Society runs in cycles, and the impetus for change is often economic in nature. People abandoned the exuberance of the Roaring Twenties and embraced austerity in the 1930s because of the Great Depression, and they are turning their backs on consumer excess today because they have realized that buying for the sake of buying leads to a lifetime of debt rather than happiness and contentment.
Minimalism is a lifestyle that is built around needs rather than wants, and adopting it could help you to save money and embrace a simpler life without sacrificing the things you care about.
This article will cover the ways that you can apply this philosophy to the way you dress, and it will also include a list of items that should be in every minimalist wardrobe for men.
Think About Quality
A minimalist wardrobe must be versatile. If you have fewer items of clothing, it only makes sense to choose garments that serve more than one purpose.
Clothes that can only be worn in settings that you will find yourself in occasionally, if at all, have no place in a minimalist wardrobe no matter how great they look. Instead, flexible items that would work equally well in a bar or office should serve as the foundation of the wardrobe.
Great chefs can take a few basic ingredients and turn them into dozens of mouthwatering dishes, and this is the approach you should try to emulate when you buy clothes for a minimalist wardrobe.
The garments in a minimalist wardrobe will be worn often, so quality is a key consideration. However, this does not mean that you will have to break the bank every time you shop for clothes. You will be able to invest in higher quality without stretching your budget because you will be buying fewer items—and putting on a smart and well-made garment gives you a shot of confidence that the bargain bin just can’t provide.
Here are some other things that you should keep in mind when you stock your minimalist wardrobe:
- Colours: Stick to neutral colours that can be combined to create unique looks and avoid loud or neon hues that would look out of place in most settings. If you don’t know where to start, use the colour wheel to make selecting contrasting and complementary shades much easier.
- Fashion: Trends that are on the cutting edge of fashion should be avoided in favour of styles that are likely to stand the test of time. Buying quality clothing can get very expensive if the garments you buy will look dated after a season or two.
- Climate: Your wardrobe should be appropriate for the part of the country you live in. You won’t buy many overcoats if you live in the Deep South, but you will need more shorts and T-shirts than people who live in colder parts of the country.
- Lifestyle: Your wardrobe should be built around your lifestyle. An office worker will need dressier items than a college student, and a gym rat will have more performance items in their closet than somebody who takes a more sedentary approach to life.
- Function: When you pick clothes for activities like swimming, look for items that can be worn in other settings as well.
- Personal brand: Think about what kind of message you want your clothes to send to the world, and then only choose items that fit your personal brand.
Once you have your priorities sorted out, it will be time to take a look at the clothes you already own and decide whether or not they deserve a place in your new minimalist wardrobe. Once you have done this, it will be a lot easier to spot the gaps in your closet and come up with a list of versatile items to acquire.
What to Get Rid Of
To pare your existing wardrobe down to its essentials, you will first need to take an inventory of everything you have amassed over the years. Empty every wardrobe, closet and clothes drawer you have, and then sort your garments into three piles.
The first pile should be made up of favourite items that you could never throw out and flexible garments that you can wear in many settings. This is the keep pile. The second pile should contain clothes that you have not worn for a year or longer and may never wear again. This is the discard pile.
The rest of your wardrobe will make up the third pile and sorting it out will be difficult. This is where it may be a good idea to think about your personal brand. If the clothes fit with your personal brand, you should move them to the keep pile. If they do not, they should be added to the discard pile.
What to Buy
After you have sorted out your existing wardrobe, everything will start to come into focus. Now you should apply the less is more philosophy to rounding out your wardrobe. Pick garments based on how often you are likely to wear them rather than how much you like them and select items that will work with what you already have.
Your minimalist wardrobe will reflect your personal brand and lifestyle, but there are some items that should definitely feature. They include:
- T-shirts: The ubiquitous T-shirt is just about the most versatile garment of all, so you should have a few of them. Avoid clever slogans and oversized logos and choose subtle colours and quality construction instead.
- Polos: Select subtle polo shirts that will look as good under an unstructured jacket as they do with a pair of jeans.
- Shorts: Look for shorts that are attractive and versatile as well as comfortable.
- Sweatshirts and hoodies: Even people who spend most of their waking hours in a business environment should have a couple of sweatshirts or hoodies.
- Sweaters: A minimalist wardrobe should have a chunky sweater that can be worn with jeans, and a more delicate garment to compliment dress pants.
- Jeans: Denim can be dressed up or down, which is why it is so popular with minimalists. Choose Goldilocks jeans that are not too tight and not too loose, and avoid rips, holes and other avant-garde looks.
- Casual pants: Your minimalist wardrobe should have at least one pair of casual pants that are not jeans. Khakis are a safe choice but don’t wear them with a polo shirt when you go shopping unless you want people to ask you to check in the back.
- Dress pants: Two pairs of dress pants should be enough, and one of them should be dark grey.
- Casual shirts: Pick casual shirts that can be combined with all of your pants to create several outfits and look for fabrics that are durable and easy to take care of like polyester and spandex.
- Dress shirts: You should find space for at least two or three dress shirts in your minimalist wardrobe, but you may need more if you spend a lot of time in business settings.
- A suit: Every man’s wardrobe should feature at least one suit. Pick a navy blue or charcoal two-piece suit that would be equally appropriate on a date, in an interview or at a funeral.
- A blazer or sports jacket: You can wear your suit jacket with a contrasting pair of dress pants, so look for an unstructured jacket or blazer that will look good with jeans and a sweater.
- Casual jacket: A leather bomber is a good choice for an everyday casual jacket, but you could also lean toward the adventurous and pick something more distinctive.
- Footwear: Your minimalist wardrobe should include dress shoes in black and brown, a pair of durable boots and a couple of pairs of casual footwear. Leather sneakers are a versatile choice.
Putting It All Together
Round out your minimalist wardrobe with accessories that tie everything together. Ideal accessories include a wristwatch with two straps that is not too sporty and not too dressy, a pair of sunglasses that go with anything and a couple of belts. If you are looking for a place where you can fill most of your minimalist needs with a single visit, you may want to check out the WRK website. If you have any questions about their stylish and versatile clothing, you can use their contact form to ask them a question.