Capsule Wardrobe

A Minimalist Fashion Brand Directory

09.11.17

A Minimalist Fashion Brand Directory. Where to turn to and what to turn to them for.

Shopping for shopping’s sake and buying clothes we just don’t need is the easiest way to end up with an overflowing wardrobe that makes us feel like we’ve nothing to wear. That being said, we all need clothes and we want to feel good in them. Minimalist fashion brands are the answer to this dilemma.

Shifting our focus to filling our wardrobes with simple, timeless items that are ideally sustainable too is the best way to go. Knowing where to buy quality clothes for a capsule wardrobe (so we’re talking about clothes that won’t go out of style and clothes that will last more than one wash) is something that caused me endless googling frustration when I started building my capsule wardrobe.

These are the minimalist fashion brands I turn to and what I turn to them for. This is the list I wish someone had given me two years ago when I set out to build my capsule wardrobe.

& Other Stories – The Scandinavian roots of this brand shine through. The designs are simple but sometimes come with an edge and there’s plenty of colour to choose from. You’ll find everything from lingerie to stationary in one place, but I particularly love them for the quality materials they use. Their prices are very fair too.

APC – The first of many French brands in this directory. It’s no secret that I’m French style obsessed and if you hop over to the APC website you’ll get an idea of why. You can rely on APC for simple timeless pieces that will last season after season. Everything they do, they do well.

Citizens of Humanity – An LA denim brand and denim is what they do best. Knowing which denim styles suit you can be life changing, for me the most flattering jeans are high waisted skinny jeans because I’m 5ft 2. Citizens cater to all shapes and sizes because they make such a wide variety of styles. I’ve had my pair for almost 2 years now and they still fit the same as the day I bought them.

Cos – I think of this brand as the definition of Scandi cool. Everything has an effortless laid-back feel to it. I love everything they do but I have to be selective when it comes to what I personally buy, because a lot of the clothes are oversized. It’s all part of the laid-back comfort but still stylish ethos, which is at the heart of the brand. Cos can be relied on for good quality minimalist basics like tees and sweaters. They make great accessories too.

Everlane – A really ethical company who are 100% transparent about their pricing and profit margins. Like Madewell, I wish they were more available in the UK. They will ship here, but it comes at a cost. They pride themselves on quality modern basics and this is what you can rely on them for. Like Cos, I love everything they do.

Equipment – If you’re into shirts, this is the place for you. Their designs are menswear inspired so everything is simple and easy to wear. I love the fact they do slimline shirts for those of us who prefer a more tailored fit. Think timeless, chic and minimal. Equipment clothes aren’t the cheapest, but what I’ve bought from there has lasted very well.

H&M – This is the most accessible brand on the list, but reliable for so many pieces. It’s Swedish origins still show despite how big the brand is now. We can rely on H&M for clean and simple designs when the budget is small. It’s also a great place to get those seasonal updates for your capsule wardrobe due to the items being low cost.

J Brand – I own two pairs of jeans and my favourite are J Brand. They do a petite range and crops, which is like gold dust for the likes of me. Their denim is expensive, but I’d feel naked without a good pair of jeans in my wardrobe. So many jeans have let me down in the past having lost their shape after a few wears, but not these. Denim is what they do best.

J Crew – I’m forever searching for that perfect basic tee. I did a lot of testing recently, and the J Crew supima tee came out on top. I loved the shape, the length and the 100% cotton material they use. As a brand, I love the simplicity of their clothes and their petite range scores bonus points.

Kurt Geiger – I don’t wear leather. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 10 years old and I haven’t worn leather as part of my wardrobe since watching a PETA video about the leather industry. I head to Kurt Geiger for really good quality imitation leather shoes. Their Miss KG range is usually entirely synthetic without looking cheap.

Madewell – I wish this brand was more available in the UK but you can still get their products devlivered from their online store. You can usually find pieces on Net-a-Porter and The Outnet too. They make sturdy cotton basics that will take plenty of washes. Everything they make is a minimalist’s dream and easy on the pocket too. They sell everything from tees to shoes and bags.

Matt and Nat – Quality vegan shoes and bags are hard to come by, trust me when I say I’ve looked. Matt and Nat is one of those brands that you’ll keep going back to once you’ve found them. Their products are all sustainable and vegan but the colours and clean lines are much more luxurious than you’d expect from a typical vegan brand.

Splendid – An LA brand that pride themselves in quality cotton. The brand started in the quest for the perfect t shirt and this is what we can rely on them for. For me, they’re the kings of cotton and the quality shows in their product. I love their basic tees and long sleeve tops for colder weather. This is another brand stocked by Net-a-Porter and The Outnet.

Stella McCartney – Expensive? Yes. Quality? Yes! This is the lady who on her Desert Island discs (highly recommend), said she wants to see someone wearing a bag she designed 10 years ago. Slow fashion advocates in the fashion industry are sadly few and far between. She trained in tailoring on Savile Row and it shows in her designs. As a petite, anything tailored is my best friend. I find myself turning to her for luxury items like coats, trousers, blazers and accessories.

Sandro – You’ll never get too far in Paris without spying a Sandro and there’s a good reason – their clothes are beautiful. This is the kind of store I love to go into just to run my fingers over the clothes and feel my way through the rails. I love their coats and dresses in particular.

Sezanne – An online only Parisian brand who offer free returns, need I say more? Their whole ethos is to dress us in the perfect cut and generally help us look more Parisian. Their collections can sell out quickly and for good reason. Their site can be a bit tricky to navigate, but I love their denim and timeless dresses.

Zara – For me, this is the best the high street has to offer when it comes to minimalist style. I love their coats, tops and dresses in particular. This is a great place to look for those seasonal updates for your capsule wardrobe.

I’m always on the lookout for new minimalist fashion brands and I plan to keep this directory updated for everyone. If you have some recommendations, let me know in the comments below.

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A Minimalist Fashion Brand Directory. These are the brands I turn to for my capsule wardrobe and what I turn to them for.

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14 comments on “A Minimalist Fashion Brand Directory”

  1. This is so informative Jessica thank you for all your hard work, it’s a mindfield out there on the net, especially for us over 40 types 😉 And as my minimal wardrobe is ongoing it’s great to know where to look now, I purchased a long sleeve top from net a porter that you recommended, I’m so pleased with it looks so stylish and timeless, feels lovely , I’m Getting there slowly but surely 😊😘

  2. Arket, as a sister for H&M, Cos and & Other Stories, is really interesting. It’s just launched and groups items by colour in store, and by colour, material, etc on the website. The pricing seems a bit erratic but the quality looks good.

  3. I love Banana Republic! For a high street brand, I find that their clothes are rather well made and they last! Banana Republic and Zara rule my closet although I am starting to notice that the quality of Zara clothes is slowly deteriorating.

  4. I’m vegetarian and I’ve stopped buying leather items too. I’ve been looking for a new black bag to replace my very tatty five year old bag and I’d never heard of Matt and Nat before. Their bags look beautiful.

    I’ve been trying to live more simply for a few years now and your blog has given me the push I need to stop mindlessly consuming and start my Etsy art shop. I just wanted to say thank you. You’re changing lives Jessica. x

    1. So great to hear from a like-minded person Hannah. Glad I could point you in the right direction for a decent bag. It’s so difficult when you don’t wear leather, but still want to have quality items that will last. Cheering you on with your Etsy shop! x

  5. Love the idea of a minimal designer directory, haven’t seen this about before and it’s refreshing to see it from a honest perspective rather than one that people have been told to mention. I know these are where you actually buy from and talk about through experience 🙂

  6. Sorry but HM is not French but a Swedish company. They’re also very unsustainable, just like Zara. & Other Stories. I love your blog but a bit disappointed that you’re recommending fast fashion brands. I’d add The Reformation to this list, they’re top notch when it comes to great style *and* sustainability! 🙂 xx

    1. Hi Nadja. I never knew that about H&M, I’ll be sure to correct it. I want to be myself on here, which takes courage, and to do that I have to be honest. These are genuinely the stores I turn to. If that disappoints you, then perhaps my blog isn’t for you. I had a look at The Reformation and it looks like a great brand.

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