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The Thread Guide to: Minimalist dressing

The Thread Guide to: Minimalist dressing

This thing is true: men's clothes have become more relaxed. Whereas suits, ties and pocket squares used to be the height of style, now you can be just as impressive in casual, comfortable clothes.

What we mean by minimalism

We're not really talking the Minimalists' tactic of wearing only a few basics—although we've got you covered with the essentials if that's your jam. But what we're interested in is an attention to details, relaxed fits, and mixing smart and casual clothes to get the most value out of everything you own.

There are also certain shapes of clothing that Thread stylist Millie Rich thinks of when it comes to minimalism: wider, more relaxed fits, whether in jackets, shirts or trousers. It's great news for guys who could never stomach skinny jeans: minimalist clothes "hang rather than cling," according to Millie—meaning more room between you and your clothes.

More of a movement than a trend (Thread's all about style over fashion, so we don't really do trends), this idea of minimalist dressing is also egalitarian: an easy and cheap way of dressing well. "I'm behind minimalism 100 percent," Millie says. "You might think of it as austere and serious, but it can actually be quite fun—experimenting with new-to-you colours, shapes or combinations. And it's much more inclusive than years ago, when looking good was all about having the most expensive suit and accessories." 

Up for giving it a try?

Here are four easy introductions. The best part: each of these items goes with almost all of the favourite basics you already own.

Thread's favourite minimal item 1. Simple leather trainers

Photographed: Jigsaw white leather trainers (£98)

Why we love them: "The versatility, for one. Leather's also plain, undistracting, and easy to clean."

Look for: "Grey, white and black are the easiest to wear, but coloured trainers can go with almost as much."

… and avoid: "Faux leather or big branding. Keep it as simple as possible."

Wear them with: "Basically anything, from shorts to jeans to tailored trousers." 

Thread's favourite minimal item 2. Clean bomber jacket

Photographed: Oliver Sweeney white trainers (£279), Research Garments white t-shirt (£15), Selected indigo jeans (£65), Folk bomber jacket (£270)

Why we love it: "Light and useful all year—as your summer jacket, or a jumper alternative under your winter coat—a bomber's round shape makes it more modern and interesting than other jackets."

Look for: "Navy or dark-green colour, a zip fastening, and a mid-weight fabric like cotton or nylon. Folk and Oliver Spencer are favourite bomber brands."

… and avoid: "Too many pockets or details."

Wear it with: "Anything casual; no suits, no blazers." 

Thread's favourite minimal item 3. Granddad-collar shirt

Photographed: Oliver Spencer white shirt (£95)

Why we love it: "The round hem and collar make these shirts a bit unusual, and so much less expected and more style-conscious under a jumper or jacket than an Oxford shirt."

What to look for: "A plain colour with few to no details. (Seeing a trend here? Unsurprisingly, minimalism means less, but better.)"

… and what to avoid: "Patterns and long-line fits (which would reach to or below your bum)."

Wear it with: "Anything from a suit to indigo or black jeans." 

Thread's favourite minimal item 4. Formal trousers

Photographed: Jigsaw suede jacket (£298), Research Garments white t-shirt (£15), Whistles navy trousers (£110), Natural white Converse (£45)

Why we love them: "Jeans have an industrial vibe and chinos are a basic. Smart trousers are more considered—and they give you room to play around by wearing them with more casual clothes."

What to look for: "Grey's the best colour but navy also works. Choose wool or any matte fabric and a slim or wide leg rather than skinny."

… and avoid: "Turn-ups don't usually work with this type of trouser."

Wear them with: "This is where you experiment. Wear them with anything you'd wear jeans with—seriously!—barring your most casual trainers. This isn't a massive change, but it can make your whole wardrobe feel fresh. We highly recommend giving it a go."