While Minimalist Style as an aesthetic isn’t entirely detached from the capsule wardrobe concept, it is also a stand-alone look worthy of a deeper dive.
At its core, Minimalist Style is simple and understated, valuing practicality and functionality above trendiness.
Before Minimalist Style was the direct response to the fast fashion industry that we have today, it served other historical or ideological purposes.
Zen Buddhism’s influence on fashion in the East (especially Wabi culture in Japan) was considered minimalist and naturalistic compared to the perfected and ornate frills of Western fashion. That is until the 1920’s, when Coco Chanel’s radical embrace of minimalism centered pieces that didn’t require a corset to wear, and were mainly made of jersey–which at that time, was largely reserved for men’s undergarments. Most famously, she is credited with bringing the sleek ‘all black’ look into popular culture at the time.
Today, Minimalist Style is all about avoiding the flash and clutter of modern fast fashion. Simple solids, basic neutrals, and timeless cuts that won’t go out of style–as well as the perceived ease and elegance of the individual wearer–are hallmarks of Minimalist Style (think: Everlane, Uniqlo or KOTN).
Black basic turtlenecks, or versatile quality denim are examples of minimalist pieces (dare I say, Steve Jobs was an iconic minimalist). They can be dressed up or dressed down to suit the occasion, and they serve multiple functions (i.e. you can layer a turtleneck under a sweater or dress to winterize the look).
A long, flowing neutral linen set or a knit midi-dress are examples of minimalist outfits–because they are neutral, each piece can also be paired with other clothing items, reinforcing the look’s versatility.
Like the minimalist, natural aesthetic inspiration, fabrics of Minimalistic Style tend to be cotton, linens and other natural materials–synthetics aren’t sustainable, nor as they are timeless-looking.
Millennials and Gen Z have shed new light on normcore Minimalist Style, which rejects the notion that if you keep up with trends, you are somehow more virtuous. Normcore as a style is a child of Minimalist Style and the iconic blandness reminiscent of a ‘90s outdoorsy dad (think: Los Angeles Apparel).
And that’s the thing: Minimalist does not have to mean boring. Even if the hipster normcore aesthetic isn’t your thing, your unique vision of minimalist style can be edgy, or classic or glam. Remember: you can be stylishly trend-adverse.