If you think minimalist style is plain, you’re doing it wrong. Nailing a minimalist look is about “stripping it back to the essential ingredients,” says Nick Ennis, co-founder and director of perennially cool Melbourne fashion label Nique. “It’s the distinct lack of pretence that appeals. It communicates a quiet confidence.”
That attitude isn’t confined to fashion. It can be seen in the sleek frame around a layered watercolour by Hunting for George, the stark white bottle of Henkell’s new Blanc De Blancs sparkling, or a shirt that sits just so. For Nique it’s a philosophy that has earned them an ardent following with those who love the label’s quality fabrics and Scandinavian-inspired design: its loose-fit tees, boxy button-up shirts and tailored linen pants. Since beginning as a fashion sideline to a design studio in the late ’90s, Nique’s longevity proves minimalism is a timeless aesthetic.
Ennis shares his tips for achieving a pared back look – without looking basic.
Quality over quantity
“Like a lot of minimal design, what is left out of the equation is just as important as what’s left in,” says Ennis. The art lies in choosing “the very best ingredients and arranging them in a thoughtful way. Pay attention to detail and closely observe subtlety in your style choices”, advises Ennis. “Interesting shapes and silhouettes are never boring.”
Get the essentials
You don’t need to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe to maintain a fresh look. You can get by with a few well-considered essentials.
For men, Ennis recommends investing in a white linen or cotton shirt in a relaxed fit – “you’re looking for a beautifully shaped collar,” he says. A soft tailored pant in a shortened length is another winner. “The perfect fit is essential,” he says. “I’d recommend a lightweight, densely woven fabric. But buy them from somewhere that gets the fit right.” A black T-shirt and minimal white low- or high-tops (“very versatile,” he says) are also worthy additions.
Women are more expressive when it comes to fashion, says Ennis, which gives them more scope to experiment while still maintaining a minimalist aesthetic. For winter, it’s hard to go past the black leather jacket. “They are actually very difficult to perfect,” he says. “But you know it when you see it.” He says one of the must-haves of the current moment are wide-leg pants or culottes. Again, he says, “You’re looking for a great fit and fabric.”
The eternal hunt for the perfect t-shirt
Don’t be deceived – something as seemingly generic as a white T-shirt actually says a lot about the person wearing it says Ennis. Unfortunately, there’s no one perfect t-shirt out there. “It depends on who you are and what’s important to you,” he says. “But you can’t lose if you stick to natural fibres. And at this moment in time, keep it loose.”
The question of colour
Nique is renowned for its crisp monochrome offerings of white, grey, and black. “We have a colour in our Nique Winter ’18 range called ‘Double Black’,” says Ennis. That said, he’s not anti-colour. “If you’re going for colour, choose that perfect tertiary one,” he says. “Something in-between the primary colours that’s a bit different and interesting.”
Dress it up
Minimalism can still be dressy. “Button up your top button, buy yourself a beautiful belt and a nice pair of shoes,” says Ennis. “In the end, it’s only fashion. But it says something about who you are, so it’s worth a little attention.”
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Henkell Blanc de Blancs. Made from premium white grapes and carefully curated to express vibrancy and elegance, Blanc de Blancs is the stylish sparkling wine for special occasions. Follow @HenkellAU.