The Obsessive World of the Minimalist Instagram Star

Gray, black, white, beige: These are the colors dictating the feeds of some of Instagram’s most popular fashion accounts. Oh, and maybe a dash of rose gold or silver.

Whether with a black leather clutch shot against a marble coffee table or an all-gray outfit snapped in front of a white wall, minimalist Instagram stars are on the rise in a major way—and if you’ve ever been sucked into the time vortex that is the color-free Instagram, you’ll understand exactly why these accounts are becoming so popular. In fact, pared-back profiles—like those managed by Vanessa Hong from The Haute Pursuit, Lisa Dengler, and Amanda Shadforth from Oracle Fox Blog—are regularly getting thousands of likes and have hundreds of thousands of followers.

Take Hong, for example: She’s acquired a whopping 488,000 followers by sticking to an almost exclusively color-free scheme and interpreting her style and travels in a visually simplistic way. One of her virtually colorless snaps can easily accrue more than 8,000 likes and hundreds of comments.

I’m in California right now, so the tones are very warm and red, which reflects the vibe of L.A; when I am in Paris (aka the city of perfect blue light), my grid becomes very cold. What you are interpreting [as minimalism] is just me trying to keep it simple. I like visual ‘breathing’ space that allows the reader to appreciate the photo either on its own or in the meshwork of the main page,” Hong explained. 

Jiawa Liu is another Instagram star committed to a pared-back palette. She has over 81,000 followers, and she somehow manages to stick to the less-is-more vibe that underpins her digital brand whether she’s shooting in a tropical location or taking a flat-lay photo of her brunch. Obviously, that takes dedication: “My instinct is always to go bright, but I try to tell myself to keep it within reason,” she admitted. 

Both Hong and Liu explain that in addition to picking appropriate items to shoot, editing apps help to keep their overwhelmingly black, white, and gray aesthetic. “Color correction is so important for creating that minimalist aesthetic,” Liu told us. “I like to limit my images to just one or two main colors, and the Snapseed app is perfect for painting on editing effects to, for example, desaturate just the background. Other than that, I actually prefer Instagram’s inbuilt image editing tools for making adjustments without affecting the image quality, and Lux is a like instant awesome.” 

If you’re chasing a similar aesthetic, Hong also recommends that you try to shoot on a white background and then increase the highlight using Instagram’s inbuilt editor. In the meantime, scroll on to get inspired by eight of Instagram’s best color-free Instagram accounts.

Vanessa Hong @thehautepursuit

Jiawa Liu @beigerenegade

Lauren Caruso @laurencaruso_

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never not wearing all gray.

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the starting lineup. #🌫

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wishing i woke up here instead #thestaycationers

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#minimalist dreams at @duonyc.

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Lisa Dengler @lisadengler

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mornings well spent in bed

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Amanda Shadforth @oraclefoxblog

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The bigger the better .. @chanelofficial

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Acne-fied 🍂..

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Last minute 📦..

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Weekender 👌..

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Amee Kim @amee.kim

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crispy white. ➖ my kinda shirtdress👌🏼 @aletclar

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Obligatory. #nationalcoffeeday

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Natalie Liao @natalieliao_

Sophia Molen @taoofsophie

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