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

La tenue du jour

This is just another variation of my uniform/silhouette. I like the fact that it only takes me five seconds to dress in the morning yet I always look put together – in my estimation. That’s one of the many advantages of having a wardrobe pared down to the essentials. Surely, it takes a lot of effort to become effortless.

On a different note. I don’t wear a lot of accessories. It’s not in my nature to pile on heaps of accessories. Obviously, I gravitate towards simplicity. A flash of ankle and wrist is quite enough to add a zest to my outfits. Also, I always wear my wrist watch, partially out of practicality, and my subtle gold necklace with anchor pendant. I’ve been wearing this particular pendant ever since I was little (I think it was a christening gift) and it means a lot to me.

Isabel Marant jacket, A.P.C. sweater, Cheap Monday jeans, Ettore Adriano loafers, MbMJ bag, Dior sunglasses

On using the term ‘minimalist’

(via onesleeplessnight)

Thanks to Phoebe Philo, Jil Sander and the rest of the band of minimalist designers, the sudden torrent of minimalism in the world of fashion has indeed taken the style enthusiasts by storm to such an extent that the expression “minimalist” has become quite misleading.

What strikes me most about this craze is the women who are in possession of 20 Chanel jackets and nonetheless call themselves a minimalist when throwing on a stark Jil Sander suit or a futuristic dress. Isn’t that insulting to people such as Leo Babauta of, who is genuinely a minimalist and practices the philosophy of minimalism in every aspect of life and not only in half a dozen outfits? To put it in a different context: If Webern were to proclaim himself a minimalist only because some of his pointillistic works may be arrayed in a minimalist attire, it would be very insulting to Philip Glass, don’t you think?

I can acknowledge with 100% sincereness that I find it rather hard to call someone with exaggerated shopping habits and a wardrobe jam-packed with a nearly four-digit number of clothes a minimalist. I also find it difficult to comprehend what’s minimalistic in said instance apart from maybe an understated Stella McCartney-esque attire. Often, I see that fashion magazines and certain blogs misuse this term profoundly, and to be frank; I am fed up with this fallacy. Sure, there are probably people who might assert that having this much can be tantamount to being a minimalist by their standards as long as their outfit is a Céline or Jil Sander lookalike. And sure, there’s an interminable discussion of whether minimalism is about both aesthetics and philosophy/method, or merely the latter. But after all, minimalism is fundamentally all about paring down something to its bare essentials, not only regarding how one assembles an outfit, but also in terms of wardrobe. Well, I suppose it’s an incongruity to talk of fashion and minimalism together. As quoted in this post, this is, in my estimation, the most fitting and precise definition of minimalism:

“Minimalism is not a style, it is an attitude, a way of being. It’s a fundamental reaction against noise, visual noise, disorder, vulgarity. Minimalism is the pursuit of the essence of things, not the appearance.”

By all means, people are entitled to label themselves and their style whatever they desire, but I just wish that people could at least google and look up the term “minimalism” so as to get a better grasp on its meaning before rashly becoming a quasi minimalist. However, how can someone who owns 15 trousers from Jil Sander and 25 Chanel bags be a minimalist?

(The accompanying photo is just a faint example of having perhaps too much clothes, not someone who is labeling herself a minimalist.)
(PS: I’m not claiming that I’m anywhere near a minimalist (yet).. it’s a process that requires baby steps.)

On minimalism

“Minimalism is not a style, it is an attitude, a way of being. It’s a fundamental reaction against noise, visual noise, disorder, vulgarity. Minimalism is the pursuit of the essence of things, not the appearance.” (Massimo Vingelli)

This quote is so true, at least this is how I would define minimalism. My style may not be minimalist in the sense of Jil Sander or Stella McCartney, however my approach to life is clearly influenced by the minimalist lifestyle. I am utterly attracted to the idea of minimalism. By embracing minimalism, I have in fact acquired more from purging and decluttering both physically and mentally.

I would say my approach to both style and life is equivalent to the golden mean – a cross between extreme asceticism and extreme hedonism – though I must admit that my obsession with perfection may be excessive at times. I have learned that the pursuit of the perfect wardrobe pays off and decreases the urge to possess lots of clothes and stuff in general. I maintain that having a superfluity of objects yields dissatisfaction. Rather than buying stuff to fill a void in my life, I constrain myself to cope with dissatisfaction by limiting the quantity of stuff I allow myself to purchase. It takes a lot of effort to become effortless and achieve the look of ease – but this is a further theme that I’ll save for another occasion. I suppose that the choices I make as a minimalist perfectionist are still in alignment with my own effortless simplistic values.

Until nearly three years ago, I found it difficult to conquer my impulse consumerism. For me, the transition from being a hoarder to approaching minimalism was like a release from the burden of possessions. In spite of being able to resist purchasing things on impulse, parting with anything once it was in my possession was the hardest part, especially objects I was strongly attached to.

I believe that the best part of being a minimalist is the feeling of freedom and the ease it gives. I suppose that we’re absolutely capable of managing all of our possessions without intrusion into our life.

As I was packing my suitcase for my stay in Barcelona, it struck me that I always bring the same essentials regardless of destination or season. Packing became a lot easier after I gave my life and wardrobe an overhaul. I was not even aware of my accomplishments until my French cousin, whom I see twice or three times a year, stated that I had been wearing the same clothes since 2008. To me, it sounds like I’ve attained one of my goals. My entire capsule wardrobe fits into one suitcase. It makes me very happy that I no longer respond to the endless consumerism that we are bombarded by and that my wardrobe is no longer cluttered.

As for my style, I’m quite fond of maximalist garments but I wear them in a minimalist way.

Style notice: The quest for quality

(via thegentlewoman)

On the subject of quality/quantity and French wardrobe, I found a great and very enlightening excerpt from the book “Elegance” by Kathleen Tessaro:

One of the most striking differences between a well-dressed Englishwoman and a well-dressed Parisian is in the size of their respective wardrobes. The Englishwoman would probably be astonished by the very limited number of garments hanging in the French woman’s wardrobe but she would also be bound to observe that each one is of excellent quality, expensive perhaps by British standards, and perfectly adapted to the life a Frenchwoman leads. She wears them over and over again, discarding them only when they are worn or outmoded, and she considers it a compliment (as it is meant to be) when her best friend says, ‘I’m so glad you decided to wear your red dress – I’ve always loved it!’

Foreign visitors are often shocked by the high prices in Paris shops and they wonder how a young career girl, for example, who earns no more than her British counterpart, can afford to carry an alligator handbag and to wear a suit from the Balmain boutique. The answer is that she buys very few garments: her goal is to possess a single perfect ensemble for each of the different occasions in her life, rather than a wide choice of clothes to suit every passing mood.

I wonder if the Englishwoman wouldn’t profit by replacing once in a while her penchant for quantity with a quest for quality. She might find that not only is her elegance increased, but also the enjoyment and even the confidence that she gets from her clothes.

(Excerpt via tfs)

Calvin Klein S/S 2011

Fashion week literally bores me. That explains why I just recently discovered some great collections. I only follow a couple of designers at Paris fashion week such as Dries Van Noten, Balenciaga, Isabel Marant, Martin Margiela, Vanessa Bruno + a few more (they were all disappointing as expected). By habit, I never check out the designers at New York fashion week because I rarely find any intriguing designers.

But one of the few collections from S/S 2011 that I actually like and/or find inspirational (that’s rare!) is the Calvin Klein S/S 2011 collection. Partly because the collection clearly appeals to my aesthetic. I want to wear everything from this collection. I adore the small but significant details like the almost-invisible pockets and drawstrings. All the fabrics look so delicate and I love the way the materials flow on the models. The barely there make-up and the semi-tousled ponytail are effortless and just perfect. As for the pared-down style and the architectural minimalism, Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein is a genius.