Hi, guys — this is Connie, and I'm a fashion editor. But, I'm firstly, primarily, and most blatantly an incredibly lazy person. More often than not, it's the one thing standing between me creating outfits in real life the same way I do virtually. Five more minutes of sleep vs. steaming out the deep wrinkles in a vintage maxi-dress? You can understand why that frock has hung unworn in my closet for two years, despite being ridiculously awesome. Scrolling through the past day's Instagrams vs. coordinating accessories to complement a new jumpsuit? I'd rather go for the thumb workout.
So, for me, effortless style has to be just that — effortless. My bedhead is because I haven't brushed my hair since my last haircut, that disheveled half-tuck is because I can't bother tucking in the rest of my T-shirt, and I'm wearing sneakers with my sundress because there's no way I'm going to expend energy hobbling up the subway steps in heels. As someone who loves both fashion and downtime in equal measure, I've become pretty clever at cutting corners without looking like a slob. My main trick for feeling like the best version of myself and also the most rested version? Shopping as a maximal minimalist.
Let me unpack the term: I'm a minimalist at heart. I rarely wear jewelry, I usually can't bother with creative layering, and most of my outfits consist of a top, a bottom, and a jacket. Frills for frills' sake are a dealbreaker for me, and any item of clothing I put on has to be as functional as it is fashionable. However, unlike a lot of minimalists, I love an eclectic mix. Prints, patterns, colors, and embellishments are my kryptonite and, in that way, I'm a maximalist. I'm not into basics, I don't own a plain, white T-shirt or a straightforward denim jacket, and I have no aspirations of looking like a '90s Gap model. For me, the key to being a maximal minimalist is finding basics that are slightly messed-up and feel like one of a kind. And, once your closet primarily consists of items like that, putting together any outfit is a total breeze.
Obviously, this takes a while to curate, and my closet is a decades-long collection in the making. But, now, when I put together a T-shirt-jeans-and-sneakers combo, I know each one of my not-basic basics feels special on its own, and they're especially uncommon all together. My tees feature giant, shrimp-and-noodle prints or come with a taffeta train. My jeans are dip-dyed, boxy-fit, or awkwardly cropped. My sneakers, too, have little flashes of color and pattern. No one would ever mistake me for normcore.
To help you build your own maximal minimalist wardrobe, I've put together a little shopping list of buys I've actually made that wholly fit that criteria. My personal style veers a little tomboy, slouchy, and Japanese-leaning, so you're in luck if that's your vibe, too. But, for those of you who don't consider a pleated skirt over trousers with attached suspenders your jam, you can still apply the the max-min technique next time you're shopping. Even better, you can enjoy those extra few minutes of sleep.
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A clean pair of white jeans is a staple in most closets, but the bright blue flash of color on the hems make these extra-special.
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From the front, this denim jacket is totally basic. But in the back, this allover embroidery not only makes everything look more cool, but it also goes with everything.
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An everyday carryall should never be a blank canvas (tote). This polka-dotted camo bag is surprisingly versatile; it goes just as well with florals and silks as it does with stripes and denim.
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Business on bottom, party on top. These fulfill all the functions of a basic trouser but look like so much more.
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I've always been into a good drop-crotch pant. (Droop naysayers, look away!) These shorts definitely aren't your typical dad-on-vacation Bermudas.