Should We All Become Minimalists Now?

2nd August 2020


Fashion seems to be moving even further towards a minimalist direction – complete with barely-there sandals and square toe mules in black and beige – but is this the right way forward? 

Ghazal ‘Jackie’ pumps, Peter Do blazer

As we watch the world undergo radical transformation, it goes without saying that the way we dress will change too. 

What will that shift look like? The ongoing prediction among industry insiders is that minimalism will come back stronger than ever. In other words, say goodbye to your Princess shoes, fur slippers, bejewelled pumps and all things eccentric, and say hello to chic black or beige mules, classic black pumps and no-fuss strappy sandals. 

The prediction doesn’t come as a huge surprise: We saw a similar trend cycle in 2008, after the financial markets crashed and normcore was invented on the catwalks as a result. Phoebe Philo went on to define the aesthetic of that decade, encouraging us all to wear Stan Smiths, monochrome polo neck sweaters and beige trench coats. 

Now, there’s a new group of minimalists setting the tone of 2020: First and foremost we have Bottega Veneta’s Daniel Lee, who trained under Philo, as well as Jil Sander’s Luke and Lucy Meier, Toteme’s Elin Kling and Karl Lindman or buzzy contemporary label The Frankie Shop. 

They have all been making the case for the perfect blazer, ankle boot and square-toe mule for at least two years now and the idea is that their popularity is only going to get bigger now that in the face of recession, people will be looking to buy more discreet, long-lasting pieces. 

It makes a lot of sense if you think about it: When there’s a looming economic crisis, any ostentatious display of wealth or designer logo starts to seem tone-deaf and insensitive. 

Many will be looking for so-called ‘investment pieces – minimalist, last forever items – that feel more responsible given the state of the world,” wrote McKinsey & Company, in their latest report analysing the current state of fashion.

Ghazal ‘Jackie’ pumps, Peter Do blazer, Jade Swim bottoms

So should we all follow the wave and buy nothing but plain shoes without embellishment or is this just another trend in itself, packaged differently to appeal to shoppers?  

You can definitely make the case that all those square-toe monochrome boots and barely-there sandals are getting so much exposure around the Internet, they are bound to have an expiry date soon, just like louder pieces of seasons past. Remember Givenchy ‘Shark Lock’ boots or Valentino ‘Rockstuds’?

So where does this leave shoe – and occasional trend – lovers like me and you? 

We might just need to start thinking about minimalism a little differently. Minimalism doesn’t just equal black riding boots and beige pumps, it’s a broader state of mind and it’s all about knowing yourself and buying just the right amount of pieces that represent your style the best. 

If that means a perfectly edited wardrobe of beige and black shoes all done in sharp, minimalist lines, then go for it. But if you are an eccentric at heart and you nailed down a small, curated collection of sparkly Miu Miu’s, Amina Muaddi crystal ‘Gilda’ sandals and Gucci’s rainbow-hued logo sneakers that you keep rewearing, then that’s minimalism too. We don’t all need to fit into the same box, just because beige happens to be trending right this moment. 

Our tip? Look at your own closet for inspiration and instead of always scouring your favorite website’s ‘new in’ sections, also check out those less buzzy but always relevant styles that have already stood the test of time: There’s Manolo Blahnik’s Hangisis, Chanel’s bi-color slingbacks, Hermes’ slippers, the list goes on. Ultimately, the choice is yours. 

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