I Have a Theory That There Are Only 2 Major Fashion Tribes in 2020

Elinor Block

Fashion has always loved a tribe. Whether it’s ’80s power dressers, Sloane Rangers or hypebeasts, for every fashion trend, there’s a tribe for you to belong to. Right now, I have a theory that there are two distinctly opposite ways of dressing that are emerging—the maximalists and the minimalists.

While I can’t deny that at times, fashion can seem a little silly and make you question whether you really need a pair of £1000 sandals in your life (I’ve honestly asked myself that question more than I care to admit), but in a world that appears to be increasingly polarised (you’re either for or against, in or out), these new fashion tribes are reflecting this societal trend back at us. 

I spoke to Professor Carolyn Mair, Ph.D., consultant and author of The Psychology of Fashion,about this phenomenon. “It’s an interesting proposition—the economy, the state of the world that does affect how we dress. After all, clothing is the only thing that everyone shares that makes a statement about who we are.”

Whether you buy into my theory or not (call it tenuous—I won’t be offended), I’ve mapped out the two opposite looks below. You’ll see which brands are championing the trends and how to style the looks and then shop key pieces. Just one final question you need to answer: Which one are you? 


This is new minimalism, so while we’re talking pared-back items that are wardrobe classics, it doesn’t just mean in a black-and-white palette. Think muted tones of beige, caramel, and cream along with pastel blue.  

Bottega Veneta S/S 20 runway

Style Notes: Pair all creams and light browns together to make this chic outfit. Opt for detailing such as cut-outs or turned-up barrel trousers to give it that 2020 edge. 

Style Notes: Another all-cream look. Add black accessories to break the lighter colours up a bit and ensure it doesn’t look like a holiday outfit. 

Shop Key Pieces

Sandro Single-Breasted Blazer (£345)

The Row Gilia Pleated Silk Blouse (£1820)

The Row Brona Black Wide-Leg Wool Trousers (£1720)

Sandro Stretch Mom Jeans (£175)

The Row Teatime 85 Burgundy Leather Ankle Boots (£1025)

Nanushka Canaan Ecru Wool-Blend Midi Dress (£310)

The Row Bare 65 Teal Leather Sandals (£650)

3.1 Phillip Lim Olive Cotton-Blend Midi Dress (£530)

Bottega Veneta Brown Intrecciato Leather Hobo Bag (£679)


From the likes of Gucci and Marc Jacobs, maximalism in 2020 is all about block and bold colours that clash and make you stare. Always pair with bold accessories and add fun detailing as much as possible. 

Style Notes: Jazzy orange, yellow and red printed trousers look great with a bold blue coat. 

Style Notes: Mix shearling-lined coats with tie-dye dresses, “ugly” sneakers and brightly coloured accessories. Taking the maximalism trend to the, er, max. 

Shop Key Pieces

Ganni Knotted Leopard-Print Padded Shoulder Bag (£155)

Gucci Wool-Blend Tweed Skirt (£1250)

Ganni Feathered-Skirt Brocade-Organza Coat Dress (£490)

& Other Stories Open Tie Back Midi Dress (£85)

Topshop Lime Green Neon Check Chuck On Blouse (£29)

Topshop Gathered Lurex Midi Skirt (£170)

Rotate Birger Christensen Kim Button-Detailed Metallic Floral-Jacquard Mini Dress (£302)

Next up, the biggest spring/summer 2020 fashion trends you need to know. 

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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