Let's face it: 2018 was ugly. And I'm not talking politics (though fashion often reflects culture). I'm talking about style. A brash kind of logomania raged loudly at the centre, many brands underwent rebranding and there were just too many trends to count—including chunky sneakers. Yes, last year's hit Balenciaga Triple S trainers spawned endless knockoffs, and the high street was wild for every kind of animal print (which was previously seen as a bit tacky). Chanel even started selling PVC bucket hats.
It was an overwhelming time, and while some chose to embrace it, others such as myself felt overstimulated by it all. Now, it feels as if a recovery period is due. Cue the minimalistic Instagram account @simplicitycity. The new simplicity movement is similar to normcore, but instead of dressing to avoid standing out, simplicity calls for minimalism with a twist. Think added chic details that make the look special or effortless pieces that speak for themselves. More importantly, it is the very opposite of ugly trends.
I spoke to Nicole Rice, the mind behind @simplicitycity, about what the movement means, why this aesthetic has gained so much popularity and how we can achieve it in our style. Keep scrolling to discover more about this trending look; then shop the simplest of essentials.
Rice describes simplicity as "timeless images, natural makeup, tomboyish silhouettes, elegance and comfort in one's skin." The ultimate inspiration? Carolyn Bessette, Tina Chow, Joan Didion, Jane Birkin, Sade, Sofia Coppola, Lauren Hutton, Joni Mitchell and characters in Eric Rohmer movies, according to Rice.
Take a scroll on Instagram and you'll see fashion's faves regramming the account often; It girls like Alyssa Coscarelli and Stella von Senger are just two of the account's loyal followers. There's something about the photos Rice finds that are so comforting. "I do think simple can be a reaction to the rise in ugly [trends]. Sometimes, we overcomplicate things for ourselves," she says. Rice also says that this aesthetic is relatable, no matter your own personal style: "When you look back decade after decade, what still looks fresh and timeless tend to be the more simple looks."
Her account rose to fame alongside the Kardashian-Jenner clan and the seemingly perfect (aka Facetuned) selfies they post. In contrast, Rice posts photos of people she thinks have beauty, character and imperfections. Though one could argue that the Kardashian popularity is waning, there's no doubt that @simplicitycity is only gaining followers. Other simple accounts to follow include @simplicityarchives, @momoochoo, @sculpting__in__time, and @white__sage and an account entirely dedicated to Carolyn Bessette's style.
Rice attributes some of the success of her account to how she sources her imagery. She looks for images from forgotten ad campaigns and editorials that haven't made their way online yet. "It feels more rewarding to discover photos in places outside of the internet, which can feel very repetitive and oversaturated at times," she says.
In the fashion industry, where there is so much homogenization, it's refreshing to find an aesthetic that transcends decades and still encourages originality. Rice cites brands like Lemaire, The Row, Totême, Trademark and Uniqlo U as examples of contemporary simplicity brands. If all of the ugly that came out of 2018 was a lot for you, take a deep breath… 2019 is looking a lot simpler.