You might be surprised to learn that I’m somewhat of a minimalist. Outside of clothes, my all possessions are:
- Mouse, webcam & headphones
- Widescreen monitor
- Notepad and a couple of pens/pencils
- Backpack and a luggage bag
- Grooming kit, including a few different colognes
- Few books
- Sheets and towels
I think that’s it… Yes, I don’t own a car, a house, or a TV. I am considering buying a motorcycle in Spring but given how long I’ve been putting it off so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if I just said “screw it” and forget about it.
This minimalist approach is not some sort of grandiose lifestyle statement, nor is it a Buddhist-like spiritual practice of getting rid of all my earthly possessions. I think people, who overly romanticize the minimalist lifestyle are just as annoying as those, who can’t shut up about how vegan they are or how much they bench.
The truth is, I’m just kind of lazy:
Lazy to buy new stuff and spend hours comparing prices and features
Lazy to look after the stuff
Lazy to worry about when the next thing will break and how I’ll need to fix/replace it
The less stuff I own and have to worry about, the more free time and mental space I have to read, think, be creative, exercise and spend time with women. I also love the idea that I can – in theory – just pack my bags and fuck off to wherever I want.
Still, I don’t think being a minimalist is some sort of panacea for all the stressfulness we deal with in our modern, fast paced lives.
Actually, the reason I’m writing this article today is because one of the readers asked me to (ask and you shall receive, as they say) and because I think it’s a cool topic to touch.
But before we get into the “meat and gravy” of this article, let me share some first-hand experiences of the benefits and the drawbacks of having a minimalist wardrobe:
- Less decision fatigue when it comes to dressing. Decision fatigue is a big deal when you’re doing a lot of creative work and need to be on top of your game. You don’t want to waste this precious stamina on minor decisions like what to have for breakfast or which jacket to wear.
- It forces you to get creative with your outfits. And when executed right, it can lead to very impressive results. For example, I don’t own a suit, so when I was invited to a wedding I dressed up one of my elegant edgy outfits and used my understanding of colors to imitate the “formality” of the setting. When I got to the wedding people wouldn’t shut up how “amazing I look” and I ended up sleeping with one of the attendees (though to be fair, weddings are kind of an easy mode for sleeping around).
- It gives you an option to invest in better quality clothes. Most of us have a limited spending budgets when it comes to clothes. The fewer clothes we plan on getting, the better items we can afford with the same budget.
- Your outfits will often be sub-optimal. Building a minimalist wardrobe requires you to focus a lot on versatile pieces that can be worn in multiple outfits, which means that we’ll often need to say no to more interesting, unique designs because they simply won’t work with most outfits. You can still make great looking outfits, I mean, I’d like to think my outfits are pretty solid, but it’s hard to be a minimalist and really milk every possible advantage.
- The clothes will get worn out quicker and will need to be replaced. Before you start counting all the money you will save by going the minimalist route, keep in mind that all clothes have limited durability and eventually will need to be replaced. If you don’t, you’ll have a worn out “cockblock” in your wardrobe. The more frequently you wear any particular piece of clothing, the quicker it will get worn out.
- It requires a know-how in terms of what clothes look great together, what clothes/colors should and shouldn’t be mixed, etc. To really be effective with a minimalist wardrobe you need a good understanding of how to build outfits, what items of clothing go well together and how to use individual items to shape your overall image (like making it more casual/dressed up/edgier/etc.)
Now, when you learn the in’s and out’s of building great looking outfits, you can have a minimalist wardrobe and still rock outfits like this:
(Instead of a 100 ways of wearing slacks and shirts, that you’ll usually find recommended as “minimalist wardrobes”)
Your Wardrobe Should Be As Complex As Your Life
Before you run out to donate or throw out half of your wardrobe, let’s address the elephant in the room:
Your wardrobe should be as complex or as simple as your lifestyle.
If you want to simplify your life, you don’t start by cutting your wardrobe in half and then just “deal with it”. It will hardly make a dent if your lifestyle remains overloaded. Instead, you start by simplifying your life by saying “No” to social engagements you don’t really care about.
Use Derek Siver’s “HELL YEAH! or No” strategy when deciding whether you want to be a part of something. Then, as you realize that you’re no longer wearing certain items, you can cut them out.
Let’s say you’re a go getter in your late twenties, early thirties. You have a respectable career or business going and even though you’re not bound to a specific dress code on the daily basis, you still need to look professional (Smart – Casual image). But then, once or twice a week, you’re meeting clients or making presentations to upper management, where you really need to dress up to the nines and look your absolute best (Sharp image). But your life doesn’t revolve just around work and on the evenings you go on dates, where your goal is one night stands or short term casual encounters and you want your image a lot more sexualized to send the right message from the start (Elegant – Edgy image). Then on the weekends you like to go wild with your friends in bars, parties, etc. (Edgy, Elegant – Edgy or Masculine – Rugged images depending on the venues).
In a situation like this, it makes no sense for you to go for a truly minimalist wardrobe as you’ll be cutting a lot of corners and end up missing out on the perks that having your image tailored to the situation can provide in social and romantic encounters.
But let’s take another situation,
Let’s say you’re a college student and your only true commitment is going to classes. Other than that, you spend your time hanging out with friends, going to bars, clubs, parties (or sitting in front of the computer playing games). And while you love the Edgy image, it feels natural to you and helps you connect with your kind of people, you’re also smart enough to know that there are some hidden benefits of making the right first impression to your professors.
This would be a prime situation for building a minimalist’s wardrobe. Especially since, chances are, your budget for clothes is quite limited. So while you build your core wardrobe around the Edgy image, you also add a few versatile pieces that would make your outfits more presentable to the people can have a significant impact on your future.
In my case, over the last couple of years I simplified my life to an almost ridiculous extent:
I work from home, so I don’t really need to be dressed up for any routine occasion. Even when working with consultations clients, I could be doing this work while in my underwear (Let me make it clear, I NEVER DO THAT, but I could). Other than that, I hit the gym three times a week and play squash every couple of weeks. When it comes to romantic encounters, I either meet women for drinks in bars or just have them come over straight to my place.
I used to hang out a lot with friends in bars, but I’ve minimized even this as I got more picky with whom I want to spend my free time with.
I’ve consciously and deliberately built my life around the idea of doing my best creative work and in turn, I can get away with having a minimalist wardrobe too.
So assuming your lifestyle allows you to successfully rock a minimalist wardrobe, how do we go about it?
Pick The Core Clothes For Your Minimalist Wardrobe
My approach to building a minimalist wardrobe is quite different from most guides you’ll find on the internet, because I don’t want to end up with a generic, half-assed wardrobe full of dull, boring clothes.
After all, the whole idea behind Sexy Style for Joe is to show you how you can make the most of our image and style. Having only unimpressive, basic outfits would barely scratch the surface of what we can achieve with our image.
Instead, I always start with an image archetype in mind and pick one or two “I’m Getting Laid Outfits” that would suit this image archetype.
The idea here is that before anything else you should decide what you want to communicate with your image, how you want to be seen.
So in my case, that’s along the lines of “sophisticated but edgy and fun”. A man, who knows and acknowledges all the rules but then smiles and shows the middle finger to them.
It’s best illustrated in this outfit:
As you can see, with the buttoned shirt and smart patterned chinos, I’m just a couple of pieces away from the “oh, you’re such a well-dressed man”. So instead, I show the metaphorical middle finger to the expectations and put on a biker leather jacket, edgy accessories and leave shirt untucked, with three buttons open.
When it comes to my romantic goals, there’s even more going on behind the scenes:
As hard as it is for me to admit it, I’m actually kind of a “Good Guy”. I’m polite, I smile a lot, and I like to help people feel better about themselves. Well, most of the time.
It’s something that comes naturally to me and I genuinely like it that way.
The problem is, if I dressed like your average “nice guy”, that’s it – I’m screwed. I’d be stuck in the potential boyfriend zone (or, worse, friend zone) forever and ever. I’d be going on countless dates with only a hug or a peck on the cheek at the end of the night.
Instead, when I look like someone who goes for quick sex but then let some of my good guy tendencies take over, I can really screw with the heads of women I’m interested in:
“Is he a player that I need to be careful with? Nah, come on, look at that sweet smile – can’t be!”
“Is he someone I could bring back to show my family? No! Seriously, look at him, he looks like he would sleep with your sister and then hit on your mother…”
Over the years, I got a lot comments like that ranging from “you must’ve have slept with half the woman in town by now” to “why are you being so good to me?”
When you cannot be quickly categorized, you’re carving a category of your own and that’s when you start getting away with a lot more. This contrast allows me to sleep around and keep a lot of those women for casual sexual relationships.
But that’s just one way to approach image.
Another strategy is to double down on your natural tendencies. Let’s say you’re going for one night stands and have a very direct, sexual approach. You could double down and go for a polarizing, highly sexual image and instantly screen out all the time wasters. The women who are left will (usually) be up to play.
That’s what I mean when I say that we should tailor our image to suit our personality and goals.
So when building my minimalist wardrobe, that’s the starting point – know what you want to communicate and how you want to be seen.
Based on that, pick the most suitable image archetype.
Once you have the image in mind it’s time to pick a couple of outfits that would suit this image.
For inspiration and ideas go to:
You should be able to find more than plenty of ideas.
So far, this strategy is the same whether you’re looking to build a regular tailored wardrobe or a minimalist one.
If you’re looking to build a sexy minimalist wardrobe, however, look at the outfits you picked and see if you can identify 2 – 3 key pieces.
Those are the pieces of clothing that repeat themselves from outfit to outfit OR that could work with multiple outfits.
Usually you’ll want to pick key pieces that are the most expensive to get, like outerwear and shoes.
In my case that’s the biker leather jacket and Chelsea boots.
The two core pieces the rest of my wardrobe is built around
Add Versatile Clothes That Can Be Worn With Multiple Outfits
Now that we have our core pieces, we need to add the rest of the wardrobe, focusing mostly on versatile, interchangeable items.
That’s jeans, trousers, shirts, jumpers, vests, etc.
Because unless you’re an eccentric tech billionaire, you don’t to be wearing the exact same outfits every day. I’ve heard way too many horror stories of guys getting nicknamed in work/college because they’ve been wearing the same piece of clothing every day for way too long.
“Hey, where’s Sweater this morning, it’s not like him to be late. Is he sick or something?” (True story…)
People, and especially women, notice these things and even if you have 5 identical jumpers that you can wear, people will just naturally assume that you’re wearing the same, unwashed piece. It’s kind of repulsive.
The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to have dozens of pieces.
Same shirt with a different pair of trousers will look like a different outfit. Plus, when you consider layering items, it’s easy to have dozens and dozens of outfit combinations just by having a few pieces in each category.
Versatile tops and trousers to build dozens and dozens of outfits
Essential Items That Every Sexy Man Should Own
THERE ARE NONE!
Seriously, in a literal sense, outside of socks and underwear, there’s not a single piece of menswear that’s actually “essential”.
Whenever I see articles that say “11 Essential Items That Every Man Should Own” or something along those lines, it triggers me in a bad way. It’s the reason why we have the “Glitch In The Matrix” Hall Of Shame Award and why every other guy on the street dresses almost identically.
I would like to note some of the most versatile items for each category. Whether you should go for them or not, depends on the image you’re going for.
- Black racer leather jacket
- Grey blazer
- Blue denim jacket
- Grey / charcoal / navy / black regular length coat
- White (or check) buttoned shirt
- Plaid shirt
- White / grey / navy / burgundy / black V-neck tee
- Striped or polka dot tee
- Dark V-neck jumper or cardigan
- Grey or navy waistcoat
- Dark blue / light blue / black jeans
- Grey or navy chinos
- Black Chelsea boots
- Black oxfords
- Black or dark brown lace up boots
- White sneakers
- Black & white converse
- Steel watch
- Black leather bracelet
- Bead bracelet
- Steel necklace with a subtle pendant
- Grey or navy scarf
- Black smart leather belt
- Black gloves
Just to clarify, this is not meant to be a sample wardrobe. It’s a list of some of the most versatile pieces in terms of how easy it is to wear them and that can be used with multiple image archetypes. Any extra detailing on a piece of clothing decreases its versatility.
Consider Any Other Non-Negotiables
This mostly apply to work. So let’s say you’re in your 20s, just out of college, got your first “big boy” job with a dress code and need to look professional on a daily basis but then once you’re off work, you’re still living the party lifestyle.
Even though you could pick your core “I’m getting laid outfits” that easily transform to suit the workplace environment, I’d instead recommend getting a few items just for work (like couple of trousers, a pair of dress shoes, few shirts) and be done with it.
If you end up wearing the same clothes during the day and then in the evenings too, you will wear them out so quickly, you won’t get a chance to enjoy them.
Gym wear is another example of non-negotiable outfits you’ll need in your wardrobe
Consider The Climate
The last thing we need to consider when building a wardrobe is the seasonal climate where you live. For example I have to deal with winters that can be as cold as -20 to -25 C and summers that can get as hot as +30 C.
If you too live in a place with four very distinct seasons, you will need to add items to your wardrobe that are very specific to a particular time of the year, like thick coats for winter and linen shirts or loafers for summers.
Warm clothes for colder weather (the coat will need to be upgraded soon)
Denim jacket, jeans and converse – bold colors and light fabrics are great for warm, sunny days
The best advice I can give in terms of building a wardrobe for distinct seasons is focus on clothes can be layered easily.
For example, a t-shirt can be worn alone in summer, with a jacket in top in early autumn, with cardigan and jacket later in autumn, and then with cardigan, blazer and coat deep in winter.
Universal Skills You Will Need To Build A Sexy Wardrobe
Whether you’re building a tailored wardrobe to suit all your lifestyle needs and image goals, or you prefer a minimalist’s wardrobe, there are certain skills you will need to get maximum results:
- Learn what clothes can be worn together and which ones simply don’t work. This will help you maximize the amount of outfits you can build with any particular piece of clothing.
- Learn how to wear colors in an outfit. Having a good understanding of colors and how to wear them will not only help you build amazing outfits for yourself but also identify the most versatile pieces that you’ll be able to wear with dozens of outfit combinations.
- Have a good understanding of how different clothes affect your image: which clothes make it edgier, more sexual, which ones make you look dressed up, smart, etc. This is especially important for minimalist wardrobes as you’ll need to be creative with your outfits and know how you can make small adjustments to suit the occasion.
And yes, you can learn all of this – and more – in The Wow! Factor course. Check it out!
Building a minimalist wardrobe (and a minimalist lifestyle) boils down to being very clear with what you want, what’s most important to you and unapologetically saying No to everything else.
To sum it all up:
- Start with a few core pieces that represent the image you’re going for
- Add the minimum amount of versatile, interchangeable pieces to account for your lifestyle needs (social obligations, climate, etc.)
- Add any other distinct items you may require to adjust your image to suit specific, common situations in your life
We’re getting close to the most symbolic time of the year. When we say goodbyes to all the good and the bad that happened this year and are eagerly looking forward to what the future will hold.
I still have a couple of spots available for personal consultations this year and would love to do my part in helping you have the sexiest, most exciting year ever. Sounds like fun? Check out my personal consultation page for details.