Amidst modern excess, Minimalism surfaced as a guiding light of simplicity and intentionality. However, its evolution into an aesthetic trend inadvertently started to echo with privilege, sidelining those who needed it most. Can minimalism evolve to bridge the divide between privilege and inclusivity?

I noticed the word Minimalism casually being dropped into conversations in 2019 when the Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo began airing. Almost instantaneously, there was an obsession with tidying and perfectly organised bedroom drawers. The gentle and inviting coziness of the show captivated audiences, leading them to believe in the possibility of living prosperous lives, distinct from the prevailing extravagance that dominated much of our existence. Eventually, like most popular things in the social media age, minimalism started to gain traction as an aesthetic. Now, people no longer want to be associated with excess; simplicity is all the rage once again.

Minimalism as a concept surfaced particularly through the artistic movements in the 1960s as a challenge to the abstract expressionist movement that dominated the World War II era. However, minimalism as a lifestyle began to flourish in the 21st century, as an increasing number of people started to feel suffocated by the mindless accumulation that had taken root in their lives. The concept that personal contentment can be pursued without constant reliance on instant gratification from material objects is truly liberating. Minimalism also focuses on the emotional relationship between our material possessions, prompting us to appreciate their significance and purpose in our lives.

However, the concept of minimalism fails to acknowledge the influence of socioeconomic privileges in shaping the standards of what is deemed “aesthetic”. While minimalism advocates for mindful living and appreciating our time and surroundings, it tends to disregard the privilege of having “time” itself. Many individuals lack the luxury to dedicate time to deliberate choices about their possessions. While promoting minimalism is certainly valuable and demands greater attention, it inadvertently marginalizes individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Their limited resources and time prevent them from investing in possessions that genuinely enhance their lives. For them, minimalism isn’t a voluntary decision but rather a necessity dictated by their circumstances.

[This trend is] all about spending an incredible amount of time and attention to look as if you hadn’t thought about it at all.

-journalism Chelsey Fagan wrote in 2017

Modern-day minimalism places significant emphasis on aesthetics. The image often involves pristine white walls and linens paired with opulent dark wood, accentuated by touches of greenery to instill a sense of airiness. However, herein lies the predicament with minimalism. It tends to cater predominantly to a wealthier demographic, one that possesses the means to indulge minimalism into a lavish trend. Conversely, individuals with fewer resources have inherently practiced a form of minimalism, driven by the circumstances that shape their lifestyles and decisions. While their approach might not align with the conventional aesthetic, their practices resonate more genuinely with the fundamental values that minimalism advocates.

I guess around the late 2010s I really started noticing minimalism in my Pinterest feed. The aesthetic was very similar and there was a lot of emphasis on cleanliness. I think about minimalism and how it is about having less but valuable things in your life, I feel like it has already been done by people. I don’t think minimalism is anything new as a concept but I feel like people are just now taking it seriously because rich white people suddenly believe capitalist consumption is wrecking the earth.

-remarked a student from Mumbai

The concepts of minimalism often intersect with the principles of sustainability, particularly within the realm of fashion. Sustainability in fashion revolves around the notion that individuals should curate a wardrobe comprised of “investment” pieces. This approach enables us to derive maximal value from these items, without the constant pressure to conform to fleeting trends through low-quality fast fashion. Nevertheless, this perspective also reveals the underlying theme of privilege, as not everyone possesses the means to afford long-lasting, high-quality pieces. Many individuals turn to more affordable alternatives out of necessity, as they lack viable options.

I used to thrift all my clothes. I wasn’t necessarily aware of the sustainable implications or the vintage aesthetic of the clothes. It was just something my family did for the longest time. But now it’s considered so cool to go thrifting. I’m glad it is gaining awareness because of sustainability but sometimes I’m just confused because I see people who can afford better quality clothes from sustainable brands go thrifting and then immediately discard those clothes after 2-3 wears. I just feel like it defeats the purpose. For my family, Goodwill was essentially the only way we could afford clothes but I sometimes feel like if I had the resources, I would definitely try to invest in more expensive but sustainable brands.

-remarked a student from New York City

This doesn’t imply that minimalism is an elitist movement or that we should abandon its principles. Instead, it’s crucial to expand the perspective of minimalism beyond the familiar narratives that primarily resonate with affluent individuals. Contemporary minimalism is heavily associated with the privilege of choice, a luxury that isn’t accessible to many of us. The issue with the current state of minimalism is not its inherent cost, but rather the fact that it’s both expensive to adopt and carries a sense of condescension towards those not embracing the lifestyle. Thus, it becomes essential to redirect our attention from the “glamour of minimalism” and instead focus on how we can make minimalism more relatable and attainable for those who are already engaged in its principles.

While minimalism promises a path to mindful living, the popularization of minimalism often overlooks the barriers of socioeconomic privilege that influence its aesthetics and accessibility. The paradox lies in advocating for simplicity while failing to recognize that true simplicity may be forced upon those without the means to choose it. As we strive to redefine the narrative of minimalism, we must question whether its current trajectory aligns with its core principles of intentionality. How can we bridge the gap between the aspirational image of minimalism and the reality faced by those who lack the luxury of choice? Can we reshape minimalism into a movement that honours its essence while fostering inclusivity and acknowledging diverse economic circumstances? By reflecting on these questions and reshaping the discourse, we can work towards a version of minimalism that truly speaks to the essence of material liberation and contentment for all.


Read Also: https://dubeat.com/2016/12/19/minimalism-have-less-be-more/

Image Credits: Inc. Magazine

Sri Sidhvi Dindi

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When it comes to dressing up for college, what a student looks for is something that’s easy but also cool, classy, quick and inexpensive. Minimalism is just that. 

A minimalist closet is one of the most effective ways to save time and money when getting dressed. It refers to paring down your closet, full of essentials until you have a whole host of easy-to-recreate outfits at your disposal. Online fashion communities use a fancy term – capsule wardrobe for such a versatile collection of clothes that can be used on an everyday basis.

A plain or graphic t-shirt, simply styled with black jeans and white/black sneakers is so effortlessly stylish. While girls can experiment with knots and tucked-in styles, guys must try pairing a cap or bagpack. Minimalism fashion is often misconceived to be all about black, white or grey shades. Whilst these are the go-to palettes for a minimalist look, it is not always the case. Even bright colours like yellow, pink, orange, blue or red can work well when they are simple in design or similar in tone. Tone-on-tone, as they call it, is a more exciting way to explore the trend of minimalism. 

White works as a good base for all colour palettes. Credits: Komal Pandey, Ranveer Allahbadia via Instagram
White works as a good base for all colour palettes. Credits: Komal Pandey, Ranveer Allahbadia via Instagram

Here is a list of clothes that you should have in your wardrobe and not stress about what to wear to college everyday because it’ll be just enough. These are very basic pieces available across online and offline shops for cheap and affordable prices. Remember to not over hoard.


Kurta and jeans is not a new revelation, it is literally the OG Dilli University style statement. For boys, kurtas over pants, jeans and even pyjamas does the thing. Similarly for girls, kurtis of all kinds – short, peplum, solid or printed look so effortlessly pretty with bottoms of all kinds – palazzos, pants, skirts and even shorts. 

Shirts & T-shirts

T-shirts and tops are probably the most comfortable piece of clothing one can own; perfect for everyday wear. Have a bunch of these and wear them interchangeably! You can find a variety of colours and fit at Decathlon stores. 

From formal college presentations to wearing it casually, shirts can be used more often than you think. Checked shirts never go out of style; they’re a classic and come in million variants. Boys, most simply can wear them with denims or pants, and even open-buttoned with a plain tee inside. For girls, a white shirt especially, layered over a printed tank top or tucked into a chic skirt, goes a long way. 

Dresses and Skirts

Girls out there, a dress is literally the laziest thing you can wear and still look amazing! It is a one stylized item that you can throw on and look instantly put-together. As for skirts, find what’s comfortable to you and experiment with prints and textures. These are two pieces that can survive your day-to-night look. Dress down with a pair of sneakers for the lecture and dress up with heels or boots for a party. 


Skirts and dresses are the go-to for girls during summer months.Credits: Jenna Jacobs via Instagram
Skirts and dresses are the go-to for girls during summer months. Credits: Jenna Jacobs via Instagram


This is the most obvious but necessary item for every college going student. Invest in one or two solid pairs of jeans because they can go with literally everything. Boyfriend jeans are the ideal denim choice due to their comfortable fit. They look absolutely chic and casual on girls when paired up with feminine pieces like printed blouses or simply tank tops. 

Perfect for university, here are a few tips and tricks to ace your style game with the bare minimal clothing items in your capsule wardrobe. 


This one’s a no-brainer. You need one bag that is sturdy to carry your load of books and other college stuff. Tote bags are pretty comfortable and fashionable too. 


Layering is no more a season specific trick. Pairing up jackets or shrugs (denim, khaki or textured) with a basic inner layer is so effortless. A patterned or solid shirt is a great alternative too. Use the scarves, dupattas and stoles as add ons!

A still from Piku, effortless and comfortable outfit idea for college. Credits: Bollystyle
A still from Piku, effortless and comfortable outfit idea for college. Credits: Bollystyle


Accessorizing for boys can include watches, caps, scarfs etc. You don’t need to go extra but wear these casually. Experiment with colours, go beyond the darker shades. 

For girls, dainty or junk jhumkas, neckpieces and bindis are ever popular accessories that can add the bling to your outfit. And not just jewellery, you can play with caps, baker boy hats or bandanas to edge a regular college look. 

On your feet

Sneakers, low-top shoes, converse and sliders are a few comfy yet edgy footwears that you can wear to college. Do not go for all of these, pick what’s most comfortable for you since you will be on your toes throughout the day. 


Outfits curated with very basic pieces, for all kinds of days at college. Credits: Saurav Nagar via Instagram
Outfits curated with very basic pieces, for all kinds of days at college. Credits: Saurav Nagar via Instagram


Look effortless and edgy, it’s all about feeling yourself. Credits: Sejal Kumar via Instagram
Look effortless and edgy, it’s all about feeling yourself. Credits: Sejal Kumar via Instagram

Incorporating minimalistic pieces like these in everyday fashion can make one look effortlessly good, for it is all about comfort, lightweight materials, easy-throw-on pieces – just simple basics with a tiny twist. When it comes to everyday fashion, less really does say more. 

Feature Image Credits: Pinterest 

Aishwaryaa Kunwar

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A Minimalist yet stylish wardrobe may sound like an oxymoron to some, but there are innumerable ways to achieve it.

1) Make a detailed inventory of your possessions- Make a list of all that you own. Ensure that you take into account whether those clothes fit you anymore. Once you have a clear idea of what all you own, re-organising your wardrobe would be significantly easier. Make a list of essentials and basics that you do not have. Over the months slowly incorporate these essentials into your wardrobe one by one. Since the point of minimalism is owning less, buying everything in one go would be against the very point of this exercise. Therefore, take it slow on the purchase front.

2) Buy only what you need and love- Remember that shopping is not a leisure activity that is supposed to fight boredom. Do not buy things simply because they are on sale or because you might fit into them one day, or because you think it looks fairly good. Buy only what is necessary or what makes you look and feel absolutely confident. Any piece of clothing or accessory that you buy should be comfortable and versatile. Think of buying investment pieces that may be costlier but will last longer. Avoid fast fashion, shoddily made clothes with a short shelf life at all costs; they lack the gravitas needed to become a part of a minimalist wardrobe.

Image Credits- Madamois-Elle
Image Credits- Madamois-Elle

3) Develop your aesthetic- When we aren’t sure of our personal sense of style, we end up buying things that look good on us but are not expressive of our personality. These pieces of clothing may be cute individually, but if they do not reflect our style we would not do justice to them. They would remain piled up in our wardrobe, adding to the clutter and taking up precious closet space. Experimenting and trying out new things is important, but buy something unconventional only when you know you will be using it.

4) Set your own definition of minimalism– If you are adopting minimalism, one would assume you are tired of excessive consumerism and clutter. Therefore, it is you who should determine how religiously you need to follow this lifestyle. Minimalism does not mean your wardrobe needs to be full of charcoal greys and blacks. Having a minimalist wardrobe does not mean you wouldn’t buy yourself fun clothes to wear on a night out. A minimalist wardrobe serves the purpose of making your life easier, not restrict your choices. Buy that glittery dress to wear on your friends’ birthday and remember, it is cool to repeat!

Image Credits- Madamois-Elle
Image Credits- Madamois-Elle

A minimalist wardrobe is an act of rebellion in this world of fast fashion. By adopting it, you would choose sustainability, organization, and peace of mind. Develop a minimalist wardrobe so that your morning routine is simpler and getting dressed seems fun, not a chore.


Feature Image Credits: Madamois-Elle
Kinjal Pandey
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There is something that makes one stand apart by using the art of minimalism in everyday fashion. Auburn decodes the mystery behind staying minimal and yet not looking boring.

Usually, in an attempt to look different, people make the fashion faux pas of doing too much – wearing too many prints, donning too many colours, or mixing too many styles. The art of minimalism in fashion is easy and effortless (especially once you get the hang of it) and has the aesthetics of what is called ‘impersonal austerity’. Here are some tips to remember while curating a minimalistic wardrobe:

  • Colour: People generally think that whites, blacks, and greys make a minimalistic outfit, but don’t be afraid to experiment with colours. The trick is to use colours from the same palette and/or with the same undertones.
  • Print: Minimalistic fashion usually has subtle print patterns, also called ‘non-emotive design’, which have geometric elements in the design, such as lines and linear shapes. One can never go wrong with stripes, plaid, and even floral. These designs can easily be paired with the other items in your closet.
  • Fit: This is the most important aspect of putting together a minimalistic outfit. Unlike other forms of style, this does not have extra elements to distract from a lousy fit. A simple piece, such as a white t-shirt, can look a hundred times better with the right fitting. So, spend some extra time in the dressing room figuring out which is the best fit for you.
  • Accessories: A simple wardrobe doesn’t only mean simple clothes; accessories add an elegant and delicate touch to the overall look. Also, having the right bling can do wonders. Look for dainty necklaces, bracelets, rings, and sunglasses in a neat finish for that extra oomph factor.
  • Buy: To curate a minimalistic wardrobe, one needs to know where to curate from. The Basics section in Forever 21 and H&M are staples; their leggings, tees, blouses, and camisoles are a must have in one’s everyday wardrobe.

Incorporating minimalistic elements in everyday fashion makes one look effortless and casual, and draws attention in the best possible way. There is, however, a fine line between simplicity and not trying. The skill of using the art of minimalistic fashion is said to be achieved when it is possible to balance both sides. As they say, “Less is more.”

Feature Image Credits: Pintrest

Anagha Rakta
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A while back in class 12th I read an essay by Mr. Jainender Kumar titled “Bazaar Darshan” as a part of our Hindi curriculum. Although it’s been a while since I’ve picked an NCERT Hindi Text book, the text of that essay echoes in the back of my mind every time I go to a mall, visit department stores or come across the flashy discount or sale advertisements both offline as well as on online platforms. “Bazaar Darshan” talked about the market, its temptations, business which thrives on false promises and insecurities and a society that aloofly prides itself on purchasing power when it’s actually trapped in vain consumerism. The critique is not of ownership, but of the importance we assign only to the “things”, often forsaking the experience, relationships and growth.

In today’s world more and more online home delivery services dealing with everything from groceries to clothes are thriving. Hundreds of e-commerce sites are expanding themselves with pay-per-click model and we are surpassing the world in purchasing power (India is the third-largest economy in the world based on purchasing power, though we rank 127 in terms of per-capita GDP) and interestingly many parallel studies suggest that we top the chart in number of people who suffer from Depression and Anxiety (WHO) and more than 50% of these people live in Metros (NIMHANS).

It’s time to ask: Are we spending our money or if our money is spending us. The need of the hour is Minimalism- a lifestyle that helps people search for happiness through life itself. Gandhi’s words “Simple living and High thinking” explain this concept. For a while now I’m trying to practice this principle and the changes are truly liberating. There are obvious and direct benefits such as less cleaning, more organised space and more money. Other indirect, however equally profitable benefits such as peace of mind and easy decision making can’t be ignored. When Mark Zuckerberg was asked about his limited wardrobe variety, he replied “I really want to clear my life so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve the community.” Basically the drill is about engaging with what is essential. If you are stressing more about packing before setting off on a small trip, then you are doing life wrong.

Now a lot of us like our things and we sometimes can’t resist, after all that’s something only mahatmas and monks can do. But again, Minimalism is all about allowing us to make choices and purchases more consciously. Here are a few tips on how we can do the same:-

  • Shop only when you need something. Don’t shop for fun or out of boredom.
  • Frequently de-clutter and give away the items that you don’t use.
  • Before buying ask yourself if you really need it or whether you are succumbing to the temptation of discount.
  • Spend freely on things that give you joy. Eg. It’s justifiable to splurge on the statement boots which you will use the whole winter instead of buying multiple mugs which will just sit on your kitchen cabinet.
  • Block all the spam advertisements on your phone and e-mail.


Niharika Dabral
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