The Collar Standard Essential Minimalistic Wardrobe - All 17 Items You'll Ever Need

What is a "minimalist wardrobe?"

Simply put, it's the essentials that you need to have in your wardrobe to basically have an unlimited amount outfits that you can interchange with each other depending on how you feel and the weather outside. So if you're one to save money and still look stylish, then the minimalist wardrobe is for you.

The most popular minimalist wardrobe users are "Facebook" Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the lay Founder and CEO of "Apple" Steve Jobs.

They take minimalist wardrobes to the higher level. Literally taking what they wear on a daily basis the same everyday. Jobs and Zucks are notorious for donning some bland outfits, but why? If you're net worth is in the billions why would you not own expensive designer clothes?

Here’s what Independent says about Zuck’s daily uniform:

“He claims dressing in the same way allows him to focus his energy on more important decisions at work.”

Similarly, here’s Elite Daily says about Jobs and successful people in general:

“Simply put, by stressing over things like what to eat or wear every day, people become less efficient at work.” 

Now I don't know about you, but I like having a brief moment in the morning to choose what I want to wear depending on the weather and how I feel. Jobs and Zucks just take it a bit too far. Sometimes I feel like bringing out my jeans and dressing it up with a sports coat and dress shirt.

But then again, we don't need an entire wardrobe full of clothes. Sticking with the 80/20 Pareto Principle we really only wear 20% of what we have in our wardrobes. You can test this by turning backwards all the coat hangers hanging in your wardrobe. Throughout the week take all your clothes as you regularly would but placing the hangers the right way once you've chosen.

Take notice which clothes you take to wear. It's usually only 20% of what's in there. With that being said, why would you spend unnecessary cash on clothes you won't even wear? Seems like a bit of a waste to me.

Thus, here are the 20 essential items you absolutely NEED in your wardrobe. 

17 Essential Wardrobe Items

Shirts (x4)

Let's get down to the basics. The most interchangeable shirts that you'll ever have, whether it's going to be used for casual wear, smart casual, interviews or your job. You need four types.

1. White dress shirt 

dress up or dress down white dress shirt

Dress it up or dress it down, the plain white dress shirt with no texture is essential. You can mix and match it with any pair of trousers.

2. Light blue dress shirt

dress up or down a light blue dress shirt

Just like the white dress shirt, you can dress up or dress down the light blue shirt.

3. Oxford Cloth Button Down 

dress up or dress down OCBD

This shirt is actually so iconic that satorialists have invented an acronym for it called the OCBD. Saying it over and over again is quite a mouthful. Your choice of colour is totally up to you for this one. Try to choose a different colour to the white and light blue dress shirt if you want variety. Perhaps a salmon pink or even a dark blue. 

4. Patterned Shirt (Linen/Cotton)

check pattern linen shirt

For the weekends and casual Fridays. An awesome pattern to go for would be a simple gingham or a check. If you live in a high humidity climate where it can get relatively hot, go for linen with a pattern. Trust me, you'll be needing it. 


T-Shirts & Polo Shirts (x3)

1. Polo Shirt

casual polo shirt

Let's start with the polo shirt. Anything with a collar usually makes the garment a tad bit dressier. With this in mind, it's a lot easier to dress down a piece of clothing than it is to dress it up. Thus, your choice of polo shirt should be versatile.

2. T-Shirts (x2)

neutral colours for t-shirts

Everybody has t-shirts in their wardrobe. But if you're looking to start completely from scratch for a minimalistic wardrobe, opt for plain neutral colours to mix and match and minimal logos. Colours can include white, navy, grey, or cream etc. 


Trousers (x2)

1. Dark Wash Denim Jeans

dark wash denim jeans

If you don't have one pair of dark wash denim jeans, what are you doing with yourself? It's the best choice for casual trousers that will match with absolutely everything listed in this article. Hands down, the dark wash denim is an absolute must. No arguments. 

2. Beige Chinos

beige chinos casual and smart casual

Considering that we've got a lot of blue, navy's and light blues in the mix, the best way to break this up and create interchangeability between the tops and the bottoms is a beige. Beige is a safe bet and a solid base for constructing an outfit with other colours. Match it with anything navy, and you've got a fantastic colour combo


Suits (x2)

Suits are seriously the jackpot. You can get a sports coat/blazer and a pair of trousers when you buy a suit. Now tons of sartorialists will encourage you not to wear your suit jacket as a blazer/sports coat and separate your suit jacket from your trousers. We disagree. Check this article out to determine whether your jacket can be worn separately. 

1. Navy Suit

Navy suit dress up or down combinations

Every man must have a navy suit. It's overused and there's tons of men out there already wearing one, but it's an essential in your wardrobe. It's looks smart and is appropriate for most occasions.

2. Charcoal/Mid Grey/Light Grey Suit

Grey suit separates

You have three options here and here's the criteria for choosing one of the three. Charcoal suit if you're office extremely corporate and dress codes are strict. You should also opt for a charcoal if the climate where you reside is quite cooler. Mid grey or light grey are less corporate options but the choice depends on how warm it is. If it's more humid then go for a light grey. If it's cooler then head toward the mid grey. 

Simple as that.


Shoes (x3)

When it comes to shoes you've got a few options.

1. Leather Brown Derby

brown derby shoe

Perfect for smart casual, business casual and everyday office use. If I were to have only on pair of shoes it would be this one. Super versatile with any outfit. 

2. Leather Black Oxford Cap-toe

black oxford captoe

Black leather shoes are a little more on the formal side. Be sure to wear these when meeting with important clients or when you have a formal event lined up.

3. Sneakers 

black converse high tops

Sneakers are any of your choice. I prefer black converse sneakers to wear with my jeans. Others prefer adidas or nike's. Totally your call. Just be sure it's a pair of sneakers you can wear with the rest of your clothes. Except for when wearing it with your suit. Because wearing a suit with sneakers is a "no-no". 


Ties (x2)

I know, I know. A tie?! What's this word doing on a website encouraging men not to wear one? Well the truth is, there's some instances where you'll need to wear a tie. These events usually involve formal dress code weddings, funerals and corporate interviews. But in these instances, you won't even be wearing one for the whole day. Weddings and funerals, you'll eventually take it off halfway through the day. And for interviews, it won't take the whole day and when entering the office the next day since you got the job, you'll be taking it off. 

plain tie and plaid patterned tie

Go for a solid tie when matching with your patterned dress shirt. Go for a plaid tie for your corporate events and interviews matching with plain dress shirts.


Coat (x1)

men's top coat

Go for a top coat for when winter hits. Although double breasted coats look totally badass, to keep you looking stylish, layering is totally where's it's at. And layering get's difficult to do when donning a double breasted coat.


In Conclusion

These 17 items will literally have you covered for life besides halloween and that ugly sweater you need to wear for Christmas. Rotate your garments and replace when they've been worn out. If you feel these items aren't enough to fulfil your outfit needs, bump it up relevant to what you feel is needed.

Stay Snazzy,



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