Trend Watch for 2017: Minimalism as a New Standard

Minimalism is the “new black”: everyone’s doing it, from HGTV and its “Tiny House” shows to jewelry and watch makers who streamline classic wrist watches. And media are paying attention to this trend. In fact, it’s forecast to become much more than a “trend,” as Millennials (and lots of the rest of us) approach purchasing decisions in terms of “experiences” rather than “stuff.”  Here are a few ways people are increasingly applying the adage “less is more” to their everyday lives.

1. Minimalist Watches

Besides the Brathwait model of classic wrist watch, makers such as Casio, Daniel Wellington, and even “old reliable” names such as Timex and Bulova offer a bevy of style options in watches that are “light” on both your wrist and your wallet. Don’t be misled, however: while many of these can be had for under $200, they’re not “bargain basement” watches. Backlighting, stainless steel and rose gold casings, date and chronograph additions, and plenty of sleek design and style come in these small packages. An added plus: several boast easily interchangeable band and strap styles that make them truly versatile for all occasions.

2. Minimalist Homes and Rides

A growing number of people are experimenting with “tiny house” living, some even going so far as to look deliberately for homes on wheels that they can literally take anywhere. This lifestyle isn’t for everyone, of course: if you have a large family, need to entertain on any scale at all, or love the rambling farmhouse ambiance you remember from Grandma’s, you probably won’t be able to envision yourself scaling down to the point where you could function well in a couple hundred square feet!

But the idea of “less is more” still has captured our collective consciousness, and it may have “bitten” you, too. You may already be using ride-sharing services such as Uber; they’re a boon for city dwellers especially, who don’t want the added expense of parking a car in crowded urban spaces. Using these also means you don’t have to worry about car maintenance and insurance, licenses and plates, or gas…and you help the environment at the same time, which is a big plus.

As far as checking out minimalist living goes, many people now use vacation-home sharing options like Airbnb instead of a hotel, resort, or timeshare, or Getaway — a new service that lets you “try out” tiny-house living for $99 per night. This source’s cabins are designed for short-term stays, but they’re also a handy way for people to preview whether such an option might work for them long-term…a perfect compromise without “jumping in” unprepared.

3. Minimalist Wardrobes
According to an article in Forbes, in 1930, the average woman had only 36 pieces of clothing in her closet. Today, however, that average has shot up to 120 pieces — with 80 percent of them not being worn much, if at all! This has inspired a new firm, Cladwell, to help consumers put together what they call “capsule wardrobes.”

Mind you, this concept has been around for generations: standard fashion advice has always been to plan a wardrobe around a few key pieces that all go together and can be mixed and matched for multiple occasions. Where services such as Cladwell come in is in using technology — specifically, a set of algorithms — to help you choose an “ideal wardrobe” of key pieces, colors, and styles with which to build your “capsule.” Does it work? Apparently, quite well, in that Cladwell’s CEO claims it can save users up to $600 per year. As for the relief getting rid of “dead weight” out of a closet and blessing someone else with clothing you may have thought was a good idea but wasn’t? That’s worth its weight in gold.

Think Trim!
Minimalism may seem like a hot trend, a novel idea, or a cool “experiment” to try, but many social scientists and retail analysts also see it as much more. It represents what they call a generational shift in how we think about what we decide to buy and own long-term. And they believe it’s here to stay.

If you’re longing for a lifestyle that feels more authentic and less complicated, think about beginning the process of “trimming away” excess from your closets, your home, and your general “stuff.”  Asking yourself such questions as, “Do I love this? Do I use it all the time? Do I need to have it at my beck and call?” can reveal your next steps…to an enjoyable minimalist lifestyle where what you own really matters.



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