Hello lovelies! I am quite excited to share with you all my new post series and latest fashion-related endeavor: a vintage capsule wardrobe! Over this next Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer, I am planning and hoping to entirely switch over my wardrobe to almost strictly vintage-inspired styles. It’s been far too long since I’ve made myself and worn retrospective clothing, and it feels so refreshing to finally be pushing myself to wear one style of fashion and attempt a cohesively practical, though marvelously old-fashioned wardrobe. But I get ahead of myself; let me back up a little.
You know that feeling of, “So many clothes, but nothing to wear!”? That’s the way I feel when I look in my closet. And I know from the many blog articles floating around in the blogosphere, that many of you too struggle with this dilemma. It makes you feel like you’re being sucked into a whirlpool of clothing, and the only way to get out is to throw everything away and start afresh. But what happens when you do all of that, but don’t try and reform what caused you to get there in the first place? For me, I was trying to appease both my love of vintage and modern styles, and attempting to mix the two. But as more and more clothing collected in my closet from this frame of mind and style, the more I found that I have too much, and thus nothing to wear! I’m a little tired of pulling inspiration from both sides (vintage and modern) equally, and I want to experiment more in my first fashion-love: vintage.
But why vintage? I have a few key points that I’m founding my logic on:
- Vintage women’s fashion is almost 100% feminine. It seems that no matter how you slice it, there is always a silhouette, design, print, you name it! It flatters and accentuates a lady’s “lady-ness”; and I love that.
- It’s practical. Although, no it may not be as accessible today as it was back then, for me it is still attainable (read: sewing!). And every style of clothing that the women before us wore for everyday clothing and dressy/formal wear is just as practical and wearable today. No buts. Besides, I’ve never been one to shy from turning heads with what I wear, as long as it’s for the right reason. 😉
- You can’t do real vintage-inspired without the quality factor. This point is a bit more of a challenge to achieve, but one that I am eager to meet! The thought of clothing, shoes, purses, etc. that are of high-quality materials gets me so excited. This factor also gives me a guideline to help me spend my money on the most worth-while products.
I know that all of this sounds a bit lofty and extravagant, attempting to change over everything that I now wear to retro only; but in reality, it’s not going to be all that hard. My goal is to construct for myself a capsule wardrobe of sorts, with around 10 core pieces that I can mix and match together, and pull in a few novelty pieces here and there to give some interest. This will not only give me a solid foundation on which to build the rest of my wardrobe, but also provide consistency and wearability for every piece that I make. It can be so easy to look at every 1940s suit or 1950s housedress and think, “Oh that’s SO CUTE! I totally need to make that!”; when in reality all that it will be doing is just taking up more space in your closet, with nothing to match or coordinate with it. With the wardrobe for this Autumn and Winter that I am curating for myself, I am looking over every piece that I sketch out and design, and making sure that 1) I will wear it, and it is of a style and/or silhouette that I currently wear and love; 2) it can be worn with other pieces in my wardrobe; 3) there is an element to it that is perfectly “me”, and exudes my personal fashion taste perfectly.
Whew! So far this has been quite the wordy post; let me see if I can cut to the chase a bit better from here on out! 😉
Inspiration: A mixture of late 40s to early 50s styles. Real leather shoes and purses, full skirts, good-quality sweaters (I am hoping to thrift most of these, though if any of you have good resources for high-quality, retro-cut sweaters, do share!), full-leg trousers, and maybe a quilted skirt? That one ranks about 11th in my list of makes, though I am hoping to squeeze it in this up-coming season, I do adore that style of skirt so!
Sketches: I drew up these designs a few weeks ago when I was mulling over this new endeavor of mine, and I am quite thrilled with what I came up with! For everyday wear, I am going for mostly separates for starters, as those will be the most easily interchangeable. As you can probably tell, the chocolate brown wool skirt pictured in the first page of sketches was heavily inspired by Lily’s gorgeous grey version shown in my inspiration board. Sheesh but does that girl know how to sew! Major inspiration right there! 🙂 For Church-wear, I have two dresses lined up to be made: one of a lightweight purple wool which has a more 1940s vibe to it, and the other of a more thicker weight with a 50s silhouette.
Shopping List: Now we get down to the nitty gritty: shopping list and budget! Thankfully I do have several pieces currently in my A/W wardrobe that can pass for vintage-inspired. All the same, my garments need some new companions, which is the reason for this post, and now shopping list 🙂
- As far as patterns go, I think I can mostly work with what I have, though Simplicity 1278 is definitely going to be purchased by me very soon. I adore the fitted style of that blouse, and have a feeling the pattern will come in handy (I have two blouses sketched up based on it, after all!).
- I was so very excited to find that on Amazon, companies such as Naturalizers and Hush Puppies, who specialize in more classic shoe styles (a jack-pot for vintage lovers!), sell their shoes at discounted prices. So, unless I get really lucky on a thrifting trip, I plan on saving my pennies to purchase a good solid pair of real leather and rubber shoes for Church and everyday wear. I have my eye on these, these, or even these.
- I have already ordered several pieces of wool and wool blend fabrics from Fashion Fabrics Club (the brown skirt, wool 50s dress, and mustard yellow blouse have all been checked off my list) and I am planning on using up a few fabric selections from my stash (the chambray plaid skirt and printed blouse). I am trying very hard to aim for as pure and high-quality of fiber content as my measly allowance permits, and as you can tell, it is taking up the bulk of my budget 😉
- As to thrifting, in this circumstance it is a term for “everything else” 😉 Sweaters, extra shoes, the occasional blouse, skirt, or jacket, purses, accessories: that’s all in there.
I may make a few adjustments to how much is allotted where in this budget, though I think you get the general idea of what I’m shooting for. I want to try and keep this project under $200, though we shall see how that goes.
Ok, now I want to ask all you vintage wearers, seamstresses, and capsule-wardrobe veterans and fellow adventurers:
Does my plan sound feasible?
Are there any adjustments that I should make?
Any advice from past experience?
Do share! I’m all ears 🙂
-Charlotte, the youngest sister & singer