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Less Is More: Adopting A Minimalist Style

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

Less Is More: Adopting A Minimalist Style

I grew up surrounded by the classic American ideology that “More is More.”

This ancient American wisdom accompanied me through my weekly visits to the infamous all-you-can-eat Home Town Buffet.

I was the rotund queen of my domain. Meat carving station attendants and soup peddlers alike trembled in fear the day I waddled my way into their stations, as I often cleared house and demanded serving sizes that were intended to feed families of 4. I was a modern-day Jabba the Hutt, threatening to eat everything in sight - edible or not. It was going into my gullet, for I wanted more.

My childhood buffet exploits seamlessly transitioned into my style sensibilities in my adult years. I adored bold colors with intense patterns, and anything with frill, lace and texture could give me an instant eye-gasm. I paraded the streets in bejeweled hoop earrings, neon jumpsuits and ikat-toned platforms. When it came to my style, “More” really seemed to be More.

However, my day of reckoning came when I landed my first corporate job interview with real, living and breathing adults who wore things commonly referred to as “slacks,” “blouses” and “button-ups.” They dressed in muted colors and straight lines - they looked to me like the stuff nightmares were made of. As I dug through my lacy, frilly, larger-than-life wardrobe for a proper interview outfit, I came to terms with the fact that I had nothing to wear. My closet was laden with colorful, standalone separates without any of the essentials needed to make cohesive outfits. Regrettably, I began to see cracks in the ancient wisdom that “More is More.”

It was here that I discovered minimalist style out of utter necessity. After all, who was going to hire an overqualified twenty-something clad in magenta overalls? Now that it’s been 10 years since my first run-in with minimalist style, I have since corrected my misconceptions of minimalist style itself and even learned a few invaluable lessons along the way. While it will never be THE defining style for me, minimalism has worked to evolve my style leanings and taught me that sometimes, contrary to what I gathered in my time as a buffet queen, Less is More.

Kat wearing a monochromatic outfit to illustrate minimalist style

And if you also find yourself scoffing at neutrals, monochromatic pieces, and simple patterns, don’t wait until the real world comes knocking on your door requesting these outfits for your admission. Balancing your wardrobe with foundational, minimalist pieces alongside expressive, standalone pieces is actually key to having a fully functioning wardrobe and personal style. Minimalist pieces can provide a blank canvas of sorts that really shine the light on your standalone pieces, making them truly pop.

And you may even find that minimalist pieces pack a big punch on their own with the right configuration and story. As seen above, the late Steve Jobs took a ridiculously simple outfit of Dad Jeans and a black turtle neck with sneakers and made it iconic, personifying Apple’s commitment to the “Less is More” philosophy.

The Sample Minimalist Wardrobe Checklist

- Straight-legged jeans

- Linear sweaters

- Simple button-ups

- Streamlined blouse and dress cuts: A-line, box, and sheath

- Little to no lace, snaps, ties, or embroidery

- Neutral tones with occasional pops of color

Monochromatic Fanatic

Monochromatic style will always be the bedrock of minimalist style. The singular color creates one straight cohesive line for the eyeline to fixate on and will make you look instantly longer and leaner. To add a bit of dimension to this simple look, I have added an olive-toned boyfriend cut button up (see above). The mix of a long sexy silhouette with a more masculine box cut brings balance to the look. If you are wanting to simplify your style, going the route of monochromatic is a great starting point.

Kat wearing a grey duster, white tank, and blue jeans to illustrate minimalist style

Grey Duster, White Tank, Blue Jeans

The duster is the perfect addition when developing a minimalist style. With its straight lines and lengthening silhouette, it is flattering on all body types and instantly adds sophistication to your look. I like to “embellish” this look with a basic white tank as the brightness of the white tank serves as the “pop” of color while still being neutral. You can add a pair of skinny dark-washed jeans that are cuffed at the bottom and tie it all together with an edgy pair of flat-buckled boots. This look is simple and sophisticated all-in-one and can be worn to a walk in the park, date night, or a casual office meeting.

Sheath Dress

There is nothing simpler and more versatile than a sheath dress. The sheath silhouette sits close the body and has a hemline that can hit mid-thigh to mid-calf. The sheath silhouette is flattering on almost any body type as it hugs the leg line and shows off some classy curves. This humble brown dress with a flattering empire waist line is the perfect canvas to add a pop of shine and color. Whether you finish this look with a spicy pair of heels or layer it underneath a tailored leather jacket, its simple cut and color will play nice with anything in your closet.

Kat wearing a sheath dress to illustrate minimalist style

Addition By Subtraction

Even though Home Town Buffet meals were full of scrumptious delights, the truth is my stomach more often than not felt tenuous after digesting a meal fit for 4 people. The same is true for style – your wardrobe can do more and look better by cutting some of the frill and balancing it out with a healthy dose of minimalist style. If you need help creating a foundational and functional wardrobe, schedule a free style session with me today and let’s get started!

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