Simplicity is not easy

Haha, so the day after I’d declared that my blog posts wouldn’t be as few and far between, my Internet at home broke for more than a week. Such a bummer! Also, I’ve been utterly immersed in an avalanche of intoxicating, though labor-intensive deadlines, which I can’t wait to blog about when the final product is finished.

Anyhow, someone asked me: “How do you stop getting bored from wearing the same pieces constantly or does it not bother you?”, on formspring. Good question! Truth to tell, I don’t think I’ve ever got bored of repeatedly wearing the simplest pieces in my wardrobe as they are so simple and unfussy. They make me feel good and comfortable. I don’t seek attention. If I were to, I’d perhaps put on something exceptional or eye-catching, but I wouldn’t because I like simplicity. And therefore I embrace it. Wearing the same clothes over and over again doesn’t bother me, because I love them, so I don’t see a reason why wouldn’t I wear them all the time.

On the other hand, I get jaded and blasé of wearing items that stick out such as statement and flamboyant pieces. Easily recognizable pieces. I guess it’s because such items make me feel like I’m wearing the same things over and over again, whereas simple pieces stand the test of time simply because they’re merely invisible and no-nonsense. Take the outfit above, for instance; every separate is true perfection in my estimation yet so simple. The cut and proportions are right, which is very crucial. I like things that most people find boring. I’ve trained my eyes to look beyond the boringness. It’s all about the tiny, imperceptible details. People may not be able to see those details, which is even better – it’s as though I’m wearing a little unintelligible secret.

Quite frankly, I think it’s more complex to wear, design, and shop for simple clothes. Does this make any sense? I don’t even own a white or black t-shirt. You must wonder, “How is that even possible?” Simple clothes ain’t that easy. Just like disco music. On the surface, disco music sounds easy but just listen through the multiple layers of syncopated beats and instrumentations. Not as uncomplicated as you thought, right?

Isabel Marant coat, H&M scarf, COS o-neck sweater, Mardou & Dean jeans, Hope boots, A.P.C. bag

44 thoughts on “Simplicity is not easy

  1. True story!
    Jeg jakter også alltid på det enkle som lett kan kombineres, enn noe spjåkete i rare former.
    - det funker jo tydeligvis, når folk spør meg om jakka mi er ny, når den er tre år gammel!

  2. These are great points. I had never thought of the statement pieces being more obvious to being worn again. For me, I often wear the same pieces because I love them. It’s as simple as that. Maybe it’s the cut or the drape. Maybe it’s a slimming silhouette. Either way, it is based on 100% love. If I’m so-so about an item, I know it will never work in my closet.

  3. I know that it is always a matter of personal opinion and taste (which naturally fluctuates), but I think that our culture still tends to perceive glamour and luxury as somewhat synonymous with the showy and extravagant. So when we choose to simplify, or tone down, our efforts might become misconstrued as boring or (god forbid!) getting old! Haha. But it is a subtle art, for me it is like the slowing down of frantic desire, and instead taking time and pleasure in cultivation of simplicity itself – which again will mean different things to every individual.

    For myself, these pieces don’t always have to be expensive or difficult to procure, but to strive for and hopefully achieve a sense of balance, that personal sensation of luxury and completeness is a pleasure in itself – and involves a loooooot of patience!

    I also recall reading a blog which staged a sort of backlash against simplicity, or the collection of so-called timeless pieces/classic items. The post concluded that those who fervently seek to minimise or simplify were either A: snobs, or B: boring, or C: getting old. I wonder where these perceptions originate? People’s presumptions based upon what we wear will perhaps always remain – and in a culture which encourages the almost ceaseless accumulation of ‘stuff’, we can hardly expect it to diminish any time soon.

    Also, maybe it is programmed into us when we are very young that ‘youth’ is about extravagance, showing off, standing out, etc. At the age of 37 I have only just come to discover the beauty of pencil skirts, modest heels, flat shoes and pieces such as those which you – fleurette – covet also. I have always sensed that the true essence of personal style is essentially ageless, and yes, timeless. But I am still at a loss at to how it may be perceived as boring.

    Love what you’re doing with the boots here. And also hopeing you managed to snag your much treasured APC items in the sale! x

  4. perfect outfit! ugh i loved those hope boots after seeing them on you but by the time i got back and finally checked out totokaelo’s sale they were already long gone in my size. sooooo saaaaaad.

  5. I’ve come to realise that I feel my best & myself when I wear the clothes that I like the most. I don’t have the need to stand out or have people admiring my style or certain pieces of clothing I’m wearing.
    I could wear a black long sleeved tee with black jeans for a month in a row because I love the way it looks on me. And I don’t get bored wearing the same clothes, because I don’t buy clothes that I can’t see myself wearing repeatedly.
    I want people to notice me, not what I’m wearing.

  6. You’re absolutely right. The simplest things are often the hardest to find. It took me years to find a dark wash slim pair of jeans with no embellishments. Especially after the Balmain look exploded, it was much easier to find super tight motorcycle jeans covered in studs! I swing back and forth between simple and statement clothes. But I fully realize that I couldn’t collect statement pieces now if I didn’t have a solid foundation of basics. And like you said about statement pieces, they can’t be worn as often as the more innocuous pieces. But even then I own about 7587497904 versions of the same thing.

  7. Simple clothes are so stripped back that you can’t hide bad design, fit and cut beneath embellishments! I like simplicity because it is practical and you don’t have to spend so much time picking clothes in the morning.

    Also like several people said, I also feel best when I am comfortable in what I am wearing which means simple, ‘boring’ clothes.

    • They’re utterly perfect. I’ve been searching for this particular wash for ages, and I was so happy when I finally found it. The jeans’ quality is the best, and they are super comfy and actually slimming, haha. These are $350 designer jeans, made in Italy, and I can really feel and see the difference in quality between these and my super cheap Cheap Monday jeans. I actually got these jeans for free, though, through work.. (not some blog offer). I’d never afford a pair of $350 jeans.

  8. well-stated!
    i like standout, unusual pieces, but only in black or white, and only if they’re really beautiful yet avant garde, and well-made. a clean simple palette and being true to one aesthetic feels very liberating to me.
    so i definitely understand where you’re coming from. :)
    and by the way, i’m not crazy about t-shirts, IF they’re short-sleeved because they tend to visually shorten the arms. i like quality long-sleeve tees by james perse, though. such soft cotton…

  9. I think the preference for and appreciation of simplicity can partly come down to personality and personal beliefs and values. For me, it feels disingenuous to wear bold, flamboyant statement pieces, because I’m an introvert and I don’t want to attract attention in a sweeping, indiscriminate, basic way (bright colours, crazy shapes, whatever – it’s a very simple and unchallenging way to catch attention, IMHO). I like the idea of, as you put it, the details being an “unintelligible secret”, and that perhaps only particular people who are keen-eyed and observant and have the same sartorial [and other] values as me will notice such details. I’d rather have that specific, unusual, slightly intimate connection with a very small number of people who share some of my values, than to have an overt connection with everyone who sees me and whose eye has been automatically captured by something fussy or flamboyant. I appreciate simplicity, small details, elegance and restraint, because they reflect ideals that I value – discretion, thoughtfulness, self-control, a resistance to consumerism or wastefulness, etc. Dressing in accordance with the personality and values I want to project is something that feels satisfying and comfortable, and I guess that’s why I don’t get tired of wearing the same simple things over and over.

    That said, I also love a good, complicated, geometric print, so who knows what that says about my personality or values!

    • I hear ya, sister! “I’d rather have that specific, unusual, slightly intimate connection with a very small number of people who share some of my values, than to have an overt connection with everyone who sees me and whose eye has been automatically captured by something fussy or flamboyant.” – this is exactly how I feel, and not only when it comes to the simple clothes I wear but even designer stuff. I simply loathe the fact that my IM boots have become so iconic and popular that people are recognizing that I’m wearing “those famous Marant boots”. Or… what you said is also partly the reason why I never sport my Balenciaga bag any longer. It’s loo in your face. I hate that. Now I rely on cult labels and more “unknown” designers. And haha, I too love a good complicated, geometric print. I love maximalist pieces too, I’m a huge fan of Peter Pilotto for instance. And Dries Van Noten!

  10. The other day, I saw a woman exiting an outlet store with a huge package and she was on the phone, talking to her friend about how she had managed to pick up eleven pairs of pants on clearance for $60. I died a little inside. The way that some people think they need to have “50 basic pieces” is the worst concept ever. There’s no template for personal style. And often, in the pursuit of having a diverse and expansive wardrobe, the quality is definitely lost. I love how you focus on the details, rather than on how people traditionally view simplistic pieces. I’ve gone into so many stores and come out empty-handed, no eleven pairs of pants, because a button or a pocket flap or a way a collar flopped limp really turned me off.

  11. You look lovely – such a breath of fresh air. Not only do I wear the same things over and over, but I often buy repeats of a beautifully-cut dress or draped tee, because I wear them all the time.

  12. This might be my first comment on your blog, but I have to say keep doing this amazing job. I totally love your style and after reading your post I kind of changed my shopping behaviour a year ago or so. I try not to buy too much but invest in good quality and something I really love and want to wear forever. Thank you for showing us simplicity does not have to be boring at all.

    Jenny || Fashion-Guerillas

  13. You look lovely as usual:)

    It all comes down to buying what you love and staying true to your own personal style. I buy multiples of items that i truly love and enjoy wearing all of my items. It’s interesting because friends will often say I love your… , but they never realize that it’s the same jacket, dress etc they’ve told me they loved before. Good design speaks for itself.

    For me it’s always about elegance, restraint, simplicity and staying true to myself. When it comes to simplicity I love that the simplest garments (from a technical standpoint) are the most difficult to construct. Even better when someone else who loves construction notices.

  14. I’ve found the same thing. The more time I spent dreaming about an item and it actually lasted through my dreams to me buying it means I haven’t gotten sick of it.

  15. It’s absolutely true: it’s so difficult to find truly simple pieces of clothing now. I’ve spent hours online looking for a plain ol’ skirt with no luck. I suppose it will be one of those items that I will find when I least expect it.

  16. Your new boots look great! I think I tend to go for something between quiet and loud, but I don’t find I need a lot of loud pieces since I don’t have a lot of loud events to attend (maybe just one or two in my wardrobe…just for when I want to dress up a little bit more than usual). I definitely have an appetite for unconventional prints and materials rendered in a classic form (so a classic pencil skirt or skinny pant–but in something like velvet or patent leather). I guess I would analogize my taste in statement clothing with veggie burgers: it’s in the shape of a burger but it’s made from something surprising!

  17. Funnily enough, this was exactly what I was thinking about. I have my favorite pieces and I wear them to death. Like the Zadig et Voltaire breton sweater and Isabel Marant Warick sweatshirt. My daily uniform is almost a carbon copy of yours although I’d love to swap my pudgy figure for your slender one!

  18. Great conversation going on here, a lot of good points made. Personally I have pieces that have lasted me for years since they have the values I am looking for, may it be the quality, that they are previously used (I don’t want to harm the planet just because I feel like buying something pastel) or that they a personal touch. For some it’s the simplicity. I have bought a lot of classic simple pieces from second hands when I was 15, 16, 17 and now that I am bit older it’s great to pull them out and wear them with something ‘bold’.

  19. Je partage exactement ta conception du style.
    Moi aussi j’aime les vêtements simples et intemporels,je ne souhaite pas que les autres remarquent ce que je porte,c’est mon allure qui compte.Ca m’est égal qu’on me dise “j’adore cette fringue” et d’ailleurs cela arrive rarement car j’aime surtout être en jean et en pull noir ou gris(ahah!),des vêtements jolis mais pas du tout originaux.

  20. I totally agree! Good simple clothes require a more keen eye to figure out how to wear it in a chic way. They’re not easy trendy pieces that don’t require much thought because the piece in itself is already a statement. It’s almost like a puzzle where the right combination of simple items can really create that beautiful subtle message without putting it all out there.

  21. I read the question and was like “I know exactly what she is going to answer”. I was right. I think the same. As a sixteen-year-old, I might look weird, yet this is the kind of style/lifestyle/idea I embrace.

    Last but not least, being French, I’ve learnt that “blasé” is one of those french words you can use in english. Shocked.

    I love your website and your style. Keep going.

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