A Beginner’s Guide to a Minimalistic Wardrobe: The Must-Have Pieces

What’s minimalistic?

  • You can do less with more. The pieces in your wardrobe are timeless, never goes out of style, and you can create endless outfits with them.
  • It’s usually something within the neutral-colored scheme (black, white, gray, beige) but it’s okay to have colors too as long as the prints are too crazy
  • You choose classic pieces over trendy pieces even though the latter is tempting
  • You save a lot of money in the long run, no doubt. You can wear everything in the list below for years and until it wears and tears.
  • You don’t care for a particular style, but still want to look presentable and clean-cut.

What You’ll Need

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1. Black Skinny Jeans

How It’s Versatile: With these, you can go punk, classic, or sporty. For a punk look, pair it with a black leather vest. For a classic feminine look, pair with a chiffon summer tank top. For a sporty look, pair with a cropped white tee. Black jeans also create an illusion of slender legs.

2. Off-the-Shoulder White Top

How It’s Versatile: You can literally wear this piece to sleep, on a hike, after a daily workout, or just on an typical spring and summer day. I will go for a cotton fabric for less headaches in the washer.

How It’s Sexy: Wear with a pastel or bright colored bralette underneath. Having a pop of color leaves something to the imagination. If your off the shoulder top happens to be sheer or mesh, even more can be left to imagination.

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3. All White Sneaker

How It’s Versatile: These are the perfect and dependable staples of the typical high school student. College students usually play it up between sneakers or booties. However, you can’t go wrong with a pair of white shoes that will easily contrast your black jeans. The only potential downfall for these guys is that they’re difficult to keep clean given it’s white slate. Practical, but not all the way.

I’ve heard that Vans’ sneakers are a bit heavier, but Converse, Nike, and Keds are great options.

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4. White Collared Shirt

How It’s Versatile: There is no piece more versatile than the classic white button-down shirt. These days, they come in many different pops of colors, sometimes a pop of color at the collar, at the pocket, or even at the buttons. This piece can literally be worn as a loose, oversized shirt for lounging, a fitted collared shirt with a pencil skirt for an office look, a half-tucked shirt with medium-washed skinnies! For each occasion, it creates a different look.

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5. Chunky Oversized Sweater

How It’s Practical: This will be an reliable piece for the winter for sure. For the classic, minimalistic girl, it’s all about the neutral colors: black, white, gray, and beige (not sure if the last one counts even). If neutral colors are too boring for your taste, it’s not completely hopeless to be minimalistic and fun at the same time. As you as your jeans are a neutral black or medium-wash, paired with sneakers, a pop or pink or orange is the way to brighten up your winter!

How It’s Annoying: The tricky thing, I’ve learned from caring for any type of knitwear is that it’s shrinkage is as uncontrollable as a woman’s emotions. Also, while it’s tempting to throw these into the dryer after washing them because the sun isn’t out in the winter (duh), the sweater will be at least one size down afterwards.

6. Black Ankle Bootie

How’s It’s Practical: Whether you go for the popular European-inspired Chelsea black ankle bootie or other alternatives, this seems to be a classic piece for a few years now. And it’s probably here to stay since black is classic and booties are always popular for the fall. I would definitely invest in this piece and shop at Zara or any department stores for this one. The fact that it comes in a chunky heel is always a comfortable way to cheat your height.

7. Basic Crop Tees

How’s It Versatile: There is probably nothing more versatile and practical than basic tees. Round neck or V-neck, it’s your choice, but I prefer round neck these days. While Target.com is a good place to start as you can get them for as low as 3 for $27, which breaks down to $9 a tee, my favorites in the last year are from American Eagle Outfitters. Their new Soft and Sexy line really lives up to their name and the softness of their tees are simply irresistible. You will be so inspired to go to sleep in them and have amazing dreams!

While their Soft and Sexy line comes in all styles and lengths, I personally find that my petite frame looks best in their crop tees, which hits right at my hip. At that length you can always pair them with skinnies, skirts, sweatpants, or pj’s. The options are endless.

8. Leggings

How It’s Versatile: It’s seemingly one of the most popular clothing items among Asians although Americans seem to have their version of it. American Eagle Outfitters like to call their the “jegging.” Most commonly paired with oversized coats, tunic hoodies or sweaters, leggings are worn for comfort. If you get a high-quality black pair and throw on a sports bra, it can easily be transferred into workout gear.

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9. Little Black Dress (LBD)

How It’s Versatile: I almost feel guilty for throwing in this no-brainer. When I first started building my closest collection, I wasn’t very into black. I was definitely into more trendy items, colors, and prints so I had many dresses before I had the an LBD. The LBD comes in so many different styles from one-shoulder, off-the-shoulder, bodycon, A-line to maxi. It certainly won’t hurt to have one in each category. It’s the easiest excuse you can find to spend more on accessories, jewelry, shoes, and makeup while keeping the same dress.

10. Denim Shorts

How It’s Versatile: Whatever color you decide, it’s up to you. You can’t go wrong with a black or medium-washed pair. These days, designers come up with interesting tribal prints on the side or lace pockets peeking down from your shorties. These are a must-have for those who live in places with hot summers. In the fall, they can be worn with your black booties and a cardigan or thin coat and still look beyond casual.

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11. Sunglasses

How’s It’s Practical: The truth is, it’s not. Not unless you’re outside and the sun is blazing at your anyway. Yet, I still can’t go without at least one pair of sunnies when I leave the house. When you’re not actually wearing them like goggles, you can actually wear them like headbands. Just make sure that the pair you get actually stays on your head and doesn’t slip when you bend down because this should be an investment piece made in Italy. Haha not really.

Sunnies these days comes in many shapes and it’s personal preference whether your pick is a cat-eye one or aviator. I will stay away from sunnies that are fun, but too cartoonish like heart-shaped ones. Not for a minimalistic wardrobe at least.

Of course, there are more pieces to a minimalistic wardrobe. The meaning of ‘minimalistic’ can even be quite broad. From a savings perspective, it’s meant that you will spend more money on less pieces because you will wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time. Thus, it’s okay to spend a little more on these pieces.

And even the minimalistic girl will have trendy pieces in their closet. I personally can’t live off of only these basics. I need the occasional piece to spice up my life whenever I’m feel a bit rebellious.┬áIs minimalistic the style for you? What are the pieces you consider?