Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe for men. Have you ever caught yourself staring into a closet full of clothes and feel like you have nothing to wear? It’s called Paradox of Choice, and this is why you have clothes you forgot you even owned! It’s that vicious cycle you go through every season.
Great style is not about having a pile of expensive and trendy clothes. It’s about stocking your wardrobe with the few vital pieces you can mix and match. A capsule wardrobe consists of essential clothing items, which serve as the building blocks of your closet.
Boutique owner Susie Faux coined the term “capsule wardrobe” in the 1970s to describe mix-and-match basics, and designer Donna Karan popularized the word in the 1980s when she released a capsule collection of fashionable workwear.
Hallmarks of a Capsule Wardrobe
- Timeless and Classic. Your clothes should be trans-seasonal and immune to the vagaries of trends and fashions. Take a plain navy blue suit as an example. Ask yourself if it will still be in vogue a few decades from now. Trendy clothes, by their nature, need to be replaced by the next trend. And you don’t want to update your wardrobe all the time.
- Versatility. Unless a new purchase works in at least three outfits, move on. Clothes in your closet should be suitable for multiple occasions. And they must be easy and convenient to pair up with almost everything. You can mix and match every day for the next few years and feel like you have something completely fresh. Each item in your capsule wardrobe can be worn with many other pieces within your closet, and it doesn’t feel like it’s been seen thousand times over.
- Colors. Colors are often trendy and can date your clothes. Keep your capsule collection very neutral because the colors in there should never go out of style. It’s easy to mix and match pieces in neutral colors. Stick with pieces in white, black, grey, navy, brown, etc. They are the building blocks of a great wardrobe. It doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, black, Asian, white, formal, or casual. There is nothing wrong with wearing bright colors, but they often come off as flashy and loud.
- Appropriateness. The pieces in your wardrobe should be functional and appropriate for various occasions, from casual daytime looks to the office to special events. Invest in pieces that transition from week to weekend and that work for downtime as well as nights out.
Tips on Buying Clothes for Your Capsule Wardrobe
- Plan ahead. Consider shopping for clothes like buying your groceries. Make a list.
- Try everything on. Everyone’s body shape is different, so finding items that agree with your body is important. If you’re going to wear something often, it should fit well.
- Invest in high-quality pieces. You get what you pay for. Wearing the same clothes a lot and frequently replacing them is quite inconvenient. According to MasterClass, you won’t have to constantly replace low-quality items since the capsule collection is meant to be worn over and over.
Investing in a capsule collection that works for you will make you feel confident. It allows you to find your style with simple styling. And having a versatile capsule wardrobe of reliable basics will help you get dressed with less time and effort. Basically, the following are considered the “wardrobe basics” as most men have them in their closet:
↓ 32 – Denim Jacket
In summer, a denim jacket is an outerwear. In winter, it slots under a coat and over a knit. To get that versatility, you need to nail the fit – slim but not so snug that you can’t fit something warm underneath. If you can button it snugly over a hoodie, it’s about right. Here are all the ways you can style and Wear A Denim Jacket.
↓ 31 – Bomber Jacket
A transitional jacket comes in handy during warmer months. It could be a bomber or an overshirt. You can wear it as it is or layered.
↓ 30 – Leather Jacket
Whether it’s real or vegan leather, having a leather jacket is great as it shows style without making any real effort.
↓ 29 – Puffer Jacket
Opt for a full-blown Puffer jacket for total cold-weather defense.
↓ 28 – Capsule Wardrobe Suits
I recommend that you get two suits – one black and one navy blue. Get them tailored so that it fits perfectly, and choose a style that’s simple enough that it will last decades. Navy suits are particularly versatile as they can be easily broken up and used as separates with other garments from your capsule wardrobe. You can wear the blazer over a T-shirt and jeans for something a little more laid-back than business-casual. Grey is another option, but it is more on the corporate side.
↓ 27 – Dinner Jacket
You don’t need to spend beyond your budget; just make sure the suit has classic details, like the silky lapels and a stripe on the trousers. Then have your tailor fix the cuffs, waist, and trouser hems. Midnight blue will always trump black. RECOMMENDED: Black-Tie Outfits
↓ 26 – Overcoat
Peacoats and trenchcoats for winter. Get them in neutral colors like camel, grey, and black. If you invest in just one or two good quality ones, they’ll last you several years.
↓ 25 – Flannel Shirt
You can’t do winter layering without flannels. You can wear this workwear on its own. You can also layer it underneath a big coat or wear it open over a T-shirt or a roll neck.
↓ 24 – Dress Shirts
You need at least three of these – Oxfords and button-downs. Go for black, white, navy blue, and light blue button-up shirts. And as soon as you start to feel comfortable with your capsule wardrobe, layer on other colors, prints, and textures. Dress shirts don’t dress down well, so tuck them in.
↓ 23 – Knitwear
You will eventually need knitwear at some point of the year, especially in winter and fall. Get yourself something cozy in a neutral color – camel, cream, beige, grey, or black. If you are a bit shorter, go with a cropped sweater. Get one cardigan and one pullover, that’s it!
↓ 22 – Woolen Roll Neck
Wearing a turtleneck under a jacket or a shirt immediately makes you one of the best-dressed men in the room. If you are getting one, opt for black. If you plan on getting a backup, try a jewel tone, like emerald.
↓ 21 – Crewneck Jumper
Go for a slim cut. Grey, navy, and black are options that’ll never go out of style.
↓ 20 – Polo Shirts
In that smart-casual line between shirts and tees, polo shirts are true wardrobe essentials. For starters, go with neutral tones, and they’ll dress down a blazer as well as smarten-up jeans. Here are Modern Ways to Wear Polo Shirts with other Outfits.
↓ 19 – T-Shirts
You’ll need three of these. A crewneck is a classic option. Choose neutral colors, like black, white, brown, gray, and blue. A simple white T-shirt can be dressed up or down to work with almost anything in your closet. Avoid logos and slogans as they are awful, and stick to classic patterns instead.
↓ 18 – Jeans
You’ll need two pairs of these. Black, dark blue, and mid-blue jeans will never go out of style. Go for something simple as it will last for years, and go with almost anything in your closet. That means no rips and splatters.
↓ 17 – Chinos
You’ll need three pairs of these. You can’t live in denim all the time. As nice as slim dark jeans may be, sometimes you’ll need to do more. For dinner dates, work functions, and other smart-casual occasions, a pair of chinos is the perfect option. Go classic with beige or modern with navy or forest green.
↓ 16 – Grey Trousers
Wear them with your blazer or with your suit jacket. You can also dress them down if they’re slim. Just match them with a sweatshirt or even just a basic tee.
↓ 15 – Tailored Shorts
Stick with a tailored cut that ends an inch or two just above your knee; they’ll never look dated.
↓ 14 – Chino Shorts
They are smart enough to be paired up with a shirt and shoes. They are also fine to pair with a T-shirt and flip-flops.
↓ 13 – Loungewear
There’s a recent pajama-shirt trend: your loungewear could be upgraded to your daywear. Choose a good fabric, ideally in breathable cotton or linen. You can get more ideas from these Outfits with Jogger Pants.
↓ 12 – Activewear
For hoodies, stick to grey for optimum versatility. As for your sweatpants, get one you can wear both in the gym and on the sofa. Choose jersey fabric in a slim fit. Navy and black are great color options.
↓ 11 – White Sneakers
White trainers can be worn pretty much everywhere. But it’s nice to have options – make sure you have enough choices. For backup, get a pair of all-black sneakers, too.
↓ 10 – Black Dress Shoes
First off, keep them polished, and they will last longer than you expected. For formal occasions, a pair of stylish Oxford shoes is your bet.
↓ 9 – Running Shoes
It’s a no-brainer to do your daily sprints in a pair of uncomfortable shoes (say Chelsea boots, for instance). So a pair of running sneakers is a must, like Adidas Ultraboost 20. It is a lightweight and breathable athletic trainer with a springy sole and good traction.
↓ 8 – Chelsea Boots
Have at least one footwear piece that extends above your ankles. Choose between brown and black, or you can get both. Boots are less versatile than other shoes, and work boots don’t really go well with suits. Also, it’s not a good idea to wear your Chelsea boots with jeans.
↓ 7 – Sandals
Brown leather has always been timeless and versatile so that you won’t go wrong with that option. Just avoid anything too trendy that can look outdated in a few months.
↓ 6 – Belt
Choose a slim belt that you can wear to the office and casual gigs alike. If you need the belt to hold up your pants, consider buying pants in a different size or getting your pants tailored. The statement belt isn’t about function; it’s about fashion.
↓ 5 – Ties
Think in texture, not pattern. Stick to colors that work with that navy suit and every color of your shirt in the wardrobe.
↓ 4 – Striped Shirt
Having at least one striped shirt in your capsule wardrobe is essential as this classy item can be styled in so many ways, from casual to semi-formal and at times even for formal wear. You can buy a striped t-shirt or a button-down, though I would recommend getting both.
↓ 3 – Watch
A clean, uncluttered dial is a nice move, and so is a leather strap. Stay away from anything bulky. Your dress watch should be sleek and fitted, just like the suit to go with it. I would recommend wristwatches with either silver or gold straps.
Diving watches and chronographs are good options, with either a leather strap, a bracelet, or a NATO strap. So have at least one dress watch and one casual one.
↓ 2 – Beanie
If you wear beanies in Winters then you need to have a few in your wardrobe. Grey, Beige and Black ones usually go with most outfits.
↓ 1 – Sunglasses
I recommend having at least 2 pairs of sunglasses. One of them can be from a high-end brand like Ray Bans or Micheal Kors that you can reserve for special occasions like dates or weddings. And invest in 1 or 2 mid-range ones like from Police that you can wear on an everyday basis.
None of us can go outside without the proper face covering. With the current situation, everyone is advised to have at least two washable (if not disposable) facemasks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They are now part of a capsule wardrobe. To maintain your style while being cautious, choose cotton or polyester facemasks in contrast colors like brown, black, and grey. Aside from the fact that they look good with any outfit, they are cheap and easy to find. Then again, no one’s stopping you from getting those fancy-looking facemasks, but my friendly advice is to stay clear of them for a minimalist fashion statement.
Your capsule will outlast trends. A proper capsule wardrobe is about having timeless and versatile styles. That means you don’t need to worry about keeping up with what’s in vogue.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why should I build a minimalist wardrobe?
A. You will have less clutter, spend less time and effort getting dressed, and achieve a fashion statement that would never be out of style. By working with a minimalist wardrobe, you become your own stylist, coming up with outfit ideas for a set number of pieces.
Q. How many pieces should a man have in his closet?
A. Typically, a man should have around 30 types of clothing in his closet, with a backup piece for each. It would be inconvenient for you to have just one shirt, one pair of trousers and one pair of chinos. Imagine having the need to do your laundry every day; it’s kind of boring, right? Remember that you don’t have to buy expensive clothes, just consider the quality. As mentioned above, the core aspects of an ideal capsule wardrobe are the colors and functionality of your outfits. Invest in pieces that can cover all types of occasions – formal, business, smart, and just casual.
Q. Should I go dressed-up or dressed-down?
A. It can be very confusing sometimes if you will go dressed-up or -down. My advice for fashion newbies is to get pieces that you can wear on multiple occasions and not just on a single event. For example, if you have a date on a workday, choose an office attire that can look casual with a few touches so that you won’t have to pack two different outfit options. It’s inconvenient and, not to mention, time-consuming.
Q. What underwear should a minimalist buy?
A. Steer clear of novelty and stick to the basics – quality cotton, dark colors, good fits. The same goes for the socks.
John Vincent studied Communication Arts in the Philippines.
Growing up, he’s always had an eye for aesthetics. He enjoys writing a lot. Books, TV series, and movies are a big part of his life. His all-time favorites are Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and Marvel films.
He believes that fashion is a pure form of art. You express yourself through your personal style – it’s something you can’t replicate.