Build a Timeless Wardrobe With a Few Classic Closet Staples.

When it comes to building a minimalist wardrobe, choosing timeless pieces that will never go out of style is key to always looking stylish and well-dressed for any occasion without having to own a lot of clothing or keep up with the latest fashion trends. With a few high-quality, versatile clothing items, you can create a capsule wardrobe that will see you through any occasion, from casual weekend outings to formal events. Here are ten timeless clothing pieces to consider adding to your minimalist closet.

1. Blue Denim Jeans & Shorts

No list of timeless clothing would be complete without mentioning blue denim. Blue jeans are comfortable, versatile, and can be worn with almost anything. Dark wash jeans are perfect for more formal occasions, while lighter washes and distressed jeans are great for casual wear. Denim shorts are perfect for summer and can be dressed up or down.

Blue jeans on hangers
No clothing is as iconic as blue denim.

2. White Jeans

Want to know the secret to being able to wear jeans whenever you want? White jeans. I avoided them for a long time because I didn’t trust myself to keep them clean, but once I finally broke down and bought a pair, they became my favorite thing to wear when I need to dress up but want to feel comfortable.

White jeans are perfect for summer and can be worn with almost any top or blouse. They can be paired with a simple t-shirt for a casual look or dressed up with a blouse and heels for a more formal occasion.

(And f you’re worried about stains, carry a Tide pen in your purse or pocket!)

Woman wearing white jeans

3. Little Black Dress

The Little Black Dress, or LBD for short, has been a staple in women’s wardrobes for decades. This timeless classic is versatile enough to be dressed up or down and can be worn for any occasion, from a cocktail party to a funeral. Wear it alone to look sexy, or wear it with black tights and a cardigan for a more conservative look. Simplify your wardrobe with an elegant black dress that’s perfect for any occasion that can be accessorized in many ways.

Little Black Dresses
A Little Black Dress can flatter any body type and can be as conservative or revealing as you like.

4. Black Pencil Skirt

If you’re not a fan of wearing dresses, a black pencil skirt is a great alternative. The pencil skirt is a classic piece that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.

Wear it with a blazer or cardigan to the office or a business meeting, or with a silky top or sweater to a formal event. Show off your curves by pairing it with a fitted top, or hide your curves by wearing it with a loose sweater or cardigan.

Once you discover how versatile a pencil skirt can be, you may end up wanting one in a few different colors! Tip: A pair of high-waisted spandex shorts worn underneath presents a smoother look and prevents chafing in warm weather.

Women wearing black pencil skirts
I’m not really sure what’s going on in this picture, but it’s a great example of how versatile a black pencil skirt can be.

5. Black and Brown Leather Shoes

Almost any outfit looks good with a pair of black or brown leather shoes. In the winter, boots are my go to, and in the summer, I prefer strappy sandals. Loafers are perfect for fall or for the a more professional look.

I prefer genuine leather shoes because they are so much more durable and don’t cause your feet to smell the way synthetic materials do. I have leather shoes and boots over a decade old that I still wear, long after all my fake leather shoes purchased around the same time have needed to be thrown out. To save money, I like to shop for gently-used name brand shoes on Poshmark or eBay.

Collection of black and brown leather shoes
My collection of brown and black leather shoes.

6. Black Leggings

Black leggings are a versatile item that can be worn with almost anything. They are perfect for casual wear, working out, or lounging around the house. You can wear them with a pair of boots under a long skirt to be warm and comfortable even at a more formal occasion, or with a silky blouse for a sexy look. Just by putting on a chunky sweater you can quickly be ready to meet a friend for coffee or brunch after a yoga class. Just be sure you keep a lint roller on hand if you have pets at home!

Black leggings
Black leggings can be worn for any occasion.

7. A Luxurious Sweater

A luxurious sweater is a must-have item for any minimalist wardrobe. A high-quality sweater can be paired with jeans, skirts, or dress pants to help you look classy while feeling cozy in colder weather.

While it can be tempting to buy a cheap acrylic sweater, these often start looking worn out after a few washes and will likely need to be thrown out after just a few seasons. But worse than that, garments made from or containing synthetic materials such as acrylic, nylon, and polyester are actually types of plastic, made from petroleum, and when they disintegrate they break down into microplastics that pollute the ground and waterways. Choose natural fibers like cashmere or cotton over synthetics for an environmentally friendly wardrobe staple you’ll enjoy wearing for years to come.

Recently I purchased my first cashmere and Alpaca sweaters from Quince, a company that sells quality clothing at affordable prices. I was hesitant at first because the cashmere sweaters say they require hand washing and the Alpaca says it requires dry cleaning, but I decided to go ahead and risk not following the directions in order to actually wear them more often.

I put the cashmere in the washing machine on the gentle cycle (cold water only), and then hang it over the wall of my shower to dry, and I hand wash the Alpaca using no-rinse laundry detergent and hang it to dry as well, and so far this has worked to get my sweaters smelling fresh while keeping them looking nice, and they haven’t shrunk either.

Pile of folded sweaters
A cozy sweater never goes out of style.

8. Colorful Scarves

A colorful scarf is a great way to add a pop of color to any outfit. They are perfect for dressing up a simple t-shirt or blouse and can be worn in many different ways. A silky scarf is a versatile item that can be worn around the neck, as a hair accessory, or even as a shirt if you know how to tie it just right!

Woman wearing a scarf
A colorful scarf worn with a black dress or shirt instantly transforms the whole outfit.

9. Flannel Button-Down Shirt

A flannel shirt is a classic item that can be worn in many different ways. It’s perfect for those fall days that start out chilly and end up warm, as it’s cozy and soft but can be unbuttoned or removed when the sun comes out. Wear it tucked in or tucked out, buttoned, unbuttoned, or tied at the waist, with a pair of jeans or leggings or even a skirt.

Plaid flannel shirt
Nothing says fall like a flannel shirt.

10. A White Linen Shirt

To carry the idea of a flannel shirt into spring and summer, my favorite wardrobe staple is a white linen shirt. I bought one from Quince last summer and wore it every single day on my vacation to Florida. It’s light and breathable so you can wear it even on the hottest days. At the beach it kept me from sunburn, and in the evenings or in air conditioned restaurants it kept me from being too chilly in my shorts and tank top.

Linen is notorious for becoming wrinkly, so I always take it out of the dryer and hang it up immediately instead of letting it sit for a long time in a basket of clothes, and spray it with Downy Wrinkle Releaser if necessary, and in that way have managed to avoid doing much ironing.

Ashley Mann wearing a white linen shirt
Me in Florida wearing my white linen shirt to prevent sunburn and freezing from cold air conditioning.
10 Timeless Pieces for a Minimalist Wardrobe