Minimalist clothing brands make finding wardrobe essentials a whole lot easier and there are lots of great brands to choose from. Whether you’re looking to start your own minimalist wardrobe from scratch or just a few key essentials, there is sure to be something on the list for you, including minimalist clothing for men.
To help you make informed choices on your own, we’ll start by exploring what a minimalist wardrobe is, why we should consider a minimalist wardrobe and how I went about choosing the minimalist clothing brands featured in this article.
Without further ado let’s jump right in and feel free to skip ahead to our top picks using the table of contents.
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What is a minimalist wardrobe?
The concept of a minimalist wardrobe and of a minimalist lifestyle, in general, is often credited to the minimalist art movement of the 60s. The concept of a simple, mindful and efficient approach to life, clothing, and art has been around for a while though.
In clothing, minimalism revolves around the basics and having just what we need. No more but no less either. So to build a minimalist wardrobe we curate just the essentials based on what we use on a day-to-day basis to meet our needs with the least number of items possible.
Essentials include basic white tees, tank tops, dress shirts, jeans, shorts, pants, skirts, outerwear, dresses, swimwear, sandals, sneakers, socks, and boots which is still quite a lot of stuff. However, with origins as a response to overconsumption and environmental degradation, a minimalist wardrobe depends on quality, timeless, and versatile pieces that will last longer, and work across different applications and seasons wherever possible or applicable.
With that choosing and sticking to neutral colours so that you can easily mix and match pieces with one, another is also necessary. Moving by purpose or seasonality is helpful too; creating several minimalist capsule wardrobes based on the season, all around the same basics.
Why consider a minimalist wardrobe?
Whether you’re looking to simplify your morning routine or to reduce your environmental footprint, a minimalist wardrobe is wonderful all around. It will save you time, and money (especially in the long term), lighten your carbon footprint, and may even ease your mind by helping to simplify your wardrobe, declutter your home and create more space in your home and in your mind.
If you’re worried about having to sacrifice style, there are lots of resources online for inspiration; a quick search for ‘minimalist wardrobe’ or ‘minimalist summer capsule wardrobe’ ideas might help you to see what’s possible without sacrificing style.
How do we choose minimalist clothing brands?
Choosing the right brands and products for The Eco Hub always starts with the same considerations. I look at materials and fabrics, ethical sourcing, and corporate responsibility. I also consider inclusivity and certifications to help me choose the best brands possible.
Materials and fabrics:
When it comes to materials and fabrics, I look for brands that use the most sustainable fabrics possible. Preferred fabrics include organic cotton, hemp, jute, TENCEL™ and other sustainable fabrics with a lesser impact on workers, the environment and our health as consumers.
I also consider materials like buttons and dyes, making sure that they are sourced as responsibly as possible, wherever possible.
To help verify my choices of sustainable fabrics I look out for third-party certifications like the Better Cotton Standard, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, or the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
Ethical sourcing is essential for verifying the origin of the fabrics and materials used in garments, where they are manufactured, how they are manufactured and, by whom. Best practices include safe production methods that minimize or do no harm to the environment as well as safe, ethical labour standards. Helpful third-party certifications include Fairtrade International, Fair Trade USA, and SA8000.
Lastly, I consider corporate responsibility which demonstrates how committed brands are to ethical practices throughout their business. From things like plastic-free packaging and carbon-neutral initiatives to diversity and inclusion initiatives and investments in the communities they work in, I choose brands that I can trust and stand behind.
Don’t forget to check out thrift shopping options whenever you’re looking for sustainable and ethical fashion, and if you need some help check out My 10 BEST Thrift Shopping Tips. You may be surprised by all the wonderful treasures you might uncover if you haven’t already.
Our favourite minimalist clothing brands
This ethical fashion brand prides itself on challenging the culture of the fashion industry by creating transformative opportunities for women. To that end, Able invests in, trains, and educates women so that they can earn a living, break the cycle of poverty and thrive in their communities. Their tasteful selection of bags, shoes, apparel and jewelry make them a great option for anyone looking for minimalist clothing for women. They make a great option if you’re looking for affordable minimalist clothing options as well.
Able’s Materials and Fabrics
Able’s clothing is made primarily of all-natural fibers.
Able’s Ethical Sourcing
Able and its partners use several practices to make their production more environmentally friendly. Their denim vendor in Monty Mexico recycles 100% of the water used in their processes. They also use ozone in their production process to reduce water consumption altogether helping to make their denim finishing more eco-friendly.
To make their jewelry, Able has moved away from harsher chemicals commonly used in jewelry manufacturing, opting for natural solutions instead. Most of the silver sterling they use is made purely from recycled silver, and all of their jewelry is crafted in-house in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
They also work with tanneries that engage in clean water practices, and only source hides that are the byproduct of the meat industry; essentially repurposing them for their products where they would’ve otherwise been discarded.
The company has even published their lowest wages in order to give consumers a clear choice to protect the people making their products.
Able’s Corporate Responsibility
Able uses recycled mailers and repurpose its shipping boxes for storage at their headquarters. Their vendors also incorporate recycled packaging and repurpose leather wastage from production into small leather goods. The scrap metal from their jewelry production is also collected and sent off to a refinery that melts it down and processes it into new pieces of wire sheets. With that their staff is made of 95% women who are ensured fair treatment and living wages.
Also featured as one of our favourites for eco-friendly tees, Encircled is a slow fashion brand that strives to bring you style, comfort, quality, ethics, and genuine sustainability, without compromise. Entirely made in Canada, Encircled offers great basics for women including those eco-friendly tees, bottoms, jumpsuits and accessories. They even offer great kits like the Better Basics Kit featuring a v-neck tee, a pair of leggings and a comfy puff sleeve cardigan all is one. Sizes range up to XXL.
Encircled's Materials and Fabrics
Encircled uses sustainable fabrics like modal, TENCEL™ lyocell, rayon from bamboo, non-GMO organic cotton and linen. Check out the product description for more details on specific items. They also offer the option to ‘Shop by Fabric’.
Encircled's Ethical Sourcing
Encircled makes all of its products in Canada where they are subject to the high labour standards of the Province of Ontario, as well as those set by their own ethical code of conduct, going beyond what is required by law.
Encircled's Corporate Responsibility
Encircled is a Certified B Corporation which demonstrates its commitment to high standards of performance, social responsibility, and environmental accountability all around.
Founders Cayley Pater and Andy Ives launched Made Trade as the answer for beautiful, ethically made and sustainably sourced products for the home and wardrobe. While prioritizing artistry, fair wages, sustainability, quality, craftsmanship, and transparency, they’ve curated a great collection of exceptionally made clothing for both men and women. They’ve also made it a point to help you find your minimalist staples so be sure to check them out. Sizing options range from XS to 6XL in womens, and from XS to 2XL in mens.
Made Trade's Materials and Fabrics
Their collection includes garments made of a variety of materials like bamboo and organic cotton.
Made Trade's Ethical Sourcing
With a commitment to providing clothing from the best sustainable clothing brands, Made Trade features products that are made in the USA, fair trade, women-owned and POC-owned. You can also shop their collections accordingly using the ‘Value’ filter.
Made Trade's Corporate Responsibility
Made Trade is both Climate Neutral Certified and a 1% For The Planet Member. They also offer great options if you happen to be looking for eco-friendly shower curtains.
Earth’s Favorite™ Clothing brand is well known for its basics and makes for a great option for building a minimalist wardrobe. Mostly made using Earth’s Favorite™ Fiber, organic cotton, this Colorado-based company offers a wide selection of tees, underwear, socks, athleisure, maternity clothing and more, for both men and women.
Pact's Materials and Fabrics
Pact’s clothing is primarily made of organic cotton, some of which is made of 100% cotton. Be sure to check out the product description for specifics on a given item.
Pact's Ethical Sourcing
Pact partners with Fair Trade Certified factories that ensure safe working conditions, environmental protection, sustainable livelihoods and financial support to empower and uplift the communities they work in.
Pact's Corporate Responsibility
Using only certified organic cotton, Pact benefits from important water savings since organic cotton requires 91% less water than conventional cotton, without the toxic chemicals as well.
They also offer the option to offset the carbon footprint associated with your shipment at checkout; and use 100% post-consumer recycled paperboard and cardboard boxes to ship all orders. Where they use Polybags in your shipment, the bags are made of biodegradable plastic, which you may be able to recycle at your local grocery store.
If you are looking to get rid of old clothes that are still intact, the company offers a clothing donation program in partnership with Give Back Box, where you can donate your gently used clothing (of any brand) using a pre-paid label.
With a name like Organic Basics, it’s no wonder they are on the list right? Well, this Danish company is much more than their name. They’ve put sustainability and durability at the center of their operations to make some of my favourite sustainable organic t-shirts and lots of other great essentials like underwear, circular denim, and swimwear. Their products are available for both men and women, in sizes ranging up to XL in women and XXL in men.
They also offer packs featuring underwear, swim sets or their Organic Cotton Mid-Weight Sweat-Hood pack containing a mid-weight sweat-hood and a pair of sweatpants (available for both women and men, going up to XXL in men's if you need a bigger size but with fewer colour options).
Organic Basics Materials and Fabrics
Organic Basics offers garments in organic cotton of course, and some are made of recycled materials, recycled wool, TENCEL™, and SilverTech.
Organic Basics Ethical Sourcing
Organic Basics ensures that it only works with suppliers that share their values from their raw material suppliers and warehouse to production partners and courier services. They minimize their environmental footprint as much as possible by using European factories and responsibly, ethically sourced materials to manufacture their products.
Organic Basics Corporate Responsibility
Together with One Carbon World, Organic Basics offsets its entire carbon emissions footprint making it carbon neutral. As part of their sustainability efforts, they’ve also created the Organic Basics Fund to support grassroots activists and organizations focused on addressing our planet’s environmental crises. They are both B Corp Certified and members of 1% For The Planet, even offering a low-impact version of their website.
With an understanding of the interconnectedness of all things, self-love, and love for the earth, the mothers and daughters who created Valani want to bring you ethically made, fun, and flirty fashion for women, with the smallest footprint possible. Their collection includes lots of lovely tops, bottoms, dresses and accessories that may be the perfect fit in your sustainable minimalist wardrobe.
Valani's Materials and Fabrics
To make their clothing Valani uses all-natural fabrics like hemp, TENCEL™, and banana fabric. And they only use low impact, OEKO-TEX® 100 certified dyes.
Valani's Ethical Sourcing
With a passion for building a better fashion industry, Valani ensures that all of their clothing is crafted with care from the plant to the factory, to you. Their production facility in Tamil Nadu, India is GOTS certified, adhering to stringent environmental and labour standards.
Tailors are also paid an hourly wage rather than by the piece to promote safety and quality. Their US-based team is also ensured fair wages and flexible hours.
Fabric scraps left over from production is used to fill toys, pillows or to make scrunchies; anything leftover is recycled.
Valani's Corporate Responsibility
For their packaging, Valani uses organic cotton labels, straw paper hand tags, recycled boxes and cards, hemp and jute twine, and recycled tissue paper for a less wasteful more ethical take on packaging. To minimize fabric waste, Valani also designs their patterns strategically to optimize efficiency which reduces their resource consumption and their environmental footprint.
Franc is a made in Canada brand founded by Brandy Mercredi, a veteran apparel designer and product developer who was frustrated with many of the standard practices in the fashion industry. Also sticklers for a great fit, we now get to enjoy Franc’s timeless designs including all the essentials you may need for your conscious minimalist wardrobe. Sizes are available from XS to 3XL.
Wear Franc's Materials and Fabrics
Franc uses an OEKO-TEX® 100 certified TENCEL™ Cotton Blend for all its garments which is dyed using OEKO-TEX® 100 non-toxic, low-impact, environmentally-friendly dyes. Their dyes are also Bluesign® certificated.
Wear Franc's Ethical Sourcing
From the fabric to the finished product, Franc garments are designed and ethically made entirely in Canada. The yarns used to knit their fabrics are spun exclusively for them by a certified (and rigorously vetted) TENCEL™ yarn supplier in Korea, where factory workers are paid at or above the Ontario minimum wage. They also use TENCEL™ fibers from Austria and cotton from the United States.
Wear Franc's Corporate Responsibility
Franc is entirely plastic-free. From their sturdy shipping bags made of 100% compostable materials to their marketing materials and hangtags printed on 100% recycled or FSC certified paper. The brand also offsets the carbon emissions generated from shopping orders by contributing to certified carbon offset projects.
Also featured as one of our favourite brands for eco-friendly tees, The Classic T-Shirt Company makes a great option for anyone looking for staple tees and affordable minimalist essentials. Founded by Paul and Olga Garibian, The Classic T-shirt Company came out of a desire to set an example for their daughter. Their selection includes options for both men and women, in several styles, up to 13 colours and in a range of sizes (from XS-XXL for women and from XS-XXXL for men).
The Classic T-shirt Company's Materials and Fabrics
The Classic T-Shirt Company’s garments are made of only 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and dyed using a premium dying process, ensuring that all chemicals used are azo-free and eco-friendly.
The Classic T-shirt Company's Ethical Sourcing
The cotton used to make their quality, ethical, luxury tees, are sourced from India and then sent to a spinning mill to be made into yarn. Once sourced, the yarn makes it’s way to a state-of-art, vertically integrated, family-owned partner factory in Los Angeles, California where workers are guaranteed fair compensation, reasonable hours and safe working conditions.
The Classic T-shirt Company's Corporate Responsibility
You will receive your chosen items in recycled, plastic-free packaging. The brand also pledges 1% of their equity, profits, and time to causes that matter to them including clean water, tree planting, and ocean cleanup efforts.
Founder Kayti O’Connell Carr set out to provide people everywhere with essentials that are clean from seed to skin, by prioritizing the health of the planet and its people. Their collection of non-toxic, natural and organic products includes lots of wonderful essentials perfect for your minimalist wardrobe. They also offer sets and a linen collection too making them one of the best minimalist women's clothing brands on our list.
Mate The Label's Materials and Fabrics
Mate the Label uses sustainable fabrics like organic cotton jersey, TENCEL™, linen, organic Terry, fleece and organic thermal; dyed with azo-free and formaldehyde-free dyes. All of the trims used in their products are now made from 100% organic cotton. They’ve also switched from plastic buttons to ones made out of natural pearwood.
Mate The Label's Ethical Sourcing
Mate the Label’s organic essentials are all sustainably made in Los Angeles. That is, all of their products are knitted, cut, sewn, and dyed in LA not too far from their offices.
They also ensure that their products are entirely non-toxic, including no pesticides, no microplastics, no formaldehyde, no carcinogens and no endocrine disruptors.
All of the cutting scraps from their factories are collected and incorporated into new MATE products using a mechanical fiber recycler, helping to reduce waste and their environmental impact as well.
Mate The Label's Corporate Responsibility
Mate the Label has eliminated all the plastic in their labels and packaging and has even developed MOVE by MATE to reduce the number of synthetic fibers typically found in activewear. They welcome your old MATE garments through the reMATE circularity program, giving them new life as other MATE products. The brand has also committed to doing more to promote diversity and inclusion, and take actionable steps in that direction.
I hope these great minimalist clothing brands will shorten your journey to the minimalist essentials of your dreams, all while helping you to reduce your environmental footprint. If you are striving for a minimalist wardrobe remember that versatility is key and have fun with it. There are lots of great ways to make the most of every item in your closet no matter the season.
Don't forget to check out second-hand options too, the principles remain the same but the benefits to our wallets and to our planet are even greater.
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