Is it time to update your wardrobe? No matter your style, there are simple rules of minimalist fashion that you should keep in mind that will always serve you well.
When you have these basic items in your closet, you will always have something to wear for any and every occasion.
These things can be the base to pair with other items in a pinch that will have you looking pulled together even when you’re falling apart.
The art of layering is very simple, and I’m going to cover a few things that will help you pare down the excess in your closet (it’s totally time to ditch that shirt you still have from high school) and feel confident in your look.
What I’ll be covering in these minimalist fashion tips:
- Monochrome is fine if you make the textures diverse
- You don’t have to finish with a coat or jacket
- Knits on knits are always better
- Extra-big scarves make for a textured and interesting look of layers
- White shirts are always a perfect choice
- Even patterns can be worked into a minimalist look
- Don’t be afraid to have fun with sleeves
When it comes to fall and winter, it is all about layers. But HOW you do that is the difference in coming across as fashion-forward or looking like the Pillsbury Doughboy.
But there is a ton of fun to be had in mastering the art of layering. You get to be creative, practical, and stylish all in one!
Most minimalist styles revolve around neutral colors, and those serve well in layered looks.
Simple cuts that are unique, changing silhouettes, and a variety of textures can all work together to become classic while still being diverse.
When you go for a minimalist look, whether you’re looking for a change or you have a new job that you want to impress with, it’s always the old adage of less things equal more.
It’s not easy to go for a minimalist look without knowing what to do. Lucky for you, I have a bunch of handy minimalist fashion tips that will help you fine-tune the art of layering and love the way you look! Keep reading!
If you choose to wear consistent colors, try different textures
When you dress ALL in black, you might think you’re being minimalist. But for something like a goth look, it’s definitely not.
Choosing consistent colors isn’t a fashion faux pas in any setting, but it does you no good unless you vary it up with different fabrics and textures to bring a bit of depth to your look.
You don’t want to look like Flat Stanley and have zero dimension. And unless you’re into goth, you probably don’t want to overwhelm either.
What to do when wearing the same color head to toe:
- Choose different textures and fabrics
- Mix heavy fabrics with softer textures
- Wool, cotton, silk, and leather are all fab ideas
- Try a different texture for the mid-layer
- Keep your most dominant color as the most neutral when inserting a pop of color
Accessories to add edginess to your outfit
One of my favorite friends, Kathy, has this most excellent collection of jewelry and handbags. Yet, she chooses the same thing ALL. THE. TIME. Fortunately, I gave her a gentle shove in the right direction.
Others have the problem of choosing accessories that simply don’t belong with what they’re wearing.
Accessories complement what you’re wearing and make it unique to you.
Whether it’s shoes or bags or earrings or something else, you need to put colors together that go in the same tone as the rest of your outfit.
But the best part? You can totally change the mood of your minimalist outfit simply by switching up the accessories you use.
Your denim or leather jacket doesn’t need to be the last layer
Outerwear doesn’t have to be the last thing. If it’s cold outside, use it to your advantage and add a blazer or even a coat or leather jacket as your middle layer.
For those of you in a warmer climate, I get how that might be unappealing, but in winter, in plenty of places, you can use a lighter version of one of these pieces and put an oversized coat over it.
Layer up with an over-sized scarf
Scarves are SUCH a great way of making it look as though you’ve got layers for days, even when you have on very few.
Big scarves are flawless! You can drape it tenderly over your shoulders or around your neck.
Cinching it with a belt gives off a silhouette that will help flatter your bod. But if you feel more comfortable, you can just let it flow around you.
Choosing a scarf that’s the same shade as your coat makes for more depth while going for a different color creates a cool contrast.
Knits are elegant when layered
Knits might seem too casual for some, but in a minimalist look, they can be quite charming with a layered look. They also give you extra warmth on those chilly days and nights.
However, don’t layer knits that are too thick. You’ll come out having the opposite effect, which will look less like the French Riviera elegance and more like you’re trying to smuggle a snowman.
What to do to look chic:
- Don’t wear all heavy knits
- Combine lighter knits with heavier ones
- Play with differing lengths
- Try different colors
Simple yet layered with patterned pieces
Even though the minimalist style is often considered simple and incorporates lots of neutrals, you can still work in those patterned pieces.
One subtle pattern that works well with the colors of your outfit, particularly with the middle layer, can really look amazing!
But the rule of less is more applies here too. The simpler you keep things with the pieces you choose from color to cut to texture, the easier it will be to pair up the perfect minimalist concoction.
Remember, minimalist doesn’t have to mean boring. It’s really more of a modern classic!
When you use asymmetrical cuts or detailing, you can turn any basic outfit into something head-turning.
The materials should really be contrasted as should the textures and shapes, but NOT the colors! You don’t want to go overboard and clash.
Sleeves up for a chic look
With fall and winter wear, even into the spring, you can create more visual appeal if you simply roll up your sleeves. Or try something even more daring.
You can use a shorter-sleeved coat along with a sweater so that the arms of the sweater are exposed.
Roll up your sleeves and show off different textures or even colors (as long as those colors coordinate).
What about sleeves that won’t stay rolled? That’s a surefire way to look like you lack confidence when you’re always fumbling with them.
One trick that has always served me well is to use those thin hair bands. I roll up my sleeves and use that elastic, then pull the cuff over it, and it stays effortlessly awesome all day long.
Create contrast with a white shirt
If you don’t have a good white shirt in your closet, you need to get one right now. It’s the perfect minimalist must-have.
It goes with everything. Black does too, but when you wear too much of it, you look bleak and uninspired.
White draws in attention and has a classy elegance. Like being on a yacht.
Yacht or not though, wearing a bright, clean white top with black pants and matching black blazer screams minimalist elegance.
You’ll look effortlessly fashionable, especially when you go dark with sandals and a handbag to match.
This look can be made more elegant or playful by the jewelry you choose too!
And white really goes with everything, creating the best jumping-off point for any idea you have. You can tuck it in, let it hang loose, put it under a sweater or another piece, and so much more.
Dress according to your silhouette
Now we come to one of the key things that will make or break your minimalist style… silhouette.
The way your clothes are cut and how they fit you creates another visual for how you present yourself.
The biggest piece of advice I can give you here is that you have to find the styles and materials that work for your body type, accentuate your best features, and make you feel comfortable.
No one anywhere feels comfortable wearing a dress, skirt, or pants that makes them feel like a boa constrictor is squeezing their last breath from them all day!
Keep reading, and I’ll go over the different body shapes we all tend to have and how you can dress the right way for yours!
Choose Your Body Shape
Which one are you? Read below, and you’ll find out how to dress the best for your body!
– Apple Body
With your weight mostly above the hips, you’ll want to draw attention away from your waistline. Show off your legs or try a plunging neckline to elongate your torso.
- Don’t draw attention to the middle of your body
- Make your legs stand out
- Choose a deep neckline
– Hourglass Body
The hourglass shape is very well-balanced. Everything you wear should play with that. It’s the most coveted body shape, so enjoy following your curves!
- Balance your ensembles
- Go with your curves
- Keep to your outlines
– Pear Body
With a pear shape, you will want to focus on your arms and legs. You can have fun with shorter hems or slender sleeves.
- Make arms or legs stand out
- Don’t define your waistline
Be selective when adding items to your closet for a capsule wardrobe
Now, let’s get right to the fun part…shopping! After all, you HAVE TO complete your new minimalist fashion look!
But first, I want you to go to your closet and open it up. What’s in there? Count the dresses, tops, pants, jeans, coats, blazers, jackets, scarves, and everything else in there.
Anything you’re never going to wear again should be yanked. I mean, we ALL have those old things cluttering it up.
If you have a pink ruffled top, it’s time to say goodbye to whatever bygone era it crawled out of.
With whatever is left, see what can function together. Do you not have a nice white shirt? Put it on your shopping list!
Anything you need, put it on that list and consider how you’ll pair it with those things that you didn’t put in the “Burn Immediately” pile.
When you do start shopping though, keep in mind that quality is the better choice over low price.
There’s no need to pay $100 for a plain knit top, but buying the one marked $5 usually means you’ll be buying a new one much sooner.
Top-quality materials and stitching are what matters in longevity of garments. With every wash, cheaper garments fade, stretch, and fall apart.
You’re better off putting in the money now than replacing it often.
Capsule wardrobe essentials
Ready to create your own minimalist closet? Here is what you need to either find in your wardrobe or buy to complete this look.
– A white T-shirt
Something as simple as a plain white T-shirt can look effortlessly chic when you pair it with another color.
Think about how you’ll layer that too, and it won’t just be a white T-shirt like your dad wears when he’s grilling (which gets covered in charcoal, barbecue sauce, and beer).
This wardrobe staple has great staying power and versatility.
– A black dress
It doesn’t need to be little, but having a stylish black dress is important for a variety of occasions.
There’s the first date, the office party, New Year’s, dinner with friends, the symphony, and literally everything else in between!
– A good pair of jeans or ankle pants
I must confess that I love jeans, and I have yet to meet someone that doesn’t own a pair. But instead of those lumberjack-looking things, find a pair that lifts your butt or gives the illusion of it. It’s perfect for casual anything!
Ankle pants are important for an office look. You can own both jeans and ankle pants, but if you have an office job, you shouldn’t skip getting a pair of less formal slacks that still get the job done.
– A flattering skirt
Skirts come in all shapes, lengths, textures, and styles. Find one that reveals your best assets.
For example, if you have a bit more in the middle, wearing a skirt down to your ankles isn’t going to do you any favors. Shorten the length and create the visual!
Blazers are all too often associated with boring work meetings that make you want to gouge out your eyes. But don’t blame blazers!
They’re such a versatile piece! While a black blazer might have a business-y look to it, something in navy adds a sultry nautical appeal. Like you’re ready to lunch and shop on the Champs-Élysées.
You can even wear it in warmer weather (assuming it’s not made from heavy materials). Just roll up the sleeves and unbutton it.
– A cashmere sweater
We can’t be friends if you don’t wear cashmere. Kidding! But seriously though, a cashmere sweater is a pure classically timeless staple for the minimalist wardrobe.
Wear it with your butt-loving jeans, with a nice skirt, or even layered over a white button-down shirt. BOOM.
– A leather or denim jacket
With a structured cut, denim jackets are a dream. They can be thrown on for a night time look or a more casual piece. It’s a fun way to play with texture.
By the same token, so too can leather jackets. It’s stylish, edgy, and effortless. Vegan leather is a more affordable (and cruelty-free!) option that looks like the real deal.
– A nice piece of outerwear
Invest wisely in that outerwear. Whatever it is – a trench coat, that denim jacket, leather (vegan leather too), or a heavier item – it should create a sleek look.
Take your time looking at styles that work with your body shape to give you that final put-together look that everyone envies.
It’s time to get your layers on! Now that you know what textures and looks work best and what items you need in your wardrobe, start changing up your style.
Minimalist fashion can look beautiful on anyone. Just shop for your size, consider your fabrics, and invest in timeless pieces that will stay in style and not wear out for a long time!