The minimalist trend began in the 1990s, perhaps as a palate cleanser for the loud and extravagant ‘80s. In that decade, relaxed silhouettes in beige, black, and white reigned supreme, like pencil skirts matched with turtlenecks, column dresses, and slip dresses. Languor was the name of the game, and this aesthetic pretty much lives on until now. There’s a reason why fashionistas everywhere can’t get enough of minimalism: It requires very little yet provides huge sartorial impact. That said, it’s a foolproof way to look chic, and its simplicity can easily transition you from daytime affairs to your evening events.
Whether you’re a die-hard minimalist or you’re looking to pare down your outfits, we’ve rounded up 11 minimalist outfits you could work any day of the year for an effortless look:
1. Pair a white button-down with black trousers.
Whether you’re heading out for lunch or you’ve got a full day at work, a button-down with trousers is always a safe bet, especially when it’s a classic black-and-white combo. To make it look less rigid, though, break it up with a chunky belt that will cinch your waist. Opt for mules if you want shoes that are more polished than sneakers but just as comfy.
2. Go for gray and bleached denim.
Minimalism doesn’t just mean putting together solid separates—you can incorporate denim, too. Here, a pair of straight-cut faded jeans is refined with gray layers and made street-ready with white sneakers. This washed-out color palette is great for traveling, but you can achieve the same vibe in the metro by ditching the blazer and going for shorts.
3. Try a navy blue slip dress and a white longline coat.
You don’t have to stick to black and white. Feel free to experiment with other neutrals, too! A great alternative to black that works for any time of the day is navy blue. You could don a slip dress for daytime and elevate it come nighttime with an ivory longline coat! A classic yet super fresh color combo.
4. Put on a little black dress and leather accessories.
Get away with wearing nothing but a simple black dress by adding luxe accessories to make your outfit more expensive-looking. Here, a spaghetti strap column dress gets the sophisticated touch through black leather sandals and a cool shoulder bag. Plus, you can swap your sandals for heels if you’ve got a fancy occasion coming up!
5. You can’t go wrong with jeans and a button-down.
Minimalism typically brings to mind black-and-white Scandinavian style, but let’s not forget that it can encompass other kinds of aesthetic, too. If you identify with the Parisian girl style, cop the vibe with a minimalist look of jeans and a white button-down. Keep the accessories simple—plain mary janes and a cute little handbag will do (you can also go for a basket bag a la Jane Birkin).
6. Look street-cool in a crisp white button-down and a black skirt.
You’re probably tired of hearing the word button-down, but bear with us, the piece truly is so versatile. For a fresh take on typical workwear, roll up your button-down’s sleeves and pair it with a black A-line skirt. Keep it streamlined with white sneakers or snazzy black mules! For more casual days, wear shorts instead and French-tuck your top.
7. Stay sleek in a casual black pullover and khaki trousers.
Mix it up by opting for khaki instead of white bottoms the next time you reach for your favorite black top—a camel-and-black combo is just as striking! The camel color adds a bit of warmth to your outfit and you can pick up the color for your accessories, too, like the summery canvas satchel above.
8. Be ready for a chill day in black jeans and a cardigan.
Look put together even for a relaxing day at the mall with a B&W ensemble. Keep things interesting by mixing pieces in different shapes, like this outfit of black skinny jeans and a cocoon-like cardigan worn as a top.
9. Throw on a white tee and a pair of jeans.
If there’s any ultimate casual uniform that can please anyone and everyone, it would have to be a white shirt and jeans combo. Give it a slight redux by swapping white sneakers for more luxe footwear like leather sandals and mules. Choose a minimalist handbag to seal the look, like one in black, white, or tan leather. But if you want something more “tropical,” go ahead and choose your favorite raffia bag or woven bag.
10. Elevate an LBD with a cream blazer
In a hurry? Slip into a no-frills black dress and grab a beige blazer to go—plus points if it’s one in an oversized or boxy shape. It’s a nice contrasting piece to add a fresh twist to your LBD, and you can throw it on when the weather gets chilly or if you’ve got a formal event.
11. Go nude
If you love the color nude then you’ll want to drape yourself in this outfit, stat! This easy outfit only requires a camel-colored cardigan and straight-cut khaki trousers. The key is to complete the look with sienna-hued leather accessories for a timeless OOTD (just a belt and shoes!). But black leather pieces should do the trick, too!