Entertainment Style Less is definitely more: Why understatement is underrated

Less is definitely more: Why understatement is underrated

simple style
"If asked my opinion on what someone should wear, I always tend to veer towards simplicity." Photo: Instagram
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I went shopping with my son’s girlfriend recently, which was a new and awesome experience given I have lived for 23 years with a household of men and a television permanently fixed on tedious ball sports.

Brigette also happens to work as a makeup artist, so we spent many happy hours browsing the aisles of Mecca, discussing the various merits of foundation gel formulas and revitalising face masks, and filling our baskets full with eyelash curlers, lavender mist sprays and eye shadow palettes.

Over baguettes and kombucha, she asked me what seemed like a simple question: “What should I wear for Christmas lunch? I need something a bit dressy.”

Brigette is a jeans and shorts and T-shirts and Doc Martens girl who would look good in anything.

“Um, a dress?” I said lamely, wondering to myself what style of dress was ‘in’ this summer. But the truth is, nothing is really in. It’s all in. Maxi, mini, mid-length, wrap, floaty, one-shouldered, halter-neck, shirtwaist, slip, floral, block colours, lace, lingerie-style, sequined, tailored, stretch, sheath.  Literally, take your pick.

I knew I wasn’t being very helpful, so I went one step further. “A white dress?” That probably wasn’t the expert answer she was looking for, but if asked my opinion on what someone should wear, I always tend to veer towards simplicity.

Understatement is underrated. The original and still the best, street-style photographer Scott Schuman (@thesartorialist), is a master of seeing and capturing the art of subtlety in his subjects.


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It’s finally and consistently sweater weather!! Milan

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Street style is full of magnificent peacocks, styled to within an inch of their lives and attempting to look nonchalant at the same time. It can feel like overkill.

The most beautiful photos on Schuman’s Instagram recently are like a sorbet between courses – the simplicity of a young woman wearing a simple sweater and cotton skirt, with sandals and a canvas tote; another in man-style, striped wool pants and a long sleeved T-shirt.

He recognises innate style, not artifice, and that can come from something as basic as a great short haircut, classic sunglasses or a beautifully tailored jacket. But back to Brigette’s initial question.

What to wear on Christmas day? I still think a dress is good option, as they can be as dressy or as casual as you like, depending on the accessories you put with them. Take a black or white cotton sundress for example, in any style. (I personally love button-through shirt-maker styles).

simple style
A Lee Mathews shirtdress. Photo: Leemathews.com.au

If you want a relaxed look, you can wear it with natural leather sandals or rope espadrilles and keep it simple. The alternative is to dress it up, with heels, with jewellery, or a silk bandanna.

There are a lot of pretty, sequined skirts around in stores at the moment, which look great worn with a plain T-shirt. In fact, any single dress at Lee Matthews would also do the trick beautifully. But if Brigette wants to wear jeans and a T-shirt to lunch, that would be just fine too.

Her makeup will be perfect.

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