Minimalist Fashion: A Guide to Staple Pieces That Last

Most of us wear the same items over and over. Don’t believe that? Test yourself. Put a mark (like a mini clothespin) on the hanger every time you wear an item. After a month, step back and see what you have worn and what you have not touched. We are creatures of habit, and even with a packed closet, we tend to reach for the same or similar items again and again. Realizing this about ourselves will make it easier to simplify our wardrobes. If you want to make your life simpler, give minimalist fashion a try. Here is a guide to a capsule wardrobe that lasts.



tops capsule wardrobe
Photo Courtesy of Neiman Marcus


To keep your closet minimal but not boring, a variety of tops that can be layered is the way to go. Items that you should include in your minimalist fashion wardrobe are:

  • a basic black or dark charcoal tank top
  • a basic white or light colored tank top
  • a few colorful blouses that work with white or black
  • a long sleeve top that is not black or white (choose a color that flatters you)
  • a black or charcoal long sleeve top



bottoms minimalist wardrobe
Photo Courtesy of Net-A-Porter


These are suggested items to include in your capsule wardrobe, but you can vary the items based on your personal needs. If you work from home you might opt for less tailored pants and more jeans or casual skirts. These are the items you may want to include:

  • at least one pair of jeans in a style that fits your shape
  • casual pants in a light color, like taupe or mushroom
  • tailored black pants in a flattering cut and style
  • tailored pants in a light color (cream, off-white, pale grey)
  • tailored shorts that are not too casual
  • a casual skirt in a fit and color that flatters you
  • a black skirt that can be used for work or for going out



dresses minimalist wardrobe


This is the part of your closest that might be easiest to pare down, as you really do not need many dresses for a minimalist fashion wardrobe. Keep at least one casual day dress as a minimalist wardrobe staple. For maximum versatility, have at least two in your closet, one with light colors and the other with dark prints or patterns. You will, of course, need a little black dress. This wardrobe staple is essential for any closet, minimalist or not. Opt for a dress with a modest hem and neckline so it can be worn for both business and pleasure.



jackets capsule wardrobe
Photo Courtesy of Bloomingdale’s


The number and variety of jackets in your capsule wardrobe will depend on where you live. Those in colder climates will need a larger variety of outerwear, whereas those in warmer areas will not need as many jackets. Opt for either black or a light color (stone or beige) with each of these options so that they can be worn with a variety of outfits:

  • a black cardigan
  • a blazer which can be paired with tailored pants or jeans
  • a casual jacket
  • a long coat (choose the fabric weight based on your climate)



bags minimalist wardrobe Fall Crossbody Bags
Photo Courtesy of Macy’s


It is oh-so-very tempting to want to collect bags from our favorite designers. In reality, you can survive with three essential bags. The “must-haves” for your minimalist fashion wardrobe are:

  • a black tote bag for everyday use
  • a tan or light colored tote bag for everyday use
  • a black clutch or small shoulder bag for dressing up



capsule wardrobe shoes


As with bags, shoes are fun to collect. Still, many find it liberating to invest in a few quality pieces to keep their fashion choices streamlined and as minimal as possible. The essentials for your minimalist fashion shoe collection are:

  • black boots, knee high for cold climates or short for warmer areas
  • black pumps or kitten heels which can take you from daytime to nighttime wear
  • tan or light colored wedges that coordinate with your tote bag
  • black heels that are comfortable and stylish
  • dressy sandals, preferably in a color that goes well with your tote bags

Minimalist fashion can help you keep your closet clean but if you pick the right pieces you will have attire for any occasion. Use our tips to start your capsule wardrobe. To learn more about a luxury minimalist lifestyle, see our story about the modern minimalism trend and you.

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Minimalist Fashion: A Guide to Staple Pieces That Last