One thing I probably don’t talk about enough on this website is wardrobe essentials. You can’t build a fully functioning wardrobe on flashy pieces alone, you need basic pieces like white t-shirts and khaki chinos to help balance things out. Sometimes, you don’t want to think too hard about an outfit and just want to throw something on. Other times, especially if you have to go to work or an interview, basics are your only option. Whatever your reason for wearing them, these unsung heroes of your clothing collection must be dependable workhorses that can stand the test of time, thus saving you money in the long term because you won’t have to replace them as often.
I should make a slight distinction here between what is considered minimalist and what is considered basic. There are some brands who have been defined by their interpretations of minimalism, like Acne Studios, Our Legacy, and AMI, while there are others that are built on providing quality basics, like Everlane, Basic Rights, and Mack Weldon. Though these are two different approaches to fashion, the mentalities often cross paths and get conflated. Some minimalist brands will therefore offer basic clothing as well, which is why some of those fashion forward labels made it to this list. Nonetheless, all the below brands offer wardrobe basics at a price point that won’t break the bank. Feel free to take your pick.
Everlane broke the mold when it comes to building a brand around transparent business practices and sustainability.
Jomers has developed quite the following in menswear circles for their extremely inexpensive chinos of decent quality. It used to be difficult to buy anything on their site because people would nab them as soon as they dropped, but it seems they’ve ramped up production a bit since those days.
Buck Mason began their brand with perfecting the humble t-shirt and have since moved on to every other article of clothing. Their leather jackets are particularly nice.
Mack Weldon started with the most basic of basics–underwear and socks–and created some of the best with their own proprietary fabric. They have since expanded that mentality of creating the best basics to every other kind of garment you would need.
Per their website, Basic Rights was launched in 2016 by guitarist Freddie Cowan to make staples with an attention to detail.
This brand was built on the mentality that you don’t have to sacrifice sustainability for quality, Taylor Stitch ensures that your purchase won’t weigh on your conscience.
NN07 is brand based in Copenhagen that offers quality wardrobe staples. Their name stands for “No Nationality” lending to the universal transience of their style.
Originally founded as purveyor of men’s suits, this minimalist label has branched out quite a bit since 1971, resulting in several fashion awards over the years.
Well this is awkward. Established in 2002, Vince is a great brand to turn to for casual basics. But the company has had a tumultuous time since they went public in 2013. As recently as 2017, staff were doubtful that the label would survive much longer. Best to buy a few pieces now while you can!
Originally envisioned as a fashion boutique, this brand out of Copenhagen decided to begin offering their own low-priced, basic clothing alongside the other brands that they carry.
I can’t find much information on this brand which leads me to believe it’s pretty new. Their website doesn’t have a lot for sale in the way of menswear, but End has much more available. Be sure to keep this one on your radar.
If you like your basics with a slightly relaxed inflection, you should give this LA brand a look.
A minimalist heritage brand, this one hails from Britain and is particularly well-known for its range of boxer shorts, T-shirts and polo shirts. They use long staple Pima cotton which reduces pilling and increases durability.
I only just learned about this brand today. I’m having trouble finding much information on them, but I have to admit that their garments look exquisite. Their tees are made of long staple Peruvian cotton, so it’s worth a shot for the quality.
This French label is one of the OGs of minimalism, having been founded in 1987, and they are particularly well-respected for their denim jeans.
Theory is more upscale than the rest of the brands listed here, but the materials and quality are among the best.
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