MINIMALISM IN FASHION

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"Previous habits of disposable pieces and conspicuous consumption fell by the wayside – people wanted durable, quality items that were anonymous enough to be worn again and again, and versatile enough to work anywhere and everywhere" - Harriet Walker

Minimalism in fashion, not an easy concept to totally embrace at one go and neither is it a concept everyone is willing to follow. The typical fashion minimalist can dress in 30 items or less for 3 months ! YES, 3 months.Often associated with the term “ boring “. I personally find Minimalism in Fashion intriguing and very interesting. Even though I’m not minimalist when it comes to fashion. Some would love to refer to it as some type of trend , some as a movement, I’m one of the people who would describe it as a movement, a design movement.

THE ORIGIN AND ESSENCE OF MINIMALISM IN FASHION

Known for quality over quantity, A movement with great perks and one that can save you from becoming a clothes hoarding victim. Minimalism in fashion can help a great deal if you’re someone who finds themselves spending large sums of money on clothing unnecessarily, sometimes money you can’t afford to be splurging on clothes.

A movement that was partially birthed as a response of pressing economical issues globally earlier this century and as early as 1960. How ? Because of how it is a responsible way of consuming fashion hence saving money when you can’t afford to keep on spending and spending and spending. Like the title of Harriet Walkers book “ Less is More “. That’s literally how Minimalism is, the simplest pieces of fashion speaking volumes and behind them lies a complex creative process, but when viewed by someone from a distance it’s merely a “ white dress “ or a “ black t-shirt. The difference between minimalist clothing and most clothing pieces especially those made by high-end fashion designers is that minimalist clothing is timeless. Minimalism has no season.  As trends revolve over and over again, you can afford to stick to your wardrobe and look amazing without falling into another trend pattern. A wardrobe that won’t have to be changed every season because of a new fashion trend hence money is spent only on things you’ll always wear than things you buy because “ you’re in the moment “.

What do I mean by “ in the moment “ ? By that I mean for example that jacket or dress you’ll pick up in the store cause it’s trendy or merely attractive to the eye but when you actually try it on you find out that you don’t really like it. But because at first sight it was appealing and that is what’s currently trendy, you will convince yourself that somewhere somehow you will be able to rock that clothing item on a specific day and you’ll buy it, even though deep down you know you really don’t need it. What are the odds of you of wearing that item more than 3 times?

Did you know that the average human being only wears 20% of their wardrobe regularly or daily ? Where does that leave the other 80 %. That 80% is made up of all the clothes you bought when you were caught up in that scenario I described above. Also the clothes you bought simply because you thought you really have to get but without even realizing or asking yourself what’s the main motive/reason behind you buying those clothes. That 80% is gonna be neglected whilst you wear your favorite pair of jeans or your favorite dress (which are part of the 20%) over and over again. This happens because you bought those clothes ( the 20% ) because you truly wanted them and needed them. Without noticing , the special day you thought would come for the clothing items you bought after contemplating for a long time whilst in the store , will never come and those clothes will be of no use to you.

WHAT DOES IS IT MEAN AND TAKE TO BE A MINIMALIST IN FASHION ?

Choosing to become minimalist with your wardrobe and dressing means you will only purchase the items you intended to, set some strict rules for yourself and only buy items that specifically go with a color palette you would have to choose for yourself. It’s a wardrobe comprised of clothing that you love whole heartedly only and clothing that portrays your lifestyle and who you truly are, you true sense of style and fashion. The major transition from your regular closet is that a minimalist closet is traditionally one of very few clothing timeless pieces. Minimalist clothing is known to be versatile, can be worn over and over again at different occasions, high quality and durability.  You really don’t have to keep spending, you can use large sums of money developing your new minimalist wardrobe, which is cheaper over the long run because it’s forever. When you are a minimalist you will not have to worry about getting a new dress for that dinner party you have been invited to because minimalist designs serve almost all dress codes. The same dress you wore to the club will be suitable for that dinner party. Clothes in a minimalist closet are not rigid and accustomed to specific events/dress codes Minimalism in fashion is like a journey, of unlocking your personal style and taste, influenced and inspired by what you love and not what’s popping. Requiring much discipline and dedication, mastering minimalism will save you from becoming a clothes hoarding victim like I said earlier.

I’m sure most of us occasionally open up our closets trying to get an outfit for an event or to wear on a day out with friends, and even though the closet is evidently full, we tell ourselves that we don’t have anything to wear. That’s because normally we’re stuck in the “ spend spend spend trend trend trend cycle “ Therefore we are highly prone to decision fatigue and paradox of choice . This is mainly because naturally it is hard to make a decision when you are surrounded by several options . You become less confident in your choices because you will keep telling yourself ' what if i actually look way better in the pants i am neglecting'' , whilst in-fact the first choice you have actually made is evidently better than those pants making you indecisive. A minimalist approach would mean you could open your wardrobe each and every day seeing only items you love 100%, no matter what you decide to pick you will still get the same euphoria,confidence and happiness.

MINIMALIST DESIGNERS

Minimalist designers have their focal point being the shape, silhouettes and creative process of the clothing they make. Most minimalist designers have introduced 3D shaped clothing, asymmetrical and symmetrical designs and more. Quality and Shape are some of the things that are never sub-par in a minimalist design hence why the clothing is timeless. A historic example of this is Cristóbal Balenciaga's 1967 single-seam wedding dress design (see pictures below)

This dress portrays minimalism at its best, as simple as it looks, you would be shocked with how complicated the creative process was for Cristóbal. With zero accessories, no color contrast and a significant silhouette and the classic Darth-Vader looking hat,this dress remains a significant part in fashion history as you can see it is not the average and usual wedding dress women would choose. I've mentioned about how minimalist clothing is timeless, and this is proven by how in 2008, Nicolas Ghesquière, the designer of Balenciaga at that time, revisited the house’s archives and reintroduced the famous and traditional headpiece for the brand’s Spring 2008 collection. Four years later, at the label's Spring 2012 show, the once seen before hat was once again brought back to life by Ghesquière.

Look at the picture below, ( Jennifer Connolly for Balenciaga, Spring 2008 )

Another popular designer who had a minimalist approach with expertly-cut seperates is the retired legend and arguably king of the 90s fashion, one of my personal favorites, Helmut Lang. After he left the house, Designers Nicole and Michael Colvos drifted away from the minimalist approach in seasons to follow, but once again minimalism will and cannot die. In 2014 the minimalist heritage hit the Helmut Lang runway stronger than ever! Black and White being their color palette creating room for the collections pared down shapes and clean lines to stand out. They , the Colovos, amplified the effect by adding color to some pieces , such as hot pink and also subtle colors such as peach. Breaking the " boring " stereotype maximalists use to refer to minimalist clothing.

BECOMING MINIMALIST.

1. WARDROBE OVERHAUL

Take a moment and empty out your closet, every single thing in it. Divide these clothes into three main categories, yes, no and maybe . The yes category should be the clothes you’d wear with no doubt or hesitation no matter the occasion or day. The no pile should be those clothes which are close to brand new or even brand new but you look at them and ignore them , saving them for “ one day “ when in fact that day is not going to come because you’re actually not fond of the clothing item but you don’t want to be honest with yourself because of the guilt. The maybe category should be the clothes you will only consider wearing when they portray similarities to that of the yes category or if worn together with those in the yes category they suit your taste. The reason for this “ wardrobe overhaul “ is to discover what type of clothing you truly want, to discover your sense of style influenced by you and you only and not because it’s in the “ new arrivals “ section or because it was worn by your favorite celebrities.

2. TAKING NOTES , SETTING RULES

After the long process of wardrobe overhaul, examine and note down what you love most on the clothes that made it to the yes pile, take note of why those clothes made it to that pile. For example maybe all the pants in that pile are baggy and mostly made out of cargo material, the main color scheme of most of the clothes, the fitting and so forth. This information should be the foundation of your rules. Examine the no and maybe pile and take note of why those clothes landed in your closet in the first place, that way you know your weaknesses that result in impulsive buying and buying clothes you do not truly love. These rules should become stuck in your head by all means possible. Whenever you go shopping you will know exactly what you are looking for and leaving out loads of attractive clothes you come across will be easier because you will know that those clothes look really nice but do not qualify to be purchased according to your set of rules. Whenever you go shopping, write down what exactly you are going to buy, do not go and look for something to buy.

3. MINIMALISM DOES NOT HAVE TO BE BORING

If you coming from a huge wardrobe and being a maximalist and you are someone who shops all the time, there is a high chance you will feel like your closet has now become a uniform lol because the number of clothing items in your closet will reduce significantly, you will have to stay loyal to very few colors and mostly zero prints. That is why minimalism isn't for everyone because done the wrong way it will bring your fits to laziness and become 'meh' and it is easy to fall into that trap. A few tips to avoid falling into that trap are

  • Mix materials, experiment with unusual silhouettes -  for example adding new features to enhance a silhouette such as t-shirt, using different material, hence it will look different from the norm, for example changing sleeves to the popular oversize street-wear look or going for a polo-neck silhouette but with shirt material 
  • Break the rules a little, just a little - apply some hints of '' dont's '' such as prints, you can add an accessory with catchy print once in a while
  • Use major contrast - no, this does NOT mean color blocking, due to having to stick to specific color schemes, use it to your advantage by creating well-placed contrast.
  • Play with proportions - this makes things very interesting by mixing baggy with slim fitting clothing and sleek clothing infused with oversized garments and so forth
  • Stray away from the monochromatic trait - stick to a more neutral color palette, this makes you feel less bored due to the ability to venture into new color schemes than sticking to black and white your whole life.
  • Finally, Mix classic with modern

For those who would like to experiment and venture into minimalism, i would advise you to become best friends with applications and platforms such as Pinterest, to get a rough idea and examples of minimalist outfits. If you are really serious, purchase the book ' Less is More '' by Harriet Walker, it will help you understand minimalism more and in depth. The best place to start with if you wanna become minimalist with your fashion is PROJECT 333. Project 333 is the minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months.

Personally i do not think i will experiment with minimalism just yet due to my fashion sense and preferred designers when it come to high-end street-wear which is what i wear mostly. Let the choice to explore minimalism come from your own desire, do not do it to fit in because it will bore you and you will hate your wardrobe.

Thank you for reading 

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