Capsule Wardrobes

Now that the freak summer spell has finally given way to the normal chilly Autumn weather it’s time to start thinking about how to put your winter wardrobe together.  Most women have a tendency to buy on impulse therefore have a mis-match of items that don’t seem to go together or pieces they wear as an “outfit” they don’t mix and match.
As a stylist regardless of whether I am dealing with a vintage, high street or designer wardrobe the principals of making your wardrobe work for you – building a capsule collection of clothes that you can interchange and  by adding accessories change the look of the outfit.

So here is my guide to building your capsule vintage wardrobe – I have cheated just a little by pulling from a previous blog Orchids on a Budget – guide to living well on a budget but it works here too.

Buy your your staples in neutrals – black, brown, grey or navy are good ones to choose for winter.. Once you have your basics in neutrals make shore that your shoes and bag match these, it may sound monotonous but with this plan everything goes with everything else.

Besides there are still blouse, tops, jackets, scarves, belts and other accessories to bring brightness to your wardrobe.

Another rule is never buy clothes that are defiantly one-purpose dressing or even one season trend led items. Its all very well if you have enough money to replace your wardrobe each season but as most of us cannot it is a better investment to buy simple elegant styles that are timeless and you don’t tire of in 5 minutes.

Day dresses that have classic lines will take you to work. lunch with the girls and out to dinner. This may sound all unexciting but as a matter of fact you can be just as chic in an outfit that doesn’t tell where you are going as in one that does – a little mystery never hurt anyone!!
Pull out all the items that you have in your wardrobe and have a look and see what you have – are there suits that you can wear with another skirt or pair of trousers; is there a jacket that you could wear over a day dress to give it a different look – once you have done this make a list and carry it with you or download photos to your phone so your take your wardrobe shopping with you and buy items in the future that will go with pieces you currently own.

To give you and example here is the original list from 1937 –

  • Toast brown wool coat untrimmed. Simple well cut, warm enough to wear through Autumn and a good style to wear with separate furs?!
  • Black wool dress (with brown buttons to go under coat)
  • Short toast brown wool jacket (lightweight to wear over dress or separate skirt)
  • Check brown and black skirt
  • Printed silk dress (with brown and white design to be worn with jacket or coat)
  • Toast brown hat, bag and shoes
  • Lighter brown stockings and gloves
  • White gloves, bag and accessories and jacket (warm weather to go with print dress)
This may sound a little dated with matching shoes, hats and gloves but the basic principal is the same (and I want to bring hats and gloves back because it was just so ladylike and chic!?)

As for evening wear – the LBD is the elegant standby and can be worn in so many ways that you will never tire of it and with a little imagination no-one will realise that it is the same frock time and time again. It can be varied by contrasting jackets, jewels, flowers, scarves and shoes until it dies on its feet – one example taken from the book is the following:

 A beautifully cut evening dress and several changes of accessories. The dress is the backdrop for:

  • An emerald green taffeta jacket and slippers
  • Two ruby clips and bracelet to match worn with black slippers and bag
  • Pink chiffon roses and pink chiffon scarf worn with black slippers and bag
  • A gold lame jacket with black bag and slippers
  • A black sequin jacket
  • Gold chunky jewellery

So with some thought and a little creativity you can look elegant and chic on a budget – think of the French they do it very well with a limited wardrobe but fabulous accessories and most of all keeping it simple and classic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.