Throughout the history of fashion, only a handful of styles reemerge time and time again. One notable entry on the list: minimalism. Characterized by simplicity and utility, and equally applicable to historic design monuments, contemporary works of art, and sci-fi innovations, the aesthetic manages to capture the past, present, and future all at once. When it comes to fashion, minimalism isn’t a fleeting trend anchored by a singular item or accessory. It’s a state of mind reflected in a series of deliberate sartorial choices. It’s about stripping your closet back to the basics, curating your own capsule wardrobe of essential pieces, and expertly combining those pieces so that you have a full collection of ageless ensembles at your disposal. This is fashion in its purest form: minimalist clothes and accessories are there to enhance, not dominate.
Minimalism is never out of style, but it’s especially relevant in a year that’s reshaped our priorities and urged us to focus on what really matters. It’s been a year of going back to basics, in our daily lives and in fashion, which makes this the perfect time to embrace a style credo rooted in the same philosophies, and this is what industry vanguard Prada is doing with their latest collection. Appreciating minimalism is one thing—working it into your personal look is quite another. In practice, scaling your closet down to the fundamental pieces that offer you maximum mileage and reflect the entirety of your individual style takes real effort.
A white shirt is a minimalist standby, but not just any old shift will do. Try a sleek menswear-inspired button-down that adapts easily to casual and formal looks. A little black dress is another essential, but an unexpected option like an embroidered slip can also be coupled with more traditional pieces for a striking contrast. Or opt for a suit: an A-line skirt is a natural wear-it-anywhere companion to a boxy jacket.
Sculptural elements—symmetrical lines, geometric accents—deliver major impact in your outerwear. But you don’t have to stick to neutral tones to nail the aesthetic: classic silhouettes in a strategic burst of color can also fit the minimalist mold.
There’s no accessory that merges substance and style quite like footwear. But though function is a key aspect of minimalism, you don’t have to go utilitarian to achieve the effect. For instance, a pair of pointed slingbacks adorned with subtle buckles will complement just about any look in your repertoire.
You’ll know Prada’s Cleo bag (a reinterpretation of a ’90s smash from the Italian fashion house) when you see it thanks to its distinctive curvature and trademark triangular enameled silver logo.
The instantly recognizable shoulder bag is a study in “less is more,” and an ideal way to punctuate a minimalist ensemble.