How to create minimalist magic

September 8, 2016

There’s a certain magic in a well-constructed minimalist look. Impossibly chic and incredibly versatile, minimalist style is the embodiment of the “less is more” philosophy; and it’s making waves in the fashion industry as one of the biggest trends to hit the runways and the streets in years.

I coordinated the following outfits and did this photo shoot as a part of my styling class at Parsons. But these looks are just as practical as they are editorial, and can easily be incorporated into your everyday wardrobe.

For the first look, I’ve selected a classic long black dress and paired it with an oversized teal coat.

One of the most intriguing aspects of minimalist fashion is the way in which it emphasizes construction and shape. Because minimalist clothing has no pattern or flash, having a clean shape and strong construction is even more important than usual.

The long black dress looks stunning on its own, but I’ve chosen to pair it with a brightly-colored large coat to add a bit more to the outfit. Each piece stands well on its own, a key point in minimalist style. But together, they create a stunning complementary visual that is as appropriate for a day at the office as it is for an evening with friends. This look is also quite warm, proving there’s no need to sacrifice style for comfort, even during those bone-chilling NYC winters.

The perfect combination of comfort and style, a well-tailored jumpsuit is a wardrobe must-have. For this second look, I’ve chosen a simple blue jumpsuit as the basis for my outfit.

The black top, which I’ve layered over the jumpsuit, has a few simple opaque cutouts that allow the color of the suit to peek through.

As you can see from this look, as well as the previous, layering is one of the best ways to make minimalist pieces even more eye-catching. Though not every individual piece is remarkable on its own, when placed together the contrasting colors of the fabrics create an enticing visual.

To enhance this effect, I’ve also added a long black coat, which effectively creates a long, lean appearance. As a final touch, I’ve added two elegantly simple statement necklaces, and rounded off the ensemble with sandals. This look is ideal for running about town, or hanging out with friends.

For the third look, I’ve chosen to continue with the layering motif, pairing a tight pink long-sleeved top with a loose black vest and knee-length skirt.

The top, with its fitted long sleeves, is an example of an ideal shirt for those with muscular arms. It is a common misconception that those with larger or muscular arms should avoid tight clothing. This isn’t entirely true. Many people attempt to hide their body in loosely-draped clothes like large T-shirts, but this actually has the opposite of the desired effect, and only makes your body appear larger than it is. The optical perception of thin or muscular can be manipulated using smart contrasting strategies. In this case, I’ve created the appearance of leaner arms by pairing the tight-sleeved top with a loose black vest.

The vest itself is a nice standalone piece, with its striking cut and faux fur shoulder.

As an added touch, I’ve paired the ensemble with a solid pink bag that complements the pink shirt, and the rest of the outfit, quite nicely.

A long white dress can either be ethereal and elegant, or a bit boring. It all depends upon the details. For my fourth look, I’ve achieved an effortlessly sophisticated ensemble by pairing a rather simple long white dress with some bold jewelry to add just the right degree of embellishment. When crafting the perfect minimalist look, always keep in mind that less is more. Adding one or two statement accessories is all you need to amp up an outfit without bogging it down. Here, I’ve used two identical necklaces of different lengths, making the addition appealing, not distracting.

Once again, I’ve also played with layering, overlaying the dress with a tight top to accentuate the curves of my body.

Note that I’ve chosen a contrasting color, black, for the shirt. Using a deep color not only creates a more striking look, it also effectively masks wrinkles which, in a lighter-colored top, may throw the ensemble off-balance, squelching its bold spirit.

This look can be easily transformed from casual to office-ready by simply skipping the oversized accessories to appear a bit more professional and conservative.