Last updated 12/31/2019.
Nearly five years ago I introduced the idea of a 50 item year-round capsule wardrobe inspired by my travel light packing list series and since then I’ve posted a few different updates about how my wardrobe is evolving over the years. Today I’m sharing a very detailed updated version of my minimal closet in 2019.
I would consider my style to be effortless minimalism. I lean more monochromatic neutral with my color palette and expect all of my clothing to work hard for me. My closet isn’t one that I consider complete at any set moment in time. It is constantly evolving, a gentle ebb and flow that aims to ignore the constructs of trends or fast fashion. I choose items with intention and careful consideration before allowing an item to enter my wardrobe. There are certain questions I ask myself about an item before it enters or leaves. It must be something I need, fit immaculately, look good, be easy to care for, and likely be able to serve multiple types of outfits well. If you’ve even noticed, since I’ve taken the photos I’m using in this post I’ve culled a few of the items in them away.
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 Clean Silk Tie Neck Blouse
Size 0 in Black. This top is nice to wear with slacks or jeans depending on how dressed up you’d like to make it. I love the bow in the back, it makes me feel more elevated when I wear it.
- 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.
- 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
Winter is my favorite season and nothing beats snuggling up in something soft while the rain plays a tune outside. 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 will admit to having a thing for a nice black dress. I just love it as a color, it is so versatile and timeless. That said, all of my dresses are very different 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
- Emerson Fry Santiago Sundress
Size Small in Black. A recent addition, this dress is less versatile but has served a more casual look for me all summer. I even rode a horse while wearing it during my trip to Maui.
- 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.
- 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.
This is one area of my wardrobe that I feel very fulfilled. I feel like I have just enough to make any occasion work, and when I don’t have a separates outfit that works one of my dresses usually fits the bill. I do always play with the idea of having a black skirt but I have in the past and find that I don’t wear them often enough to justify having one.
- 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.
- 501 High-Rise Rolled Denim Shorts
Size 24 in Denim. These run large, so I’d suggest sizing down if you snag a pair. Another high-waisted favorite of mine, they go with virtually everything. These are no longer in stock, but a similar and more sustainable option is available: The Denim Short in Vintage Blue.
- 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.
- Jemma Faux Leather Leggings
Size Extra Small in Black. One of my very favorites for fall and winter seasons, these are the most flattering leggings I’ve ever come across. They hold you in all the right places while also not looking too tight. I love to wear them with a chunky sweater tunic or with a camisole and belted wrap coat. Emerson Fry offers a similar pair that are also vegan.
- Reformation Vienna Two-Piece
Size Small in Black, but I probably should have purchased XS. I love this set because it comes with both a black knit wrap skirt like I’ve been looking for, and a ribbed crop top. The top I might not end up keeping but I love the way the skirt fits.
My collection of jackets and coats has been at 5 for a few years now and rarely waivers from that number. The jackets I have all serve well in any kind of everyday scenario and I don’t see the number changing anytime soon. I recently added a blazer back into the mix and let go of a lightweight parka I’ve been hanging onto for years upon years. I have workout gear that can fill the need for it and rarely wear it anymore, so it’s moved on to a new home.
- Oversized Blazer
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.
- Single Breasted Trench Coat
Size Medium in Khaki. Old from Zara. A similar option is the Elettra Tie-Front Coat by Modern Citizen or the Kahlo Robe by Babaton. Both hang beautifully and offer a simple modern silhouette.
- 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.
If I had to pick an area of my wardrobe that I really adore the most, I think it would be shoes. I am always drawn to them and I’m not sure why. I feel very content with the shoes that I have now. 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.
- 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.
- Day Glove
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.
- Custom Nike Internationalist Shoes
Size 8.5, all black with a gum sole. I wanted something special so I custom designed these and love the vintage look of them. They’re understated in the best way.
- Boss Boot
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.
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 favoites below:
- Girlfriend Collective
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!
- Outdoor Voices
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.
I want to preface this section with this: I spend a lot, a lot of time at the pool or beach. Not just when I travel, but when I’m at home in California as well. We enjoy warm summers and my boys absolutely love to swim. 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.
- 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.
- 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. 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.
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.
Lastly, here are a few items that I’ve had my eye on, but have not yet purchased. Maybe I will someday, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll get lucky and someone special will buy it for me for the holidays, ha!
Overall, that brings my closet, excluding workout, lounge, undergarments, and accessories, to 56. Sure, there are some items that I could probably trim or items that are similar. Right now though, I’m happy with all of it and that matters more than any number.
What are your favorite items in your closet right now? What do you wish you could change?