Minimalist Fashion: The Difference Between Simple and Boring Style

minimalist

In the past year, I have noticed myself not grabbing for a lot of accessories. I have plenty of fun necklaces but just haven’t felt inclined to over-accessorize. Instead, I have chosen simpler pieces to accessorize my looks.

I have never considered myself much of an ornate or fussy person. I don’t love a lot of prints, prefer modern jewelry, and cleaner lines. Recently, my desire for a more minimalist style has grown even stronger. Looking at the current trends, I am realizing that my feelings about my own style have matched the current landscape of what is in the stores.

I’m not surprised that fashion has turned more minimalist in the past year or so. No matter where you stand politically, I think you would agree, we’re in the middle of a lot of turmoil and confusion. Therefore it makes sense many of people are craving things in our immediate surroundings, things that we can control, that are cleaner and less complicated, even in what we wear.

Minimalist Fashion: The Difference Between Simple and Boring Style

The biggest distinction to know about minimalist style is it doesn’t mean boring. In fact, pulling off a minimalist look that looks finished and polished takes some thought. A minimalist look has just as much design to it as a more complicated look has. To give you some guidance, I have put together five minimalist looks along with some tips on how to achieve it.

Outfit #1

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If I am going to create minimalist outfits, I have to include the “grandmother of minimalism,” Eileen Fisher. This is the first tip, to look to brands whose aesthetic matches a minimalist look. Be sure to check out my list of brands at the end of this post. Her pieces are unfussy, modern, clean and don’t have details like ruffles or trims.

I styled this jumpsuit from Eileen Fisher with one of her cardigans. I finished the look with black and white sandals from Ugg, a modern red tote from Everlane and black shape necklace from Cos.

modern style

Minimalist style does not mean committing exclusively to black nor does it mean you can’t wear prints. Typically, minimalist prints are more abstract and uncomplicated instead of being literal and fussy. You don’t see many minimalists wearing ditsy patterns.

I chose these two pieces from Cos, another brand that has a more minimalist aesthetic. This top captures the type of print I am referring to. I styled it with these navy wide-leg cropped pants. I finished the outfit with a pair of orange sandals from Eileen Fisher and mint wristlet from Dagne Dover. For jewelry, I selected these square hoops from Gorjana. It’s not untypical for minimalist jewelry style to do a modern take on something more classic and instead of classic round hoops, the square shape achieves the same versatility while being more modern.

Outfit #3

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Modern, functional design is another feature of minimalist style. Using this dress from Cos, for example, the difference between simple and boring is better explained. Minimalism is not necessarily a case of taking a simple sheath dress and not accessorizing it, it’s taking a simple design and putting details on it that looks more modern than overly ornate. Details like this often take away the need to add a lot of accessories. I finished this dress with chartreuse slides and a small olive crossbody from Cos and simple white studs.

Outfit #4

modern style

The creation of a minimalist look does not mean shopping exclusively at brands with this aesthetic and it doesn’t mean that if your style starts to sway more towards this clean look you have to redo your entire closet. Like me, you just might find yourself putting outfits from what you already own together that look cleaner and less complicated.

I wouldn’t call Akris Punto a minimalist brand, though it is very modern, however, this cardigan captures the look. It’s interesting yet uncomplicated and makes it easy to keep the rest of the look relatively simple. I styled it with a black t-shirt from Everlane, white jeans from Citizens of Humanity, modern shaped bag from Demellier, Jenni Kayne mules in cognac, and modern necklace from Nordstrom.

Outfit #5

modern style

This black skirt from Cos is like the navy dress in outfit #3. The details are modern which gives it its minimalist look. I styled it simply with a sleeveless shell from Everlane, blush crossbody from J. Crew and slides from Caslon.

Minimalist brands to look at

Looking for brands to shop? Here are some brands that have a minimalist aesthetic or carry pieces that will work.

Am I missing any? Let me know in the comments below!

Shop for Minimalist pieces

Love the minimalist look? Shop for more pieces to create this modern style.