• Desmund Ullrich

7 Items to Start Your Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe

Updated: Apr 10

May contain affiliate links.

I first started my minimalist journey after moving to Las Vegas in February 2017.

I had come here to build a different life than the one I had back home in Chicago. Yet, after months of living in “Sin City” it felt the same.

After some soul searching and reflecting, I decided that it was time to purge. I started to get rid of everything.

My mother, who was staying with us at the time, joked and said I was becoming a minimalist. It was an aspirational lifestyle for her and she introduced me to @theminimalist blog.

From there, a whole world of simplicity opened up and a lifestyle I never knew existed started to take shape.

After being left with a only few key clothing items for months, the desire to buy more slowly started to creep in and I shopped until the point I needed to purge again.

After my second or third purge, I decided to build a capsule wardrobe in hopes of truly maintaining the minimalist lifestyle I enjoyed.

After a few years, I noticed that there were key items I bought almost seasonally and these became the core items of my wardrobe.

Below I’ve tailored those items into this guide for any “masc” looking to start a wardrobe of their own.

NO. 1

The Over‑Shirt

The over‑shirt, also know as a mechanic’s shirt or painter’s shirt, comes in many different colors, textures, and materials. Of all the Over‑Shirts hanging about the internet, I prefer the one that H&M has been carrying since 2018. H&M rotates the colors based on what they feature for the season. I’ve seen it in Maroon, Pale Blue, and Cream ‑ I personally prefer Black, because I like to accent it with plaids, colors, and patterned undershirts. I have no idea what I’m going to do when they stop carrying this shirt. I’m on my fourth one now!

NO. 2

The Pique Polo

You will notice a reoccurring theme in my item selections — I only where brown, navy, black, and cream by choice. This is great because the goal of a capsule wardrobe is for all your clothing items to match and coordinate. Sticking to a color palette can make your shopping difficult at times, but sticking to the same brands will help. I notice companies don’t typically differ from their palettes either. I shop at Zara, H&M, and Express with little difficulty in finding coordinating items. With that said, pique polos can be found almost anywhere. I prefer the ones from Express, but outside of the US companies like Lager 157 and ASOS are my go‑to!

NO. 3

The Sock Sneaker

I first fell in love with the Balenciaga “Sock Sneaker” on Pinterest, knowing full well that I would never spend so much on shoes. Nowadays, I feel like I will be dishing out the dollars because knock‑offs and replicas are getting so hard to find. What I like about Sock Sneakers are how well they pair with almost everything and how easy they are to slip‑on — especially if you are lucky enough to find the ones that don’t include the laces. Every year I grab a pair from my local Aldo. Now, with everything moving online I will have some other options this time next year.

NO. 4

The Tailored Short

I was the kid that wore basketball shorts year‑round, then I was the adult who did the same thing. When I hit my mid‑20s, I decided I wanted to be a little more clean‑cut and adult — so I began to tailor and design my life. Looking into my wardrobe, I realized that I hated my summer clothes and I determined that it was because they were unsophisticated. I traded in my bagging basketball shorts and cargo pants for a few tailored shorts. Mine came from Express, my first love in men’s fashion, but I have since bought from Zara, Target, and H&M.

NO. 5

The Weekender Bag

You wouldn’t realize the difference that getting rid of a suitcase can make! When I switched from a suitcase to a weekender (a fancy word for a medium‑sized duffel bag), I realized I was much more intentional about the items I carried with me on short trips. Suitcases and other large bags, give you the urge to fill them up. I don’t know about you, but my life is as full as it can get. I don’t need anymore baggage. I do have a little confession to make though; I have two weekender bags, but I bought the second to match my Calvin Klein laptop book bag. So…my other one will be donated soon enough.

NO. 6

The Versatile Button Down

Have you ever wondered why dress shirts look so weird when they are left untucked? It’s because they are not made to be untucked. Yet, our casual American‑style has made an untucked dress shirt a commonality. The good thing is that companies like UnTuckIt, Zara, and Express are making shirts with higher helms around the waist. These shirts are also tailored to taper in from the chest to the helm, helping you avoid that penguin‑tale look. Best yet, you can dress them up or where them casual.

NO. 7

The Ribbed Sweatshirt

There’s this thing called Peter Pan Syndrome…but that’s probably for another guide. Just like with the basketball shorts; a faded t‑shirt or battered hoodie became my go‑to item to put on when I didn’t feel like getting ready in the morning. After scouring my Pinterest boards I realized that hoods where hardly ever seen in Men’s Fashion, so I did away with those too! I traded in my hoodies (almost literally at @buffaloexchange and Plato’s Closet) for ribbed sweatshirts. You could swear that I had gained a trust fund in those moments.

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