The Instagram Fashion Trend That's Actually So Timeless

When I feel gloomy about the state of the world, I always look to one Instagram account as an escape. Amidst feeling overwhelmed and overstimulated by the online landscape, the minimalistic Instagram account @simplicitycity is my favourite antidote. The account is an endless scroll of archival fashion and campaign images, mostly from the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. The thread that runs through the images is simplicity. The simplicity movement is similar to normcore, but instead of dressing to avoid standing out, simplicity calls for minimalism with a twist. Think added chic details like silk scarves that make the look special, or effortless pieces that speak for themselves.


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Rice describes simplicity as "timeless images, natural makeup, tomboyish silhouettes, elegance and comfort in one's skin." The ultimate inspiration? Rices sites style icons like Carolyn Bessette, Tina Chow, Joan Didion, Jane Birkin, Sade, Sofia Coppola, Lauren Hutton, and Joni Mitchell, along with characters in Eric Rohmer movies. 


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I spoke to Nicole Rice, the mind behind @simplicitycity, about what the movement means. We spoke about why this aesthetic has gained so much popularity in recent years and how we can achieve simplicity in our style. Keep scrolling to discover more about the look and shop the simplest of essentials.


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Take a scroll on Instagram and you'll see fashion's faves regramming the account often; It girls like Alyssa Coscarelli and Stella von Senger are just two of the account's loyal followers. There's something about the photos Rice finds that are so comforting. "I do think simple can be a reaction to the rise in ugly [trends]. Sometimes, we overcomplicate things for ourselves," she says. Rice also says that this aesthetic is relatable, no matter your own personal style: "When you look back decade after decade, what still looks fresh and timeless tend to be the more simple looks."


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Her account rose to fame alongside the rise of perfectly Facetuned selfies on Instagram. In contrast, Rice posts photos of people she thinks have beauty in their character and imperfections. Though one could argue that the kind of perfection's popularity is waning, there's no doubt that @simplicitycity is only gaining followers and has even inspired other accounts to follow suit. Other simple accounts to follow include @simplicityarchives, @momoochoo, @sculpting__in__time, and @white__sage.


(Image credit: Arthur Elgort/Conde Nast via Getty Images)

Rice attributes some of the success of her account to how she sources her imagery. She looks for images from forgotten ad campaigns and editorials that haven't made their way online yet. "It feels more rewarding to discover photos in places outside of the internet, which can feel very repetitive and oversaturated at times," she says.


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In the fashion industry, where there is so much homogenization, it's refreshing to find an aesthetic that transcends decades and still encourages originality. Rice cites brands like Lemaire, The Row, Totême, Trademark and Uniqlo U as examples of contemporary simplicity brands. 


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This year has already been overwhelming for a number of reasons, which is why I love returning to this calming aesthetic. Beyond the fashion, there is something about cherishing the small things, the simple things, that is the main drive behind the aesthetic, which I love. 


(Image credit: Arthur Elgort/Conde Nast via Getty Images)

The feeling of putting your espadrilles on for the first time of the year. The weight of an old linen dress or wool coat. Feeling sunshine on your skin when you wear shorts again. Rolling up the sleeves on an oversized men's shirt. No matter your personal style, there is so much to learn from and love about cherishing simplicity.

Follow @simplicitycity here. 


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This article was originally published last year and has since been updated.

Opening Image: Getty Images