Copy Her Style: Zooey Deschanel – Quirky, Modern, and Classic

Whether you are an off-the-rack kind of a gal or prefer to haunt the aisles of your local vintage shop, Zooey Deschanel’s unique and quirky blend of vintage and modern pieces is be easily attainable.

Zooey Deschanel has got it going on: a flourishing television career, a unique and quirky signature style, and a soon to be launched collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger that officially kicks off this April.

Often referred to as heavily vintage-inspired, her style manages to take something retro and re-imagine it into something modern; a unique balance that has become the hallmark of the undeniable girl-next-door appeal of the New Girl actress.

Yet, for those of us who delight in all things vintage and aspire to re-create the look, we are all too aware of how an affinity for vintage clothing can sometimes morph into looking like you are wearing a costume. This is a pitfall that Zooey Deschanel not only avoids, but also turns on its head. She manages to pay homage to the classic silhouettes of vintage clothing while retaining her unabashedly modern approach to styling.

There are two ways in particular that Deschanel manages to create this signature look: by adding an unexpected element to a more buttoned-up vintage-inspired piece, and by keeping her hair and makeup modern and uncomplicated.


Mixing Modern and Vintage the Deschanel Way

A quick browse through the internet will quickly reveal the vintage elements that inspire Zooey Deschanel’s style: ‘60s-inspired mini-dresses, skater skirts, and sweater sets all play a role in the Deschanel repertoire. But instead of creating a literal interpretation of these vintage looks, Deschanel creates a bit of friction by pairing them with more unexpected and modern elements.

A perfect example of this juxtaposition was her red carpet appearance at the 2013 MTV awards. She appeared for the cameras resplendent in a scarlet, floor-length Oscar De La Renta strapless gown reminiscent of the 1950s silhouette – only months after giving birth, no less! She paired the dress with elegant and understated pearls, and threw-in a much less understated manicure of black and white, film-and-camera-themed nail art.

Even off the red carpet, the Deschanel style maintains its ability to make one do a double-take. Her favoured vintage-inspired mini-dresses (usually paired with tights and boots) often peek-out from underneath an unexpectedly bright jacket, or are paired with a statement accessory or handbag.


Trademark Tresses

Naturally, it would be remiss to have a discussion of Zooey Deschanel’s style without so much as a mention of her trademark, raven locks. Deschanel, known for the heavy fringe that frames her famously piercing baby blue eyes, is often spotted wearing loose, deconstructed waves.  This particular style works quite well against the backdrop of the hyper-feminine, vintage-inspired dresses that she tends to favour. It also creates a bit of dissonance between a starchy-looking vintage piece and the more modern, down-to-earth, and carefree girl within.

Even when appearing for more formal events, Deschanel tends to favour a more deconstructed look for her hair. Harkening again back to her 2013 appearance in the scarlet Oscar De La Renta, her pulled-back hair was loose at the nape of her neck, and her trademark heavy fringe around her eyes swept gently back. There is never anything stiff or without motion in her approach to her hair; no overly-sprayed beehives from days gone by, no sausage curls that look hot off the press. The look is soft, feminine, and just a little bit undone – the perfect companion for a vintage-inspired look that may well hold a lot of structure in and of itself.


The Launch of The Hilfiger/Deschanel Look

For those of you who desire the vintage-inspired quirkiness of Zooey Deschanel’s style but do not have the time or inclination to participate in vintage clothing shopping, take heart. Deschanel has paired up with iconic American designer Tommy Hilfiger to launch a 16 dress collection for Macy’s.

Deschanel and Hilfiger instantly hit it off at a party a few years, and cite their mutual interest in vintage clothing and classic old Hollywood as the ground upon which this collection grew. Specifically, Deschanel cites ‘60s London as a source of inspiration for the collection – particularly iconic ‘60s models such as Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton.

Fourteen items from the collection will launch in Macy’s stores and on Macy’ on April 14. The entire collection will launch on April 21 at, making it possible for everybody to sample Deschanel’s quirky and unique blend of vintage and modern dressing.

About the author

Kristin Buchholz-MacKillop

Kristin is an American writer based in the Scottish Highlands. She is a saxophonist, an obsessive tennis player, a U.S. Air Force Veteran, and holds a Master's degree as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. She is the author of the online style blog

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