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Almost six years ago I introduced the idea of a year-round minimal closet (capsule wardrobe) inspired by my 2012 travel light packing list and since then I’ve posted a few different updates about how my wardrobe is evolving over the years. Today I’m sharing an updated version of my minimal closet in 2020.
My personal style hasn’t changed much in the last couple of years. I’d still consider it to aim for effortless minimalism. I lean more monochromatic neutral with my color palette and expect all of the clothing in my minimal closet to be versatile enough to keep up with my travel and packing needs. I am not an impulse shopper and put a lot of thought into any closet edits I that do. The questions I ask myself about an item before it enters or leaves haven’t changed. It must be something I need, fit immaculately, look great, have easy care requirements, and be very versatile.
- 1 Tops
- 184.108.40.206 Cuyana Silk Cami
- 220.127.116.11 Outdoor Voices Merino T-Shirt
- 18.104.22.168 Everlane Organic Cotton Box-Cut Pocket Tee
- 22.214.171.124 Emerson Fry India Button Down
- 126.96.36.199 Everlane Silky Cotton Oversized Shirt
- 188.8.131.52 Everlane The Two Pocket Silk Shirt
- 184.108.40.206 Jasmine Chong Land & Sea Winged Shirt
- 220.127.116.11 Slim Cotton Longsleeve Crew
- 18.104.22.168 Square Mockneck Tee
- 2 Sweaters & Sweatshirts
- 3 Dresses
- 4 Bottoms
- 5 Outerwear
- 6 Shoes
- 22.214.171.124 Gladiator Lace Up Sandals
- 126.96.36.199 TKees Gemma Sandals
- 188.8.131.52 TKEES Dem Sandals
- 184.108.40.206 Everlane The Day Crossover Sandal
- 220.127.116.11 Reformation Isabelle Heeled Sandals
- 18.104.22.168 Wood Block Heeled Sandals
- 22.214.171.124 Boss Mule by Everlane
- 126.96.36.199 Day Glove
- 188.8.131.52 Veja Esplar Sneaker
- 184.108.40.206 Hoka x Outdoor Voices Clifton 4
- 220.127.116.11 Boss Boot
- 18.104.22.168 Boss Boot in Snake Print
- 22.214.171.124 Ilse Jacobsen Rub Rain Boot
- 7 Swimwear & Coverups
- 126.96.36.199 Oséree Lumière Triangle High-rise Metallic Bikini
- 188.8.131.52 Minimale Animale Isle Bikini Top & High Noon Brief
- 184.108.40.206 L*Space Ridin’ High Gemma Ribbed Top & Ridin’ High Frenchi Bitsy Bottom
- 220.127.116.11 Zimmermann High Neck Bikini Top and Separates Sculpt Bikini Bottoms
- 18.104.22.168 Reformation Ibiza One Piece
- 22.214.171.124 Onia Nina One Piece Halter Swimsuit
- 126.96.36.199 T by Alexander Wang Mesh Racer Back Zip Up Swimsuit
- 188.8.131.52 Minimale Animale Apex Mesh Top
- 184.108.40.206 Cuyana Aprés Swim Coverup
- 220.127.116.11 Emerson Fry Fete Kimono in Cheetah
- 18.104.22.168 Black Sheer Kimono Coverup
- 22.214.171.124 Wilfred Durante Jacket
- 8 Workout
- 9 Loungewear
- 10 Intimates
- 11 Accessories
I love variety in my tops. Not only do they need to transcend daily weather changes, they need to transcend seasons and trends. Since I mostly work from home I love myself a casual tee, but there are other parts of my wardrobe that can perform that function. I need my tops to be versatile in that they can be dressed up or down.
Cuyana Silk Cami
Size Extra Small in Black. This camisole has been with me for years and can be worn casually with jeans and sandals, shorts, under a sweater, with boots, etc. It can be dressed up or down and the fabric is supersoft, which I love.
Outdoor Voices Merino T-Shirt
Size Extra Small in Charcoal. I love to pair this with my washed black denim and a cotton baseball cap for a casual look. It also performs well as an active layer or winter layer. A similar but lighter fabric is the CloudKnit tee, also available in charcoal.
Everlane Organic Cotton Box-Cut Pocket Tee
Size Small in Black. This top is a flattering cut for a tee and goes great with a pair of jeans or bike shorts. I’ve considered making it my own with tie-dye or embroidery but haven’t gone down that road quite yet.
Emerson Fry India Button Down
One Size in Black Dots. This top is light and airy, I love how it feels on my skin. I wear it french-tucked, fully tucked, or simply tied in the front. I was a little worried about it being one size, but I don’t mind the oversized fit on me.
Everlane Silky Cotton Oversized Shirt
Size 0 in Off-White. There is almost nothing that goes farther in a capsule wardrobe than a nice plain white shirt. It’s so versatile and pairs with anything. This one is a bit sheer when not paired with a nude bra, but I love the versatility of pairing it with something else and how light it feels.
Everlane The Two Pocket Silk Shirt
Size 2 in Black. Much like the white shirt, a black silk shirt is a wardrobe staple. A similar find is the Washable Silk Relaxed Shirt.
Jasmine Chong Land & Sea Winged Shirt
Size 4 in Black. Not only am I a huge fan of Jasmine, she’s a great friend of mine. This silky shirt feels like heaven and I feel like a goddess wearing it. It’s etherial in all the right ways.
Slim Cotton Longsleeve Crew
Size Medium in Washed Black / Bone Stripe. This casual shirt is comfortable to the max and pairs well with anything from denim to white shorts. The stripes make it feel more elevated than it actually is which is perfect for days I just want to be comfortable.
Square Mockneck Tee
Size Extra Small in Black. This shirt offers a hint of athletic-casual when paired with leggings and sneakers or looks more elevated when dressed up with mules and a skirt or pants.
Sweaters & Sweatshirts
Ah, one area where my closet hasn’t changed. I do love my sweaters. I’m a sucker for cashmere and tend to stay away from wool because it doesn’t feel as good on my skin. I also love a good terry sweatshirt as a casual basic or to throw on over a dress with sneakers.
Cashmere Waffle Square Crew
Size Small in Heather Gray. This is one of my softest sweaters. I love how the waffle knit adds texture without adding bulk. Since it is a square cut it is a slightly oversized fit which I also love. It’s also available in white.
ReCashmere Stroopwafel Crew
Size Extra Small in Heathered Sand. Similar to the cotton-linen crew. I love how light this sweater is and the texture it has. I can wear it with pants in winter or on a summer day with shorts or a skirt and sandals.
Cashmere Square Turtleneck
Size Small in Oatmeal Donegal. I absolutely love to wear this with denim or leather leggings, the mock neck elevates an already luxurious feeling this sweater gives off and the square cut makes it feel more modern.
Cashmere Rib Round Crew
Size Extra Small in Black. This sweater has a bit more weight to it but still feels soft and light. I love how the ribbed texture makes it look almost charcoal.
Waffle Knit Tunic
Size Small in Charcoal. This tunic is thick and chunky in all the right ways. I love to wear it with leggings, tights, or even tucked up over a silky skirt. Sadly they don’t sell it any longer. You might be able to find one pre-loved, a similar option is the Bianca Dress by Wilfred Free.
French Terry Pleat-Back Sweatshirt
Size Extra-Small in Black. This lightweight terry sweater is soft and forgiving in all the right ways. The pleated back keeps it modern and I’ve worn it with shorts, denim, leggings, and everything in between.
Henrik Vibskov Wing Wang Sweatshirt
Size Small in Beige. An impulse buy during my trip to NYC last January. This sweater not only reminds me of my trip, it features fish swimming in opposite directions, a nod to my pisces sun sign and a strive to always find balance in life. I love its quirky nature.
Everlane ReNew Fleece Sweatshirt
Size Extra Small in Oat. I feel like a teddy bear when I wear this and I sort of love it. It’s made from recycled materials too, hurrah!
I still have a thing for a nice black dress. I don’t think it will ever go away. I just love it as a color, it is versatile and timeless. That said, my dresses are pretty diverse in style and I’ve even gone on one trip where I had 5 minutes to pack and the only items I packed were black dresses.
Japanese GoWeave Long Slip Dress
Size 0 in Black. This is my ultimate “little black dress”. It is my go-everywhere do-everything dress. The fabric is thick enough to not have to wear a bra, but not too thick to look cheap. It steams and irons easy and I love it. Also in white, similar Open-Back Midi Dress or Silk Slip Dress
Reformation Monique Dress
Size Extra Small in Black. This dress runs pretty large and has oversized armholes. I love the lightness of the linen fabric and that it’s black so I don’t have to worry as much about it being sheer. I wore it on a recent trip to Mexico and it was wonderful both on the beach and at a nice dinner.
Everlane The Long Weekend Tank Dress
Size Extra Small in Bone. This dress is comfortable and versatile. My next color choice would be Black (of course), or Hazelnut. See how I wore it 3 different ways.
J.Crew Black Silk Tank Dress
Size Small in Black. It was purchased over 5 years ago (still looks great!), a similar style is the Cuyana Drape-Back Dress.
Cuyana V-Neck Midi Dress
Size Extra-Small in Black. A comfy t-shirt dress that looks great with both flats and sneakers.
Emerson Fry Shortsleeve Shirtdress
Size Medium in Black. This dress comes with an optional belt but I never wear it because I enjoy an oversized silhouette. I have considered in the past swapping it out to an oversized white shirtdress because I like the look, but black is more practical for my needs.
H&M Collared Dress
Size Small in Black. A real cave on my part, because I wouldn’t normally buy clothing here. I love the feel of the fabric and the oversized cut. It makes it easy to wear with sneakers or sandals and everywhere in between. One, and done.
I’ve always felt confident in this area of my wardrobe. There’s plenty of versatility and I don’t find myself wanting for more. I did swap out a pair of shorts for a larger size and my slim leather leggings for relaxed-fit ones.
Cotton Twill Short
Size 0 in Bone. These shorts are high-waisted which really means they’re really flattering. I love that they are not a denim material so they are easy to dress up or down and the color lends itself well to pairing with a nice camisole in summer or a light sweater for beach trips.
Everlane The Denim Short
Size 25 in Distressed. A perfect fit, even with a zipper fly, and they don’t choke my thighs, ha! The high-waisted is flattering and the denim holds it’s shape. These shorts are extremely similar to my old pair of Levi’s 501 high-rise rolled denim shorts.
Modern Boyfriend Jean
Size 24 in Bone. These also are flexible on sizing. I size down for a more fitted look, while if you stay true to size you get a looser boyfriend fit.
501 Ultra High-Rise Skinny Jeans
Size 24 in Denim. Another high-waisted favorite. Do you see a trend here? These fit me a bit looser for a more casual look.
Authentic Stretch High-Rise Skinny Button Fly
Size 25 in Washed Black. These are the most flattering jeans I own. I love to wear them with a slightly oversized white button down.
Back-Slit Work Pant
Size 0 in Black. A fitted style with a clean waistband and side zip, these pair well with anything from work attire to heels and a camisole for going out. I’ve even worn them with sneakers and sandals while traveling through Southeast Asia.
Veda Leather Pant
Size 2 in Black. These pants are high rise and slightly cropped with a relaxed fit. Made from Chrome, free, veg tanned and a certified byproduct.
My collection of jackets and coats has been steady for a few years now and in the last year I’ve finally found myself ready to let go of my trench coat. I don’t think it serves a function in my wardrobe any longer and my blazer can stand in when needed.
Size 2 in Black. I haven’t had a blazer in my wardrobe for awhile but I love how I can wear this oversized fit casually with a tee or other top and denim without feeling too stuffy.
Black Leather Jacket
Size Small in Black. My original jacket is from Victoria’s Secret and is no longer sold, but a very similar item is the Deadwood Classic Biker Jacket. It’s made from recycled leather. A great vegan option is the Classic Moto from The Reset.
Cuyana Soft Wrap Coat
Size Extra Small in Black. This coat is incredibly soft and warm, though it is unlined so it is not wind-proof. I love to wear it with anything from a casual outfit with sneakers to a dressier night out.
Re:Down Sleeping Bag Puffer
Size Small in Black. I bought this larger so that it would fit over bulky sweaters. I’ve worn it in snowy below-zero conditions and it has kept me plenty warm though I would question whether or not it is very waterproof. It is my go-to for chilly days and feels like a cloud wrapped around you.
Shoes, my great weakness. I think a great shoe can serve such a wonderful place in a wardrobe, whether it’s to dress up an outfit or to simply be there for comfort. Please note that this does not include my running shoes as those are very specific and I only wear them for running and crosstraining.
Gladiator Lace Up Sandals
Size 8.5, old by J.Crew. They’re very light and I love that they pack flat. Reformation has a similar style: Jeanne Sandal. TKees offers one as well.
TKees Gemma Sandals
Size 8 in Cocobutter. These sandals are so comfortable that I literally hiked up a 1000ft tall mountain wearing them (no, it wasn’t planned). They also look really nice with a nicer dress or casual with shorts. The neutral color of these pairs well with just about any color, although I prefer to style them with black or white.
TKEES Dem Sandals
Size 8.5 in Black. These sandals are surprisingly comfortable and despite wearing them nearly every day this summer, they show little to no sign of wear.
Everlane The Day Crossover Sandal
Size 9 in Black. These sandals are so comfortable and the leather is so supple that you’ll almost forget that you’re wearing shoes. I suggest sizing up a half size.
Reformation Isabelle Heeled Sandals
Size 8.5 in Black. These are the perfect heels to dress up any outfit and look perfectly sleek and modern while doing it.
Wood Block Heeled Sandals
Size 8.5 in Black. Purchased years ago on clearance from J.Crew for a mere $20 and I’ve never regretted it. For fancier times I replace the leather strap with a raw dupioni silk tie. A similar find is the Stella Heels by J.Crew.
Boss Mule by Everlane
Size 8.5 in Black. These are my go to “professional” shoe. I’ve worn them with a dress, skirt, jeans, slacks, and anything else you can think of. I’ve probably also slipped them on to grab the mail in my pajamas or something too.
Size 8.5 in Black. These shoes fit wonderful from the moment you put them on and are a perfect casual go-to with any type of outfit.
Veja Esplar Sneaker
Size 8.5, in White. These sneakers are the perfect amount of casual cool, with a side of easy to keep clean. I’ve had them for awhile now and they’re my go-to when it comes to casual shoes.
Hoka x Outdoor Voices Clifton 4
Size 8.5 in White. I actually use these shoes as my “walking shoes”, but from time to time I will wear them with a regular outfit.
Size 8.5 in Pebbled Black. These boots are an absolute fall and winter (and sometimes summer in San Francisco) staple for me.
Boss Boot in Snake Print
Size 8.5 in Snake. I know, I also have them in black, but I honestly love the fit and how they wear. The snake print looks ssssstunning and spices up any outfit I’d like. I love to wear them with a simple white shirt and denim.
Ilse Jacobsen Rub Rain Boot
Size 39, in Black. These shoes are fuzzy lined and so cozy, especially when it’s wet out. I’ve also worn them in the snow and been absolutely fine.
Swimwear & Coverups
Living in California I love to be at the pool or beach, whether I’m home or away, and I’d like to think that this part of my wardrobe reflects that. That said, I love all of my swim pieces and feel great in them which is what counts. Some can even serve multiple types of looks which is helpful in a minimal closet and when you travel light. I will be the first to admit this section could probably use a cleanout after this particular summer.
Oséree Lumière Triangle High-rise Metallic Bikini
Size Small in Black. This bikini is very flattering and covers my belly button without looking frumpy.
Minimale Animale Isle Bikini Top & High Noon Brief
Top & Bottoms size Small, in Black. This suit is a bit less conservative but I love that it doesn’t leave me with funky high-waisted tanlines. I love that it’s all made in Los Angeles, California.
L*Space Ridin’ High Gemma Ribbed Top & Ridin’ High Frenchi Bitsy Bottom
Top size S, bottom size XS, both in Black. I went smaller on the bottoms because they fit better, but I still needed the larger size in the top. The higher waist makes me feel a little more covered up and comfortable when I’m moving about the pool. I’ve heard that a lot of people love the L*Space Ridin’ High Lee Lee Top with these bottoms as well.
Zimmermann High Neck Bikini Top and Separates Sculpt Bikini Bottoms
Top size 1, Bottoms size 1. The top isn’t sold anymore, but here is a similar one. The bottoms offer moderate coverage.
Reformation Ibiza One Piece
Size Extra Small in Black. I love that this swimsuit looks great both at the pool or beach and as a bodysuit. It definitely offers more room in the hips than it does in the bust.
Onia Nina One Piece Halter Swimsuit
Size Medium in Jet Black. This swimsuit was purchased a few years ago, but the Riviera One Piece by Reformation is similar in taste level and style.
T by Alexander Wang Mesh Racer Back Zip Up Swimsuit
Size Small in Black. I love the design of this suit because it is very flattering and feels like you’re covered up but the mesh adds a bit of edge to it.
Minimale Animale Apex Mesh Top
Size Extra Small in Dark Seas. A cropped long-sleeve mesh top that gets the job done. It could also be worn over or under a little black dress for a layered effect.
Cuyana Aprés Swim Coverup
One Size in Tan. Purchased in 2012. I wear it both as a swim coverup and a top or dress as needed. Similar Relaxed Short Sleeve Tunic by The Reset.
Emerson Fry Fete Kimono in Cheetah
Size Small/Medium in White Cheetah. This kimono is a good pop of interest in my wardrobe and I do wear it from time to time with clothing that isn’t swimwear. I purchased it because cheetahs are fast and I’d like to think I’m fast too, ha.
Black Sheer Kimono Coverup
Size 4 in Black. Was sold by H&M but was years ago. When mine bites the dust I’d love to replace it with this gorgeous similar and higher-quality version, the Eleven44 Silk Chiffon Kimono on Etsy. There is also a very budget friendly similar style at H&M. I’ve worn my sheer kimono as a swimsuit coverup, over a dress for a nice evening out, over jeans and a camisole, and as something sweet for bedtime. It’s so versatile, I can’t resist!
Wilfred Durante Jacket
Size Small in Black Leaf Jacquard. Sold out, but a similar version is available on the Aritzia website.
Since I am a competitive runner, working out takes up a good deal of my time. My collection of workout clothing ranges from compression tights to pocketed sports bras and even special shoes made just for running on a rocky trail. If you are not as active (crazy) as I am, I’m sharing a few of my favorites below:
I love their Compressive High-Rise Legging, as well as their High-Rise Bike Short for cycle classes, and their High-Rise Run Short for running. All their stuff is made from recycled materials, and they just launched a recycling program!
Not only do I love their motto of “doing things” to honor your body, but I own several of their products. My favorite series is the cloud knit, it’s so light and fluffy and wonderful to wear.
My absolute favorite product is the Lululemon Stash’N’Run Bra. I typically wear a size 4 in their tops but for some reason the 6 in this fits me better. I love the pockets and use it to hold my phone while I run. While I don’t agree with the fast-fashion feel of the brand, I love their connection to the local community and have to give them a nod that their products perform well. I’ve had a few pieces from them for well over a year, really putting them through the paces with my training and they still look brand new.
While I love to lounge around the house, I don’t have a ton of loungewear. I find I’m a creature of habit and am constantly drawn to the same items over and over.
While I won’t delve every detail of my undergarments, I will say that I don’t feel like I have too many, and that my favorite brand to wear is Negative Underwear. If you’re looking for soft basics, Everlane also gets the job done well.
I don’t feel like I have too many accessories, but I will admit to wearing many hats (ha!). I promise they all get worn quite a bit, whether I’m traveling or at home. I am a creature of habit when it comes to purses, and I tend to wear the same pieces of jewelry day in and day out.
Overall, that brings my closet, excluding workout, lounge, undergarments, and accessories, to 59 items. As always, there are probably some items I could let go of, like the heels I won’t be wearing anywhere soon, oof. Right now though, I’m happy with all of it and that will always matter more than any number.
What are your favorite items in your closet right now? What do you wish you could change?