Minimalism is the new black (white and grey).
Have you been to the stores lately? Checked out a fashion blog? Browsed Instagram? If you have participated in just one of these three things there is a good chance you might have been subtly slapped in the face by a lone cactus against a grey wall, a collection of perfectly hung white, grey and black t-shirts, and a fashionable twenty something in an urban setting wearing jeans, a black tee, a felt hat and layered fine jewellery. Minimalist dressing is in. Not that this is news for all. Anyone whose been watching the fashion trends would have to agree that rather than being a ‘hot of the press’ way to dress, it’s been commonplace for a good couple of years now. And, according to news from Mercedes-Benz fashion week Australia, catwalks are still splattered with no-fuss monochrome pallets for the season to come.
What’s good about Minimalist dressing?
Minimalist dressing is brilliant for those who live in small spaces, live highly structured lifestyles, are organised, and/or appear to know exactly who they are at all times. To put it bluntly, minimalists look like they have their shit sorted. They are the kind of people that you want to hang out with because you assume they will make and keep appointments and know exactly where to find the best coffee in town. They will also look impossibly chic while drinking it with their ‘just right’ layers of super fine jewellery. For those of us who are lucky enough to have our selves sorted enough to fit into this category, buying/owning minimal amounts of clothing and accessories (and all other things in life) is a great way to reduce our environmental impact as we require less virgin resources, reduced amount of living and storage space, reduce carbon miles associated with transport of new goods, and add less ‘stuff’ to landfill. Minimalist style gets a huge tick for sustainable living!
Simple simply isn’t everyones cup of tea.
They say that fashion is a reflection of the state of the World at any given time (you can check out a cool lesson plan I found on this and teach yourself about it). The Tents doco (trailer above) gives a really good reflection on how fashion and current affairs intersect, and it an interesting one to watch if you want to get your head around it (I think I saw it on Netflix). Given the paired-back austere minimalist looks that we are seeing all over social media and the web right now are looks that have been traditionally associated with wartimes and recessions one might think the whole planet is a little glum. However this movement toward simplicity, dubbed Normcore, is actually a celebration about ‘finding liberation in nothing special’. Which may well be a rebellion against, or a nod towards the gen Y ‘you are special’ narrative (do read this if you haven’t already but I will warn you that it’s a dream crusher, and I believe you are special no matter what it says). But I personally hypothesise that this new movement towards minimalist dressing has sustainability undercurrents. That we are subconsciously trying to be ‘world masters’ of our closets so that we look like we have our shit together, even if we are epically failing got-my-shit-toghetherness in other areas of our lives. If we can have one area of control on a planet where we are being bombarded with doomsday environmental messages that we might just feel a bit less stressed out. Perhaps the urge to closet purge and live that glamorous clutter free live we see on all 100k+ follower Instagram accounts is a reflection of a deep desire to have the will power to say no to frivolity and excess and yes to refined, mature, style? Some may try this and succeed, others (like myself) will fail.
I follow and admire the work of loads of brands (like Vege Threads pictured at top) and people who really have minimal chic down-pat. It would be a dream of mine to have a perfectly selected closet where everything matches and looks sophisticated. During my Wardrobe Workout I became obsessed with the closet curating website Into Mind (which is the first thing to pop up if you Google minimalist dressing) and assumed that I was on my way to wardrobe heaven. After attempting to streamline my basics, work out what my personal signature looks are, create perfectly curated capsule closets and work out season colour pallets, I realsied I suck at dressing to specific structure or guidelines. That some days I will have joined the ‘normcore’ moment, and others I will look like I rolled around in the ‘retro’ bin at a charity store. My closet is not photo worthy. It looks like the back of a bohemian camper van. And since watching the film Iris I’ve come to be totally OK with my maximalist dressing ways. Being a quite, introverted person, who loves to create, dressing is the one place where I can be as loud as I like and in turn this brings out my fun side. Times when I have removed the possibility of frivolity and joy from my closet and stuck to dressing in a minimalist (in colour selection and number of items) way from a capsule collection (stand our times have been Dressember and in the past working jewellery and stationary store retail). I’m not a maximalist in all areas of my life. Less is more when it comes to plastic packaging, newness (secondhand and long-time-loved-investment items is best), carbon intensive transport, resource consumption, waste, rudeness, and being unkind. But for now, I really don’t think I have my shit sorted enough to join the cool kids in their self-assured-style ways. Just fumbling along with life and learning along the way. I find that having a full closet means I can rotate more often and items last me forever, and that you can wash WAY less when you have more on rotation. And home laundering is more energy intensive than the production or transportation of fashion items. But realistically, these are pretty cruddy excuses to warrant a closet full of crazy and a desire to play dress ups each day. 🙂 I guess the moral of the story is don’t fret if you feel like magazine-esque minimalism seems unobtainable to you, there are lots of us out there living life the messy-full-closet way.
Some sidenotes: This post was the result of a discussion with my good friend Steph from The Inelegant Horse rider about normcore, and the realisation that I have so many potted plants that it takes me an hour to get them all outside to douse them with liquid fertiliser (only a third of them are in the photo above). I also want to point out that my photos for Instagram and blogging purposes hide the fact that my house is chaotic before photo akin to anything shown on any reality TV series with the words ‘renovation’ and ‘rescue’ in the title. That beautiful cacti on marble is actually a ice-cream mixer board covering a stained outdoor table, not a glamorous counter top. If you happen to live somewhere with a marble countertop you should go hug it just to show it you are grateful for it’s beauty (I take no responsibility for the weird looks you may get from family and housemates if you choose to participate in this) because the finer things in life should be appreciated, cared for, and celebrated. While your at it go hug your minimalist friends because they too should be celebrated for their willpower, structure, and precision. Be a hugging maximalist.
Do you dream of a minimalist wardrobe? Think otherwise about the origins of the minimalist dressing trend? Perhaps you need to tell us all about your marble countertops? All discussion is appreciated and encouraged!