I genuinely believe that when movies are made about the mid-2010s in the future, we will be nostalgically remembered for minimalist style. In an era where we’ve become increasingly obsessed (perhaps even unhealthily) with streamlining and simplifying our day to day life through apps that make labour easier and food products that make eating unnecessary, this aesthetic has become ubiquitous with our current cultural moment. But while a minimalist wardrobe can make dressing in the morning a simple task, it doesn’t mean it has to be boring. For men, whose possible choices of traditional clothing items are considerably more conservative than what you can find in womenswear, minimalism provides opportunities for modest guys to experiment with new silhouettes without appearing gawky.
Ironically, despite the frugality one would expect from a minimalist attire, the landmark minimalist brands in the men’s fashion world tend to be fairly expensive and luxurious. Acne Studios, Our Legacy, CMMN SWDN, and wings+horns all produce beautiful clothes, but are by no means accessible brands.
Acne got its fame as a brand that made raw denim jeans (and only jeans) that were meticulously crafted and simple in opposition to the popular styles of the late 1990s. Today, Acne is one of the most popular brands associated with minimalism. Its garments, with their playful proportions and nuanced colourways, have become ubiquitous with luxe-minimalist style.
Our Legacy, another Swedish label, focuses on modern interpretations of vintage menswear with a workwear influence. The brand’s items emphasize high quality construction and masculine sensibilities.
Drawing from youth cultures, CMMN SWDN remakes classic menswear items with a new sense of what defines masculine-style dress.
A made in Canada brand (!!!) with a Japanese influence, wings+horns meticulously weaves Japanese production philosophy with style that takes influence from Canada’s natural and urban landscapes. Unapologetically masculine, wings+horns make basic items look as tough and atypical as the mountains and concrete that inspire them through subtle detailing.
Dressing like a minimalist doesn’t mean you have to break your bank. Lots of brands make lower priced items that are similar to those from the luxury market (a benefit of consuming a style that bases itself on being simple).
Although there’s only two location for H&M’s sister store in Ontario at the moment, I’d recommend anyone in Toronto to take a trip to their Canadian flagship location on Bloor Street. Unlike many of the stores in Yorkville, COS is refreshingly unpretentious and inviting. Those looking to rep the Scandanavian minimalist look on a budget will instantly be in love with the styles available and the prices their offered at.
A Canadian brand (!!!) that aims to make luxe-minimalism accessible, Oak+Fort makes super clean minimalist clothing at a reasonable price. Their Eaton Centre location is well worth a visit.
If you’ve haven’t explored Uniqlo’s brand new Canadian flagship in the Eaton Centre, you’ve been missing out on some great basics at super reasonable prices. The Japanese brand offers a plethora of items in various colourways and materials at ridiculously low prices. Definitely worth facing the frantic crowds still storming this location for a cashmere sweater or cotton chinos.
Danish brand Royal RepubliQ sells high quality leather shoes at a reasonable price point. They aren’t cheap, but compared to similar leather sneakers from higher end brands (such as Common Projects), they’re accessible.