The joys of maximalism in minimalist post-lockdown world

Working from home and wearing the same pair of sweatpants all throughout 2020 taught us that less was more, as it became harder to justify indulging in material items amidst a pandemic. We no longer had a reason to purchase shoes for a night out, or continue our search for the perfect pair of everyday blue jeans. After all, loungewear became the new business casual and our dress pants found a home in the back of our closet, snuggled up with our old capri pants circa 2005.

Today, we enter a post-lockdown world where people are able to enjoy the luxuries of dining in restaurants, traveling internationally, and attending events with people outside of our “bubbles.” As we move in this direction, fashion takes a sharp turn away from the quarantine-induced matching sweat suit trend and towards the extravagance of maximalism

Pre-pandemic, the clean lines and limited tones and colours of the minimalist trend were the defaults in personal styling sectors like fashion and interior design. It was an easy guideline that anyone could follow: keep your clothing simple with minimal colour and as few outfit components as possible.

The post-pandemic fashion world welcomes maximalism with open arms as a reaction to the minimalist style extremities that the work from home era once amplified. 

“More is more and less is a bore,” according to interior designer and fashion icon Iris Apfel. Known for her quirky style and signature thick framed glasses, Iris is a walking fashion statement.

The bold shapes and mix-matched patterns seen on Iris and many other maximalist trend followers are exactly what we need to liven up our moods as we return to the world. 

Seen on Autumn/Winter 2021 runways, designers celebrated exaggerated silhouettes and striking colour palettes. Gucci’s Fall 2021 ready to wear collection emphasized bold oversized shoulder padded jackets. They brought everyday pieces to life with feather-embellished sleeves in eye-catching colours ranging from cobalt blue to hot pink.

Following through with the new trend, Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2022 collection experimented with themes of the past, present, and future. 

The brand showcased finely beaded headpieces and mid length skirts tailored specifically to challenge our expectations of proportions.

Models on the runway were styled in red, silver, and blue sunglasses. The accessories told stories through shapes eccentric enough to be worn to a masquerade ball, but sleek enough for time travel.

Craving this sort of excitement comes from “dopamine dressing,” a term coined by fashion psychologist, Dawnn Karen. 

They say you are what you eat. Well, you also feel how you dress.

“Mood enhancement dressing, aka dopamine dressing, simply means selecting clothes that increase your happiness, raise your spirits, and make you feel better, stronger, safer, or more empowered,” Karen shares in an Instagram post.

As a type of neurotransmitter, dopamine sends messages between nerve cells to tell us how to behave and feel pleasure. 

This factor, combined with the confidence that can come from styling yourself, can improve emotional well-being in its own way. Since certain colours such as yellow, orange, and pink are known to be happy colours, Karen theorizes that dressing in such colours can bring joy to people and boost moods. The same can be said for shapes and styles that people find exciting or appealing.

Stylist and fashion forecaster Corinna Gaffey believes people restricted their style choices prior to lockdown. Now, people crave growth, excitement, and experimentation — the beautiful parts of fashion that were stripped away during quarantine.

“In 2021, maximalism is really about having fun, wearing those pieces that spark joy and breaking all the rules regarding what colours, prints, fabrics work together.”

Maximalism sparks joy in the same way freedom brings optimism. Such a limitless trend finally gives people the outlet to revel in the infinite joys of fashion and liberation.

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