Finding Out How To Make Minimalist Styling Interesting

Oct 7, 2015


I'm still trying to navigate this whole "less is more" concept - and while I still very much want to dive head first into poppy, lemony colors and dizzy patterns - I'm having a fun time trying to translate minimalism into something that's very much me.

And the one styling trick that's proving to be a success in that department? 


Mixing unexpected lengths together. Holy moly am I loving pairing longer tops or to-the-knee sweaters with high waist pants. I'm finding that if you create interesting shapes or proportions with simple, paired-down pieces, they still offer to make quite a statement. I think the reason behind it is because it's still really creative. My gut instinct with this Wayward Collection top was to tuck it into my pants and let the high waist do the wow-ing. But when I let it hang there, dragging the hem line to mid-thigh, I quirked my head and was surprised to realize I liked the unexpected move. 

And I think those are the types of minimalist looks I'm most attracted to - unfussy, but still a little out of the box. That way you just slap a pair of pants and shirt together, but you have something that's still playful and a little different from what everyone else is wearing. 

So my tip to you? Try messing around with unexpected proportions or hemlines. They'll make all the difference. That and add a few sharp, well-tailored accessories, like I did with the vintage Coach bag and one-strap sandals. 

minimalism-styling-tips minimalism-styling-tips

For more minimalist styling inspo, here are some other looks that use proportions and accessories to their advantage. Study them and think about why they work:

ONE:  Not only does this look use a dress-like tunic sweater (up to the knees) but the outfit is paired with wide leg trousers. Usually the rule is to pair baggy or long tops with tight bottoms, but look how amazing it looks when you break that rule! (SOURCE

TWO: In this look we have the same thing going on: Long hemlines and voluminous pants. But what really cinches these outfits? The ladies' insanely tailored accessories. Those sharp-lined purses and blocky shoes elevate it to the next level. Why? Because the hard lines of the square shapes (in the heels, platform sandals, and cross-bodies) makes us think of structure and neatness. (SOURCE)

THREE: The accessory game is what makes this outfit noticeable- she paired slouchy boyfriend jeans and a cozy beanie with clean-shaped loafers and a structured bag. Her look would still be lovely without those additions, but by choosing to match ancient-looking denim with a classic loafer, the contrast makes it look classic.  (SOURCE)

FOUR: Proportions! The voluminous pants are cut at the ankle, and then paired- not with a tight top- but with an equally structured and baggy blouse. The interesting shapes make for an interesting outfit.  (SOURCE)


Let's discuss: What's been the most game changing minimalism tip you have?

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  1. Ooh some really great tips on a style I know nothing about! And I must say, I love that lipstick!

    Musings & More

  2. That lipstick, though! You always have the BEST colors of lipstick.

  3. Love the styling of this piece! My instinct would also be to tuck the top in, but it looks great the way you left it!


  4. Yesss to minimalism! I love how it looks - it's so incredibly mod and fashion-forward. While I try to infuse a touch of it to looks, I can never quite go head-first into the trend. I want to try though! The urge to add more to an outfit is strong
    Great playing around with proportions!

    The Dragonfruit Diaries
    Check out my YouTube channel too!

  5. Gah, I loove this pairing! It looks super chic with the white accessories and the bold lip that is so YOU.

    This seems to me like an outfit I'd find you wearing if I was standing in a line to have you sign your latest book for me. Cool, collected, casual. Effortless.

  6. These are all such interesting pairings! I love the minimalist styling, but have a hard time branching out into more creative proportions... I always end up thinking I look frumpy/blob-like. Teach me your ways, Marlen! Your look and the inspo looks are fantastic.

  7. I love minimalism. In fact, despite my boho leanings, I do go through "cleansing" phases, where I wear only very minimal outfits. Clean lines, structured tailoring, I love it! Have you ever looked at Everlane? I know vintage/thrifting tends to be your thing, but I think you would love some of their styling and the company is about 100% ethical transparency. I have a tank and a tee from them and they are the most comfortable pieces of clothing I have ever owned! I will absolutely be purchasing more in the future!

  8. You look stunning.. you pretty gorgeous girl!!

  9. Ooh, love this silhouette on you, Marlen- very cool! I love the minimalist look, but sometimes I find the shapes aren't quite a good fit for my curvier body type. I think I could totally make this v-neck tunic work, though! xo


  10. I'm in love with minimalism myself, and gahhh, I''ve tried styling minimalist looks but they just don't pop. These tips are great, though, so I'll definitely be trying with them in my mind!

    May | THE MAYDEN

  11. Oooh, I'm all kinds of obsessed with this pairing! So, so beautiful + I love the dark lip too! Hope you're day is smashing, lovey!! xo

  12. Ah! I love this outfit on you. The neckline does it- adds the umph to a minimalist outfit. Honestly though, for me, the best minimalist outfits that work are all about finding the the exact right piece. Not that there is One Garment To Rule Them All, but... the fit is just right. It is tailored or fits just right. I always see the tip to get things- even everyday things like shirts- tailored but never do...

  13. I think you nailed the less is more look! I love how only a few people can pull it off! You guys make it look so easy!

  14. you look incredible! i definitely want to experiment with layering and different lengths. i'm far too "safe" when it comes to clothes!

    Hannah x hannatalks

  15. You get an A+ in translating minimalism and still rocking that Marlen look that we all love. Also, I absolutely adore how you styled your top! xx

  16. I love it when you get down to the gritty details on pulling off a minimalistic look, Marlen. And your outfit really did wow me - I'd so wear the look myself but maybe with a tube tank underneath the grey top, hehe! Oh bee tee dubs: Your hair is amazing, when did it grow??? =D

    Shanaz | Fashionista NOW

  17. Marlen... I'm in love with this outfit! You look so sophisticated!
    : signe :
    : the daily savant :

  18. my kind of style!
    kisses from dubai ♥

  19. Love it! I'm totally a vintage girl but that doesn't mean I can't mix it up with minimalism. <3

  20. I love it! I honestly think your makeup makes this outfit pop. It looks super comfy and cute, and then the dark makeup just brings it all together as a chic outfit.

  21. That lipstick is so perfect for fall!

  22. Brilliant tips for minimal styling! I absolutely love this kind of look and will be aiming to achieve it more so in 2016!

    Have a brilliant New Year's Eve!

    Sarah xxx

  23. i've missed you and your blog during my blogging hiatus! and i'm really liking this minimalism thing you've got going on, your lipstick and your longer hair! xo

  24. First off, you look AMAZING in that outfit. And I think what can make minimalism interesting is having each piece have tons of impact on their own. That shirt looks amazing because of the cut and length on you.


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