You might have heard the age-old sentiment that “it’s not what you say, but how you say it.” The same goes for fashion, but especially in regards to minimalist dressing: It’s not what you wear, but how you wear it. The booming fashion trends of quiet luxury and “old money” style aren’t exactly the same thing, but they do have something in common: They’re both rooted in the idea that less is more.
We don’t have to tell you the concept isn’t exactly innovative. Rather, it’s yet another example of a beloved fashion trend — if you can call it that — coming back around. Women like Jennifer Aniston, Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, Sophia Richie, and Meghan Markle are just a few examples of celebrities who’ve championed the minimalist aesthetic over the years, and who continue to prove you can make a stylistic statement even if you’re only working with fundamental staples.
But to keep a trend current and fresh, it has to be reimagined and approached from a different angle, while simultaneously staying true to its core pillars. To find out how to do minimalist dressing right in 2023, we asked six experts to share how they dress to this sort of effortless elegance.
Naina Singla, fashion stylist and style expert: “Although there is no magic number of how many pieces to have in a capsule wardrobe, it’s important to put the focus on building with the right pieces. To begin, I often recommend to my virtual styling clients that they choose a few essential items that will set a good foundation for a capsule wardrobe. A few examples of these essential ‘quiet luxury’ or minimalist pieces are: a statement coat or trench, an everyday dress, loose knitwear, tailored trousers, high-waisted jeans, a tailored blazer, and elevated basics to layer with such as knits, tees, and tanks.”
Singla: “You’ll get the most out of your wardrobe if you’re able to make simple tweaks with your looks. You can do this easily if you create a go-to daily outfit formula, which is a specific combination of items you can wear in different versions. Think of it as a uniform of with little variation, that will help you to get dressed more easily and make it more enjoyable.”
Alison Bruhn, co-founder of The Style That Binds Us: “The simpler the look, the nicer the fabric needs to be, because prints can hide flaws like uneven seams, et cetera — but solids cannot. Fabrics should be linen, cashmere, cotton, silk, tweed, leather, and suede. Pay extra attention to how the clothing drapes on the body.”
Madeleine Kennedy, fashion stylist: “Picking pieces that are property tailored will keep your look sharp and elevated, while neutrals throughout will create a more cohesive look. Things like black and white trousers, black and white blazers, white and black button ups [are must-haves].”
Paule Tenaillon and Marine Braquet, founders of sustainable luxury footwear brand NOMASEI: “You can’t get the minimalist dressing look without a good pair of loafers, a silk-colored scarf like the Hermès (you can find tons in vintage stores), and a clean leather belt with minimal buckle.”
Christina Stein, style therapist: “Minimalist dressing is all about ‘IYKYK’ style staples, which means no loud trendy pieces or obnoxious logos. Instead of going for something in the realm of monogrammed or logo mania, like the Louis Vuitton bag with LV stamped all over it, you would instead get a bag by Mansur Gavriel or the Row. Their handbags are structured and give very little away as to who designed them.
“[While we’re on the subject,] the more graphic a tee is, the trendier. Graphics also make a top more casual and less of a classic and versatile piece. When buying a graphic tee, you’re guaranteeing that the shelf life of that item is a year or less because the following year, a new graphic or logo will be smacked on a shirt and the one you own is old fashion news.”
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