Sunday, June 9, 2019

Building a Capsule Wardrobe Part 2

Welcome to the second part of my capsule wardrobe for summer. If you missed the first part, you can catch it here. The purpose of this series is to show how an example of thrifty vintage and how to build a small vintage wardrobe with a budget in mind. To start, I chose to do a summer and spring selection of outfits to pair with the matching seasons and I also chose to do summer because it matched the materials in my stash the best - linen and cottons.

My Planning
In my planning I wanted to use what I already had in my stash to create this series of mix and match looks which include a two piece dress, a blouse, a dress in the printed cotton, a linen jacket, and another dress as well in a 50s look just for fun. I also took note of  my notions - buttons, lace, side zippers, etc.  I wanted to make pieces as cohesive as possible down to the buttons.

 In my planning, I was thinking of traveling. . . .I am a terrible over packer! I am truly terrible . . . . I will pack 4 pairs of shoes and 6 hats and 4 pairs of gloves . . . So . . . I wanted to remedy that and try to make a wardrobe that would be really interchangeable and could work with a couple of shoes, one set of gloves, etc . . . .My planning was really focused on  four things:


These were my four main points  or goals because I wanted my pieces to be able to be worn together seamlessly so that I would have to do very little thinking on "will this work?" I also was thinking of all the places I wanted to wear my stuff. . . Out shopping? Visiting relatives? traveling? Where was I going? Well no matter where I was traveling I wanted to look good. When I do travel I do a lot of different things so I wanted to be covered for that too. Classic lines and looks are timeless and never go bad . . . Fresh, since this capsule wardrobe was for the summer and spring I needed some looks to match the weather . . .
My Designs

For my designs, I naturally had to have a shirt waist dress but I made mine in two detachable parts - a skirt and a blouse that hook and eye together at the waist. This I made in linen for another project (actually two . . . . ). I liked this look because I know how to style it and can dress it up and down really well. It can pair will with different belts, hats, collars, and more. Its like a blank slate and even more so because I can wear the skirt along with a blouse and then with a jacket in the same material. The top of the shirtwaist dress can be worn as a smart well tailored blouse with a suit or other skirt.

My next look was that of a 40s cotton dress in the little print of my choosing which was a cute mint green square "dot". I made a dress in a high neckline so I could wear it with my peter pan collars but it has a unique (and period to the 40s) zipper front neckline that when zipped down can be work with my V neck collars. Cool huh? Over this dress I can wear with my white linen jacket or even with a sweater.

I also made a 50s dress from the same material for a play with shapes.

The white linen jacket was left over from my white evening suit I did for my Casablanca Wardrobe Challenge (you can see more of that here). This jacket can be worn over the dress, over a blouse, etc. It had a lot of versatility!

Next I did a blouse in the same print and did a high neckline with this as well but added some lace ruffle for fun. This blouse has puffed sleeves setting it apart from the straight sleeves.

At this point I have:
1 white linen shirtwaist dress that breaks into 1 blouse and 1 skirt

1 40s dress in a cotton print

1 40s jacket in white linen

1 30s blouse in cotton print

1 50s full skirted dress (not pictured here)

My Color and Texture Palate
What color best suits summer than white and mint? That's what my train of thought was in making this wardrobe and I found that the linen was the perfect neutral color (white) and it had nice texture by itself. I had a lot of the linen left over from my other projects so this was a great stash buster too. In looking for a match, this little print was just the ticket. On a largely white or light ivory background, the little mint print was just the amount of color because it was subtle enough to pair with other colors and paired well with my main fabric. The mint was also so fresh looking. To give more texture, I chose to add lace in a cream color to the blouse and darker mint or teal buttons to the blouse too. My goal here was simplicity and I think I achieved that.
My Accessories

For accessories, since I was working with such a light selection of colors to start, I wanted to use brown to give some pop. I like brown with white and I was looking at my spectator pumps, my browns strappy pumps, and even my ivory peep toe wedges. Green is also in the running along with red . .. For hats, I have some in brown, some in cream, and a couple in green, oh and one in red that I think will pair not too bad. One hat in particular is my straw 30s hat.  . . . I think as I wear these pieces, more accessory options will arise. Working with neutrals to start, I think my accessory options are almost endless. This is not a bad thing either as these items do not always take up so much space when packing, normally travel well, and can really add a lot to a look.

So there you have the second part of my capsule wardrobe project and I hope for the third part I get to actually pack up and travel with this set/ collection. The weather here has been unusually cold and rainy which makes wearing summer clothes really hard! I am hoping for a change of pace soon so stay tuned for more on how I chose to wear these pieces and how well they actually worked in real life. A capsule wardrobe only works when it does what it is supposed to.


  1. Your summer capsule wardrobe turned out wonderfully! I especially like the blouse with the ruffles and lace trim. I will have to take notes while planning out my own summer and fall sewing, as I am also aiming for a more versatile wardrobe. Thank you for the inspiration! I am looking forward to reading about how your outfits work out for you in the months ahead.

  2. Oh, how lovely! The white looks so cool for summer and can be accented with any color. The dress with the zipper front sounds interesting and hope to see it with the collars. I like how the 2-piece shirtwaist that can be worn together or as separates. I was expecting to see the white dress with those cute sailor buttons.

    Thought of you the other day when I saw that Royal Vintage is bringing back the Peggys/spectator heels!! No news on the color combo yet.

    Best wishes, Dee

  3. Thank you! I'm glad you are excited as I am to see it. I'm looking forward to wearing it but the weather has been so cold and rainy ( figures!!)

    I was just thinking of those Peggy pumps today! Mostly because I am wearing them now and was thinking " geeze, I wish they still had these "