The minimalist trend has been on the rise for years now. Everywhere you see people cutting down on the clutter, simplifying their homes, their lives, even their food. Online, on TV and in magazines, this translates into trendy visuals of immaculate apartments, designer coffee makers in spotless kitchens, and fit people wearing only solid colors. Some people take it as far as wearing the same outfit everyday.
Mark Zuckerberg is known for wearing the same outfit as much as possible.
Barack Obama has said he keeps his suit options down to 2: gray or blue.
“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”
— Barack Obama
We all know Steve Jobs and his iconic monotonous outfit:
Minimising the number of outfits you have is one of the easiest ways to simplify your life, make it more frictionless and efficient.
I’m not a hardcore minimalist, but I do wear the same outfit almost everyday at work. I know that the simple fact of minimising your wardrobe won’t turn you or me into the next Barack Obama or Steve Jobs. But it’s about removing the friction, the unnecessary decisions. For instance, I gain so much time in the morning by having my outfit ready to go, and not having to choose what to wear.
A minimalist wardrobe has a lot of other advantages:
- Less clutter
- Gain of space
- Less money spent on clothes
- Less laundry, less ironing
- Having go-to brands
Let me explain the last one. When you only have a few clothes that you buy again once they start wearing out, it’s super easy to buy them again online. You already know the brand, the color and the size that fits you. You can buy a new pack of t-shirts, sweaters or button-up shirts online, and you don’t have to spend time shopping for clothes.
Without further ado, here are the 5 outfits I use 99% of the time. You’ll find a recap with the links to all the items at the end of the article.
#1 The Worker
I wear this outfit every single day at the office. When I switched to wearing only black everyday, people started to notice and ask me what this was all about. But now they’re over it.
When you wear black everyday, if you ever make a tiny change and decide to wear another color just for one day, people will notice and tell you. Be prepared for feedback.
Sweater: Stanley/Stella Changer (STSU823) — Black
For me, one of the most important factors in a sweater is the weight of the fabric. This one is rather heavy (350 gr/m2) which I love. It fits amazing, and it has a ton of different colors available if you want to switch it up a little bit.
Pants: ODB Jeans — Black
I used to wear Lee, but recently switched to those. I bought them in store because I was switching from one brand to the other, and I can’t seem to find a lot of this ODB brand online.
Shoes: Nike Tanjun — Black
When I decided to switch to an all-black outfit and started to look for shoes, I literally googled “most comfortable sneaker”. The Nike Tanjun was mentioned everywhere. I watched a few review videos, and I was sold. The price/quality ratio is okay-ish, and they do feel super comfy.
Socks: Bleuforêt — Black
I’m not sure of the exact model anymore. But all the socks from this brand feel smooth, soft and super comfy.
Xiaomi Mi Band 2
I only use this bracelet as a watch and to count my steps when I’m at the office, especially on days where I don’t run. I remove it when I sleep, and use another device to track my running. So I don’t need anything fancy, and this product has a great cost/quality ratio. They’re already selling the Mi Band 3 or 4 now, but I don’t need that.
#2 The Weekender
A worry-free weekend outfit that works for anything: walking the dog, eating out, the movies, a walk to the park, running errands…
Sweater: Stanley/Stella Stanley Strolls (STSM522) — Navy (C003)
This is the same brand I use for during the week, only a different model. The difference is the weight and the fit. It’s lighter (300 gr/m2) and the fit is even more relaxed.
Pants: Jules Slim #Tom
I bought those in France and I’m not sure they’re easy to find anywhere else, but I basically rotate between brands of comfy weekend jeans. Always in light blue, because that’s what I do.
Shoes: Nike Revolution 5 — Smoke Grey/Photon
Any ok-priced, comfy, ok-looking sneaker (from Nike or elsewhere) will do. You should always make sure your shoes fit you, and avoid buying dirt-cheap flat-sole sneakers. Your back will hate you in 20 years.
On the weekend I don’t care if my socks are black or not.
#3 The Exerciser
Exercising for me means mostly running. Here is the outfit that goes with it.
Shoes: Brooks Transcend 6
I went into a shoe shop specialised in running, and they had me try different kinds of shoes. They make you run on the treadmill, film you, show you the analysis, and recommend the best shoe for you based on everything. This is the shoe they recommended for me, so that’s the one I went with.
T-shirt: Nike Dri-Fit
The way this t-shirt feels when running is amazing. It’s really light, doesn’t get sticky or heavy with the sweat, and the fit is great. When it’s too windy though, I have to layer up.
Wind Jacket: Kalenji Kiprun Evolutive
This is a rather cheap jacket, but I’ve been really satisfied with it. Breathability has always been an issue for me with windproof and waterproof jackets. I’m planning on upgrading to the Nike Wild Run jacket soon, and I’ll see if it’s better on that point.
Garmin watch: Garmin Forerunner 35
I bought this watch because you can’t go wrong with Garmin, and I didn’t need anything too fancy. As I started training regularly though, I realised that this watch doesn’t work with intervals. I should have checked better, because I came to realise that watches that do work with intervals are slightly more expensive, so it’s my mistake here. The watch is great for the price.
Running tights: Kalenji Kiprun Warm
These are from the same cheaper brand as my running jacket, and I’ve also been really satisfied with them. I’m only planning on upgrading soon because they’ve done their time, but the quality has been great all along for me.
Shorts: Erima Running
When it comes to shorts I really don’t need anything specific. I need shorts that I use only for running, and these are perfect for just that.
#3 The Lazier (aka Stay-at-Homer)
A relaxed stay-at-home outfit for those days you don’t have to leave the house.
T-shirt: Earth Positive Organic T-Shirt EP01 — White
Again, the weight of the fabric is really important for me, and I love this one. I’ve tried several white t-shirts before finding this one, and I’m not going back. It’s organic, it’s comfy, and you can buy it in bulk.
Sweatpants: Adidas — Blue
I couldn’t seem to find the exact model I have, but it’s something close to this. Comfy, durable, somewhat presentable.
Slippers: Casa Mia Sports Classic — Dark Grey
Literally any comfy slippers will do. This is what I have.
#5 The Outgoer
A “casual party look” for common social gatherings. The birthday party, the weekend drink, the dinner at the in-laws…
Button-up shirt: any brand that fits well and does nice shirts
I personally prefer a tight fit closer to the body, but it depends on personal preference. Here are a few brands I can recommend:
Pants: ODB Jeans — Black
Black pants work with everything so I just use the same as my Worker outfit.
Shoes: Any black leather boots that look descent
Black boots also work with everything, but you need to make sure you get good ones, otherwise they will fall apart in no time (prefer leather and strong seams). I wear black pants with those black shoes, but as I said you can work whatever pants with these, it will always work. Light, dark, pattern, stripes…
Here are a few brands I recommend:
I always try to go for staples, items I know brands will always make. The Nike Tanjun, the Dri-Fit t-shirt, the Stanley/Canvas clothing line… Those are here to stay, and I know I can re-order them anywhere anytime if I need to. I already know my size and my fit with those specific brands, so all the shopping can be done online.
As I said in the begining, the number one upside I get from minimising my number of outfits is the time I save in the morning. Ever since I switched to my all-black outfit for the office, I easily save 20 minutes every morning. No more choosing what to wear, ironing, going through the closet, not knowing where this shirt is…
Another upside is the simplicity of it. It’s easy, simple and hassle-free to know that I don’t have to worry about my outfit. Most importantly, it removes the friction of the decision making.
Here is a recap of all the items I mention in this article, with links to each of them (no affiliates).
- Stanley/Stella Changer (STSU823) — Black
- Stanley/Stella Stanley Stroller (STSM522) — Navy (C003)
- Nike Dri-Fit
- Kalenji Kiprun Evolutive
- Earth Positive Organic T-Shirt EP01 — White
- Mexx Slim Fitted Check Shirt
- Nike Tanjun — Black
- Nike Revolution 5 — Smoke Grey/Photon
- Brooks Transcend 6
- Casa Mia Sports Classic — Dark Grey
- Black Boots
That’s 16 items (excluding miscellaneous). Of course I have a few extra shirts and t-shirts lying here and there. But 99% of my wardrobe rotates around those 16 items. The gain in time, efficiency and performance is huge. And that’s awesome.
Simplify your wardrobe. Increase time and efficiency.
If you want to take control of your time, stop wasting your energy, and prioritise the right things, my free tool The 168 Hours Spreadsheet will help!