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Minimalism vs. Maximalism: You Don’t Have to Choose

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

When learning about minimalism and maximalism you might feel pressured to choose between the two, but what if I told you there’s no need to?

Minimalism, the art of having less, has been present in our lives for a long time. The trend’s early days can be dated to the 1950s, when visual artists, mainly sculptors, started becoming fixated on the idea of simple art. Today, minimalism can be found in different types of art, from fashion to interior design. More recent examples of minimalism’s popularity are millennials’ white walls and minimal wardrobes in the 2010s. At the time, the trend seemed to be going on a great path as it promised a clutter-free lifestyle.   

However, while minimalism is making a comeback with trends like the “clean girl aesthetic,” a small group has chosen to defy the trend. Gen Z’s y2k-inspired outfits mixed with 70s fashion leave little space for simple clothing. It is no surprise that they have decided to bring back maximalism, an art movement thought to have been started in the 17th century by the elite as a way of using excessive home decorations to showcase their wealth. Today, maximalism can also be found in clothing. Many individuals share their extravagant, colorful outfits online and even share guides on how to wear multiple pieces of clothing simultaneously by layering.  

A common misconception about maximalism is that it leads to hoarding or over-consumption. Although it can, it doesn’t have to. As Ava Kidd says in her article for Her Campus, maximalism can look a lot like minimalism. When it comes to home decor, you can combine the two trends by having a small number of furniture and decorations that are colorful and grab people’s attention. In fashion, you can combine them by owning colorful clothes, while still avoiding purchasing pieces you will not wear.  

While minimalism encourages you to wear neutral colors, maximalism encourages you to play with fun, vibrant colors and textures. Some active social media users have already been doing this by bringing back trends like 70s’ warm palettes and 80s’ electric colors and combining them in a bizarre, yet aesthetically pleasing way.  

Now that you know the difference between minimalism and maximalism, you might be wondering which one is best for you. I suggest trying both. Play with using and having less, and if that’s not your thing, try adding some colors and textures that reflect your personality. Either way, you don’t have to subscribe to one style or the other. You can always combine them or fluctuate between them. Fashion and style are all about having fun and feeling true to yourself, but if you ask me, some color every now and then doesn’t hurt anyone. 

Rosamelia is a journalism student at Temple University. Her interests include reading, fashion, and social justice. When she's not writing for Her Campus, you can find her reviewing books on her bookstagram: @amelias_biblioteca.