What Is Minimalist Fashion? A Detailed Fashion Guide

by Gina Zubair / Aug 24, 2021

After this dramatic year, are you itching to get outside or try a closet cleanse? The past months have brought numerous lifestyle changes, sometimes ones that were dictated from beyond our control, or bursts of energy in reshaping our everyday routine. There is a better alternative to waves of unsatisfying temporary change, and it’s knocking right at your door: minimalist fashion.

What is minimalist fashion?

Minimalist fashion is the practice of freeing yourself of excess until you only have the pieces of clothing that bring you joy (to paraphrase tidying guru Marie Kondo). The minimalist wardrobe should not only fit you but also make you feel refreshed. Grounded in the idea that less is more, minimalist fashion sits in the locus that enables you to be assertive in center stage, while opting for sustainable choices to combat fast fashion.

In the 1960s in New York, artists Agnes Martin and Donald Judd paved the way for the minimalism movement. Its momentum carried forward into the creative worlds of architecture, design, and eventually fashion. Under the influence of Japanese designers Yohi Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo in the 80s, minimalist fashion spread globally, championed by all-black looks and oversized silhouettes. In the 90s, the timeless and simplistic aesthetic drew upon the purity of geometric lines and balance—themes of Japanese concepts of beauty. In Europe, Jil Sander and Helmut Lang experimented with innovative materials, and in the US, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan crafted the simple minimalist style.

Why have minimalist fashion?

Discover Your Style

Do you often face a roadblock finding clothes in your wardrobe that you actually want to wear? The cleanse of adopting minimalist fashion opens the door to your personal style. The underlying goal is to only wear your favorites! To train your eye for mixing and matching, shift your mental framework to consider composite outfits, instead of individual components. Minimalist style also helps you bypass the exhaustion of fashion trends and allows you to hone in on items of clothing that make you feel good. However, your preferences in clothing do not have to remain rigid—minimalism is well-aligned for delightful seasonal capsule wardrobes.

Shop Deliberately: Reduce Waste and Save Money

Mindfulness marks minimalism: When will I use this? How does this work with my current wardrobe? Are these shoes comfortable enough for my lifestyle? Minimalist fashion drifts far away from fast fashion, keeping cost-per-wear low. For example, the minimalist individual will invest in timeless pieces over random or subpar items. Some people that practice minimalist fashion maintain a revolving wishlist to chart out their savings and reflection. On the whole, minimalism can significantly improve your finances.

How to start your minimalist wardrobe

Here are a few tips for your first foray into wardrobe reform:

Start by exploring your existing wardrobe. Donate the items you do not wear often and identify the stylistic elements you gravitate towards. Know that there is no magic number or amount of clothes you must downsize to; the primary guideline is to expel excess. Certain brands center on fully-minimalist clothing. Some of our favorites are Armedangels and Mila.Vert.

Neutral colors can be a helpful jumping-off point. The black-and-white combo is eternally chic. However, this is not to say that you must feel stuck with your status quo; aim to venture slightly out of your comfort zone every now and then. Educate yourself on how to combine shapes and layer garments. Try to keep prints to a minimum and instead focus on mixing textures. 

Fearlessly experiment with color palettes. Your outfits do not need to be monochrome or only neutral. A pop of color can make a whole outfit. Apply color theory correctly. Here are a couple resources for styling color. Attention to detail can go a long way, and clothing does not have to be the final boundary—play with colors and versatile components. SENREVE has an extensive range of bags with vibrant seasonal favorites and classic color options from forest and merlot to spearmint, to complete your look.

How to wear the minimalist style

Here are our recommendations for the core of a minimalist outfit:

Straight Jeans


Both comfortable and professional, straight jeans are highly versatile and form a balanced silhouette. Straight jeans are a classic choice for an outing in the morning or an evening dinner with friends. To switch it up, try a pair of black jeans!

White shirt


From collared to milkmaid blouses, there are limitless variations. Feel free to tie a knot near the hem, highlight sophisticated details for a modern feel, or opt for more rigid or fitted materials.

Turtleneck


A staple for layering, turtlenecks pair well with wide leg trousers for a contrast of volumes. A billowy sweater turtleneck is perfect with some statement boots and streamlined jeans. Otherwise, layer a dress over the turtleneck for more coverage.

Slip Dress

This iconic item from the 90s is effortlessly sleek. Pair your slip dress with heels for elegance or platform sneakers for a casual look. Further enhance your silhouette with a bias cut. 

Jumpsuit


Jumpsuits require minimal effort, with your undivided attention pivoted to selecting the perfect shoes. Wear sneakers for a more relaxed fit, or sandals for a formal summery feel.

High Quality Bag


SENREVE excels as a bag made for the modern woman with versatility and functionality. High quality bags can make a statement, complementing a fabulous outfit with an elegant design. SENREVE offers a variety of sizes and styles—including work bags, belt bags, totes and more—to accommodate any minimalist wardrobe.

Blazer


While traditionally a black structural piece, in reality, blazers are highly flexible. Choose a navy color or autumn plaid for a new look, or keep the jacket unbuttoned, with rolled up sleeves for a spring occasion.

Trench Coat


The trench coat characterizes minimalist style with a tinge of masculinity. Swap the lightweight jacket for a wool version in the winter. Complement the neutral tone with a striking autumn-colored blouse!

Accessories


Minimal style translates to a balanced proportion of garments and accessories. No matter the season, SENREVE offers a variety of options from small leather goods, to the city scarf or Raffia hats. Whether it be a statement strap, reversible belt, mask or jewelry, accessories stun as the final touch to elevate your outfit.

In summary, minimalist fashion is the ideal direction to pivot to; feel more fulfilled all year round. Have a blast blending traditional simplicity with your new favorite accessories, and sidestep the exasperation at clothes you do not want to wear. Practice sustainability and lean into your own refining fashion process—delve into colors and textures as you please. We hope you enjoy the ride!