My Current Mood Board: Lots of 90s Minimalsim

Present day minimalism? Keep it. 90s minimalism with Calvin Klein, Jil Sander and Helmut Lang at the helm? Here for it.


In the past few weeks I've felt a deep internal shift to my personal style compass. Some of it has been happening slowly since the summer when I discovered Lizzy Hadfield's videos on YouTube (you'll notice that she's all over my mood board. Though I'm not a proponent of apeing other people's style note for note, I have been drawn and compelled to buy the same or similar items Lizzy's featured in her videos and blog posts. I think it's because Lizzy's style reflects a heightened version of elements of my own style.

Lately, my style has been getting simpler, chicer and more effortless. I've been into shopping vintage Banana Republic, Ann Taylor and Eileen Fisher on Depop for the last year. But it wasn't until a few weeks ago as I was putting together to go to a job interview, that it suddenly occurred to me what I was going for: 90s minimalism a la Calvin Klein, Jil Sander and Helmut Lang. The outfit I put together was a fitted navy ribbed turtleneck, slightly oversize straight-leg jeans, a gray check blazer and brown suede heeled ankle boots. The very next day, I was watching "The Pick" episode of Seinfeld and realized Jerry's Calvin Klein model girlfriend was wearing a very similar outfit.


People who have one or two designer that are "theirs" and wear those designers exclusively are very interesting to me. And as I venture further into my interest in fashion, I've been keeping my eyes open for what my brands and designers are. Like I mentioned, I've been loving Banana Republic and Ann Taylor. And as I transition to shopping more mid-range, I've been eyeing Eileen Fisher and Diane von Furstenberg.


But this recent Calvin Klein revelation really smacked me right in the face and felt so obvious in hindsight. By chance, I was browsing Magus Books, a really wonderful and quaint used bookstore in Seattle, and found Vogue on Calvin Klein, bought it and read it immediately in one sitting. There were sooo many quotes that resonated with me. Here are a few:

"The clothes I do are always a balance between the way I want to see women dressed and the way they want to dress." -Calvin Klein"

"He really dresses a working woman so that she can be free to work."

"It's got to be quality. With this kind of inflation, women can't spend a great deal of money on clothes, so it has to be something that they can wear over a period of time, that's not going to become obsolete in a year or two." -Calvin Klein

"What's sexy doesn't necessarily have to do with decoration, but with shape and with the unexpected: things that are masculine, childish. I like the idea of putting a woman in something that could be worn by a little boy." -Calvin Klein

And in the Minimal chapter of Amanda Brooks's I Love Your Style: How to Define and Refine Your Personal Style, she even features a quote from Calvin Klein: "Minimalism is not about abandoning pattern or print. I see minimalism to be a philosophy that involves an overall sense of balance, knowing when to take away, subtract." And Brooks herself says, "...There is nothing more stylish than a woman who knows the simplest, most refined pieces of clothing that suit her best..." That's the essence I'm pursuing.

This has begun being incorporated into so many aspects of my style and the way I present myself. I haven't heat styled my hair in over a year, I've streamlined my makeup routine and probably only wear about a third of the amount of makeup I wore a year ago, and though there's still work to be done, my wardrobe has never been more refined than it is now.

Though I'm an avid Pinterest user, I was inspired to make this condensed, digital mood board after watching Amy Serrano's YouTube video on that exact topic. It's everything I'm inspired by and aspiring to contained in one image file: masculine/feminine, reds and blues, cardigans as tops, lots of denim, blazers that take you from meetings to margs and natural hair and makeup.

This mood board is going to guide me as I get ready in the mornings so I'm never at a loss for what to wear or forget who I am. And it's been keeping me quite focused while I'm shopping for pieces to fit into this look as well.

A mood board: "It's a glow-in-the-dark compass ring. So you don't get lost."

Diana Le

Diana Le

Diana is the co-creator and Editor-in-Chief of Oatmeal Cardigan. She works as a copywriter by day and moonlights as a texting guru by night.