Don’t we just love to put labels on people: he’s a silver fox, she’s so alternative. Or regarding interior design themes: Scandi, shabby-chic, industrial, country, classic. It’s stereotyping but can also be a useful shortcut to describe someone or something.
So, what about fashion? Any labels there? Well, yes, yes, and yes again! In fact, so many it makes your head spin. Some are easy to figure out – others just bewildering.
It started in the sixties when Mary Quant brought in the ‘mini’, and the ‘maxi’. Remember Boho (hints of fringes and flower-power) and later Grunge, when the young and trendy (us?) scoured secondhand shops and put together whatever we found.
In the here-and-now, we still have masses of ‘labels’ to choose from. And one that’s especially good for us – the young-at-heart older generation – is what fashion writers call ‘Minimalism’. This essentially means keeping everything as simple as possible. Not, of course, to be confused with wearing less or stripping off as much as we dare – images of nudist beaches come to mind, silly me!
So Minimalist outfits are simple, largely unstructured designs, with not too many seams or frills, and nothing clingy. Comfortable, easy to wear outfits that don’t require a perfect body. Clothes that can flow over flabby bits and give us the confidence to look good, without investing in the latest shapewear that can make us feel like a trussed-up turkey. What’s not to like!
PARED DOWN, HIGH QUALITY
The other good thing about Minimalism is that there’s something in it for all of us because there are many variations. For instance, pared-down high quality designs which are simply elegant. If you like classic lines these brands would be right up your street:
- POETRY Embroidered shirt Ramie £139 – now £79 (also available in Buttermilk and Sky)
- JOSEPH Crepe de Chine Bailie blouse £187 (reduced from £375)
- WRAP LONDON Broderie blouse £135
- MASSIMO DUTTI Flowing satin shirt £99.95
- GHOST Madison dress £145
Minimalism also includes ‘utilitarian’ design. The inspiration for this kind of easy contemporary clothing, as you might guess, comes from the idea of ‘useful’ clothes – such as boilersuits (now called jumpsuits, never known why!) overalls, jeans and military gear like cargo trousers. All the above have plenty of pockets which to my mind is a huge selling point. Sometimes you just don’t want to be bothered with carrying a bag, and space hidden in clothing in which you can stuff the odd comb, lipstick, or hanky, is a Godsend.
If you want to look for utilitarian clothes that are well-made and stylish enough for us young-oldies, have a browse of these websites:
- TOAST Wrap belt cotton skirt £195
- ARKET Cotton hemp utility jacket £135
- BAUKJEN Rosie linen jumpsuit £127 (reduced from £159)
- MARKS & SPENCER Pure linen cropped dungarees £75
- RIVER ISLAND Khaki cargo trousers £55
- RIVER ISLAND Beige utility jumpsuit £65
The other variation of Minimalism tends to be not just loose, but definitely over-sized garments – clothes which have a young vibe, and can be worn by the slim and generously figured alike.
- COS: Printed silk blend shirt £99
- PLUMO: Nettle shirt £135
- SAHARA: Calligraphy print pleat dress £179
- HOPE: Ruffle dress £150 (also will be available in blue)
- THOUGHT Camden hemp gingham check dress £23.95 (reduced from £79.95)
- MANGO Oversize printed blouse £17.99 (Viscose so breathable, also available in green colourway)
Now you may have decided that all this labelling is too complicated – and that you are still not sure what Minimalism really means. It seems to mean pretty much everything to all people. And in a way that’s right. There is no single brand that does ‘Minimalism.’ There are many which do a mix of different kinds of Minimalism.
But one thing is certain. The idea of simply constructed, easy clothes that suit the young and the old(er) is a breakthrough in modern design. It opens up a whole new way of dressing, that edges away from the sticking to the tried and tested of the past. It’s more experimental and playful and gives us easier fit clothes and a more casual look. Minimalism gives us the opportunity to experiment and find new looks.
Read more enlightening how-to-do-fashion posts from stylist Maggie Cox