Building a maintainable capsule wardrobe for men January 11, 2019

When it comes to clothing, I favor timeless, well-crafted pieces over the cheap thrills of fast fashion and whatever's in style. I enjoy looking good because it helps me feel good. Often I've found myself resentful of replacing functional clothing with new clothing only to impress others, but impressing others can be a functional pursuit if it improves feelings of self-confidence and self-worth.

Being that I'm a frugality and resourcefulness fanatic, the idea of buying more clothes is burdensome and frought with indecision. I've therefore sought to codify a series of pieces that are well-constructed, timeless, and easily purchased online so I can replace them without hassle.

A capsule wardrobe is a method of curating a wardrobe according to staple garments that can be mixed and matched to produce several different outfits. Mine currently consists of approximately:

  • 10 pairs boxer briefs
  • 10 pairs socks
  • 2 pairs jeans
  • 2 pairs joggers
  • 10 tees of different colors
  • 4 button-down shirts of different weights and colors
  • 2 sweatshirts of different colors

Out of these, I can build numerous different outfit combinations. Because there's a stocklist of clothing to have on-hand, it's easy to re-stock garments whose appearance has degraded.

I have a few favorite brands and pieces that I've settled on as my current favorites for re-stocking. My criteria for them is that they are durable, comfortable, and that I feel attractive wearing them.

Unbranded Brand Raw Selvedge Jeans

I've owned a couple pairs of Iron Heart jeans and have been impressed with their quality, but my last pair developed holes in the crotch within a year of purchasing. Because of this, I decided to try other options, since Iron Heart jeans can run almost $300.

I did some research, and I found exactly what I was looking for. The Unbranded Brand makes 14.5oz selvedge denim jeans with no branding or embellishments, at a third of the price of Iron Hearts. I love their no-frills attitude, focusing on craftsmanship over style.

Everlane Tees

After American Apparel shuttered all of its stores, I scoured the web for a decent source for basic t-shirts at a reasonable price. So far, I've settled on Everlane. They've got a pretty wide variety of colors and cuts available, and their clothing is ethically sourced with a transparent supply chain.

I'm not entirely impressed with their durability, but that might be more the result of me washing and drying the shirts on regular cycles and more often than is necessary.

Merrell Shoes

I'm on my third pair of Merrells and have continued to be impressed with their well-compromised mix durability, style, and comfort. I just bought a pair of their Annex Trak Lows and so far they've been fantastic.