enough for most minimalist wardrobes, we’ll explain how this works and remains fashionable in a later method. However, you’ll inevitably have to plan your wardrobe out, depending on your schedule.

Do you work five days a week?

When do you get your laundry done?

Being a minimalist is no excuse to wear the same shirt twice, especially if you’re the type to get sweaty throughout the day. 

A general rule of thumb that you can follow is figuring out how many shirts, boxers, and pants you may need in a week or between the days you go out for laundry. Once you have a number, add about one to two extra pairs of the appropriate clothing for good measure.

Now, we understand that jeans may last forever and don’t need to be laundered at all. 

Nevertheless, if you get a stain on your pants, then it’s going to be embarrassing having to wear that one pair for the rest of the week.

Choose Complementary Colors

If you’re going to go minimalist, then we applaud you for doing so, but it doesn’t give you permission to dress in black and white every day.

Sure, you could go this route and opt for the monochromatic wardrobe, but where’s the fun in that?

With a capsule wardrobe, the onus is on you to be creative with how you present yourself to the world, since you have less items of clothing to work with. It’s all about layering, wearing well-iron garments, and thinking about what colors would work well together to make a well-put together outfit.

Even if you’re not a huge fan of bold colors, a subtle navy blue or dark green tee in among the several black and white ones can add a lot of visual intrigue to an outfit. If you have a black pair of pants and a black blazer, instead of the classic white tee or shirt you could opt for gray, light blue, or even purple for a distinct look.

That way, it won’t look like you only own two black shirts, and you will feel like you have more options even when you have a significantly reduced wardrobe.

Experiment with color in small ways at first, until you get comfortable with it. It could be that you have a simple pair of plain red socks that you wear on occasion, or even just colorful underwear, and that can give you the confidence you need to work your way up to a different shade for your pants or outerwear.

Layering Yourself With Clothes

Another secret that makes your outfit seem more diverse than it really is—is layering your clothes. Putting on an extra layer of fabric, like a denim or linen jacket, can go a long way to increase your style and attractiveness.

Furthermore, it’s also a great way to keep yourself warm in the office. Also, it’s a great trump card to have when you’re on a spontaneous date. 

Is someone feeling cold? Let them borrow your jacket. 

A co-worker just ran across the street under the rain? Dry and keep them warm with your jacket as a favor.

While not being what the younger generation likes to call a ‘simp,’ we do encourage and promote the lifestyle of being a gentleman. Kindness and class is an underrated and decreasing commodity in this day and age. 

Get Yourself A Jacket

To start getting into coats, you can get yourself a jacket that matches the aesthetic of your personal style and flair. A popular choice is the iconic denim jacket, which’s easy on the eyes while still providing that sense of detail and effort. 

Pair this with a white shirt and the classic blue denim jacket, and you’re good to go. If you want to add a lot more spice to your wardrobe, then getting a leather jacket might be right up your alley. 

Alternatively, putting on a leather jacket is a great way to bring the shock factor to what otherwise is a friendly and simple style.

A great perk of having a jacket or coat is that you can use it multiple times, even consecutively, when appropriate. Depending on the fabric, like denim which is casual enough to pass off as everyday wear, you’ll be able to mix and match your shirts and create different outfits altogether.

That One Good Suit

Lastly, for the layers, get yourself a really good suit. However, this is mainly dependent on your lifestyle. We understand if you’d prefer to just rent a suit instead of buying one outright. After all, suits can be pretty expensive.

For those of you who do want to buy a suit, here’s how you can get the best for your buck without having to spend hundreds of dollars. Start by buying a well-made suit. The quality, in this case, is your biggest concern; let the fit come later.

Once you’ve found a suit that looks nice, doesn’t look glossy or cheap, and relatively fits you well enough, you’re only about 70 percent done with getting a suit. From here, take that suit to a tailor and trim it down to your exact size. If the store you bought the suit from already offers this service, then all the better.

Getting a good suit doesn’t mean spending hundreds of dollars, instead, it’s all about making one fit you perfectly. If you’re thinking about decluttering and wondering which suit you should keep, try to look for a guide that helps you choose the right color. 

Suits are universal, you’ll wear them to a meeting, to a fancy party, and even to a funeral. While a white suit might look cool, you won’t be able to wear it at other events where a black suit is more appropriate.

The Type Of Shirts For A Minimalist

Moving on, we’ll guide you through the general rules of how to buy shirts if you’re trying to create a capsule wardrobe. Getting the right shirt will help you avoid being too distinct, which makes it easier for people to notice when you’ve been using a shirt over and over.

Finding the balance between expressing your personality while still being somewhat lowkey is all about planning the right clothes. What a minimalist wardrobe does better than anything else is being able to mix and match the limited number of clothes seamlessly with each other. 

Classic Clean Dress Shirts

Starting a little formal here, you can never go wrong getting a couple of dress shirts. You don’t have to fully invest in an entire suit, but a dress shirt can go a long way to keep yourself looking semi-formal or even smart casual. 

Dress shirts are ubiquitous in the corporate world while also being versatile enough for a cute dinner date. Rock a semi-formal business casual outfit with a pair of chinos or stretchable trousers and some matching leather shoes.

The Busy Bee, Business Casual

Make yourself look busy while giving off that casual vibe by wearing a polo shirt and a pair of dark blue jeans. The business casual look is a classy outfit and aesthetic to put on, especially if you live comfortably close to the corporate world.

A corporate lifestyle doesn’t have to be boring. The right polo shirt, preferably a single warm color without a ton of design, can mix clean and casual while you work. Just make sure that you get the right fit, with the sleeves comfortably hugging your arms.

You Can Never Go Wrong With A White Shirt

The absolute staple, get yourself a white shirt and never have to worry about being distinguishable again. A white shirt might make you feel boring, but that’s absolutely far from the truth when paired with the right clothes.

First off, make sure you get a white shirt that looks and wears good on you. Try to get a shirt that’s generally thicker, so it can last years while also being breathable. After that, it’s all about what you wear with it.

Putting on a white shirt will look good with a denim or leather jacket, you name it! Additionally, since the shirt doesn’t stand out with any particular design, you’ll be able to wear a good white shirt for a long time without people recognizing that it’s the same shirt from last year.

Related: What to Wear on a First Date

A Couple Of Pants

Feel free to get yourself a couple of shorts, since it’s important to stay comfortable at home. However, it’s time to cover on pants, especially regarding what you should buy, how many you should buy, and what pair of pants can be universally used.

While it’s true that most millennials like to look hip and young with light-blue jeans, it’s not really the type of jeans that you can wear everywhere without looking underdressed. 

The Iconic And Timely Dark Blue Jeans

Investing in a quality pair of dark blue jeans can go a long way for your wardrobe. Like it or not, dark blue jeans look good on older and younger men. This makes it the perfect pair of jeans that you can wear for a normal date or even for work.

Put this on with a pair of brown leather shoes or some sleek white sneakers, and you’ve just traveled back and forth in time. Leather shoes definitely suit the corporate environment, but some sneakers together with your jeans can still look clean and hip.

The Color Of Your Soul

Black is a great color to have in any outfit, even if it’s the only color you’re wearing. A pair of black jeans can go a long way to complement what you already have tucked away in your closet.

Furthermore, black is a slimming color and is a great alternative to wear when you’re switching between pants throughout the week. Use the contrast to your advantage and wear a pair of white sneakers together with your black jeans to look extra stylish.

Athletic And Easy-To-Breathe Stretchable Trousers

Thanks to the advancement of clothing technology, there are a lot of trousers out there that look formal but are actually breathable and stretchy.

Instead of buying a traditional pair of trousers that might make you feel constrained, getting the stretchy ones can make a world of difference for formal and even casual wear. That’s right, put on a pair of stretchy trousers with a white shirt tucked in and you can bring that classy aesthetic to a casual outfit.

The Only Set Of Shoes You’ll Need

There’s a popular fashion belief that says shoes make 90 percent of your outfit. You might be able to adjust this ratio to your standard, but it’s definitely a real factor to consider. After all, when people check someone out, they usually start from the ground up.

Hip And Sleek White Sneakers

Of course, this varies on your age and personal taste, but a pair of white sneakers can go a long way if you don’t take yourself too seriously. Younger gentlemen will easily read this tip and might even have a pair of white sneakers already, but the older generation might reconsider.

There are a lot of varieties that you can choose from when buying a pair of sneakers, and while we won’t try to sell our personal taste to such a broad market, we will give you a helpful tip. White sneakers are exactly that; they’re white. Believe me, these things will be the hardest things to clean but are the easiest to spot when dirty.

Before buying yourself a pair of white sneakers, consider how well you can clean the shoe if it was fully engulfed in mud or if a drop of ketchup fell on it.

Formal Leather Shoes

A pair of brown leather shoes never hurt anybody unless you’re Will Smith in the movie Wild Wild West. We’ll bet on the chance that you don’t have a knife in your shoe and say that having a pair of leather shoes is more universal than most sneakers.

You can wear leather shoes for smart casual, semi-formal, business casual, and formal events. Just make sure to get the right fit for your feet, since leather shoes can be notoriously painful after a couple of hours. 

The Devil In The Details: Accessories

Always have your accessories. The things that a watch can do for a man and a woman shouldn’t be underestimated. Here’s a list of the essentials that you should always have on your person.

Every Man Needs A Watch

Starting with the most common one, get yourself a watch. Ideally, a metal watch is the most practical variety since it’s unironically both a formal and casual watch. However, if you’re up there in the corporate world, a leather watch looks better on dress shirts and formal wear

Settle on Some Stylish Shades

If you want to be taken seriously when summer time and the hot sunny days roll around then you need to be seen wearing the right sunglasses.

Picking out the perfect pair of shades for your style doesn’t have to make a dent in your wallet – in fact, you can pick up a stylish pair of polarized sunglasses for around $20.

The main factors that will help you pick out the right shades should be your face shape, and what activities you most enjoy doing when the sun starts to shine consistently. For example, sunglasses with straight lines are best for men with oval or round-shaped faces while aviators and round lenses are better for square-shaped faces with straight lines.

As for context, the type of sunglasses you’ll want to wear to go skiing are different from those you’d wear while driving. Skiing requires specialized lightweight sunglasses that are polarized to provide maximum protection from glare off the snow, and with blue lenses. Driving sunglasses on the other hand need to have a neutral color for the lenses like yellow or gray, and should enhance visibility and reduce eye strain.

Always Have A Handkerchief

Have a hankie. Preferably, you should always bring two, in case someone needs to borrow it for a spill. However, you should always have a hankie even if you don’t sweat a lot nor need to wipe your face frequently. A hankie is a great way to wipe off stains, dry yourself from a bit of rain, and wipe the tears off of your special lady friend.

Secure And Sensual With A Belt

Get a leather belt, preferably an adjustable one. Having a belt will save your life on multiple occasions if you have loose pants or need something to hold two objects together. Plus points for being a handyman.

Additionally, if you’re into that kind of stuff, belts are also pretty sensual and can be used for rough intimate activities. Just be sure to have equal consent. Who knows? You might be the one who ends up tied up.

Related: Best Polarized Sunglasses

Free Checklist: 10 Must-have Clothing Items for the Modern Man 🕶️

Frequently Asked Questions About Men’s Minimalist Wardrobes

How many pieces of clothes should a minimalist wardrobe have?

There isn’t a strict limit to the number of clothes in a minimalist wardrobe. Since every person will have different necessities and schedules, working around an approximate number like 20 is impossible. 

Get as much as you need, but don’t pile up on clothes that you won’t wear at least once every two weeks. An exception to this rule is for winter, summer, and exclusively formal clothes.

How do you make a capsule wardrobe for men?

The easiest way of thinking as a capsule wardrobe is as a set of clothes that you can wear consistently for a week. 

Wear something that doesn’t get repetitive easily, and look for quality fabric that can last and look good even after years of use.

How do you make a stylish minimalist wardrobe?

Pair your clothes together into different outfits. 

Buy clothes that are ubiquitous and compatible with a ton of other apparel, like white shirts that go well with blue, black, and brown pants. 

Get yourself a coat or jacket and wear that over another shirt and suddenly it feels like a new outfit.

Related: Beach Fashion Guide for Men

A Final Word From the Trending Man

There are a lot of benefits to a minimalist lifestyle. For one, you don’t have to feel like you’re impressing anyone since you’re content with the clothes that you’re wearing. 

Other than the calmness and tranquility that you get from putting on an outfit that you know works for you and will work for months, there’s nothing quite like not having to scramble for an outfit every morning. 

With the increasing trend of fast fashion, it’s a good change to try and have a minimalist wardrobe. After all, there’s some truth to the fact that your room often reflects your mind and state of living.

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