Minimalist fashion: is less really more?

With that hefty student loan in the bank you may have hit the high street with some vengeance in recent weeks in pursuit of the latest wears. However alarm bells would soon be ringing, as instead of the usual in-your-face dress with an intoxicating print you would have come across practical, may we say, lifeless minimalist pieces in their droves. Perhaps you are asking yourself: is fashion in hibernation? Well fashionistas, it isn’t! The fashion gods have spoken and pared down chic is THE trend of the season.

Your first reaction may be to yawn. I don’t blame you. After all, most of our fashion education has taken place during the era of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano, whose tastes for theatrics and OTT dressing spread far and wide replacing minimalist pieces of the 1990s one heavily embellished garment at a time. However, we must now worship at the altar of our new deity, Phoebe Philo, who took Celine from zero to hero in one epic minimalist swoop a few seasons ago. Philo immediately reinstated vocabulary the fashion world had long forgotten: wearable, polished and above all reliable. This season the likes of Chloe, Stella McCartney and beyond have thrown themselves fully onto the Philo bandwagon with a concoction of tailored classics and luxurious textures.

I am hardly getting an aneurysm over the term, “reliable pieces”, but sometimes you have to take yourself out of the equation and it looks as if logical, hardworking, fit for purpose clothes are resonating with women now. It appears the fashion world has put its Jimmy Choo adorned feelers out into the big wide world, sensed the morbid economic situation, scurried back to the drawing board and delivered what the recessionista dreams of: garments with longevity and versatility. It’s showing us mere mortals that it isn’t as out of touch as we once thought. Body finally seems to meet mind, placing disposable fashion on the back burner with trans-seasonal chic the ultimate buzz word.

The idea of clothes being trans-seasonal is a fashion twist I need to embrace as a person who feels a touch trashy when he whips out the same item from season to season and is forever in pursuit of something new, credit card permitting, but I remain relatively unexcited. It is indeed evident that minimalism demands a new mentality, one at odds with our highly visual society where an eye catching image is everything. It seems we need to re-appropriate our fashion terminology and whilst we may see a dowdy 1970s camel throwback we must vocalise something along the lines of: OMG check out that visionary piece of tailoring which will last for yonks! It’s got to catch on right?

Moreover the minimalist trend urges a back to basics approach to dressing and instead of ruling that ladies must squish a muffin top into the latest oh so tight dress, the likes of Marc Jacobs are forcing us to reengage with our body image with tailoring which allows such previously hidden gems as the hip to be reborn in full skirted glory.
For the mature fashion pack this is fabulous news: their rusty old bones now have a mature look to embrace. But what about us spring chickens, who have for the last few years tottered around in sky scrapper heels and dresses which have just skimmed the nether-regions? Isn’t the minimalist aesthetic a bit dowdy? I am already missing brash body exposure, so here’s hoping that the minimalist formula is put to rest once fashion’s hibernation is over. In the meantime get me a shot of sequins with colourful kick….. STAT!

There is more to minimalism than taking one black cardigan and teaming it with some polyester/cotton mix trousers. Here is my guide to nailing the trend:

Keep to a select muted palette of black, navy, camel, grey and white.
Exercise control. The temptation is to over compensate with accessories but simplicity is the way forward.
Run to Gap and grab a pair of trousers from their premium range which are causing a wave of tsunami like proportions in the fashion press. The wide leg and the boy fit pairs come highly recommended.
Tuck a slinky silk blouse into high waisted trousers or a longer skirt and add a seductive lace bra to take your look from sexually starved secretary to smouldering temptress.
In order to medal this season add a sleek military coat for extra precision.

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