This buying guide spotlights minimalist clothing brands, which are perfect options if you’re into the Scandinavian minimalist aesthetic or want to build a lean, versatile wardrobe.
Upgrading your core wardrobe with “good minimalism” is like a cheat code for effortless fashion. That’s because Scandinavian style, which has become synonymous with minimalism in general, focuses on function, simplicity, and natural colors. They partner well together and with statement pieces.
Scandinavian minimalism is thoughtful and strategic but doesn’t look like it. Fortunately, if you shop with the right minimalist clothing brands, they’ll do the thinking and strategy for you.
It’ll be like you have fashion sense built into your closet, and you’ll have fewer time-consuming decisions to make before you leave the house.
These 22 minimalist clothing brands are an effective place to start.
Minimalist Clothing Brands
Let’s start with clothes, then move on to shoes and accessories!
ASKET is an eco-driven essentials brand offering everything from t-shirts and trousers to swimwear and beanies.
And in the spirit of versatility, even their men’s swimming shorts are laser-cut and cleanly tailored, so you can sport them in and out of the pool. All of their clothes pretty much boast this universality.
Their shirts are a good example of an upgraded and functional basic.
The fabric is compact and substantial, which offers durability, but it’s also comfortably unbulky. They’re even resistant to warping and fading, and the ribbed neck lets the structured body drape cleanly.
They aren’t as sustainability-focused, but their prices are more than fair. They also offer slightly more in terms of range, like stripes and rugby shirts.
In fact, the white and blue striped crewneck is one of their best-sellers.
When Everlane dips into patterns, they do a clever job of still keeping it pretty neutral. Even though blue goes with most other colors anyway, they go for a shade with gray undertones, making it even more versatile. It’s a good example of a piece that’s fun, but not loud, and basic, but not dull.
Plus, their shirts, like so many of their other pieces, are made of 100% certified organic cotton and come in sizes XS up to XXL.
Designed in London and crafted in factories in Europe, L’Estrange London is a line of upscale pieces designed to be modular.
Basically, if your closet were filled with just their pieces, the result would be a capsule wardrobe of interchangeable items ranging from casual to cocktail.
L’Estrange designs their pieces to cast the widest net possible. There’s the 24 trouser, which has a formal silhouette but a stretchy build, and a combination dress-pant-drawstring waist.
The drawstrings can, of course, be hidden. Then you’ve got the modular shell jacket which is essentially two separates that can be worn three ways depending on the weather.
Plus, they only use renewable and recycled materials and offer free repairs.
COS is H&M’S simpler and more sophisticated cousin, their stores often sharing the same block as designer boutiques. They’re made to go beyond seasons and have a few more expressive pieces than you’ll find in most minimalist brands.
A few examples include shirts with diagonal stripes, the use of bleached denim, and even bolder colors, like their bright green button-up.
Still, the stripes are neutrally-colored, the bleach on the denim is limited to an accent at the bottom of the shirt, and bold shades tend to be solid and unaccented.
Basically, COS is a good brand for mid-priced minimal essentials and simple pieces with mild texture use.
Theory’s biggest strength in the minimalist game is their ability to produce contemporary yet trend-resistant pieces.
Their suit jackets, for example, are a cross between a fashion-forward Thom Browne suit and a timeless Brooks Brothers Regent fit.
The “matteness” and semi-constructed look give it a modern feel, but the clean lines and sophisticated structure is undeniably premium. It’s classic but not old and stuffy. Most jackets have matching pants available, so they can be worn traditionally or with a broken suit.
Another cool thing that Theory does is use innovative fabrics. Precision Ponte, which their Clinton jackets are made of, is a new abrasion and wrinkle-resistant knit that’s easy to take care of.
Sweden-based Acne Studios is a luxury contemporary fashion house that focuses on ready-to-wear pieces inspired by art and architecture.
Their neutrals are sturdily built and can be paired with other neutrals or be the anchoring piece in a streetwear look.
Though the clothes are simple, there’s clear attention to detail when it comes to the tailoring and the wide range of materials used, including custom fabrics.
Their shirt jacket, for example, features a relaxed fit but a double-faced construction for versatility and ease of use. It’s like having two shirts in one.
ARKET builds easy day-to-night clothing by using relaxed but sturdy materials designed to survive repeated use. They’re also eco-focused, often using recycled goods.
A few excellent examples include their t-shirts, athletic wear, and their suits.
The t-shirts are part of their Men’s Basics and come in a midweight or a heavyweight option which is about 30% thicker and denser. Both are made with strong shoulders and a firm drape that’s flattering for most body types.
They come in unique shades of neutralized non-neutrals like light green and dusty lilac.
The gym apparel is performance-focused but structured enough to wear outside of the gym. Meanwhile, their twill-woven suits are infused with sustainable hemp and feature a modern and relaxed look, still tailored enough for professional situations.
A Day’s March
A Day’s March is a Swedish direct-to-consumer clothing label focused on long-lasting quality and design. We’re talking eco-friendly pieces in flattering and non-intimidating shapes and builds.
One of the reasons A Day’s March is so easy to shop with is they have a basic tier called their Core Uniform subline. Here, you’ll find sweaters, oxford button-downs, and chinos, all in menswear neutrals like gray, white, and olive.
Then there’s their suits, which are loose and modern, the jackets fitting almost like utility shirts. Still, the clean lines and refined shades allow you to wear them pretty formally if you style them just right.
Designer James Perse is the son of the owner of Maxfield, LA’s fashion boutique to the stars.
He started by designing a fashioned-up, high-end, but still versatile baseball cap for Maxfield. All of Perse’s pieces are rooted in this same philosophy of leveling up casual basics.
Some of Perse’s best-sellers include the staple linen shirt, which is 100% linen, “unfadably dyed,” and mercifully machine-washable, and the double layer hoody, which is made of high-gauge jersey and softened for a lived-in feel.
He even levels up smart casual pieces, like the Luxe Lotus jersey polo. It’s made of specially-spun cotton from Japan with a satin-like feel and sheen.
Italian brand Luca Faloni adds that jet-setter-on-holiday, no-sock-leather-loafers vibe to minimalism.
They offer a lot of free-flowing, comfort-focused pieces made of the finest materials.
They source premium cashmere from Cariaggi, linen and brushed cotton from historic Italian mills, and full-grain leather from Tuscany.
If you’re going for that off-duty Bond look, Luca Faloni has it down pat.
Their fine silk-cashmere polo is super versatile and can be worn with a suit jacket or shorts. It has an elegantly textured look and a lush feel. All of their pieces have this simple and fancy, but not loud, aesthetic.
We all know Uniqlo as the Japanese casualwear brand that became a huge trend when it entered the US market and evolved into a basics staple — especially if you’re on a budget.
They offer a lot of simple and solid-colored essentials in a range of sizes that go all the way down to XXS.
You can find $30 dollar polo shirts in every color, from heathered gray to light pink. Their merino sweaters are around $40 and often go on sale for as low as $10. Their dress shirts are also the most affordable decent-fitting pieces on the market and tend to be stretchy, machine-washable, and no-iron.
These pieces won’t last you forever, but they’re easy-care, cheap, and look pretty good. Uniqlo is an excellent option if you need a good-looking basic quickly and affordably.
Unwaveringly Scandinavian in their roots and designs, Norse Projects offers highly adaptable pieces that come together to create a collection with “infrastructure,” as they put it. Basically, they take a classic interchangeable wardrobe approach.
This is best seen in their essentials line, which is founded in military clothes, workwear, and even ivy-inspired styles. They take utilitarian textures and references and then remix them into modern, wearable silhouettes.
Nothing in the collection is so fashion-forward that it’s impractical, and nothing is too utilitarian that it’s not versatile.
Form & Thread
Form & Thread serves up premium beyond-season menswear items with a focus on sustainability. Even their packaging completely avoids plastics and uses materials from FSC-certified suppliers.
Since they’re London-based, it’s no surprise that they offer stylish and effective outerwear.
The canvas atelier overshirt is made from a beautiful mid-weight cotton canvas with an enzyme finish that removes fine hairs and fibers, resulting in a soft, dirt-free surface that’s less susceptible to pilling.
The cord liner jacket can be worn as a top or mid-layer and definitely gives stylish dad vibes.
Even their simple t-shirts are made from organic Supima cotton, which is twice as strong as regular cotton.
Minimalist Brands: Shoes and Accessories
You can’t nail the minimalist look without minimalist shoes and accessories. Throwing on a pair of Yeezys or pulling out a neon green wallet kind of ruins the vibe. Here are some shoes and accessories to add to your minimalist wardrobe.
Koio is a shoe brand specializing in leather
This is because their shoes are handcrafted in Marche, Italy, using locally-sourced leathers.
The brand prides itself on the fact each of their shoes passes through the hands of 42 artisans before being introduced to the market. The term “hand-made” gets tossed around a lot, but Koio takes it pretty seriously.
Oliver Cabell is another bang-for-buck shoe brand with a lower price than Koio. Their specialty is timeless and essential silhouettes. They also source their manufacturers in Marche, Italy, the same place that brands at much higher cost brackets do.
Unlike other budget brands that vaguely mention how “parts are sourced in Europe” or pieces are “put together in Asia,”
Campbell Cole is an accessories and leather goods brand that designs and builds most of their goods in England. They sell simple and versatile belts, key rings, soft beanies made in Scotland, and leather pouches and bags.
All of their meticulously-designed wallets offer a minimalist look that sinks invisibly into your pocket, but none more so than their Simple Card Holder. It can hold up to six cards and is crafted from full-grain Italian and vegetable-tanned leather like all of their leather goods.
Vegetable tanning uses zero synthetic chemicals while providing depth of color that ages and patinates as good leather should.
Carl Friedrik came about because the founders wanted to make carrying goods that were long-lasting, functional, but still elegant and stylish. This goal has made them a go-to brand for leather goods and luggage.
Their ultra handsome weekend bags, as an example, efficiently combine form and function. Though minimalist in design, the Palissy weekender features a zipped pocket, three open fabric pockets, and comes with a shoulder strap.
They’re constructed with vegetable-tanned Vachetta, which is untreated Italian leather most often associated with the tan accents of classic Louis Vuitton bags. It’s supple, strong, and attractive.
Carl Friedrik sources their leather from a small family business in Naples, now in its third generation.
Artisan Labs sells the bare essentials but at the highest quality for the price, thanks to their small batch manufacturing.
The made-to-order approach also helps them avoid excess and focus on each individual product as sustainably as possible. Their lines include their footwear lab, their tailoring lab, and their leather lab.
The footwear lab includes minimal style shoes like all-white high-top and low-top
The tailoring lab offers limited, clean-lined clothes, while the leather lab is where they sell their accessories, including full-grain leather wallets and coin pouches, all with a five-year guarantee.
I-AD is a Glasgow-based industrial design studio that makes Instrmnt watches, super practical and simple timepieces that almost transcend dress codes.
Even their field watch gets the Scandinavian treatment.
It’s legible, luminous, and durable, as a military timepiece should be, but the gradual case shape and clever use of negative space on the dial give it a sleek look that would pair well with jeans or a suit.
All of their watches flaunt this stylish simplicity and versatility. Instrmnt employs a range of movements, including accurate Ronda quartz calibers and Seiko solars, and uses premium materials like sandblasted stainless steel and sapphire crystals.
The best part is that since Instrmnt is, as a brand, anti-flashy, their watches are all reasonably-sized, ranging from 36mm to 40mm.
Designed straight from Germany, Sternglas offers Bauhaus-style watches that partner beautifully with minimalist outfits. However, there are two qualities about Sternglas that separate them from other German-designed watch brands.
First, Sternglas employs bold colors and even sunray dials on some of their models.
But suppose you look at models like the limited edition Naos Automatik Argo, with its bright yellow track and lively orange hands, or the super lustrous Marus. In that case, you’ll notice that the use of striking features is still tempered by an overall simple design.
Second, not only does Sternglas offer several 38mm watches for the small-wristed, but they have some of the slimmest cases in the industry. The Asthet manages to stuff a 42-hour automatic movement into its comfortably-wearing 8.5mm-high case.
Junghans is arguably the main representative of German Bauhaus in the watch world, not least of which is because of their work with modernist designer, Max Bill.
His namesake line of Junghans watches sports the same design as the Max Bill clocks that are in the Museum of Modern Art’s collection.
So even if you’re going for a budget quartz version, it at least still has that art world credibility to the design.
Meanwhile, the Max Bill Automatic runs on a Swiss self-winding movement and comes in a 38mm case, protected by a sapphire crystal. All Junghan watches are built in the industrial-meets-minimal style as these flagship models are.
They have a bare and functional aesthetic, and even their leather backpack has a slimmed-down style that gives it a simple and formal look. It can definitely pair with a suit and tie in a way a Jansport simply can’t.
Whether it’s their backpacks or weekender travel bags, though, all of their pieces are made with premium French or Italian calfskin leather and are made in the USA.
The surface of the leather is even treated with a patented coating that makes it stain and water resistant and allows the leather to keep its color.
Minimalist Style FAQs
Here are some answers to common minimalist questions.
What Is Minimalist Fashion for Men?
Minimalist fashion for men includes clean, classic lines, silhouettes that aren’t too tight but relatively close-to-body, and neutral shades like gray, cream, navy, and olive.
All dress codes should be represented using timeless and trend-resistant pieces like a polo shirt, dark jeans, and a pair of dress pants. Avoid patterns and graphics.
Is Uniqlo Minimalist?
Uniqlo focuses on casualwear, which has a lot of overlap with minimalism. That being the case, they offer a lot of solid colors and essentials, appropriate for minimalist wardrobes.
How Can I Make a Minimalist Wardrobe?
Consider the essentials and look to menswear neutrals when it comes to colors. Again, make sure all dress codes are represented with as few clothes as possible.
For example, unless you wear a suit every day, you probably don’t need more than one or two full suits. The brands on this list are a good place to start!
How Many Clothes Does a Minimalist Need?
It depends on your lifestyle, but as long as you have a unique outfit every day of the week, you’re good to go. If you wear t-shirts or button-downs every day, that means having around seven shirts, since shirts need to be washed after every wear.
You’ll need less when it comes to suits, jeans, and khakis since they don’t need to be cleaned as regularly.
Conclusion: The Versatility of Minimalism
Overall, minimalist wardrobes are incredibly practical and efficient. With the right brands, neutral doesn’t have to mean boring, and universal doesn’t have to mean inexact.
That being the case, effective minimalism can be incorporated into basically any guy’s personal style.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!