12 Essential Clothing Pieces Every Minimalist Man Needs To Have In His Wardrobe

Going for a minimalist wardrobe doesn’t mean you’ll be wearing the same tasteless black shirt and denim combo every day – It’s about stocking a few, select pieces you can mix and match. It’s about buying pieces that do double-duty, picking appropriate clothes for the occasion at hand, and investing in quality fabrics.

When creating your minimalist wardrobe, remember these four hallmarks: versatility, appropriateness, neutrality, and quality.

If you’re planning to purge your closet and stick to only a few items, here are the essential pieces you only need to have.


The quality of the things next to your skin is often neglected. Why spend extra on a good pair of socks that only hides under your shoes? However, it’s important to get it right. Your basic clothing should be comfortable and functional too.

Underwear and socks

Undergarments should be made of quality cotton. Stick to neutrals and dark colors, with good fits. Purge anything with holes and whose elastics have become loose.

T-shirts/ undershirts

Next, to picking the best fit and feel, stick to block colors and/or classic patterns. Start with one white and one black shirt. Slowly add navy, gray, army green, and other muted palettes into the mix.

Casual/Smart Casual Wear

Think of minimalist casual wear as something you can wear at an outdoor BBQ party, but can also work for a lunch date at a classy Italian restaurant. The lines between “dress up” and “dress down” are blurred. If you opt for a neutral palette, play around with different textures and fabrics to add interest and depth to your look.



Knitted jumpers are staples in every minimalist wardrobe. Unadorned, they’re extra stylish than your classic tee. Wear them underneath tailoring, and you just made yourself the most dressed man in the room (especially if it’s a roll neck one). If you must own one, stick to neutrals. But if you plan to add more, try earthy tones, like green, or autumn hues like mustard and burgundy.

Oxford shirt

The simpler, the better. If you’re opting for a minimalist wardrobe, opt for block colors and/or simple patterns. Aside from shade, it’s also important to pay attention to the fit. They should be slim enough to fit under a jacket but not figure-hugging that you can’t bring it to a buffet. There should be enough room to leave them unbuttoned over a tee.

Chambray shirt

Have at least one chambray shirt in your wardrobe. Depending on how rugged you’d want to be, you can pick from heavy, denim shirts to lighter shirts that could pass as a blue Oxford or something that lies in the middle.

Polo shirt

If you need something that calls for something more laid back than an oxford but a bit more formal than a t-shirt, then go for a polo shirt. It can smarten up your denim jeans while paring down a blazer. Just make sure you nail the fit, as clothing that’s too baggy or too tight can mess up your look.


A blazer is a great versatile jacket. You can match it with a collared shirt and chinos if you want to dress for a business casual setting. It can also be mixed with a classic tee or polo shirt and jeans, for dressing down.


Jeans and chinos

If you’re thinking of a minimalist wardrobe, stick to three pairs of pants: one pair of jeans, and two pairs of chinos, one in tan and the other in navy or black.

Tailored shorts

There are times when wearing a thick pair of pants isn’t the best way to go – like if you’re going to a casual lunch date and the weather is blazing hot. That said, you should also have a pair of tailored shorts for dressing down. Stick to muted shades and tailored cuts that end an inch or two above the knee.

Finishing Touches

Feeling a bit drab? Turn to your accessories.


A suitable accessory or a distinctive scent can insert personality to your clothing, whether you’re wearing an office attire or streetwear clothing. Utilize carefully chosen pieces – sunglasses, jewelry, watches, and hats.


As for bags, think function, then aesthetics. Who needs a stylish bag if you can’t fit your laptop nicely?

Whether you’re going for a backpack, a sling bag, or a tote, make sure the fabrics are in line with your style. If you tend to dress up, you can never go wrong with a leather bag in the same color family as the shoes and belt you’re wearing.


White sneakers, loafers, trainers, boots, and dress shoes (like black oxfords and brown brogues) – every man who owns these 5 types of shoes can go a long way. Just make sure you have enough choice that you never need to wear the same pair two days in a row to prolong the life of your footwear and stave off the stink.

Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a savvy writer for Northern Menswear, an online streetwear fashion website for men, delivering clothing and footwear products from top UK brands such as Unforgivable, Jameson Carter, Loyalti, Rose London, and Avora London. She loves sharing tips about fashion and lifestyle for trendy gents.