Top 15 Essential Wardrobe Pieces for Minimalist Living

Recently, I had been feeling like my life had a lot of noise and clutter that served no other purpose than to cause me unnecessary stress. It loomed over me like a dark rain cloud or a scary shadow ready to unleash on me at any moment. I had to believe there was an easy way to reduce my clutter and, in turn, bring some lightness and organization into my day-to-day life.

With this goal in mind, I began researching the idea of “capsule wardrobes.” The logic behind a capsule wardrobe is to fill your closet with a few, timeless pieces that can be mixed and matched in many different ways to accommodate for different seasons. These include pieces like, skirts, pants, jackets, t-shirts, sweaters and dresses.

This was a great starting point to jump into a minimalist lifestyle because by consolidating and removing unwanted wardrobe pieces, it would save me time getting dressed every day. Time that could be spent doing more productive things and decluttering the rest of my hectic life.

Choosing to live a more minimalist life can be a daunting undertaking at first. However, the benefits far outweigh the difficult task of parting ways with stuff that you’ve been holding onto for whatever reason.

Minimalism in your home allows for less physical clutter, yes, but it also allows for less mental clutter. It gives you room to think and breathe without being bogged down by unnecessary material items. It also saves you money by reducing the amount of pointless things you buy and forces you to pick and choose what will really add value to your life.

Below, I’ve created a list of what I believe to be the 16 most essential items to get your capsule wardrobe started and pieces that I found to be versatile. Each item has been chosen for its versatility and practicality above all else. These clothing pieces are able to mixed and matched in enough ways that you won’t have to feel like you’re struggling to avoid a repeat of outfits through the week, or even month! Now, these are just a few things every minimalist should have in their closets. Other things can be added or removed as needs change!


Tank Top

Everyone needs a good, plain colored tank top for those warmer, summer days. I like to layer this under a jacket or blazer to dress it up a bit for a nighttime look. This can be any type of tank top you wish, spaghetti strap, wider shoulder strap, more blousy, silk material versus cotton.

Jeans

Jeans. The most timeless piece of clothing to ever exist. Make sure to have a comfy fitting pair in your arsenal. You could even have a few in different washes to have more variety. Also, consider adding in a few different fits and styles of denim. Wide leg, skinny leg, cropped or boyfriend cut to add interest to your pant game.  

Plain Tee

Another versatile staple in any minimalists’ wardrobe is the plain cotton t-shirt. Perfect to tuck into your favorite pair of jeans for a casual sleek look or to throw on under a blazer for a professional occasion. Feel free to collect a few of these cotton tees in a variety of colors to be able to play with during different seasons.

Long Sleeve Shirt

See the description for the plain t-shirt above. Same idea just a bit warmer and able to transition from Fall to Winter. This can also be worn alone with jeans or a skirt for a sleek look.

Blouse

A blouse is the perfect item to have that can be worn in a variety of situations. Dress it up with a blazer for work or pair it with jeans and your favorite flats for a casual date night look. Blouses come in all varieties from short sleeve to long sleeve and different types of materials. There will be so many looks you can create with this one item.

Jacket

Obviously, everyone needs a jacket for colder weather. This item can be layered in endless different ways with a tank top, blouse or plain t-shirt. Jackets are one of the items on this list that are perhaps the most varied in materials and designs that they come in.

My personal favorite is having a leather jacket for Winter and Fall and having a lighter, army green or tan jacket for milder temperatures, such as in Spring. The simple color palate will allow for easier mixing and matching.

Blazer

Blazers are timeless and are a must in any minimalists’ closet. Nothing says professional and put together like a sharp-looking blazer, perfect for your most important business meetings. My suggestion would be to make sure you have a plain black blazer in your closet, but there are plenty of beautiful options out there if you want to be a little more adventurous with this item.

Dress

Next on my list is a black dress. You’ve heard the term before. Everyone has to have a little black dress on hand for special occasions and having a capsule wardrobe does not mean that you’re exempt from this rule. Of course, the dress does not have to be black but the idea is to have a dress that can be worn for multiple occasions like weddings or work events.

Now, you might be asking yourself if you need to have a short, mid-length or long dress all in your collection. My answer would be no, you can easily find a dress or two that are appropriate for many different occasions without having to buy every type of length and style.

Sweater

With fall finally looming on the horizon, it makes me think of cozy nights by a fire or afternoons spent in a pumpkin patch finding the perfect pumpkin. A comfortable, warm sweater is essential for lazy afternoons, time spent roaming around an apple orchard or that fall football game. Again, there are tons of different styles of sweaters, it all just comes down to which will work best for your style and wardrobe.

Cardigan

For similar reasons as a sweater, I believe everyone needs a nice cardigan in their closets. The cardigan is an often over-looked piece of clothing, in my humble opinion. It can be dressed up with slacks and nice jewelry or dressed way down by throwing it over your favorite tee with jeans and some sneakers for those errand filled Saturdays. It is also the perfect item for any office setting.

Leggings

Ah the beloved legging. This clothing item has been having its moment in the spotlight for a long time now and it shows no sign of going out of style anytime soon. When looking to have a capsule wardrobe, you simply cannot pass up on a nice pair of leggings.

Leggings are so versatile. You can wear them to lounge around in, workout, or couple them with tall boots and a sweater for a casual cold weather look.

Black Pants

Whether they’re black denim or black trousers, this timeless piece can elevate any look for a chicer vibe. The idea that black pants (except for maybe black work slacks) are a look that needs to stay in the nighttime arena is so overrated. They are easily dressed down for a put-together daytime look.

Neutral Tone Bras

Bras are a necessary evil at times. However, they are also an important staple in a woman’s wardrobe. Having neutral tone bras allows you to wear them under almost anything without worrying about them showing through or drawing attention. You should try to have a bra in black, nude, and white to cover for anything you will throw over it.

Casual Shoes

Flats, sneakers, boots. Whatever look you prefer, make sure you have a reliable pair of casual shoes for the days you’re running errands or enjoying time off work! Some shoes in this category could also be worn for days at the office, depending on the standard of dress at your place of work.

Dress Shoes

Finally, always keep a nice pair of shoes that can be worn in a professional setting or for a special occasion. I recommend having a pair of nice flats as well as a pair of heels, just so you’re covered! I would also recommend, when starting your capsule wardrobe to keep these shoes to more neutral colors to make them even more versatile. However, if you find a need for more colorful additions later on, feel free!


My Final Thoughts!

There you have it! This is my list of the essential items you should look to keep in your closet to kick off your very own capsule wardrobe and onward into your new minimalist lifestyle! Again, these are just the basics that I believe are the most versatile and helpful to have. Each person is different and leads a different lifestyle, which inevitably means each person will have specific needs for their wardrobe. Transitioning to a more simple and consolidated wardrobe does not mean you have to give up your sense of style and hopefully this list will help you decide where to start. Please leave any comments, suggestions or feedback in the section below. I’d love to hear what you think of my list!

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