Blast From The Past: Blog Designs Then and Now

You know how looking at pictures of the way you dressed five years ago can really make you cringe? Our taste changes seasonally, yearly, and sometimes does a complete overhaul in just a few months. We fashion folk can be fickle that way.

The same can be said for the design of our sites. As we develop and grow – adding new widgets, advertising, a new header, re-formatting photos – it's only natural that the template and design of our sites change and evolve.

From colors to fonts, headers and images, some of our favorite sites and most frequently visited blogs look dramatically different from their early days (and some look nearly the same).

Just like your mom with your embarrassing (or not) middle school yearbook, we dug up some vintage blog design screenshots. Lets take a look back at the evolution of some of popular blogs. Some have changed quite a bit since their inception (some dating back to 2006!), and some have remained relatively the same. (The old version will be on the top of the image, and the current look will be on the bottom.)

Refinery 29 has undergone more make-overs than almost any fashion site we know, and this is the oldest screenshot we could find, dating back to 2006!

Quite the evolution for Cupcakes and Cashmere, eh? We love her sleek new look.

It's always been a simple, clean blog, but we love the new, bigger images on The Sartorialist.

Kelly has kept her blog consistently clean and simple, and maintained her branding through her heading.

Style Bubble looks totally different than it did back in 2009, but she never lost her love of color and pattern.

Since joining the Now Manifest network, Rumi's blog has evolved quite a bit from it's standard Blogspot template.

Go Fug Yourself has grown and expanded from a scrolling list of posts to a click-able treasure trove of celebrity style and hilarity.

(Garance's blog has undergone only minor changes since it's launch.)

(Fashionologie was an independent personal blog before it was acquired by FabSugar.)

Fashionista has had many different color iterations, but we sort of miss the black and white look.

Black and white or white and black, WWW has lost the graphic buttons and adopted a sleeker navigation bar.

 Do you like any of these blogs past designs better than their current look? Let us know in the comments!

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29 Responses

    • Eli

      Not only that, their website aesthetic was more youthful and fun, when they would write and illustrate right over the images. They were the first to do it and then took it away completely. They got rid of the only thing that made them special.

      Reply
  1. Toni Styles

    Such a fun post! It shows how your first blog design can be your best, or when you eventually find your voice and style – things can get much more aesthetically appealing. I must admit I’m more of a fan of the old Sartorialist design. 🙂

    http://rhythmandruffle.com <3

    Reply
  2. Aves Gry

    Why do I suddenly have an urge to give my blog a re-design? I never would have thought some of the past designs by some of the successful blogger had looked like that. It’s ‘cute’ in a way. The only past design I did like was maybe fashionista. The currently design now is lovely but I’m more of a black and white, minimalist person.

    Reply
  3. Yasmeen (Castle Fashion)

    Amazing what Emily’s (C&C) old design looked like…I see so many really basic designs on newer blogs. Just proves there’s a learning curve to everything.

    I know mine totally sucked when I started. Lol.

    Reply
    • Carol

      So true! It gives me hope that one day my basic little blog may blossom into something more sleek and sophisticated, technologically-speaking.

      Reply
  4. Clara

    “Rumi’s blog has evolved quite a bit from it’s standard Blogspot template.”
    **its.

    Reply
  5. Janelle

    I love how this post shows that change can be a good thing. I’ve always liked clean websites, but this post shows ways that pattern and color can be added to a blog while not overpowering it.

    stylecomrades.blogspot.com

    xx

    Reply
  6. Ana

    Some of them have used new technology beautifully and just updated their old style to something up to date, but keeping the general feel (minimalism for The Sartorialist, or more is more for WhoWhatWear).

    In general, I like the new ones better, but some of them have gone a little too far with the novelty of magazine layout and they seem overcrowded.

    Garance’s site is the only one I like both versions of equally.

    Reply
  7. Rachel

    I loved looking at these, especially at what Cupcakes & Cashmere, and Fashion Toast used to look like – what transformations!

    This got me thinking back to my original blog layouts when I started blogging at the beginning of 2009, and how it has evolved into what it is now. Except for a brief flirtation with a barker background and a different design direction when I first moved to Blogger, I’ve always had a clean coloured font header, white background, big pictures and colourful (albiet much less cluttered) sidebars. I get very nervous when some of my favourite blogs (like Luella & June recently) say they are going to change their blog layout, as I’m worried I’m not going to like it anymore, and for me layout is one of the big make and breaks if I read a blog or not, because I’m worried they’re going to seer away from their aesthetic, like I have not done without even really thinking about it.

    Reply
  8. Kristian

    I like most of the later designs better, usually because they are more personalized, rather than the pre-made templates. The only one I like the older design of better is the WHO WHAT WEAR. The white seemed more open and clean; black in contrast loos claustrophobic a bit.

    Reply
  9. DaintyJea

    I love cupcakesandcashmere new design. It’s chic, simple, and easy to navigate. Personally, I like to go straight to the outfit posts and love how she makes it so much easier for us to enjoy. Good strategy! 😉 http://www.daintyjea.com

    Reply
  10. Natasha aka SNOWBLACKBLOG

    I love clean and crisp, minimal blogs. There are blogs out there that are still piling on the millions of advertisers they work with plus 100 links on the top of the page, blah blah. Maybe it’s just my personal taste, but I don’t like cluttler. I am still working on my blog and right now the only banner I plan on putting up is my online store due this Fall.

    Reply
  11. Highland Fashionista

    Definitely like Fashionista’s old interface, as well as Who What Wear’s. I especially find the later too busy for my tastes. I tend to favour the cleaner looks. Less overwhelming.

    Reply
  12. Renee Jacobe

    As for me, I find clean layouts to be the best kind. I really don’t like busy and dizzying layout that WWW currently sports. But, I love all of these blogs, whatever their layout looks like. xx

    Renee
    http://reneejacobe.blogspot.com

    Reply
  13. Rebecca

    I’m not a fan of fussy layouts. Plain and simple is my motto to let the content do the talking but I definitely prefer Garance Dore before layout rather than the current one.

    Reply
  14. TAMIKKO BEASTY

    People evolve so slowly. There is very little growth in any of the updates. Viral is the 5th dimension. Everybody get imaginative. Modelmayhem.com/TAMIKKO

    Reply
  15. Stefania

    Personally I found that each one of the blogs got better! I really like the ones which are very clean and simple and not so much colored! Especially Refinery29 became sooo much better, incredible!

    Reply
  16. Francesca

    Wow! This highlights how important it is to have a good, clean layout that is very user-friendly. It really pays to be attentive to detail!

    Reply