Frustration No More: Tips on How to Mix Vintage with Minimalism

May 5, 2015


As I've been feeling my style change I've been going through a bit of a mini-war on the inside. A part of me can never let go of Doris Day dresses, and I'll forever secretly want to look like Betty Draper's neighbor, coming over for a cup of coffee and a quick gossip.

But another part of me is starting to move in another direction, craving everything that's white and navy, unfussy and clean-lined, simple and with quiet style.

Which means I've found myself in the middle of wanting eye-catching full dresses wrapped in gingham and simple whit culottes with unassuming white tops.

If that's not a dilemma, I don't know what is. But all is not lost! I've been slowly (very slowly) figuring out how to bring these two worlds together.


And the answer seems to be to designate shapes and silhouettes to one party, and prints and colors to the other. For example, in this look I let the silhouette of my look take a vintage turn, letting the bell bottoms, tassels, vintage Coach, and crew neck do all the talking. But then I satisfied my need for minimalism by sticking to three colors, letting it polish the '70s vibe. (PS if you don't have a white purse yet, I strongly recommend you get one. They make every outfit perfect.)

The same would work on the flip side, where the pattern would be vintage but the shape of the piece would be modern and boxy- whiiiich explains why I've been having a yen to cut up my vintage dresses into boxy crop tops lately ;)


Let's Discuss: Are you stuck between two styles? What are they? 

Feeling inspired and want to keep reading? Check out:

outfit details
Top: Banana Republic
Pants: H&M
Belt: Mom's closet


  1. These tips are great, and I really love the outfit you are wearing!
    Melanie @

  2. I never knew it, but I've been waiting for a post like this forever! Love how you styled this outfit.....can we make this a regular feature please? :D
    Dimples Diaries // Sustainable Fashion & Lifestyle Blog

  3. This is the perfect blend of vintage and minimalism! Also, I really like those pants :)

  4. I just try to wear pretty much what I like so I think I mix a ton of styles haha. LOVE this outfit, that top is so pretty.

    XO Naomi in Wonderland

  5. Wide leg pants suit you. I am also wanting to buy a pair

  6. This is seriously the story of my life - over the years I've realised that there are certain styles I will always gravitate towards but don't necessarily feel that comfortable wearing. It's an ongoing battle to keep myself from buying more tulle skirts I won't ever wear, but I'm getting there :)

  7. Nice:) xx

  8. Yes! I love what you put together. It's such a great look and that white purse is perfect.

    I feel like I'm going through a style crisis because I'm known for floral prints.. yet I want to redo my whole wardrobe for minimal black and white looks.

  9. You look amazing, Marlen! Those wide-legged pants really suit you. I've been tirelessly searching the second-hand shops for a decent pair - a pair like yours would do! :) Love that belt too, very unique!

  10. I am definitely in total agreement with you, it seems! I love modern, clean, and simplistic, yet I still love bold, colorful prints and vintage-inspired clothing! It can be hard to balance a love for both, but I think it is possible, and you did a great job with it here!

    Esther Grace

  11. I love this look! The nautical inspiration, with the wide-legged navy pants and striped top, really sings on you.
    For me, the constant battle is between wearing vintage and being practical. I bike just about everywhere, and the longer skirts that I like don't play well with bike wheels, and very tight bodices don't give me the freedom of movement that I need. Lately, I've been reaching for a lot of separates - knee length vintage skirts with looser modern tops - and modern dresses with a vintage feel to them. Asos has been a real life saver for that sort of thing, they always have pretty vintagey dresses that are a little less precious than the real thing.

  12. With my dresses choice I tend to go for 60-s style - I just love all fit and flare!
    Great style mix, and you are right about the bag!


  13. I feel this struggle harrrrd. Except lately it's been watching too much Sex and the City and wanting to be Carrie but also very minimalist so what can I do. But you are pulling it off effortlessly!

    And yeah, my men's shirt was just cut to crop top length and the sleeves were cut off too. It was an Extra Large Tall so that might make a difference in the height and armhole, who knows haha.


  14. You know, I've been having a very similar dilemma, style-wise. I want the colors and the fun prints but also satisfy my desire for minimalism. I think you have a fantastic solution here - this look is so chic! You pull off the 70s vibe like it's nobody's business!

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

  15. I am TOTALLY stuck between two styles so I know what you mean! I used wear much more polished, elegant and put-together outfits when I lived in New England, but here in SoCal people are sooo laid back. In addition, I work with kids now, so there's no reason to look glamorous. I sometimes miss my more stylish days!

  16. Oh, I can't say exactly what is happening here but I noticed this with myself in the last two years. Instead of being creative and choosing colour I've opted for white tees and black denim everything. I've become overly minimalist in what I wear now, accessories included.


  17. indecisiveness is never a bad thing, and you prove it right :) love the white purse! x Sharon

  18. I love this full on 70's look on you! Can I copy-paste it into my wardrobe please? The wide-legged pants, the stripy's all so perfect and just what I'd love to wear right now. Fav look so far..the inner struggle is/was definitely worth it <33

    Jasmin xx

  19. I think this is a perfect combo of vintage and minimalism combined! I love it! Personally, I've also started to like me some more minimal items. But then again, I will never be a minimal kind of girl, haha!

  20. In my head I'm a 70's girl wearing floaty midi dresses and suede but then I also love structured menswear inspired things. I totally agree that the trick is to not throw everything at.

    That belt is so gorgeous! This is definitely a perfect outfit


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  21. This Banana Republic top really suits you - and i'm not only saying that because I adore stripes and would happily fill my entire wardrobe with them if I could! ;)

    Have a lovely week!

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice


  22. I love your philosophy -- almost as much as I love your hair. We can possess more than one style and deploy them where appropriate. In my dream, I'm joining you and Betty for afternoon tea. In reality, I lean toward the simple, quiet style you describe. Reading your thoughts about fashion is both educational and entertaining. Thanks!

  23. Love this look!!! You sure can rock the wide leg pants trend. I definitely have a similar problem about style though. I crave both bohemian style and minimalism. The boho is my nature, but minimalism is easy and who doesn't want less stress? These styles are almost polar opposites but I think I am slowly getting it together. Print dresses with black boots and black hat, or flowy tees and peasant tops with black skinnies work well. Sometimes it's just in the details too! My black twill jacket has small details that are just boho enough for me, but still look good with everything. Sticking with basic colors like you did works well too. Great, thought provoking post!

  24. I feel your pain! I'm always going back and forth between girly floral patterns and simple, one color pieces. I love how you styled this, those pants are amazing!

  25. Those pants are perfect. I also really like the bag. Great post.


  26. You never cease to amaze me with your twists of style. I love that you stay true to yourself but still follow trend. It's so refreshing, all the props sent your way. (;

  27. I think at most, my two warring styles are hippie and 1950's dame. I like the unfussy, free feeling of dressing a bit more hippie (note: today I decided to nix the heels and do outfit pictures barefoot) probably because I grew up on a farm and it's a vintage way to do farm girl, but I also LOVE the 50's skirts and done-up hair and everything there. So I've decided to just wear what I want to wear, and not worry about it as much as I used to.

    I have loved watching your style evolve (before the first drastic haircut, bright and chaotic, to after the pixie, becoming more mod, to in between, a mix of Mad Men and grandma chic, to now, simplistic) and I can't wait to see how you style stuff next!

  28. So.Much. Yes. To the outfit and all the reasons it works (by the by, your dilema of vintage vs. minimal is totally my battle too... sigh. But that's why I love how you share your ideas for making both work!)

  29. You DO look like Betty Draper's neighbor! I love those pants- they look super comfy and pair perfectly with those stripes. I feel like I struggle between really putting an effort into what I wear and what's just comfortable. But I guess that means I should just wear what makes me feel good, right? ha. You would love the vintage stores in my town! There's one called Grey Dog that my friend owns, she has a site if you ever want to check it out. I was there the other day and saw some dresses that made me think of you. :)

  30. i feel like i've missed about a billion of your posts, haha. i think i've always been stuck between numerous different styles as i just tend to wear whatever i like no matter if it completely clashes with what i wore the other day. for the most part i'm fine with that but sometimes i do wish i had a definite signature style:-) anyway, you look lovely, those trousers+belt look great on you! xx

  31. You look so good in those pants.... Man... I want some wide leg pants, now. Hehe <3

    - Anna

  32. LOVE the outfit, and I'm always stuck between 3 styles. Style 1 would be: lazy. Black leggings and an oversized v neck tshirt for about half of the week haha working from home. Then when I actually make and effort to LEAVE the house, I am torn between ultra girly vintage dresses, or a kind of tom boy bohemian look. Its a constant a battle trying to define it, until I realize why do I have to!

  33. I love this outfit, you look so chic! I am always trying to be more chic but I will always love swooshy dresses best!

    Maria xxx


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