My 7 Minimalist Wardrobe Essentials

Connie Riet
by Connie Riet

Is there such a thing as the perfect minimalist wardrobe? When I downsized my wardrobe to fit into a suitcase, when my husband and I decided to travel full-time, I scrutinized every article of clothing.

I wanted the perfect minimalist year-round wardrobe so I wouldn't need to change anything. I was thinking ahead and planning out all possible scenarios so that I would always have all of the clothes I would need.

I found that there's no such thing as the perfect wardrobe. Like the constant change in life, so are wardrobes. Clothes wear out or get accidentally left behind when packing. Weight fluctuates. Sometimes, the so-called perfect outfit isn't ideal when you wear it a few times. Activities and situations come up that I could have never anticipated.

Adapting my nomadic lifestyle, I have become more flexible in my approach to many things, especially my clothes.

Neutral solid colors

I have neutral earth-toned solid colors in my wardrobe. This is so I can create multiple outfits with just a few items.

Black top

1. Tops and blouses

These base layer tops are the foundation of my wardrobe.

I wear them in hot weather and layer them in cold weather. Tank tops are a necessity in tropical weather like Costa Rica. They also double as my yoga and hiking tops.

Plain top

I prefer a thicker material with a high neck for activities, plus one neutral camisole to go under my blouses.

Plain t-shirt

T-shirts are the things that I wear most often. I wear them so often that they tend to wear out fairly quickly. I've worn out two T-shirts already that need to be replaced.

White blouse

I tend to stick to white and cream blouses because they pair easily with a variety of bottoms.

I have one crisp, white, dressy button-up and a casual cream one. I have two white linen blouses, one with a collar and one tunic.

Black sweater

2. Sweaters

Sweaters are perfect for tossing on in cool spring or fall weather and layering under coats in the winter. I often wear this lightweight cream V-neck sweater because it's so versatile.

A basic cotton lightweight sweater that I usually wear outside when I'm doing yoga, a thick fisherman's sweater for winter, plus a black turtleneck.

My favorite sweater is this black wool wrap. I can wear it as a jacket, a robe, under a coat, or on the plane.


3. Pants

My pants are very diverse to add variety and function to my wardrobe. All wardrobes need a good pair of jeans that you love. These retro, high-waisted, wide-leg jeans are my favorite. Heels dress them up, and sandals make them perfect to wear in the summer.

I have wide-legged, lightweight tan pants that can be dressed up or dressed down. I also have navy corduroy pleated pants for cooler weather and white and gray linen pants for summer days.

I have two pairs of recreational pants. Both of them have tons of stretch in them, so they're great for hiking or travel. Olive green and gray.

Added to those are two pairs of black yoga athletic pants. I have only one athletic skort for outdoor activities in the summer.


4. Skirts

I love how versatile skirts are. I have two long skirts, one in cream, the other in green. They can be worn with tank tops, blouses, or sweaters.

This way, I can wear them year-round. Dress them up for a night out with a pair of heels, or throw on tennis shoes for walking around town.


5. Shoes

Because everything I own fits in my suitcase, I only have shoes that are absolutely necessary and very versatile. I own beach flip-flops and sandals.

Other shoes are casual shoes I can wear for walking and hiking, boots, and heels.


6. Accessories

Accessories are a great way to add variety and a little bit of fun to my basic wardrobe.

My jewelry is simple, with only silver or gold necklaces and earrings that I can wear every day or to dress up an outfit. I have a few rings that I always wear and a couple of beaded bracelets.


7. Scarves and hats

I have one straw hat for those sunny, hot days. I also own a packable down coat with my hand-knit scarf and beanie. It's perfect for winter.

Included is a lightweight scarf I wear casually hiking and as a wrap to the beach. This woven shawl is unique and is the most recent thing in my wardrobe. I love it because it doubles as a wrap or as a blanket.


8. Miscellaneous

I only have one purse. It's a neutral brown leather, so it can go with all of the outfits that I wear.

Rounding out my wardrobe are the basics, like a pair of pajamas, a swimsuit, and undergarments.

Minimalist wardrobe

This is the least amount of clothes I have ever owned, and I'm pleasantly surprised with how satisfied I am with my minimalist wardrobe. It's simple and minimal, yet I feel like I can dress for any occasion and season.

If you have a minimalist wardrobe, what are your favorite pieces? Share in the comments below.

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2 of 3 comments
  • Anita Anita on Oct 14, 2023
    I shop at Goodwill and accept name brand hand-me-downs from my pals. I still have too many of everything!
  • Anne Anne on Oct 14, 2023
    I also have far too much…….I am slowly letting go of items as of this morning…… can’t believe how good I actually feel. I have too much as I said and some people don’t have enough. That’s how I am thinking now!