White-washed interiors. Flat-pack furniture. Overpriced designers. If these are some of the images that come to mind when you think about minimalist design, you are not alone. It’s a term that’s often used to describe a particular modern aesthetic that emphasizes clean lines, monochrome palettes and blank spaces. When it comes to wardrobe however, the minimalist lifestyle has a different meaning.

It’s about keeping only what you need and getting rid of any excess or clutter. Imagine not having to be stressed about what you are going to wear, secure in the knowledge that you have just the right attire for every occasion. If you are new to the concept of having a minimalist wardrobe, it is understandable if you are unsure of just what to do and where to begin. These tips will get you moving in the right direction.


1.    Factor Your Personal Style

As the popular fashion site The Trending Man illustrates, minimalist fashion is not a monolith. What it comprises varies from person to person. Yes, there are websites that will provide a list of the items that should be part of a “capsule wardrobe.” However, even this does not take away from the fact that you have personal preferences. And these will permeate your wardrobe – minimalist, or otherwise. If you do not have a clear picture of your own personal style, asking yourself certain questions will help:

  • What items in your wardrobe do you seem to reach for time and again?
  • Does your closet already have some staples and, if yes, what are they?
  • Are there clothes you feel you simply can’t live without and that go with you whenever you travel?
  • Are you drawn to certain prints, patterns or colors?
  • What kind of dress codes do your work and social lives demand?

2.    With Every Purchase, Think Bigger Picture

A minimalist wardrobe is about having all the bases covered. This approach to what you wear is underpinned by three core values – cohesion, versatility and simplicity. These values have to be at the center of every clothing purchase you make.

For this reason, you have to drop the conventional approach of buying an item on the basis of its individual merits and how good you think it will look on you. Rather, you have to pick an item in the context of how well it blends in with the rest of your wardrobe. If you get your purchase right, you just might end up with an item you could wear virtually anywhere – from the boardroom to the beach.

3.    Focus on Quality

By going minimalist, your wardrobe will likely be much smaller than the average man’s closet. You should take advantage of this scaling down on quantity by spending more on getting high-quality items. It ensures you stay true to your no-clutter goal by allowing you to purchase an item once, instead of three times in a single year.

The quality of clothing is also visibly evident. So by choosing something that has excellent fabric and finish, it’s harder for the people you meet on a regular basis to even realize it’s the same item they saw you wearing before.

4.    Neutral Tones Always Win

Versatility is a major part of the minimalist wardrobe and few things are as important in conforming to this rule than color. Yes, color is hugely important in mixing and matching garments to create varied and multiple looks. In this regard, it’s hard to go wrong with neutral hues such as white, black, grey, brown, green and blue.

Of course, that does not imply that bold colors are inconsistent with the minimalist approach. You will find, however, that it’s difficult to match bold colors seamlessly. On the other hand, neutral colors are inherently understated and therefore provide a solid foundation to which you can add your own pop of color.

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It’s Not That Different

While it might seem like minimalism is a principle that is a deviation from the norm, minimalism is actually in line with a lot of other aspects of everyday life, even though we might not realize it.

Consider your regular trip to the grocery store. You probably take time to think about it beforehand, evaluating what you already have in your kitchen and then developing a shopping list. That way, you are unlikely to purchase what you don’t need or choose an item that will remain in the pantry for months or years.

Yet, when it comes to clothing, many men have resigned themselves to a more spontaneous approach to shopping. You buy something because it looks good on you. However, it probably goes well with only one or two pieces in your closet. The end result is a wardrobe overflowing with “one-off” clothing items, which you were only about 10% of the time.

It’s less, but better. And: less is better. These are two principles of a minimalist closet that you are likely to embrace once you see the compelling benefits.