Tag Archives: country living

Capsule Wardrobe, a versatile clothes collection.

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I am no minimalist. My aim is to create a “capsule wardrobe” of assorted pieces that I can combine in a variety of ways and enjoy wearing.  I think it is a given that I should have more than one pair of jeans and more than one T, but key pieces have to versatile.

In the little collection above, I have combined some favourite Vintage pieces with new items.

Firstly, I have included my favourite coat, a black wool, single breasted collarless straight cut garment by Corner Shop that I bought in 1990 from a Paul Sartori charity shop in Haverfordwest. I think that it had been made to measure for someone, but fitted me perfectly, and still does! It cost me £7. When I put this coat on, I feel instantly smart, and it works with dresses, skirts, trousers and jeans. As it is collarless, I often add a scarf. The scarf in the photos is one that I made myself. It is black wool with woven border deep pockets and a light grey suiting lining. ( One of the photos also shows this scarf worn with a black dress.)

I am a great fan of traditional Welsh Wool, and collect blankets and “carthen”, mostly brightly coloured ones from the 1960s.  The 1960s was a great era for the Woollen mills of West Wales, as fashion designers such as Mary Quant, used Welsh woollen cloth to create funky clothes and accessories.  The two skirts included in this collection are both Welsh wool cloth from the 1960s.  Both the red cloth and the green cloth are traditional woven patterns.  In one outfit, I have combined the sixties skirt with an early 90s black zip top by Workers for Freedom, and a white T.  I would wear this zip top with either skirt, and love the white “surprise” detail on the back.

The grey merino wool cardigan with red and maroon yoke is a recent purchase from TK Maxx. It is the perfect length to wear with the red skirt, but will also combine well with jeans.

The classic denim jeans jacket is also a recent High Steeet purchase, and already a favourite of mine. I have shown it here with one of the 60s skirts ( I could wear it with either), with my black straight cut Per Una jeans (bought second hand), with a Vintage Orvis button-through below the knee black cotton dress, and with  a stretchy knee length tie-dye patterned T shirt dress by Apricot, bought a few years ago on the High St. ( cheap and cheerful!)

One of my favourite items is a glorious reversible Vintage embroidered silk jacket from the Orient. Depending upon my mood and upon the occasion, I can wear it black with a red lining or red with a black lining. I can dress it up or dress it down. I wear it with the black jeans or over the black dress.

The last item in this little collection is a Vintage Hyphen silk lined knee length frock coat, that has been in my wardrobe for about twenty years. It has a single button in the front and is fitted. It looks great over black jeans, but also looks great over the stretchy Apricot dress.  It’s the type of garment that looks pretty sharp!

So, I think that is about a dozen items of clothing that form the basis of my wardrobe, and about 50% of its volume. The remainder is mainly seasonal or party clothes that I can happily put into storage, but also include a couple of shirts that I love and wear, an oversized sweater, ditto, and a classic trench coat.

That’s it!

Add ons include: underwear, footwear, accessories, bags, scarves, belts etc.

Capsule Wardrobe, what stays and what goes.

Sorting out my wardrobe is proving to be an interesting process, as I take a long hard look at the clothes I wear, assess how I really want to present myself and re-imagine how the clothes that I own suit the life that I lead. Through the sorting process I have already reduced the volume of clothes by around a third, and am likely to lose more along the way as I get around to trying on items that I have rarely worn. If they don’t fit or suit me in any way they will go!
So, what clothes earn a place in a wardrobe fit for my lifestyle? As a general guide, I have to enjoy wearing an item, and it must be something that I can wear regularly. Separates, pants, skirts and tops are great because of their versatility and interchangeability. You can create several looks with just a few key separates, just by mixing up the pieces! Add in a couple of jackets, a full length coat and a raincoat and you have even more possibilities for creating different looks. If you substitute dresses for separates you are creating a totally different narrative and presentation.
When you go through the process of sorting through your clothes, you need to be realistic rather than simply ruthless. For my own purposes, I don’t really have a “seasonal” wardrobe. What I wear through Spring Summer Autumn and Winter changes little. This does not mean that I wear the same outfits, but it does mean that a lot of my clothes take me through more than one season! For example, I wear jeans, pants and shirts at every time of the year, and layering can also extend the use of separates beyond one season. Inevitably, there will be a few pieces that are worn just occasionally, maybe for special occasions, but, as they are lovely Vintage pieces, I look forward to those occasions and am happy to keep them in my wardrobe. The same principle applies to investment pieces, such as a classic Winter coat or a stylish Trench coat that can be worn year on year.
When you pare down your wardrobe, the aim is to end up with a collection of clothes that you can wear with confidence. Clothes reflect your personality and are an expression of your creativity. Create your own style, whether it be with Vintage, modern, or a mix of the two.
The process of sorting out your wardrobe can be revelatory as it reveals so much about your character, your aspirations and your buying habits! For example, do you have clothes that you have bought but never worn? Have you bought items that are the wrong size in the hope that one day they will fit you? Have you bought clothes that are unflattering? Are your clothes drab and I’ll fitting? Are most of your clothes vintage or upcycled, sourced from ethical suppliers or handmade by you….or do you buy designer wear, shop on the High Street or buy on-line? Are you more interested in Fashion or in Function? Do your clothes suit the life that you lead Now?
Once you see what you have got, and question what you need, it is easier to put together a collection that you can enjoy now and carry on enjoying in the future.
Sorting out your wardrobe is an opportunity to update your style and sharpen up your personal presentation. When you next shop for clothes, you will know what is missing from your wardrobe and you can shop for pieces that will enhance your collection.
Wear your clothes with confidence and own the look that you have created.

Capsule Wardrobe, first sort through your clothes……

Satin jacket
First sort through your clothes….

Now that I have made a start on the task of creating a capsule wardrobe, I realize how random some of my clothes purchases have been over a number of years.  I love clothes, particularly vintage classics, and have a penchant for lovely fabrics and beautiful stitching.  As I am in the business of selling vintage clothes and accessories, I am often tempted to hang on to pieces….knowing full well that I am never going to loose those extra inches!

Received wisdom dictates to make three piles of clothes,  those lovely unwearable vintage things that someone else can enjoy can go to my shop….where they were always destined to be,  non vintage  unwanted items in good condition can be donated to a charity shop and  the worn out or hideous mistakes can be binned.  Anything that’s left should be considered as a keeper.

In the last week I have put several pieces in to stock, donated three bags to charity shops and binned two bags.

What I want to do next is create some outfits with key pieces, and see what looks I can create with a mixture of vintage and modern clothes.  I want to enjoy wearing my clothes, but I want them to suit my lifestyle. There is no point in me creating looks to wear at the office, for example, as I work from home, and live in a wooded rural hamlet in West Wales. On the other hand, there is no reason to look like a hay seed all of the time, and it will be great to have a selection of outfits that will work for me, and make me feel great!

So, more to come soon…….

 

 

March 2018, Cwmpengraig, snow, Welsh Wool.

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March 1st is Dydd Dewi Sant, St. David’s Day. ( patron saint of Wales). Traditionally, we celebrate with early spring daffodils, dancing, choirs, traditional costume and harp music. This year Cwmpengraig has been blanketed in snow and the winds are sharp and fierce. This little hamlet has been effectively cut off by the snow, and we are keeping warm with delicious Welsh cawl ( made traditionally with root veg and leeks) and scrumptious Welsh cakes made on the griddle.

Welsh costume
Traditional Welsh costume

The above photograph shows ladies in traditional Welsh costume probably in the late 19 th century. At this period, Drefach Felindre, now home of the National Woollen Museum of Wales, and the surrounding  villages and hamlets,  including here in Cwmpengraig, were busy with the production of woollen cloth, flannel for clothing and heavier weaves for blankets and the famous double cloth produced for “carthen”, the Welsh quilts/ bedcovers. “

As seen in this historical photograph, the costume was layered with flannel petticoats and skirts, aprons, blouses, “betgwyn”( an overjacket with three quarter sleeves and tailed back), shawl,  under bonnet and stove pipe hat. Leather boots or clogs may be worn with hose and under garments. Flannel was usually woven in stripes or small checks for ladies clothing and in plain or fine stripes for workmens shirts.

In the 1960s, there was a revival of the popularity of Welsh cloth, particularly of the distinctive double cloth, which, when woven in 1960s bright colours, seemed quite psychedelic. Mary Quant used Welsh cloth in some of her designs, and vintage clothes associated with the 1960s include mini skirts, capes, waistcoats and jackets, with matching accessories, handbags and coin purses. The museum at Drefach Felindre has a great gallery showing the way Welsh cloth has been used through history, including 1960s high fashion.

 

Caravan chic, 50s 60s curtains

Continue reading Caravan chic, 50s 60s curtains

The headsquare

Equestrian theme
Vintage headsquares

This is a fabulous little equestrian number from a huge selection of vintage headsquares that I now have in stock.

My best friend wears hers like the Queen….tied under the chin!

There are fifty ways to leave your lover (so I hear), but how many ways are there to wear a headsquare?

1 folded diagonally and tied under the chin, like the Queen.

2 folded diagonally, crossed under the chin and tied at the back (Audrey Hepburn)

2 folded diagonally , tied around the back of head, over the scarf tails, gypsy style.

3 As above but tied under the scarf tails, hippy chic.

4 folded diagonally, point in the front, tails brought round to front and tied, point tucked in , washerwoman  style.

5 pleated, tied, with ends fanned, turban style.

6 rolled on the diagonal and worn as a Hendrix style headband.

7rolled on the diagonal and used to tie a pony tail

8 folded into an oblong and worn as a knotted stock under a hacking jacket

9diagonally folded and tied behind the neck with the diagonal creating a cowl neckline.

10 diagonally folded and worn around the neck with tails at the front, Boy Scout style

11 as above but tails worn near the collar bone, cowboy style

12 as an element of a hijab

13 as an element of a headwrap

14 tie it around your wrist

15 tie it around your waist

16  tie it around your hips

17 tie it around your leg, like a punk Morris dancer

18 wrap up some possessions,tie it to a long stick and take a hike

19 drape over a side table

20 use it as a halter neck top

…….. I can think of more!

 

 

 

Vintage tapestries in sewing craft and supplies section at Coolclobber

Coolclobber has a growing section devoted to sewing, crafts and supplies, including many vintage sundries and fabrics that will lend themselves to a variety of vintage sewing projects and upcycle projects.

I have always enjoyed re-using vintage fabrics and giving them a new life. So, along with selling clothes and accessories , I am always on the look-out for interesting textiles, vintage buttons and trims , patterns and sundries.  Today I added a number of completed tapestries  that I came across recently.  There are already a few in the shop , so now there is a great selection to choose from. Some would lend themselves to being incorporated into luxurious cushion/pillow covers, some would look great framed and there are endless possibilities for creative sewing projects, including their use in carpet bags or totes.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/coolclobber

 

 

Tapestry square
Completed tapestry perfect for vintage sewing project, cushion, carpet bag etc.
Tapestry square
Completed tapestry perfect for vintage sewing project, cushion, carpet bag etc.
Completed tapestry
Violet bouquets wool tapestry
Completed tapestry
French tapestry piece, geraniums, completed
Completed harbour tapestry
Harbour with boats tapestry
Completed tapestry
Perfect tapestry to make into cushion cover
Tapestry to frame
French tapestry, “interieur” complete
Kitchen kitten tapestry
Kittens tapestry, complete
Completed tapestries
Some of the tapestries in store now at Coolclobber, more in the shop.

New Year, New Blog….2017

As the New Year approaches, I decided to begin a blog about all things vintage….behind the scenes at my two Etsy shops, Coolclobber and Floslingerie, and life in the country…..

https://www.instagram.com/coolclobbervintage/