What is the Limit of Maximalism?

When I was little, I was that kid who frequently played dress up, selecting characters like the Abominable Snowman and Bear in the Big Blue House as my go-tos. One of these one-piece fuzzy suits paired with a feather boa and clutch purse was quite a spectacle. I would say it was my first foray into maximalist dressing.

Nowadays, my fashion selections lie somewhere on the spectrum of understated/comfortable dressing and princess/extra. The reason I exist in the grey area is because I’m always avoidant of minimalism being too boring and maximalism being too impractical. When push comes to shove, I usually pick a new piece of clothing that (a) I don’t already have in my wardrobe, (b) is a plain colour or a fairly neutral pattern that I won’t get sick of and (c) has an interesting shape to it that adds a fancier effect to the piece. I will admit that sometimes I lean towards the understated side too much and become a bit of a plain-Jane in the fashion realm. That’s why I admire maximalist dressers so much.

The fashionable bloggers and Insta-famous models I follow are everyone from spicy cool girl Victoria Beckham to the grey-haired and fabulous Linda Rodin. I follow women like Beckham for practical fashion tips like how to wear a stark white blouse with army pants, whereas I follow Rodin for the fantasy of playing dress up. But, let’s be real—my Instagram is mostly flooded with an abundance of “extra” dressers. It’s a feast for the eyes over an all grey-toned business casual look by Harper & Harley. I am always in awe of these fashion influencers’ ability to create cohesion with a multitude of bold patterns and reflective materials, so much so that sometimes I wonder if there is a limit to maximalism at all?



According to popular fashion blog Man Repeller, maximalism is the opposite of minimalism.

Leandra Medine, the creator of Man Repeller, defines herself by the very word:

It has taken me a long time to verbalize what I truly am: a maximalist. I mean this in every sense of the word. When it comes to dressing, I will always choose to add another layer or bracelet. My idea of a beautiful photo involves a stuffed trashcan toppled over in the middle of a busy intersection, and emotionally speaking, I reject steadiness, objectivity and lukewarmness with the conviction of a piranha seeking prey.



With so much going on, though, where is the limit of maximalist dressing? At some point, surely, puffy sleeves become too puffy and a neon green jumpsuit becomes too, you know . . . neon.

Do fashion influencers simply know this limit because, as Anna Wintour says, “You either know fashion or you don’t”? I’m told by friends and family that I have great style, but why don’t I feel like I inherently know the cap of eccentric dressing? Does it come with age or time? Is there a guidebook to follow that I simply haven’t read yet?

I can’t help but fear this unknown line that I might accidentally cross. Because of my fear of transcending from style to absurdity, I stray towards the safe side of fashion selections, opting for neutrals and investment pieces over flamboyant exaggerations of hip trends, but isn’t fashion supposed to be fun?

These are the big questions I am wrestling with, ladies and gentlemen. So, when I show up to school in the nick of time, chances are I went on a journey the length of this article just to decide how close or how far I should stray from this unknown line in the sand, just to select an outfit for the day.


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