Minimalist fashion: A Definitive Guide and How-To

August 30, 2020 5 min read

Minimalist fashion: A Definitive Guide and How-To

Minimalist fashion and clothing: chances are, if you have browsed through the fashion side of Pinterest anytime in the past few years, you have come across these words. It is usually accompanied by images of glamorous minimalist fashion bloggers in neutrals posing against some exotic locations. But is that all minimal fashion is? Clean lines and neutrals?

We take a dive into the rising minimalism trend and see how the usually extravagant world of fashion fits into it.

What is ‘minimalist’ fashion?

Minimalist fashion can be interpreted in two ways- having a minimal aesthetic or serving the purpose of the core value of minimalism. When people talk about minimalist outfits, they are usually talking about the former.

So, what is the difference? The minimal aesthetic is the one we talked about earlier. It consists of clean, straight silhouettes with not a lot of room for colours or embellishments. Forget about ruffles, tassels, or embroidery! It is a lot of black, white, grey, beige, navy, and other neutral hues. It borrows the aspect of ‘simplicity’ from the core value of minimalism and applies it to its colour palette. But, that is just about where it stops. You can have a minimal looking wardrobe without you ever living a minimalist life or using the principles of minimalism to curate your clothes. Or, you can have a wardrobe that is minimal both in terms of the aesthetic and the principles. It’s up to you!

On the other hand, applying minimalist principles to your style usually comes down to one simple thing: intentionality. You are not aiming for your closet to be a certain size, it is not about the number of clothes you own. It is about the quality of the clothes you own. Minimalist fashion, in the true practical sense, is having a wardrobe that fits your lifestyle. It is having a wardrobe composed of pieces you truly love, made of materials that will hopefully last you years. It is when you can open your closet and no matter what you pick to wear for the day, you feel your best.

How to attain a minimalist fashion as a woman?

  1. Start with the pieces you already have:
    Marie Kondo is a gem when it comes to decluttering and minimalism. Her steps can also be applied to curate a wardrobe only made of pieces that you truly love. For this step, simply gather all your clothes in one location. Include every fashion item you own in the pile: including socks, underwear, scarves, and everything else! Now, go through each item and ask yourself if it ‘sparks joy’ for you. If it does, keep the item. If not, thank the item for serving its purpose and keep it in the ‘donate’ pile. If you have an item that you like the look of but you know is uncomfortable, doesn’t fit right, is simply the wrong colour for you, or you know that you rarely ever wear, don’t hold on to it. Save that spot for something that will become your next favourite.

  2. Define your style:
    Now that you only have items that you truly love, wear, and will continue to wear, look at those pieces of clothing and accessories and see if a pattern emerges. Are most of them A-line? Boxy? Have a warm colour palette? Or perhaps a cool one? Looking at the pieces you adore and wear the most can help you understand your style better. Or perhaps it will make you realise that you are not overly fond of any item you own. You could do a little web-searching in that case and create a style all your own!

  3. Figure out an outfit formula:
    Anna Wintour. Karl Lagerfeld. Caroline de Maigret. Alongside being icons in the fashion world, they all have something in common: a signature style. We rarely ever see Anna without her oversized sunglasses, signature carré cut, and midi dresses or skirts. Caroline de Maigret goes for oversized blazers, bangs, and a perfectly tousled hairstyle. Karl’s sunglasses, low ponytail, white hair, and tailored suits have a legendary status of their own. After you define your style, figure out an outfit formula that works for you. It could be anything from collared shirts paired with skater skirts to boyfriend jeans paired with band t-shirts. Having this will ensure that everything you buy fits into this formulae and will be something you repeatedly wear.

  4. Use a wish list:
    Shopping is fun and don’t we know it! But going shopping without a properly thought-out list means impulse purchase; the reason why we have a sequin bodycon dress that we were convinced would look oh-so-cute but is currently shoved at the back of our closet somewhere. Skip that and create a wish list. But most importantly, stick to it!

  5. Buy only high-quality clothing:
    Don’t fall into the misconception that only expensive clothing is of high quality! Yes, most high-quality clothing is priced higher but, half the time, you are paying for the brand and not for the clothing itself. Look at the weave of the fabric to determine how it will hold up after multiple washes. Look at the stitching and seams to examine how well the garment was made and how long they will hold up with frequent use. The inner lining, the matching of patterns across seams, and the presence or absence of loose threads can all tell us how the item was made and if it will last long.

  6. The essentials:
    If there is anything that ties both the minimal aesthetic and the minimalistic principle together, it is the use of essentials...AKA - the basics. We also have a separate, more in-depth article about minimalist outfit tips. Basically, invest in a couple of basic pieces that can become the foundation of your wardrobe. Make sure that these pieces are ‘classics’: things that will never go out of style. This way, no matter what is trending in the fashion world, you will still have things you can wear that will be fashionable. Examples include a crisp white shirt, an oversized knit sweater, a good pair of jeans, a trench coat, a silk shirt, a little black dress, a blazer, and a sturdy pair of flats. These are the building blocks that you can work with to create a multitude of minimalist outfit ideas for a variety of events: from minimalist travel outfits to a minimalist part outfit. They also work great for all seasons, layer it up for a minimalist fall wardrobe and keep it to the bare minimum for a spring wardrobe.

  7. Layer, layer, layer:
    This brings us to our final tip: layering. Minimal does not have to mean boring or always sporting the same look! Layer up various items, textures, and colours to create a look that’s uniquely you. Use different accessories like scarves, hats, and arm sleeves to add a different flair. We have an amazing collection of fashionable arm sleeves that can instantly elevate your look. Don’t be afraid to experiment and make minimalism work for you!

And that concludes our guide to minimalist fashion and clothing, let us know if we missed anything!

Piaget Abbasi
Piaget Abbasi


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