Minimalist Wardrobe for Men – Guide to the Everyday Basics

A man’s wardrobe doesn’t often prioritize fashion over function, and the minimalist wardrobe for men is a clear example.  This article will explain what I learned about the difference between minimalist and capsule wardrobes for men and some popular clothing brands.

A minimalist wardrobe for men contains all essentials and staples that coordinate well with less quantity.  Benefits include saving space and money, less clutter, and durability.  Wardrobes include business, street style, travel, and casual and incorporate many popular brands.

Do you ever wonder why you have so much clothing in your wardrobe?  Are you ready to learn more about saving space and time with a minimalist wardrobe for men?  Let’s go over the essentials of a minimalist wardrobe for men compared to a capsule wardrobe.

What Is a Minimalist Wardrobe for Men?

A minimalist wardrobe for men is a collection of essential, versatile, and high-quality clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create a wide range of outfits. The focus is on simplicity, functionality, and classic style rather than many trendy or overly elaborate pieces. A minimalist wardrobe aims to declutter and streamline clothing choices, making dressing more straightforward and efficient.

A minimalist wardrobe for men is created using the “less is more” principle of minimalism.  It contains primarily staple or essential clothing items that coordinate well, making it easier to put outfits together. You won’t find any “fast fashion” items in the minimalist wardrobe for men — everything is durable, sustainable, functional, and comfortable.

A Minimal Wardrobe - Minimalist Wardrobe for Men - Gone Minimal
A Minimal Wardrobe

What are the Benefits of a Minimalist Wardrobe for Men?

When we talk about a minimalist wardrobe for men and only essential pieces, you might think it’s insufficient.  The beauty of it is there are so many benefits of a minimalist wardrobe for men!  Let’s look at a few:

  1. Saves closet space
  2. Saves money
  3. Everything is used
  4. Coordinates well
  5. Uncluttered
  6. Organized
  7. Saves time putting outfits together
  8. Everything is in style
  9. Higher quality pieces
  10. Improved durability

These benefits all sound great, don’t they?  But what does a minimalist wardrobe for men actually look like?  Keep on reading to find out more!

What are the Characteristics of a Minimalist Wardrobe for Men?

Depending upon their type of work, lifestyle, and environment, a minimalist wardrobe for men will vary greatly.  Most men will want casual attire, work attire, and exercise attire for their minimalist wardrobe, and these quantities will vary.

The men’s minimalist wardrobe has plenty of clothing for every day of the week and then some.

 Men’s Wardrobe Essentials

Men’s wardrobe essentials are those items that must be present for a functional wardrobe.  Essentials are the clothing items a man wears every day appropriate for weather and tasks.  These include socks and underwear, shirts, pants and shorts, and category-specific items for exercise and work. Katia Vladimirova of the University of Geneva states that minimalist-style fashion encourages the consumption of clothing to be different — buy and use less, but with better durability and quality.

A Simple Stack of Jeans - Minimalist Wardrobe for Men - Gone Minimal
A Simple Stack of Jeans

Men’s Minimalist Clothing List

Whether it’s a standard minimalist wardrobe or a capsule wardrobe, certain items should be included in every men’s minimalist wardrobe:

  1. Underwear and socks (7 pairs each)
  2. Undershirts (if needed, 2-3)
  3. Short- and long-sleeved shirts (4-5 each)
  4. Work attire (as needed)
  5. Exercise attire (as needed)
  6. Jacket or sweater (1-2, based on weather)
  7. Shorts and pants (2-3 pairs each)
  8. Shoes (work and exercise appropriate, 1-3 pairs)

The men’s minimalist clothing list allows for extra articles of clothing just in case, changes in seasons, and other adaptations.  But what would a capsule wardrobe look like in comparison?  Let’s take a look next.

Men’s Capsule Wardrobe vs. Men’s Minimalist Wardrobe

In a literature review, researchers Jalil and Shaharuddin of the University of Malaysia found that capsule wardrobes can help extend clothing life while reducing consumption.  The men’s minimalist wardrobe has plenty of clothing for every day of the week and then some.  Let’s compare the men’s minimalist wardrobe to the capsule wardrobe.

A Minimalist Outfit - Minimalist Wardrobe for Men - Gone Minimal
A Minimalist Outfit

Men’s Capsule Wardrobe Checklist

When you’re preparing to pare down your wardrobe to a capsule, you might find it helpful to utilize a men’s capsule wardrobe checklist.  This way, you can list everything essential to your daily wardrobe and not get rid of those items. 

You will want enough pieces of the necessary casual, exercise, and work essentials so you won’t have to do laundry more often than you’re willing.  Include all of the items you wear daily and the numbers you think you will need to assist in creating your checklist or find a checklist online that you’re open to using.

Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe

The minimalist capsule wardrobe is a collection of only the essential items for your lifestyle.  With a capsule wardrobe, you will only have the minimum number of socks, underwear, shirts, pants, and shorts (including work wear) that you can get by with, meaning you save a great deal of space and there’s nothing that goes unused.  There’s also no extras here — it’s purely essentials.

Types of Minimalist Wardrobes for Men

If you live a certain lifestyle and are unsure about minimalist wardrobes, perhaps it’s time to look at some different types.  There’s certain to be one to fit your specific work and lifestyle needs!

For everyday wear at home or out and about, there’s the minimalist casual wardrobe for men.

Minimalist Business Casual for Men

The minimalist business casual wardrobe for men revolves around the work lifestyle.  This collection contains everything the working man needs in the casual work environment, from slacks and trousers to polos and button-down shirts.  Just a few of these pieces in coordinating colors can create enough outfits to wear something different every day for a couple of weeks!

Minimalist Street Style for Men

Minimalist street style for men includes those pieces worn for looking chic while out on the town.  Whether for shopping or skating, the street style is easy to build with these functional and fashionable pieces.  This style is cool and comfortable without filling your closet, from classic sneakers to staple denim, hoodies, and graphic tees.

A Man Wearing a White Shirt and Jeans - Minimalist Wardrobe for Men - Gone Minimal
A Man Wearing a White Shirt and Jeans

Minimalist Travel Wardrobe for Men

For men who travel, consider the minimalist travel wardrobe.  This collection has staples that work in any location, with combinations for weather and event, and are simple enough to pack in a bag while keeping flexibility.  The minimalist travel wardrobe is timeless, coordinates well, and functions in warm and cold weather.

Minimalist Casual Wardrobe for Men

For everyday wear at home or out and about, there’s the minimalist casual wardrobe for men.  This collection has everything he needs for relaxing at home or running errands.  With a few t-shirts, comfortable pants and shorts, and outerwear for unpredictable weather, he’s got everything he needs and is comfortable.

Popular Men’s Minimalist Clothing Brands

It’s true there are clothing brands dedicated to minimalists!  Let’s look at some popular men’s minimalist clothing brands:

  1. Everlane – focuses on functionality for all seasons rather than trends.
  2. ASKET – focuses on design, sourcing, and quality to create meaningful essentials for a small collection.
  3. Norse Projects – creates timeless casualwear with cool basics, no logos, and comfortable foundation pieces.
  4. L’Estrange London – takes a modern approach to seasonless collections that are interchangeable and versatile with less of an environmental impact.
  5. Neutrale – uses bold pastels and the latest technology for sustainable, gender-neutral essentials for leisure wear.

Check out this video to help you build a reliable minimalist wardrobe for men for any season. 

Related Insights

How can a man make a minimalist wardrobe?

A man can make a minimalist wardrobe by paring down non-essential items, donating or selling unused or rarely used pieces, and getting rid of duplicate or similar items.  It takes a few essential pieces (tops and bottoms) and colors that match easily for a minimalist wardrobe.

How many items are in a minimalist wardrobe for men?

The number of items in a minimalist wardrobe for men varies with the degree of minimalism used.  With about 50-60 separate items in about 12 categories, most men can get by, and some use even less than that.  The typical capsule wardrobe only contains about 25 items!

What should be in every man’s wardrobe?

Every man’s wardrobe should contain underwear, socks, long-sleeved and short-sleeved shirts, a sweater or jacket, exercise apparel and shoes, pants and shorts, and work-appropriate clothing and shoes.  The quantity of these will vary, of course, depending on lifestyle.

The Clothing Items That Real People Consider Staples in Their Closet

I asked friends and family, preferably men, to list five items in their closet that they consider staples. Here is what they shared and what I learned from the poll, and the percentages of their responses.

Clothing ItemTimes Selected
Business suits9%
Button-down shirts10%
Exercise apparel14%
Clothing Items That Real People Consider Staples

Other Resources:

Men are usually all about low-maintenance clothing and style, and the minimalist wardrobe for men is a perfect example.  With just a few pieces for everyday exercise, work, play, and everything in-between, a minimalist wardrobe will cover all of the bases without all of the excess.  If you or the man in your life are looking for a way to simplify his closet, why not consider a minimalist wardrobe for men?

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