The definition of maximalism and minimalism can be quite broad as it is perceived in varied ways by every individual depending on their own understanding of the terms. To further feed curiosity and evolve the knowledge on the subject, we delve into the topic of where the two stand today and how you can incorporate them into your wardrobe depending on your preferences.
Let’s start with maximalism vs minimalism and their core definition. When it comes to minimalism, be it in interiors, fashion, or lifestyle, it’s all about being practical and focusing on what is absolutely needed rather than just going with wants and desires. The aim of a minimalist lifestyle especially is to have the bare minimum that is all about satisfaction which according to some theories helps us lead a more active and physically and mentally healthy life. As you subtract everything that is superficial and based on mere wants, you tend to be more fulfilled with the basic necessities and have more time and space to be free of the turmoil that we face when it comes to making choices. Even in interiors, the focus is more on a monochromatic theme, and if needed, some geometrical elements to cut through the monotony. We often see interior designers play with textures when it comes to a minimal theme so as to make it not too empty of feeling either, but also there is a purpose for every element used.
The maximalist lifestyle, however, is all about following your desires and indulging in what you want rather than just focusing on the essentials. It focuses on your happiness rather than practicality and giving in to your cravings. The maximalist lifestyle may not necessarily be healthy and is all about enjoying what you want. The interiors of a maximalist aesthetic is usually bright and rich with elements that stand out and often are not practical but there just for visual pleasure.
Now, we won’t be going in-depth about minimalism in general but rather discussing its presence in the fashion world. The saying, “less is more” is precisely what minimalism is, you cut off anything that is not needed and always choose quality over quantity. This goes for everything: interior design, fashion, visual aesthetics, lifestyle, etc. Most minimalists when it comes to fashion lean toward a capsule wardrobe that suffices their needs. While maximalism is “more is more” which means you buy and indulge in everything that you desire and focus on wants rather than needs, which is basically the minimalist opposite.
Looking back on the history of minimalism, it came about as a movement that rebelled against the traditional representation of maximalist art. In fashion, minimalism focuses on the functionality of the clothing rather than its visual appearance. Minimal clothing of the past mostly focused on simplistic geometric elements and had a sharp look to them, with a monochromatic color theme. We see this in the work of Yohji Yamamoto, Issey, Miyake, Calvin Klein, especially New Look by Dior, and other brands and designers in the 1900s.
On the other hand, maximalism today came about from the idea of Art Nouveau a style of maximalist art that began in the 1890s. Since then maximalism has developed over the years and is often referred to as a “fad” or “trend”. We saw its rage in the 2000s when the blingy Juicy Couture tracksuits came about and the DIY fashion, broad belts, bright colors, etc were trending. And now that we are witnessing the resurgence of the Y2K fashion, it’s not very surprising that all the over-the-top and flashy fashion is back. This resurgence has come about as a result of the end of quarantine. The masses could finally enjoy the “normal” way of life and the excitement is being expressed in the form of clothing as well! Versace, Fendi, Valentino with its PPPink Collection, and more designers and brands showcased maximalism in some way or another be it in prints, exaggerated silhouettes, embellishments, bright colors, etc. It’s refreshing and invigorating to see the beauty of the over-the-top aesthetic all over.
However, we are now witnessing an era that showcases both aesthetics rather than maximalist vs minimalist aesthetic, we are witnessing both. As the terms are quite subjective and the perception of them differs for everybody, it can be quite confusing, but understand that minimalism is all about only essentials and subtracting anything that is unnecessary, while maximalism has no limits and is all about your desires and wants.
Today, conscious minds are about sustainable, environmentally conscious fashion, though the two don’t always go together. The lifestyle of many today witnesses minimalism in every aspect of their life including fashion. Minimalism is about only having things that are necessary, which mostly includes basic and light clothing. It was what most of us adopted during the quarantine, which for many was purely out of circumstances. This lifestyle and fashion choice for some have followed through while others went all maximalist post-pandemic with everything. At the end of the day, it’s a choice, and while we all agree that maximalism is thriving today, there’s still a portion of the people out there that are keeping it simple and minimal.
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