The Tip That Just Might Make You Try Minimalism

Sep 26, 2015


It's no secret my style had a transformation this year. Where before I wanted to look like I had pies cooling on the windowsill with my full skirts and gingham prints, now I like a more minimalist vintage look. I still have my pillbox hats and just about fall to my knees every time I see a Doris Day inspired dress, but I feel the most me in quiet lines and '60s-college-kid shapes. 

Feeling a kinship to my penchants, Haley, publishing industry expat and lover of vintage silk, leather, linen, and SO much denim, teamed up with me and asked if I had any ideas how to style the clean lines of her Wayward Collection

The dilemma here is that a lot of girls would love to play with vintage, but don't necessarily know how to style it. And a lot of us love minimalism, but feel a little boring wearing it. And a collection that's made out of both? It'll make my heart somersault but make others use the phrase that makes my teeth set: "I can't pull it off."

Oh you can, boo. And I've got tips on how.


I have found - after much trial and error, and too many Jerry Seinfeld normcore outfits- that the trick to pulling off minimalism is to focus on the accessories. But each accessory has to have a purpose. My Wayward Collection dress is a simple vest-looking number. I didn't want to break up its no-fuss lines by adding a lot of stuff on top of it, so instead I focused on a few key accessories that would bring interest to the look.

I chose a cross-body bag that was simple but had an unusual shape, a shirt to layer underneath that was quiet like the dress but brought texture to the look with its sheerness, chunky black sandals to add contrast to the delicate-like features of the outfit, and then a simple vintage watch to tie in that old-school vibe. 


Each accessory had a specific job to play out: The shirt brought texture, the bag brought shape, and the shoes added contrast. Each element had a role to bring interest to the look, and because of it nothing felt too cluttered and it didn't take away from the original, minimalist vibe of the vintage dress. 

So next time you want to dress minimalist but are having a hard time making it look interesting, ask yourself: What's the purpose of the piece I'm adding to the look? Does it juxtapose, does it tie in the vibe, does it add subtle depth? Once you get the idea of roles downpat, it'll be easier to accessorize simply, but with a lotta oomph. 


For more inspiration, here are some other accessory ideas incorporated into looks. Study them and think about why they work:

ONE:  If you tie a silk scarf close to your neck over your dress, not only will it add a pop of pattern but also a timeless, Parisian woman type of vibe. Bonus points if you slip on bold, black sunnies, too! (SOURCE

TWO: Try giving your silk scarves a new purpose by ditching the hat option and tying it into a headband over your hair. The flirt accessory will give your dress a touch of playfulness. (SOURCE)

THREE: By draping a patterned scarf loosely over your neck, you add some interest to a simple summer dress, or add more pattern and color to one with a lot of personality.  (SOURCE)

FOUR: By being thoughtful with your purse choices, you can really change the feel and look of a dress. For example, weigh you color options when it comes to your bags and see which available hues will bring out the colors of your dress. In this look, the brilliant shade of mint really makes the lilac color of the flowers pop.  (SOURCE)


Let's discuss: What's been the most game changing summer styling tip you've learned?

Want more summer styling tips? Continue reading:



  1. I always the less-is-more girl, so I also focus on one or two main accessories and try to keep the rest simple. love this outfit, cute :)

  2. I love your tips on styling minimalism because it's one of those styles that I really love, but have a lot of trouble making my own. I really like the shape and color of that shift dress and the fact that you put a lot of attention into what accessories you incorporated into your outfit.

    Sweet Helen Grace

  3. Minimalism and vintage? Well done girl c: I lovelovelove this dress
    + crossbody bag ^_^ XX
    Ice Pandora

  4. Oh woah, love this whole ensemble so much! Also your hair and lipstick are fantastic. xo

  5. You look perfect, love your lip colour! I really want to try more minimalist styles, I'm always such an overdresser aha.

    Andini xx | Adventures of an Anglophile 

  6. With the addition of the bag, this outfit is spot-on, so I totally agree with your statement! Also, that gray-blue color is lovely on you!

  7. I think the trick to vintage especially is finding what makes you feel the most like you, even if you can admire other styles.

    The scarf tips are really interesting. I often feel... awkward wearing not-winter scarves but they always look so cool when I see people wear them.

  8. Your pictures are always so perfect! I love the idea of the minimalist look and each item having a specific purpose. Great way to dress and live in general! (Not that I'm good at it myself!). -♥- Rachel (For the Birds)

  9. I think I'm probably the opposite of many of your readers, in that my outfits likely need more interest rather than less ;) What can I say, I know what I love? And when it changes, I run with it, as I think we all should - fashion is all about having fun, after all.

  10. I am all for minimal. I noted that shift in myself a few years back too. It's funny, reading through your tips (which are pretty awesome) I started thinking back to my own thought processes in dressing up and was amazed to realise that I do put a lot of effort into it. Like what goes with what, this is too much. That is OTT. It's incredible how I hadn't even thought of it before. Sounds insane, I know hahaha!


  11. Love this minimalist look

  12. Yesss! I hate it when someone says that cursed phrase: "I can't pull it off."
    Like, just put it on and believe in what you're wearing, and it'll make all the difference.
    And okay, accessories make a difference too, good point. Hehe, you've certainly mastered your look Marlen and I love it! Minimalist vintage suits you so well. I want to give it a try, but I've fallen in love with edgy minimalist style.

    The Dragonfruit Diaries
    Check out my YouTube channel too!

  13. Minimalism is so cool and trendy! I'm actually a minimalist at heart too, though I'm sure most wouldn't believe it. Sure, I do have the boho looks I love, but they are never over accessorized... mostly because I am lazy, but also because I think good clothes stand out for themselves. When things are coordinated, like how you showed us, the outfit is enough! Scarves and sunnies are my favorite tip too... even today I took a basic jean and black tee and added pink sneakers and a pink scarf with sunnies. Voila! Instant chic.

  14. Absolutely love this look and I'm all for simple outfits. They're definitely my favourite!! <3 You honestly look stunning girl! As for my styling game changer? I look to simple/key items like the dress you are wearing because you can honestly re-work it a million ways, which I LOVE!! xo

  15. I completely agree with this post. One thing I love to do when I keep it simple is to start with super polished basics and top it off with a super cool vintage accessory. That way you are keeping it interesting, but also one-of-a-kind. :)

  16. I really love this although my taste definitely tends towards the maximalist!

    Maria xxx

  17. It's so true that people like vintage but don't know how to style it. I love this look and your hair is such a pretty color in these photos! Totally inspired to trim my bangs up a bit like yours. =]

  18. I'm certainly convinced... though after visiting Scandinavia last month, my taste has been moving towards minimalism instead of the crazy bright, patterned, hippie vibes I've been stuck on for the last few years!
    : signe :
    : the daily savant :
    Emerson & Oliver Dia Bracelet GIVEAWAY

  19. You rock this vintage look. Definitely getting collegiate vibes



Talk, talk, talk!

f16bf93391' type='text/javascript'/>