Home » Blog » What Is Japanese Minimalist Fashion? (Decoding It In View Of Japanese Minimalistic Lifestyle)

What Is Japanese Minimalist Fashion? (Decoding It In View Of Japanese Minimalistic Lifestyle)

Japanese minimalist fashion is beautiful. Do you know why it is so special? It embodies the concept of minimalism that has been at the core of Japanese culture and Zen Buddhism.

You must know that Steve Jobs, one of the most prominent figures to endorse minimalistic fashion, had a deep impact of Buddhism on him. 

Simplicity, functionality, and a limited color palette are some of the core principles of minimalist design. Japanese minimalist fashion executes all of them in clean cuts, neutral shades, and simple tailoring.

Do you want to delve deeper into the world of Japanese minimalism and minimalistic fashion? Let’s decode why and how the “less is more” formula works like magic in fashion.

I have also included a dedicated section discussing how you can make a wardrobe based on Japanese minimalism. 

What Is Japanese Minimalist Fashion? 

You can call Japanese minimalist fashion a derivative of traditional Zen Buddhism. It is about possessing a handful of clothes and making them look stylish for different occasions.

This concept in fashion challenges your creativity and asks you to mix and match it with your clothes and accessories.

Further, there are some prominent features of Japanese minimalist clothes. Let’s have a look at them.

  • Neutral shades
  • Classy silhouette
  • Clean cuts
  • Seasonal clothes
  • It can be repeated on many occasions.
  • Allows a lot of scopes for accessorizing

So, in Japanese minimalism, you will find the presence of a lot of button-down shirts in neutral tones, structured trousers in monochromes, and simple tops.

Overall, this particular way of dressing echoes the words of the Dalai Lama. He said,

“If one’s life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important for happiness. Having few desires, feeling satisfied with what you have, is very vital: satisfaction with just enough food, clothing, and shelter to protect yourself from the elements.”

In Japanese minimalist clothes, you will also find the use of natural fabrics. Most of the clothes are tailored with cotton, linen, wool, and silk. These clothes are durable, comfortable, and easy to maintain.

Thanks to the durability and high quality of these clothes, you don’t need to go on a shopping frenzy frequently. 

What Is The Philosophy And What Are The Aesthetics Behind Japanese Minimalist Fashion? 

Limiting the number of your belongings is the main philosophy behind Japanese minimalistic fashion. This philosophy, which comes from Zen Buddhism, preaches that having a limited number of possessions always helps you lead a clutter-free and easy life.

It also helps you make optimum use of the things you have. 

In the Japanese minimalist aesthetic, you will find the importance of “Ma,” or negative space. This concept is widely followed in home decor, clothes, or anything inspired by Japanese minimalism.

For clothes especially, this concept of negative space gets translated through white and neutral shades like beige or cream. 

You will also not find much opulence in the designs of these clothes. You will find very little use of embellishments, frills or lace.

Further, the cuts are simple, and the fit is relaxed in these clothes to make them functional and easy to wear. 

Who Is The Japanese Minimalist Woman? 

Marie Kondo is a Japanese minimalist woman who has been teaching the world the art of decluttering and simplicity.

She has penned many books on the concept of minimalism, and among them, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” is the most celebrated.

She preaches that you should only have things around you that produce happiness. A sense of joy or happiness leads to clarity of thoughts and a more decluttered approach to life. 

Japanese Minimalist Fashion: An Extension Of Japanese Minimalistic Lifestyle 

Conceptually, Japanese minimalism and minimalist fashion stand at the opposite of materialism. In fact, it preaches how life can be beautiful if we make simple choices and only grab things that are essential in our lives.

So, while making a minimalist wardrobe, you need to only have the essentials that you need in your day-to-day fashion. 

Japanese minimalism also has an aversion to wastefulness. So, it never encourages hoarding your wardrobe with the clothes you don’t need.

Also, there is a concept of recycling and rules like one-in and one-out. So, there are very few chances of adding waste to the environment and causing pollution. 

So, with the entire world gravitating toward an overflowing lifestyle, the Japanese minimalist lifestyle teaches how living with less stuff is bliss.

With time, you can build a wardrobe that has the things you actually need. Also, you will be developing a style of your own when you have less number of clothes and accessories. 

Marie Kondo, the iconic minimalist figure, speaks her heart out in the Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo about creating a joyful space with the wardrobe essentials one needs and how one can keep the wardrobe clutter-free. 

How To Ace Japanese Minimalist Fashion In Your Daily Life?

Choosing a minimalist way of fashion can be difficult initially. The process begins with decluttering your wardrobe. Once you are done with decluttering, you can consider adding the following elements to your closet.

I have also given brief styling ideas for these clothes so that you can look stylish and feel comfortable every time you step out. 

1. White Turtleneck Sweater

For autumn and winter, a white turtleneck sweater will be the most versatile outfit. Thanks to the neutral shades, this sweater will be perfect for wearing on different occasions. You can wear it with a pair of denim jeans or with a skirt. 

Further, on the colder days of winter, you can layer it with a long trench coat. The best thing about this sweater is that it is most suitable for formal and casual occasions. 

2. Long Overcoat

If you have a penchant for quiet luxury or minimalist fashion, a long overcoat will be the perfect staple in your wardrobe. It has a vintage vibe, and it will help you exude the perfect Holly Golightly charm. 

You can wear a long overcoat over a skirt and top or any dress. This entire look goes well with long boots. 

3. White Button-Down Shirt

Be it a coffee date or a business meeting, a white button-down shirt will always be the most versatile topwear for you. Try pairing it with denim jeans or well-tailored trousers. 

4. Boot Cut Denim Jeans

Get rid off the worry of styling your top or shirt by choosing a pair of boot-cut denim jeans. These jeans go well with shirts, tops, tunics, and even tank tops or tubes. 

5. Denim Overalls

Denim overalls are one of the most comfortable outfits for women across all seasons. You can easily wear your denim overall with a white tee and a pair of sneakers or Mary Jane shoes. 

6. Flared Midi Dress

If you want to elevate the style game a little, consider choosing a flared midi dress for your wardrobe. However, keep the flare moderate and be a minimalist in your choice of colors. 

7. Denim Midi Skirt

You can keep it contemporary and comfortable by adding a denim midi skirt to your wardrobe. It suits almost every body type, and it can be one of the most functional or versatile outfits to have in your closet.

Styling a denim midi skirt is easy, and you can wear it with any top or tee of your choice. For a classy look, you can even pair the denim skirt with a white button-down shirt. Keep the shirt tucked in for an upright appearance. 

8. Checkered Midi Dress

You can add a checkered midi dress to your minimalist wardrobe. These dresses also have a cottagecore vibe. So, you can complement them with floral accessories or different braided hairstyles. 

However, do not go very boisterous with the color combination of the checks.  

9. Floral Maxi Dress

A white or beige floral maxi dress can be your savior when you are looking for easy styling and something that will allow indulging in sheer comfort. This maxi dress will also be a functional outfit and ideal for all seasons. 

Do not go for too much flare when choosing a floral maxi dress. You must also avoid too much opulence in the sleeve style or the design of the neckline. 

10. White Sheer Dress

You can spruce up your minimalist fashion game by choosing a white sheer dress for you. However, make sure that the dress does not have much detailing, like frills or laces. Too much of any detailing does not go with the concept of minimalism.

Nevertheless, this sheer dress will celebrate your sensuality, remaining true to the core vibe of minimalism. You can wear the dress for parties or other special occasions to get complimented for your fashion choices. 

11. Pin Striped Tunic

Pin-striped tunics are the perfect examples of fusing comfort with style. With a longer length, these tunics look great with denim jeans and trousers alike.

Further, with vertical pinstripes, these tunics will also make your silhouette appear elongated. As a result, you will have a slender look.

These tunics also have a distinct boho vibe, which makes styling them easier. To keep the overall look aesthetic, you can accessorize a pinstripe tunic with sleek silver jewelry or a statement scarf. 

12. Cardigans

You cannot make a Japanese minimalist wardrobe without a classy cardigan. A well-knit cardigan can be your go-to layering element when you have limited resources for autumn and winter in your wardrobe. 

Wear this cardigan over a top or a classy midi dress to make a feminine appearance. However, be a little careful with the color choice of your cardigan. You can pick white, beige, or any other neutral shade that goes well with different colors. 

13. Formal Trousers

A pair of properly structured and well-tailored trousers will always be an asset to your Japanese minimalist wardrobe. These trousers flatter your body and they look great with a wide range of tops and tunics. 

Of course, you can wear them with a formal shirt or a blazer while heading to your office or a business meeting. 

14. A Simple White Tee

If you are planning to build a Japanese minimalist wardrobe, you must consider adding a simple white tee to it.

You can wear the tee with any bottom of your choice. It will look great in cargo pants, denim jeans, or even well-tailored trousers. 

If you want, you can also wear the tee with a skirt for a girl-next-door look. Keep the tee tucked in for a distinct fashion statement. 

Brands That Are Promoting Japanese Minimalist Fashion

If you want to have a thorough understanding of Japanese minimalist fashion, you will have to know about the designers and brands that promote this style. 

Minimalism in fashion has been present in Japanese culture for many centuries. However, the entire world took note of this way of dressing when names like Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo, and Yohji Yamamoto stunned everyone with their designs. 

They even challenged the conventional way of dressing and the stereotypical way of dressing with the following elements. They used the following elements in the designs they created.

  • Oversized shapes
  • Asymmetrical cuts
  • Unconventional fabrics

Today, there are brands like Comme des Garçons and Uniqlo that are offering Japanese minimalist clothes with different price ranges. 

The best thing about minimalistic fashion is that you can even get them at thrift stores. The concept also involves borrowing clothes from a friend and mending the worn-out ones. 

Having said that, some other brands promoting Japanese minimalistic fashion are MUJI, LOWRYS FARM, GU, and MR. OLIVE. 

Final Words 

Japanese minimalist fashion is an extension of the Japanese minimalist lifestyle. Clear cuts, breathable fabrics and a nude color palette define these clothes.

With a neutral color tone, these clothes encourage experimentation and promote being creative with your fashion statement. 

Further, taking inspiration from Zen Buddhism, the Japanese minimalist way of dressing is also a lot about “being mindful in fashion.”

If you want to build a Japanese minimalist wardrobe or incorporate these aesthetics into your daily fashion, you can check out the ideas I have shared. 

Also, if you have any other styling ideas inspired by Japanese minimalism, don’t forget to share them with us. 

Also read