5 Essentials of the Accidental Minimalist
Nobody aspires to do the minimum. To just get by is hardly a worthy goal. But when it comes to getting dressed, that’s the way a lot of guys think.
Too many guys “have to wear a suit to work” when they should want to look professional and well-put together in a suit. Too many guys are wondering whether they can “get away with” outfits for a wedding or some other event, instead of aiming to look confident and at ease in a suit. We call these guys accidental minimalists. They’re not choosing minimalist style out of a desire to look ultra-modern and chic, they’re just guys who use minimalist style to simplify getting dressed for the two or three times a year they put on a suit.
If you’re a guy who doesn’t wear a suit to work everyday, but wears one to the occasional wedding or job interview or otherwise important event: here’s the most bare bones system for getting dressed up a guy could ask for. No shirt and tie matching necessary, no wondering “am I wearing the right color with this.” No hard decisions at all. Stock your closet as follows and you will not just “get away with” your suit and tie look, you’ll crush it.
- Be sure to nail the fit.
- Keep the jacket simple (straight, flap pockets, notch lapels).
- Get the pants with a flat front without cuffs for a streamlined look that never goes out of style.
- As with the suit, fit is the most important feature. If off the rack shirts fit you like tents, it’s time to look for a custom alternative.
- No button downs. Button down shirts, contrary to many people’s beliefs, are not shirts that button down the front (those are button front shirts) but shirts with a collar that is buttoned down. This New England preppie look might be okay with a Navy blazer, khaki chinos and a pair of bass loafers, but should be avoided when you suit up.
- Keep it slim. A super wide, 80s looking tie is a surefire way to kill this look. Keep it under three inches wide at the widest point.
- But not too slim. On the flip side, a sub-two inch wide strip of runway down the front of your shirt screams “fashion victim.”
- A silk square works, but we really love cotton and linen for their ability to hold their shape when folded in a square fold.
- Skip the brogues. Minimal means unadorned. Perforations, like those found on brogues add unnecessary detail and should be kept to a minimum to round out this look.
ODDS & ENDS:
The Accidental Minimalist Approach to Time & Money:
An everyday watch can double as a more formal watch by switching to a black leather strap. Since all Martenero watches come with two bands (one leather and one NATO strap), you’re covered.
Most wallets are full of pockets and slots. Minimal means only carrying the bare essentials, like cash and cards. Try one of these clips from Men in Cities for a day and you’ll wonder why you’ve been walking around with your life story in your pocket all these years.
The five essentials above are just a start. You can add to this foundation with any number of variations on the black and white theme. Or, you can slowly add a touch of color with colored ties, pocket squares and shirts. With these five essentials as your jumping off point, no matter how far you take things, you’ll always have a stylish minimalist outfit waiting for you in your closet.
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