This Is How the Coolest Minimalists Are Dressing Now

Now more than ever, the fashion industry is defined by binaries. On the one hand, you have the throw-everything-at-it maximalists, many of whom only exist on our Instagram feeds or are immortalised on the pavements of fashion week. This look is spearheaded by the likes of Alessandro Michele at Gucci and Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga. On the other hand, you have a fashion tribe who are rejecting the noise and clamour of clashing prints and accessory overload and instead embracing a more contemplative approach to dressing. Yes, this is minimalism, but perhaps not as you know it. 

An aesthetic that has simmered beneath the cultural surface for decades, minimalism has occasionally bubbled up and made its presence felt, but it never really disappeared entirely. It has presented itself in a variety of guises. Think Coco Chanel's sporty separates, Calvin Klein's '90s greyscale and Phoebe Philo's austere post-financial-crash stylings at Celine. It's one of the few fashion movements that has transcended multiple generations. 

Minimalist fashion: Jil Sander autumn/winter 2021

Photo:

Courtesy of Jil Sander

Jil Sander A/W 21

Over the last few seasons, it has become clear that simplicity is having another moment in the spotlight, in no small part thanks to the designs of cult brands such as The Row, Jil Sander, Lemaire and Gabriela Hearst, who are fronting minimalism 2.0. Add to this the fact that shoppers are wanting to invest in pieces that last for budgetary, ethical, and sustainable purposes, and you've got the perfect storm for purists. 

"As we approach each season, we look to our six muses: the fashion pioneer, the warrior, the free spirit, the curator, the romantic and the purist," explains Natalie Kingham, a fashion consultant and the former buying director at MatchesFashion. "The Purist opts for a minimalist style with a sleek, functional edge, and this season, we noticed a new mood for clean, monochromatic elegance on the runway. This back-to-basics approach to wardrobing reinforces the pieces that matter—the clean, modern staple items that become the building blocks for the ultimate wardrobe."

Minimalist fashion: Lemaire autumn/winter 2021

Photo:

Courtesy of Lemaire

Lemaire A/W 21 

This emphasis on creating an effective and long-lasting backbone of basics in your wardrobe was not, perhaps, so prevalent in previous manifestations of minimalism. With sustainability becoming an increasingly pressing consideration, people are wanting pieces that will stand the test of time but also feel versatile enough to work in multiple settings. Also, when it comes to design, 2021's contribution to the minimalist cause is unlike the sombre simplicity of the '90s or the sharp-edged appeal of Philo's first Celine collection. (Although, the news has now finally come that Philo will indeed be making a return soon with a namesake label.) We might want longevity from our clothes, but we also want personality.

Minimalism now comes in many forms, including tonal outfits, draped silk dresses, voluminous tulle creations, classic tops and basic blazers. This is good news, as it means we can all inject a little chic minimalism into our lives, even if we haven't considered it before. 

Minimalist fashion: Gabriela Hearst autumn/winter 2021

Photo:

Courtesy of Gabriela Hearst

Gabriela Hearst A/W 21

Need a little more inspiration? Keep scrolling to see the minimalist-loving fashion people acting as our muses this year. You can also shop the key pieces in their wardrobes. 

1. THE LOOSE-FITTING SUIT

Minimalist fashion: the loose-fitting suit

Photo:

@sylviemus_

Of course, this blazer looks beautiful on its own, but the matching trousers might make for a sound investment, too. 

2. A SIMPLE-BUT-FUN TOP

3. GOLD EARRINGS

Minimalist fashion: gold earrings

Photo:

@sylviemus_

These will detract from any bad hair day you should experience. 

4. A WHITE SHIRT

Minimalist fashion: a white shirt

Photo:

@sylviemus_

A staple that should be in every well-rounded wardrobe. 

5. THE STRAIGHT-LEG JEANS

Minimalist fashion: Straight leg jeans

Photo:

@mon.agar

Agolde always creates perfect straight-leg jeans. On a budget? Check out Arket

6. THE SMART TROUSERS

You’ll come to rely on these just as much as your jeans. 

7. THE RACER-FRONT VEST

Minimalist fashion: knitted vest

Photo:

@abimarvel

The perfect layering piece for the winter months (and beyond). 

8. THE OVERSIZED WHITE DRESS

Style this dress over leather trousers or leggings for a cold-weather spin. 

9. A STRIPED JUMPER

Minimalist fashion: striped shirt

Photo:

@greceghanem

Striped jumpers are one of the season’s hottest buys. 

10. THE SPLIT-HEM LEGGINGS

Minimalist fashion: shorts co-ords

Photo:

@savina_chai

The small slit detail makes any legging feel 10 times more fashion. 

11. SIMPLE SHADES

Minimalist fashion: Shades

Photo:

@anouckyve

12. A KNIT DRESS

Minimalist fashion: knit dress

Photo:

@deborarosa

This dress will look so stylish with knee-high boots. 

13. THE BASIC BLACK BAG

14. THE COOL JUMPSUIT

Minimalist fashion: Utility jumpsuit

Photo:

@tiffanyhsu

Layer a camel roll-neck under this jumpsuit for a cosy extra layer. 

15. THE OVERSIZED BLACK BLAZER

The ideal throw-on; wear it with everything from jeans to slip skirts. 

16. KNEE-HIGH BOOTS

Minimalist fashion: Knee high boots

Photo:

@tamaramory

Knee-high boots in classic colours with squared-off toes are the minimalist footwear of choice right now. 

Next up, the biggest autumn/winter 2021 fashion trends to know.

This piece was published at an earlier date and has since been updated. 

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