There’s much to be said for the freeing feel of staples that always work together, like a T-shirt and jeans or blazer and slip dress. Especially after those times when you’ve labored over an outfit only to hate it five minutes after walking out the door. It makes sense, then, why the minimalist aesthetic continues to prevail season after season. No matter what, if you’ve stocked your closet with timeless pieces in a cohesive palette — namely neutrals like beige, white, navy, and black — you’re invariably 30 seconds away from an effortless ensemble on any given day. At the same time, such a look can easily fall flat, usually due to a lack of dimension. That’s where the extras come in, like minimalist accessories from handbags to shoes and jewelry. And for fall, fresh iterations abound, from updated classics like shoulder bags and knee-high boots to modern essentials, including a range of lug-sole footwear and architectural bags.
You needn’t have to solely subscribe to minimalist style for pared-back accessories to make sense. No matter what type of outfit you’re accenting, be it a colorful printed dress or muted slouchy suit, the clean lines and understated detailing of minimal accessorizing amounts to refined elegance. A sleek boot or sharp pump has transformative effects with go-to’s like jeans, skirts, and sweaters in one fell swoop, taking these uncomplicated pieces from logically paired to impactfully coordinated. As for chunky lug-sole stompers and trendy loafers — both bring a decided gruffness and impact to everything from knitwear sets, dresses, and silky skirts. And when it comes to bags, a refined cross-body or sculptural tote sets a sophisticated tone day-to-day with workwear separates and athleisure — either style harmoniously ties polished pieces together and immediately dresses up casual wares like leggings and sweatshirts. Then, there are those smaller details that truly make an outfit sing — an embossed belt with a polished buckle to cinch a dress or a gleaming chainlink necklace to enhance a neckline.
Whatever accent you choose, it’s all about devising a tempered result with the pieces you combine to look your most elevated and fresh. To prepare you with a slew of such looks for fall, keep scrolling to discover the three most essential minimalist accessory trends of the season, with input from Nordstrom’s fashion director, Elizabeth Kanfer.
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“In accessories, architectural shapes drive minimalism forward,” Nordstrom’s fashion director, Elizabeth Kanfer tells TZR. From the angular and fluid lines like on Little Liffner’s tall tulip tote to flared and sculptural heels as seen on Schutz’s Jupitar pointed-toe boot, Kanfer notes, “sharp and modern silhouettes define and add drama to every day.”
Similarly, many sleek loafers flaunt architectural appeal this season, heeled or flat, like a sharply squared toe or art-deco-inspired heel. The same goes for bags beyond daytime; clutches and petite top handles play well with work attire and denim-based ensembles but transition favorably to cocktail hour and event-ready looks.
For an of-the-moment update to your minimalist accessory collection, Kanfler says heavy-soled shoes are worthy of investment. “Lug soles from boots to loafers are a must-have this fall,” states the fashion director. “The overall design is minimal, however, an interesting sole or a pop of color provides a maximal statement.” For the most significant impact, think of these for unexpected styling moments, like paired with a long knitwear dress or in tandem with fluid silk — the juxtaposition of textures feels achingly fresh.
Small touches, like jewelry and belts, go a long way in terms of an outfit’s overall effect. For a minimalist look, matte and high-shine metals are key, both in yellow gold and silver. “Bold chains continue as a trend, and when combined with gemstones, they are true investment pieces that work perfectly to complement minimal necklines,” Kanfler explains. Similarly, sculptural metal accents, be it an earring, collar necklace, or belt buckle, lend a heightened sense of polish to ensembles, both casual and elegant. The more heavyweight, the more impact, though it’s best to style these sparingly in one’s outfit to keep things refined.