Neutrals, The Palette Cleansers

This week, resident writer Jenny Garcia shares her thoughts on neutrals and why this popular aesthetic has influenced our wardrobes for decades.

Written by Jenny Garcia.

Photographs by Tayla Nebesky.

The appeal of the neutral palette is nothing new. After all it’s been the predominant mainstream aesthetic within the Interiors world for 20+ years. The same applies to the world of fashion, but like interiors it is now mainstream. The use and rise of its popularity within the fashion world claims many influences, the world of interiors being just one.

The ‘Scandi effect’ which first hit our homes in the 50s, developed to become a dominant theme of decor, accessible to the masses with the arrival of IKEA in the 90’s. Cool sleek greys and a lot of whites, were given softer edges and texture with affordable blankets, cushion art and a lot of foliage, all set within a minimal Architectural framework. The hashtag ‘neutralshades’ now claims 1.6 million uses on Instagram, used to describe our homes and wardrobe choices.

NeutralsDani is wearing the Selected Femme Classic Wool Coat and the Riba Knit, the YMC Tearaway Jeans in Ecru with Blundstones Chelsea Boot in Olive. 

NeutralsJames is wearing the Universal Works Harris Tweed Bakers Jacket in Brown Herringbone with the Folk Baby Cord Shirt in Ecru. 

Simultaneously, we saw the invention and widespread adoption of the capsule wardrobe. A concept invented in the 70s by Susie Faux. Its popularity stems from the increased pace and demands of modern day life, that pervasive lack of time. A capsule wardrobe made up of predominantly neutral items that are simple, interchangeable and multifunctional. 

NeutralsDani is wearing the Sefika Knit in Toasted Coconut and the Lena Midi Skirt in Java from Selected Femme with the Novesta Marathon Trail Trainers in Beige.

The most recent large-scale impact of the achromatic wardrobe, comes from the sustainability movement. This has affected both our conscious and unconscious decision making. A neutral palette not only looks and feels more sustainable and earthy, but these harmonious colour stories are wonderfully versatile, interchangeable and adaptable. Most importantly they’re timeless, allowing you to sidestep fad trends, building a wardrobe that is, harmonious, smart and functional. Plus, neutrals make your outfit look more polished, considered, luxurious ,and potentially more expensive than it actually was. Who doesn’t want to subscribe to that?

NeutralsJames is wearing the Universal Works Flower Fleece Cardigan with the YMC Earth Wild Ones T-shirt underneath with YMC Bez Jean in Ecru Cord.

Designers have often used neutrals as palette cleansers, either at the beginning or mid season, before introducing their seasonal highlight colours. This tonal, minimal family of colours is now on offer all year, across all seasons, from designer to high street. It’s become a permanent part of Fashion’s narrative. 

NeutralsJames is wearing the Folk Signal Fleece and the Assembly Cords in Olive with the Novesta Star Master in Beige Transparent. 

NeutralsDani is wearing the Johnny O Jeans from Sessun, the Bellerose Tabard Knit with the Graff Shirt underneath and the Marathon Trail Trainers from Novesta. 

This edit of neutrals, from the Maze AW23 collection, taps into the varying joys of this aesthetic. Its clean lines, minimal silhouettes, sumptuous fabrics and textures, but also scale, contrast and subtle patterns. As always, something for everyone. 




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