Minimalist Fashion – Simple Style and Timeless Looks

Fashion is a fast, pricey world of consumerism that can make anyone cringe-from its crazy runway looks to the outlandish prints and colors, but who can actually work those into their wardrobe?  I’m going to take a deep dive into minimalist fashion and some of the different styles and trends that should be a part of a minimalist’s daily life.

Minimalist fashion is sustainably made, functional clothing that is comfortable and durable.  Minimalist fashion includes versatile, coordinating pieces made of natural materials that have purpose and are timeless.  Trends range from 90s to modern, with fashion specific for men, women, and children.

Do you ever feel like you just can’t keep up with how much fashion changes and it’s too expensive to keep buying? This article will discuss the various characteristics and fashion trends for men, women, and children who want to learn more about the timeless looks of minimalist fashion.

What is Minimalist Fashion?

Minimalist fashion is clothing that is made sustainably, is durable, coordinates well with many other pieces, is functional, and is comfortable. Minimalist fashion is having fewer pieces in your wardrobe, yet with almost limitless possibilities for maximum comfort as well as smart looks for work, play, whatever your needs are.  It’s clothing that fits the user’s needs without taking up all of the closet space.

Clothes Haning in a Minimalist Room - Minimalist Fashion - Gone Minimal
Clothes Haning in a Minimalist Room

Characteristics of Minimalist Fashion

Minimalist fashion is about having fewer pieces of clothing, sure, but there’s a bit more to it than that.  There are certain characteristics of minimalist fashion that set it apart from traditional, conventional clothing.  And it’s not just the opposite of “fast fashion,” or clothing that goes out of style and doesn’t last.  Let’s look at the characteristics of minimalist fashion:

  1. Versatile, but with less articles
  2. Coordinating pieces
  3. Quality, durable materials
  4. Natural materials
  5. Every piece has a purpose
  6. Timeless pieces
  7. Clothing and accessories you love

Apparel coordinates well together, making it easy and quick to put together smart looking outfits for work or home.

Minimalist fashion is a means consuming clothing differently, buying less, and spending for durability and higher quality according to researcher Katia Vladimirova of the University of Geneva in Switzerland.  So picture this: you’ve got enough shirts, pants, shorts, and other necessities to get you through a week without having to do laundry-and every piece of clothing you own is worn on a regular basis!

There’s nothing hanging untouched, nothing shoved in the back of a drawer, it’s all front and center and used all the time.  Plus it’s all made of quality materials and highly durable, so it lasts for many years to boot!

Simple Colored Shirts - Minimalist Fashion - Gone Minimal
Simple Colored Shirts

Minimalist Fashion Trends

Minimalist fashion has been around since the 1990s when Helmut Lang introduced the idea to the industry, and it has only grown in popularity since that time as found by author Zhouzhao Xie

Some key characteristics of minimalist fashion trends include:

  1. Neutral color palette
  2. Clean lines and simple silhouettes
  3. High-quality materials
  4. Limited patterns and prints
  5. Capsule wardrobes
  6. Emphasis on functionality
  7. Ethical and sustainable choices

However, as simple as it is in its basic principles, there are several minimalist fashion trends we should look at.

Aesthetic minimalist fashion is focused on building your wardrobe around fewer pieces that you love and make you happy.

Modern Minimalist Fashion

Modern minimalist fashion is characterized by natural materials, functionality, and up-to-date looks that work for everyday wear.  There’s a little bit of funky taste that will stand out in a crowd, but it’s functional and simple.  It’s a long, flowing white sweater with funky curves and a couple of oversized buttons, paired with snug-fitting black slacks or leggings.  This look is great for lounging around the house, running errands, and even work in some cases.

Japanese Minimalist Fashion     

Japanese minimalist fashion focuses on clean, simple, and essential looks with natural materials and muted colors.  This trend is inspired by Zen Buddhism and is comfortable, coordinating, and appropriate for work, home, and every day.  Japanese minimalist fashion is layering a baggy sweater over a long-sleeved shirt, paired with baggy slacks or jeans and short boots.  It’s comfort and peace!

A Woman Wearing Japanese Minimalist Clothing - Minimalist Fashion - Gone Minimal
A Woman Wearing Japanese Minimalist Clothing

90s Minimalist Fashion   

90s minimalist fashion is a streamlined look based around signature staples, straight lines, and chic looks without much effort.  It’s a relaxed look with neutral colors, soft knits, and slip dresses to be both elegant and comfortable.  90s minimalist fashion is a swishy button-down shirt paired with a long skirt and knee-high boots, with a bag and simple necklace to complete the look.  It’s a classic look that has stood the test of time!

Aesthetic Minimalist Fashion     

Aesthetic minimalist fashion is focused on building your wardrobe around fewer pieces that you love and make you happy.  It’s simple looks in neutral colors with colorful accents, but without all of the fuss.  Accessories are few, and the look is centered on versatility and comfort.  It’s a comfortable shirt paired with simple jeans and plain white tennis shoes-perfect for lounging, errands, school, and simply aesthetic minimalist fashion.

A Woman Wearing A Simple White Shirt and Black Pants - Minimalist Fashion - Gone Minimal
A Woman Wearing A Simple White Shirt and Black Pants

Korean Minimalist Fashion 

Korean minimalist fashion is subtle, simple, yet chic.  It’s focused on feminine looks and simplicity, yet looking like it cost a fortune (even though it didn’t).  Korean minimalist fashion is comfortable and soft textiles, business-chic meets everyday casual, and outfits that hug the curves without being tight.  Picture a cable knit sweater over a chambray button-down, paired with a straight knee-length skirt and some flats-and you’ve got a Korean minimalist fashion look.

Minimalist Fashion for Men

Minimalist fashion for men is defined by their work, their lifestyle, and of course the environment.  The minimalist men’s wardrobe will have just what they need in terms of suits or uniforms for work, shirts and shorts or pants for home and leisure, as well as exercise apparel, undergarments, and socks.

Apparel coordinates well together, making it easy and quick to put together smart-looking outfits for work or home.  There’s a couple of suits for work, some casual shirts, and a couple of pairs of jeans and shorts-yet there’s nothing in excess-it’s mostly the necessities.

A Man's Simple Wardrobe - Minimalist Fashion - Gone Minimal
A Man’s Simple Wardrobe

Minimalist Fashion for Women

Minimalist fashion for women is defined by her lifestyle as well as her work.  She will also not have anything in excess, it’s all about the necessities.  The minimalist women’s wardrobe will have matching pieces that coordinate through color and style, usually without bold prints or patterns.  She will have her clothing needs for work, exercise, and home life met with just a few essential pieces-saving money and space.  And what woman doesn’t desire more space in her closet?

Minimalist Fashion for Children

Minimalist fashion for children can get a little tricky-depending upon age-as they can get pretty messy!  Children love fun prints, characters, and colors, but these can always be coordinated with solid-colored bottoms.  There doesn’t need to be but a couple of tops and bottoms for each day rather than multiples of everything.  Minimalist fashion for children is about having on hand what they need-besides, they grow out of clothing so quickly!

In this video, learn about the minimalist wardrobe challenge to help change your mindset on your wardrobe.

Related Insights

What is minimalism clothing?

Minimalism clothing has a purpose, coordinates with most other pieces, and is comfortable as well as functional.  It’s fewer articles in your closet and wardrobe that are consistently used, rather than taking up space for “just in case”.

Who invented minimalist fashion?

Minimalist fashion was started in the 1920s and 1930s by Madeleine Vionnet, a French fashion designer known as the queen of bias cut, and Paul Poiret, “king of fashion” and a leading Inter-War French designer. 

What is the minimalism trend?

The minimalism trend is about embracing the “less is more” principle.  Minimalists focus on people, relationships, and needs rather than wants, material things, and anything in excess.  Minimalism is about living life with more purpose and less stuff.

The Qualities That Real People Look for Most in Fashion

I asked friends and family what 3 qualities they look for most in fashion (Price, Versatility, Brand, Trendiness, Style, and Sustainability). Here is a poll of their percentages and what I learned from their responses. 

Fashion QualityTimes Selected
Work appropriate6%
Care requirements (dry clean etc.)10%
The Top Qualities That Real People Look For In Fashion

Other Resources:

Minimalist fashion has many different looks, styles, and trends, making it a great way to put together a wardrobe for anyone.  There’s no wrong way to put together a minimalist look that makes you comfortable and happy-especially when you think about sustainability and closet space.  Whether it’s for work or play, men or women (and even children), the minimalist fashion vibe is definitely one to appreciate.  Which minimalist fashion look will you go for?

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