Building a Minimalist Wardrobe: Tips & Tricks for Beginners


There are many reasons why someone might want to pare down their wardrobe to the bare essentials. For some, it could simply be a cost-cutting measure. For others, it may be to clean out their overstuffed closets and better see what they own. Some people do it to eliminate choice fatigue and make it easier to get dressed in the morning. There are also those who lean fully into a minimalist wardrobe to reduce life’s complications, clear away the excess, and live with more consideration. 

It’s a bold choice to make in a world that has been largely conditioned to think that having more is better. However, the benefits can be very attractive if you dare to take the plunge. A minimalist or capsule wardrobe is composed of all the foundational pieces a man needs to dress up for any occasion. This means never having to worry about what to wear, and never being saddled by clothes you don’t need. It’s a great option for those who are disinterested in trends but still want to dress well. If this sounds like something you’d be into, check out our beginner’s guide on how to build your own.

Consider the Climate

Clothes are, first and foremost, utilitarian. This means that, in the process of purging your closet, you’ll want to use common sense. Discarding pieces simply because they don’t spark joy isn’t practical. If you live somewhere that experiences all four seasons, you’ll want to have clothes that you can use throughout all of them. This may leave you with a closet that is still relatively full but will at least have everything you need in it.

For example, you’ll want to still have items that can keep you warm if you live in a place where the chill tends to linger, so keep those over the calf men’s socks and your padded jacket. If you live somewhere balmy, on the other hand, you can probably get rid of most of your heavier items, only keeping a couple of pieces for the occasional ski holiday. 

Keep Your Lifestyle in Mind

We all tend to accumulate things like clothes almost unconsciously. We buy them because we want to, because someone told us to, or because we needed them for something at one point or another. We don’t question these choices much, and we hardly ever notice when we already have too much. 

Building a minimalist wardrobe involves taking stock of what you already own. In fact, this may be a more important step than procuring new clothes to round out your new closet. If you own three suits for whatever reason but don’t wear them outside of special events, do you need them? Your wardrobe should be specific to your needs and lifestyle and therefore tailored accordingly. 

Focus on Core Colors

Color trends can come and go, but there are a handful of shades that stay timeless in men’s fashion, regardless of the season. They are black, brown, gray, khaki, navy, olive, and white. These neutrals work well on all skin tones, are easy on the eyes, and can easily be mixed and matched with each other. They’re also a great way to offset any brighter colors or patterns that you may find yourself wanting to wear. 

Lean into the Classics

Certain clothing items have been—and will always be—relevant in fashion. They’ll never go out of style. They may indeed be reinvented every once in a while, but at their core, they’ll remain the same.

Examples of these pieces include dark wash denim jeans, t-shirts that fit well, leather jackets, navy blazers, and a crisp pair of white sneakers. If you have these in your closet already, take care of them. They’ll continue to serve you well for years to come. 

Prioritize Quality Over Quantity

Trimming the fat off of your closet is only the first step. The real challenge is in maintaining the minimalism of your wardrobe, especially if you tend to collect clothes unconsciously. It will take a certain amount of mindfulness on your part to keep from shopping for things you don’t need.

Mindfulness can also help when choosing clothes when you do have to buy them. One of the best ways to keep your wardrobe minimal is to prioritize quality over quantity. Since you’ll be wearing the same clothing more often, you’ll want to put your money towards pieces that you reasonably expect to last for quite a while. They may be more of an investment than anything you can find at a department store or fast-fashion outlet, but they’ll hold up better to the additional wear and tear. To save money, you can keep an eye out for sales to score great clothes at more sensible prices. 

With these tips, building a minimalist wardrobe can be for everyone. At the end of the day, it’s all about making choices that make sense. By following these tips, you’ll be sure to find a look that makes you feel good about yourself, all with items that can be reimagined over and over for every occasion.