The Ultimate Guide to Minimalist Fashion

This article offers a comprehensive guide on adopting minimalist fashion, teaching you how to curate a versatile and timeless wardrobe with fewer, higher-quality pieces.

Shape Green Hive
The Ultimate Guide to Minimalist Fashion

Table of Contents

Our Top Picks

Green Hive is reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. To understand our thorough approach to rating brands and products, explore our comprehensive methodology.

Our Top Picks

Green Hive is reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. To understand our thorough approach to rating brands and products, explore our comprehensive methodology.

Key takeaways

  • Minimalist fashion is more than style — it's a lifestyle choice that emphasizes intentional living and responsible consumption.
  • Building a minimalist closet involves decluttering, defining your style, and investing in timeless, high-quality pieces.
  • Minimalism can reduce stress, reduce decision fatigue, and enhance well-being by creating an organized, clutter-free space.


Fashion trends come and go. While many fashion trends are here today and gone tomorrow, there's one trend that's stood the test of time — minimalist fashion. Embracing the philosophy of ''less is more,'' minimalist fashion transcends fleeting fads, focusing on essential pieces, clean lines, and muted color palettes.

In this article, we'll explore the essence of minimalist fashion, providing insights on curating a minimalist wardrobe, minimalist closet essentials, and the benefits of adopting a minimalist clothing style. We'll also explore some top minimalist clothing brands.

Whether you're looking for a primer on minimalist fashion or want tips on creating a conscious wardrobe, read on to learn everything you need to know about minimalist fashion. 

What Is Minimalist Fashion?

Minimalist fashion is a philosophy that advocates for simplicity, functionality, and timeless pieces. In a world that encourages excessive consumerism, minimalist fashion champions quality over quantity. 

At its core, minimalism encourages consumers to create wardrobes that transcend seasons and trends. While minimalism may sound like it prioritizes utility at the expense of self-expression, this isn't its goal. Rather, minimalism encourages consumers to focus on the essentials. Simply put, minimalist fashion means choosing clothes you love and need, and “getting rid” of the rest.

Here are some of the key characteristics of minimal fashion:

  • Clean lines: Minimalist fashion features clean lines rather than overly fussy details and extravagant embellishments.
  • Subdued color palettes: Minimalist fashion often features muted colors like gray, black, white, beige, and brown. These neutral colors make mixing, matching, and creating various styles easy.
  • High-quality materials: Minimalist fashion champions for quality over quality, encouraging consumers to purchase clothes made from durable materials that will last for long.
  • Limited patterns and prints: Minimalist fashion often features a few patterns and prints, making it easier to create a cohesive wardrobe.

History of the Minimalist Style

The minimalist fashion style has its roots in the minimalist art movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Pioneered by artists such as Carl Andre, Donald Judd, and Agnes Martin, the minimalist art movement shunned the excesses of art at the time and chose to adopt an approach emphasizing simplicity, functionality, and clarity. Minimalist fashion designers took the same philosophy and applied it to clothing.

While Coco Chanel introduced some of the first minimalist clothing designs in the 1920s, the minimalist art movement largely influenced modern minimalist fashion. 

Some early pioneers of modern minimalist fashion include Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo. Both designers favored muted colors, garment deconstruction, and oversized silhouettes.

However, while minimalist fashion appealed to some consumers, it didn't gain widespread popularity until the 1990s when designers like Calvin Klein, Helmut Lang, and Jil Sander led the way with their immaculate and no-frills designs.

Benefits of a Minimalist Wardrobe

Embracing a minimalist wardrobe offers numerous benefits that extend beyond looking fashionable. Here are some compelling reasons why you should consider paring down your wardrobe and going minimalist:

1. Reduced Clutter

Does your wardrobe look like an eyesore because it's chock-full of clothes? Decluttering it and only keeping the items you genuinely love and wear can organize it. A minimalist closet encourages you to let go of items you don't wear, reducing visual clutter and creating more room.

2. Faster Decision Making

Do you often struggle to find an outfit despite having a closet brimming with clothes? With a minimalist closet, you'll have a limited collection of versatile pieces in neutral colors.   This simplicity can reduce decision fatigue and help you to pick outfits with little hassle. 

3. Timeless Style

Minimalist fashion isn't driven by trends. Instead, it champions timeless styles that can be worn season after season. Minimalist fashion's emphasis on longevity will not only ensure you always look effortlessly stylish but also save you money because you won't frequently buy new clothes.

4. Effortless Mixing and Matching

Figuring out what garments pair well with each other can sometimes feel mind-boggling. With a minimalist closet, you'll spend less time determining what items go well together. 

Since minimalist wardrobes mostly consist of neutral items that effortlessly complement each other, you'll find putting together items a breeze, even on hectic mornings.

5. Durable Clothing

Instead of accumulating numerous cheap garments, minimalism encourages purchasing higher-quality clothes with a longer lifespan. 

6. Sustainable Consumption

The fast fashion industry is one of the world's most polluting industries. It accounts for up to 8% of global greenhouse emissions (UNECE, 2018), more than the aviation and maritime industries combined (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017). The industry relies heavily on synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, and spandex, which negatively impact the environment. 

Beyond its environmental impact, several fast fashion brands are notorious for their unethical practices, such as paying workers low wages, using child labor, and providing little or no information on their material sources. For instance, in India, nearly 500,000 children work for national and multinational seed companies (India Committee of the Netherlands, 2015).

Minimalism champions the philosophy of ''less is more,'' discouraging the fast fashion cycle, which often leads to overconsumption and environmental harm.

7. Mindful Consumption

Minimalism encourages conscientious shopping. When you become more aware of your shopping habits, you can avoid impulsive purchases, save money, and reduce waste.  

How to Curate a Minimalist Wardrobe

Creating a minimalist wardrobe involves thoughtful curation and intentional choices. Here are some tips on creating a minimalist closet:

1. Declutter Your Wardrobe

Start by decluttering your wardrobe. Assess each item and consider whether it aligns with your minimalist vision. Recycle, resell or donate clothes that you don't love, don't fit, or that are damaged.

2. Consider Your Style

Identify your style preferences. Do you prefer contemporary, classic, or sporty attire? Determining your own personal style will help you choose garments you'll love and wear often.

3. Invest in Quality Pieces

Invest in high-quality pieces that are well-made and durable. These items won't wear out fast, reducing the need for frequent replacements.

4. Choose Neutral Colors

Opt for garments in neutral shades like black, white, gray, beige, and navy. These neutral colors are easy to mix and match and more likely to stay in vogue.

5. Create a Capsule Wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of about 30 to 40 clothes that can be easily mixed and matched to create numerous outfits. Consider creating a capsule to simplify your wardrobe.

6. Focus on Essentials

Build your wardrobe around timeless essentials like well-fitted jeans, a white button-down shirt, and a timeless blazer. These garments are easy to pair and can be worn across seasons.

7. Choose Mindful Accessories

Opt for simple accessories that complement multiple outfits, like a watch, handbag, or sunglasses.

8. Shop Second-hand

Purchasing second-hand clothes is an excellent way to save money and reduce the environmental impact of your purchases. There are many great online and physical thrift stores where you can find high-quality clothes at a fraction of the price.

9. Support Sustainable Brands

Purchase garments from sustainable fashion brands committed to making ethical and environmentally friendly clothing.

Minimalist Wardrobe Style Essentials

Building a minimalist closet involves selecting a curated collection of versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched effortlessly. Here are some staples for a minimalist closet:

A White Button-Down T-Shirt

A white button-down t-shirt is a versatile piece that can be dressed up or down for different occasions.

A Pair of Blue Jeans

A pair of blue jeans is a timeless staple that can be dressed up or down for various occasions.

A Black Dress

Whether worn for formal events or a night out, a black dress is a must-have for any minimalist closet.

A Trench Coat

A trench coat is a timeless piece that can be worn in any season. Whether worn during the winter to keep warm or in summer, a trench coat can complement various outfits.

White Sneakers

White sneakers are a versatile piece that complements a variety of outfits. Whether you're walking, jogging, or running errands, they're perfect for various activities.

A Scarf

A neutral scarf is a versatile accessory that adds warmth and elegance to almost any outfit. Plus, it's great for a variety of seasons.


Sunglasses are a staple of the minimalist aesthetic that can add a touch of style to your look while protecting your eyes.

Simple Accessories

Simple accessories like a classic watch, a leather belt, stud earrings, and a necklace can elevate almost any outfit without appearing overly flashy.

Best Minimalist Clothing Brands

If you're interested in adopting minimal fashion, several brands are committed to the minimalist ethos of simplicity, functionality, and timelessness. Here are some renowned minimalist clothing brands:


Everlane is a brand that's renowned for its transparent pricing and ethical manufacturing processes. Most of their clothes are made from Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) organic cotton and don't use animal fabrics. 

They offer a wide variety of minimalist clothing and accessories for men and women, including wardrobe essentials like t-shirts, denim jeans, sweaters, jackets, and bags.


Cuyana's motto, ''Fewer, Better,'' perfectly encapsulates their approach to minimalist fashion. They offer a variety of minimalist clothing for women that prioritizes quality and durability.


Reformation is a sustainable women's clothing brand. The brand is committed to sustainable and eco-friendly practices, such as using recycled materials, efficient manufacturing processes, and offering limited-edition collections. The brand offers a variety of minimalist clothing, such as jeans, sweaters, and dresses.


COS is a Swedish brand that combines minimalist designs with sustainable practices. They offer a variety of men's and women's clothing and accessories. 

Eileen Fisher

Eileen Fisher is a household name when it comes to sustainable women's clothing. With a commitment to sustainable practices, the Certified B Corp brand offers a variety of timeless and eco-friendly women's clothing.


ASKET has been offering timeless wardrobe essentials since 2015, emphasizing transparency throughout the supply chain, fair pricing, and ethical manufacturing. They offer a variety of men's and women's minimalist clothing made from sustainable fabrics.

Mate the Label

Mate the Label is a Los Angeles-based brand that offers sustainable garments made from organic, natural, and non-toxic materials like hemp. They offer a wide range of workwear, casualwear, and activewear for men, women, and children.


Tentree is a sustainable fashion brand that plants ten trees for every garment sold. Renowned for its ethical and sustainable practices, Tentree is a Certified B Corp and Climate Neutral brand that offers a wide range of men's, women's, and kid's clothing and accessories.


What is considered minimalist fashion?

Minimalist fashion is a style that focuses on having a limited, curated wardrobe of high-quality, timeless pieces. It emphasizes that ''less is more'' and features garments that can be mixed and matched easily to create various outfits.

Are minimalists actually happier?

There's no scientific consensus on whether or not minimalists are actually happier. While some studies have found that minimalists tend to be happier, more content, and less stressed, others have found no correlation. 

However, some potential benefits of a minimalist lifestyle include reduced clutter and stress, less decision fatigue, improved self-esteem, freedom from materialism, and a more sustainable lifestyle.

Why is minimalism attractive?

Minimalism is attractive to many people for several compelling reasons. These reasons include simplicity, functionality, timelessness, aesthetic appeal, sustainability, and flexibility.

Are there downsides to minimalism?

While minimalism offers many benefits, it also has some potential downsides. Minimalism often requires consumers to purchase high-quality, durable items. While these items last longer than cheap, low-quality items, the initial cost can be relatively high.

Minimalism also requires a commitment to regular decluttering, which can be time-consuming and challenging. 

Finally, minimalism often requires individuals to get rid of items that create clutter. While decluttering can create room, parting with sentimental items can be emotionally challenging.

As a result, if you want to adopt a minimalist lifestyle, consider starting slowly and setting realistic goals. Don't expect to become a minimalist overnight. Adopting a minimalist lifestyle takes time. 

Also, adjust the principles of minimalism to align with your values, circumstances, and preferences to mitigate the potential downsides of embracing minimalism.

Is minimalism good for Mental Health?

Minimalism can positively affect mental health for many individuals, but its impact varies from person to person. Some potential benefits of minimalism for mental health include reduced stress, enhanced focus, and less decision fatigue.

Why do Millennials like minimalism?

Millennials like minimalism for various reasons. First, millennials are more conscious about the environmental impact of their purchases than previous generations. So, they are looking for ways to live more sustainably. 

Also, millennials grew up in the age of consumerism and have witnessed its negative impacts. Minimalism represents a rejection of consumerism and advocates for conscious consumption.


Embracing minimalist fashion goes beyond mere personal style. It's a statement about intentional living. By curating a wardrobe that exudes simplicity, versatility, and timelessness, you embrace the power of less while reducing clutter and contributing to sustainability.


UN Alliance aims to put fashion on path to sustainability | UNECE. (2018, July 12).

Ellen MacArthur Foundation, A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future (2017).

India Committee of the Netherlands, Cotton's Forgotten Children: Child Labour and Below Minimum Wages in Hybrid Cottonseed Production in India (2015).

Rounded ShapeRounded ShapeRounded Shape
Alyciah Beavers

Committed to promoting sustainability and am pleased to have the opportunity to share my enthusiasm with you.

Back to Top