How To Build Your Minimalist Wardrobe Essentials

Do you ever just want to get all your clothes in a big pile, send them off to be donated and start again with a few key pieces. If you’re wondering what the key minimalist wardrobe essentials are then look no further!

If you are just starting out on your journey to creating a capsule wardrobe we are here to talk you through the essentials you need to have in your closet. These are the capsule wardrobes basics, around which all your outfits are built upon.

I like to think of these closet essentials as the building blocks of your wardrobe,  the clothes which hold the rest of your wardrobe together.

 The benefits of a minimalist wardrobe.

 Creating a minimalist closet helps you to:

  • Always have items that match to enable you to put together a stylish outfit every time you get dressed. If everything in your minimal wardrobe matches everything else in your closet,  the outfit possibilities are endless. You can transition from day to nighttime wear without too much stress, and you can wear most of your clothes for casual and formal occasions with just a few well-chosen accessories.
  • Spend less on clothes. Having clothes available to you that work well together prevents overspending on clothes you don’t need. If you buy a navy pair of trousers, they should go with every other item of clothing in your closet. This means that you don’t have to buy anything else to go with the trousers because you already have something at home. This works every time, as long as you are shopping within your base color palette. You can create a high-quality, inexpensive wardrobe by choosing key pieces and having fewer items.
  • Make clothes shopping easier.  Shopping for outfits within your four base colors and choosing your essentials makes shopping for clothing so simple and prevents impulse purchases like the neon pink leather jacket you thought was a good idea at the time! Shopping for clothes is simplified because your eye is naturally drawn to the clothes you need rather than a whole array of clothes which don’t suit you. 
  • Get dressed quickly.  When you live minimally, getting dressed is so easy. Now all your clothes are wearable, comfortable, and match well together! You will have fewer clothes and hundreds of outfits to choose from.
  • You create your own style. Having a wardrobe full of minimal clothing is almost like you are wearing your own uniform. People will instantly recognize it as your style. You can have fun with your pared-down wardrobe and be as edgy as you like. To find out how to create your own personal uniform, read this post

 Minimalist wardrobe essentials 

How to build your minimalist wardrobe 

  1. Make sure all your clothes fit.

     Go through all your clothes and decide which ones to keep following the rules below. When you are sorting through your closet, decide which clothes to keep and which clothes to donate. Make sure everything you keep fits well, is comfortable, and fits within your chosen color palette.

  2. Choose four base colours for your essential items.

    These colors should be as neutral as possible. This will help later on when you choose which clothes to keep in your minimal wardrobe.  We will discuss how to introduce some color into your minimalist wardrobe in this post. But for the moment, we are going to keep all our minimalist wardrobe essentials neutral. Some Great neutral colors to choose from for your minimalist closet are:  

    neutral colour palette

  3. Choose some trousers 

    Including a couple of straight legs and wide-leg trousers in your closet will allow you to create some fabulous casual looks and is also a great place to start to venture away from jeans. If you never wear skirts and dresses, then you can afford to have a couple more pairs of trousers or jeans in your minimalist essentials. Work your way through the trousers in your wardrobe, discard any pairs which do not fit or do not fit into your four basic color palette. Make sure any trousers you keep are comfortable and fit well. If you do not have any trousers, jot some down on a shopping list to take with you next time you are clothes shopping, including the color and style you are looking for to fill the gap.

    I’ve included leggings in this list of minimalist wardrobe essentials  because they are very versatile  and can be worn with many other items such as:

    Long shirts
    Slouchy jumpers
    Slouchy cardigans
    A black dress

    If accessorized well, leggings can look great and have the bonus of being super comfortable. If you tend to spend a lot of your time at home with your kids, leggings are a great option for comfort and crawling around on the floor with little ones! For more ideas on how to create a stayathome mom capsule wardrobe, read this post.

  4. Choose some jeans 

    Everyone needs some go-to pairs of jeans for their minimalist wardrobe. Add a pair of skinny jeans, some wide-leg jeans, and some slouchy boyfriend jeans to fit every occasion. Make sure you both dark and light pairs for casual and for smart occasions. If you wear jeans most days and weekends, you can afford to include several pairs into your capsule wardrobe-essentials. However, if you only wear them at weekends, just a couple of pairs will suffice. Go through all the jeans in your wardrobe and only keep the comfortable ones within your chosen color palette. If you need to buy jeans write them on your shopping list, jotting down which style and color you need.

  5. Choose some tops 

    There are a few key pieces you need in your essentials that you can mix and match together, and you need  items that are great for layering  in the winter, too, such as:

    Tanks or vest tops
    Short-sleeved t-shirts
    Long-sleeved t-shirts
    Cardigans or jumpers

    Taking into account the climate of the country you live in, choose clothes from this category carefully. If you’re not a blouse person, don’t waste money and valuable closet space keeping loads of blouses. Choose the style of tops you feel comfortable in and will wear more often. I keep one weeks worth of vest tops in my capsule wardrobe as I wear one every day and like to use them as a base layer in the winter. I keep a couple of short-sleeved t-shirts, a couple of long-sleeved t-shirts, and a couple of shirts in my minimalist closet.

    minimalist wardrobe essentials

So, now you have a few minimalist wardrobe essentials in the four base colors of your choice. All of your minimalist essentials should now work well together and be interchangeable with each other. Your essential pieces should also be practical for wearing every day and transition well from day to evening.

You will have plenty of time to play with color later on, so keep your base colors very simple and make sure they work well together!

In my next post, I discuss the next steps you need to follow. To choose a color palette for your newly streamlined wardrobe, click here to read it now!

If you feel your kid’s rooms are overrun with clothes and that you can’t keep on top of the laundry, read this post to start creating a kids capsule wardrobe in two easy steps.

For tips on how to create a spring summer minimalist wardrobe read this post

If you are a stay at home mum and are looking to create a capsule wardrobe which is comfortable, practical and stylish then follow the tips in this post.

Frequently asked Q&A

What are some essentials for a minimalist wardrobe that can be both dressy and comfortable.

One of the greatest benefits of having a minimalist wardrobe is that most of my clothes transition from casual to dressy with minimal effort. I have many vest tops that can be dressed up with some jewelry or an edgy scarf or layered under a blazer. I love slouchy tops, which can easily transition to evening and, when worn with some edgy boots and dark skinny jeans, are both comfortable and on-trend. Choosing black items is the key, as you can wear them to many occasions with different accessories, and no one will realize you’re wearing the same outfits over and over again! Find out how I do it here!

What is your number one recommendation for a minimalist wardrobe?

The most important thing to remember when creating a minimalist wardrobe is to make sure everything you own is comfortable, fits well, and is something you love and fits within your four-color rule.

How do I choose clothes to easily combine?

Following the four-color rule should help you to combine clothes within your capsule wardrobe easily. Try to choose clothes that are easy to layer. This way, your essentials will transition well from summer to winter.

What are good ways to minimize my wardrobe.

Knowing where to start decluttering your closet can be overwhelming to start minimizing your clothing. Follow the simple steps in this post. Try to start with one category at a time, like tops, for instance. Lay everything out on your bed, try each item on and only keep the item if it is comfortable, fits well, and is within your chosen color palette. Make sure you love each item you decide to keep and donate everything else. Even the items with a hefty price tag! You can read how to stop buying more clothes in this post.

For further reading about how to create a minimalist lifestyle you might like to read the Minimalists

minimalist capsule wardrobe


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