Fashion notes: Maximising summer minimalism
This summer’s go-to style is all about giving an updated edge to summer basics. By basics, I don’t mean decade-old T-shirts, ill-fitting boot-cut jeans and dirty Chuck Taylors that are ripping apart at the seams. I’m referring to more-minimalist items – plain white tees, khaki trousers, classic flared skirts and loose windbreakers. Clothing that’s never really “on trend” per se, but can easily fit into different trend types. The look we’re going for here is pure, natural and uncomplicated, with a fresh and energetic vibe. If you need a visual, look at images from the Amy Silovic’s spring/summer collection for Tibi. “Kind of chilled out,” was how she described the collection to Vogue.
That’s exactly the kind of feeling we would all like to embody this summer, isn’t it? Well, it’s really not all that hard to pull off. To start with, build your outfit using a simple colour palette. Think nudes, greys, whites and light pastel shades, with the occasional black if you must.
Silhouettes should be loose and airy, while still retaining an appearance of femininity. At Tibi, the spring/summer collection incorporated slightly baggy, cropped culottes and Bermuda shorts, with ultra-wide flares and belted, paper-bag waistlines. Tops featured off-the-shoulder cuts and bishop-sleeve styles, while dresses and skirts were given subtle tiers and pleats. A cheesy line from CoverGirl commercials comes to mind: “Easy, breezy, beautiful.” But that’s exactly what’s achieved here, not to mention the pleasing fact that the pieces are made with comfort in mind.
While I’m hardly a proponent of fishnet, mesh or sheer fabrics, they were used beautifully in DKNY's spring/summer collection, with easy-to-wear shapes and simple but clever layering. Seeing a particular all-white version of a sheer T-shirt dress, cut off right above the knee, with a basic white slip worn underneath, sold me on the trend. Masculine elements such as pinstripes, tuxedo styles and double-breasted button accents gave a hard edge to the collection, which was slightly softened by subtle peplums, slits and sheer panels. Though the monochrome contrasts were stark in some instances, the straightforward silhouettes they were coupled with gave a breathable, wearable impression.
Hermès is a luxury label not often given credit for its apparel line, and it’s another brand to look to for inspiration. Its spring/summer collection exemplified sophisticated and effortless appeal. A light tartan pattern gave an instant lift to white designs – sleeveless tops, tennis dresses and culottes, characterised by loose fits and fluid pleats. While a range of bright solid shades, such as mustard, red and royal blue, were used, greys, whites and light-beige shades are key inspiration points for minimalist summer style.
Perhaps my favourite idea about maximising summer minimalism is that it can be easily done with footwear. Sure, white trainers and straightforward slides will do just fine as the finishing touches of your outfit, but punky platform sandals, embellished or otherwise, will do the trick, too. Pick pieces with a touch of personality to add onto your look, and don’t shy away from accessories, either. Thin gold bands or chokers, or bolder, geometric pendants, are good options, and when in doubt, turn to rings, necklaces and cuffs that have marble accents. In case you hadn’t caught onto this micro-trend yet, let me inform you: colourful jewels – rubies, sapphires, emeralds and so on, are far too overstated for summer. On the contrary, marble, in all of its grey-and-white swirly grandeur, is most definitely the “cool girl” stone of the season.