Capsule Wardrobe For Men – Experienced Guide with a List

A men’s capsule wardrobe is part of the minimalist lifestyle that consists of only the bare essentials.  Function is more important than fashion, and a men’s capsule wardrobe is the epitome of this.

A men’s capsule wardrobe is a set of essentials that can be coordinated and worn for multiple occasions as well as the everyday.  Benefits include saving storage space, less time getting dressed, and every article has a purpose.

Have you ever wondered how to make more room in your closet?  Did you know you actually don’t need all the clothing and shoes you’ve got in your closet?

What Is a Men’s Capsule Wardrobe?

Men's dress shirts - Capsule Wardrobe For Men - Gone Minimal
Men’s dress shirts

A men’s capsule wardrobe is a set of basics or essentials that coordinate with everything and can be worn in any weather, year-round.  A capsule wardrobe is a term that refers to part of the minimalist lifestyle, the minimalist closet and wardrobe.  Capsule simply means that it is versatile, consistently used, and is an essential part of every person’s wardrobe.

The purpose of a men’s capsule wardrobe is to streamline the process of getting dressed while making sure you have a range of outfits suitable for different occasions. By investing in a few high-quality, timeless pieces, you can create a wardrobe that is both stylish and functional.

Benefits of a Men’s Capsule Wardrobe

When you make the choice to utilize a men’s capsule wardrobe, you can reap many benefits!  As part of the minimalist lifestyle, you begin with decluttering, identifying what you need and what you don’t, and downsizing to those articles that are needed for everyday life and work.  Benefits of a men’s capsule wardrobe include:

  • Everything has a use
  • Simplified colors and patterns coordinate with everything else
  • You save money by using fewer articles of clothing
  • Nothing is “on trend”-it’s all in style
  • No clutter and organized
  • Space is saved and optimized
  • Less time needed to organize and put outfits together
  • More time saved for what really matters!

This is only a sampling of the benefits of a men’s capsule wardrobe, but probably just enough to peak your interest!  Let’s review what should be included in a men’s capsule wardrobe.

What to Include in a Men’s Capsule Wardrobe

Now keep in mind-a capsule wardrobe and even minimalist closet doesn’t mean you get rid of everything!  You find the unused things, the old things, the outdated things and donate or sell them.  Keep those things you know you need.  So before diving in to your own men’s capsule wardrobe, let’s look at what should be included:

  1. Underwear/undershirts
  2. Long- and short-sleeved shirts
  3. Sweater or jacket
  4. Casual pants and shorts
  5. Dressy items for the office (as applicable)
  6. Uniform (for work-as applicable)
  7. Exercise clothing
  8. Socks
  9. Shoes
Men's wardrobe essentials - Capsule Wardrobe For Men - Gone Minimal
Men’s wardrobe essentials

Some of these items may vary depending on where you live (for example, in the South you probably don’t need a great deal of long-sleeved shirts or sweaters) and what you do for work.  Pretty much everything should coordinate, making it easier to mix and match for everyday dressing with style.  Your men’s capsule wardrobe will depend on you and your needs!

How to Start a Men’s Capsule Wardrobe

In order to start a men’s capsule wardrobe, you’ll want to clean out your closet space.  If it’s been 6 months or more since you’ve worn an article of clothing or pair of shoes, donate it!  Also if there’s anything you’ve only worn once or twice in the last 6 months, donate those too.  Keep the items you use or wear regularly and that serve a purpose in your everyday life (exercise, sleep, casual wear, work, etc.). 

If there are things taking up space or you only keep for that rare special occasion, consider donating those as well.  Then you’ll have created some storage space for something else!  Then you’ll need to consider the basics of your capsule wardrobe-those articles you wear daily (underwear, socks, shirts, pants or shorts, etc.).  Next-how much do you need of each?  Let’s take a look!

How Many Clothes Should be in a Men’s Capsule Wardrobe?

First of all, a men’s capsule wardrobe should be about function and comfort, so the number of articles of clothing will not only be kept to a minimum but be suited to your needs.  There’s no minimum or maximum, really!  It’s a good rule of thumb to have enough articles of clothing to prevent having to do laundry more than once or twice a week (who really enjoys doing laundry, anyways?). 

There are even some pieces you can consider wearing more than once before washing, which conserves water and can extend the lifetime of your clothing!  Basically speaking, a men’s capsule wardrobe should contain:

  1. 3-4 shirts
  2. 1-2 jackets or sweaters
  3. 1-2 dress shirts
  4. 1-2 dress pants
  5. 2 sets of exercise outfits
  6. 7 sets of undergarments and socks
  7. 2-3 pairs of casual pants or shorts

The video below offers several items for men to start the perfect capsule wardrobe.

Again these numbers may vary depending on climate and what kind of lifestyle you lead.  You may choose to increase or decrease these numbers depending on what you need.  Just consider what you’re willing to keep on hand and what you’re willing to sell or donate, and about the level of maintenance.

How to Maintain a Men’s Capsule Wardrobe

Now that you’ve learned about quantity, let’s look at how to maintain a men’s capsule wardrobe.  Because it’s not just about utilizing only what you need-it’s about finding a system that works for you.  If you create a capsule wardrobe that doesn’t work for you or fit your needs, it’ll make it much more difficult to maintain.  In order to help you succeed, here are some steps to help you maintain a men’s capsule wardrobe:

  1. Minimize your wardrobe to those pieces you use on a regular basis.  Don’t sell/donate/discard anything you have used within the last 6 months or so.
  2. Try out the system you’ve created for a week or two.  If any part of it doesn’t work out, try something different.
  3. Use trial and error to figure out what works and what doesn’t, and stick with what works.
  4. Take 10-15 minutes each week to organize your capsule wardrobe.  It shouldn’t take much longer than that.
  5. Always put up articles of clothing after you’re finished with laundry, whenever you purchase something new, or when the seasons change.
Men's essential capsule tee's - Capsule Wardrobe For Men - Gone Minimal
Men’s essential capsule tee’s

Things Real People Would Include in a Capsule Wardrobe

I asked some family and friends what top 3 items they would include in a capsule wardrobe. Here is what they shared and what I learned from the poll:

Wardrobe ItemTally of Family/Friends
Dress shirts3
Dress slacks3
Casual socks3
Dress socks3
Long-sleeved shirts2

Other Resources:

A men’s capsule wardrobe can be not only highly useful and functional but also a space-saver.  Whether you work in a high-rise office or from home, you can create a capsule wardrobe that works for you and your lifestyle.  There are no rules-it’s just what you need to function and have a little bit of fun.  So go ahead and try it-you might just discover it’s exactly what you need!

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