How To Build A Minimalist Wardrobe For Men: Outfits & Brands in 2022

Last updated: January 24, 2022

Form following function: we’ll keep this short.

After the Coogi sweater 90’s and Ed Hardy aughts, the fashion world was hungry for something new. Iconic designers like Helmut Lang and Raf Simons planted the seeds for change around the turn of the millennia, but it would take until 2004 for minimalism to grow into a global presence.

That year, New York-based design duo Common Projects launched the Achilles Low sneaker – sleek, precise, luxurious, and completely unembellished. Compared to the neon Bapestas it competed with, the Achilles was lightyears ahead and a species apart. 

Only a few months later, H&M would launch its first designer collaboration with none other than the master of monochrome, Karl Lagerfeld himself.

The collection’s focus on basics – coupled with the Swedish chain’s global distribution – brought fashionable minimalism to the masses. And oh, was the world ready: well before the era of professional resellers, the entire collection sold out globally in mere hours.

In November 2004, pared-back Scandinavian design earned the respect of millions of shoppers and fashion editors alike.

The rest, as they say, is history. 

Styling Minimalist Outfits

The key to great minimalist outfits is the idea of implied lines. In photography, an implied line is any feature that draws the eye along a certain path of direction. Think of it like this: every stitch, hem, color change, and pattern on a piece of clothing is an implied line.

More lines create more information, and therefore, more work your brain to process. If there are fewer distractions, there’s less thought between you and understanding what you see, creating the aesthetic experience (pure emotion and sensation) that much more effectively. 

Minimalism, then, is beauty by subtraction. 

The best minimalist outfits stick to solid colors, simple patterns, and sleek designs regardless of context. Whether you’re rocking penny loafers or white leather sneakers, your clothes should drip simplicity.

Clean lines? Check. Minimal graphics? You bet. White tees, overcoats, and neutral-colored crewneck sweaters are the name of the game here. Brands like A.P.C., Norse Projects, and Uniqlo U do it best. 

Applying these style tips is as easy as relaxing the construction. In clothing, styling, and life: just don’t try too hard.

Minimalism in 2022 often means tapered sweats, unadorned bomber jackets, and extended shirts that emphasize clean lines. Pair any of the above with retro-inspired sneakers and a solid color hat to nail the look. 

Done right, minimalist fashion is effortless fresh that doesn’t need a marketing budget to flex. If your commitment to minimalism extends to your budget, check out brands like H&M, Everlane, and Gildan for the best value.

But, if you can reach for the nicer stuff: Reigning Champ, Acne Studios, and John Elliot. The quality alone is worth every penny.

The Capsule Wardrobe

Minimalism as an aesthetic often times goes hand in hand with minimalism as a lifestyle – enter the capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe is essentially breaking down your entire wardrobe into only the very essentials.

In a hypothetical situation where you had to move your entire life to a different location, your wardrobe would be the last stress on your mind because you can fit everything you need into a small suitcase. This is ultimately the goal of the capsule wardrobe.

Capsule Wardrobe Item List:

Tops

  • T-Shirts
  • White button-up
  • Crewneck Sweater
  • Overcoat
  • Henley

Bottoms

  • Lightweight pants
  • Dark wash jeans

Footwear

  • White Leather sneakers
  • Boots

Minimalism Wardrobe Staples

Ready to rock the simple, clean wardrobe? Here’s our essential picks, covering both high and low budgets:

T-Shirt.

Opt for something high quality that won’t lose it’s color and construction after a few washes. Stick to tried and true neutral colors.

Uniqlo – Airism Cotton Crew Neck

Henley.

On chillier days where a t-shirt just won’t suffice, opt for a lightweight but high quality henley.

Bonobos Lightweight Waffle Henley

Leather sneakers.

The foundation to any minimalist wardrobe, these understated kicks set the tone for your outfit’s clean lines and tonal hues. Either go for a white sneaker or another solid color.

JAK – Royal White

Overcoat.

Long, sleek, and built for any weather. Keep the lapels simple and avoid add-ons like belts. Go for wool or a classic trench coat. If overcoats aren’t your style, opt for a casual blazer.

Bonobos – The Italian Topcoat

Grey crewneck sweater.

Minimal stitching, neutral tones, and 3-season versatility. Welcome the sweatshirt as your new favorite mid-layer.

Reigning Champ – Crewneck

Button up.

For the days where you want to tilt your style towards something more formal or business casual, you can’t go wrong with a dress shirt or an oxford shirt.

Uniqlo Oxford Slim Fit Long Sleeve

Pants.

The new casual pants. Whether you opt for a basic pair of jeans, chinos or dressier pants – keep these solid-colored and let your outfit do the rest.

Uniqlo Kando Pants

Dark jeans.

Dark jeans are a lot more versatile than their light jean counterpart, making them a perfect capsule wardrobe staple.

Everlane Slim Fit Jeans

Boots.

You need boots that fit for every occasion. You can’t go too niche here, both in terms of color and style.

Red Wing Iron Ranger

Minimalist Brands List For Men (Clothing with No Logos)

  • Legend:
  • 💵: Pricey
  • 🧺: Tricky to wash
  • 💎: Fashion forward / Limited style
  • 🧪: Quality is only OK
  • 👟: Shoes only
  1. Allbirds 👟
  2. Allen Edmonds 👟💵
  3. American Apparel
  4. Ascolour
  5. Asket 💵
  6. Banana Republic
  7. Boden
  8. CDLP 💎
  9. COS 💵
  10. Duluth Trading Co
  11. Ecco 👟
  12. GAP 🧪
  13. House of Blanks 💎
  14. Italic
  15. JCrew 🧪
  16. Los Angeles Apparel 💎
  17. Madewell
  18. Ministry of Supply 💵
  19. Muji
  20. Nanushka 💵💎
  21. Old Navy 🧪
  22. Outlier 💵
  23. Redwood Classics 💎
  24. Reigning Champ 💵💎
  25. Rhone 🧺
  26. Rue Porter 💎
  27. Saks Fifth Avenue 💵
  28. Target 🧪
  29. Ten Thousand 💎
  30. Theory 💵🧺
  31. Tiger of Sweden 💵
  32. UniQlo
  33. Vagabond 👟
  34. Weekday
  35. Zanerobe 💎
  36. Zara