Here are a few of my top picks for Christmas, all from Coolclobber. Whatever your favourite era, you can accessorise with a stylish handbag, scarf, hat or gloves, to add a bit of Vintage “ je ne sais quoi” to your outfit.
It is easy to create your own style with Vintage pieces, knowing that your look is unique. Friends too appreciate the thought that goes in to finding them a special Vintage gift. My gift suggestions include leather goods, such as a good quality wallet, belt or writing case, as well as powder compacts, which are practical as well as beautiful. For compacts, look for makes like Stratton or Coty, for quality pieces.
If you are buying Vintage clothes on line, (and particularly if you are buying for someone else!), do check all measurements carefully, remembering the sizes can vary enormously on Vintage items, and size labels are therefore deceptive.
Many items at Coolclobber and Floslingerie have free postage within the U.K. for the rest of the year.
November is here, and the High St shops are already decorated for Christmas. It’s a great time to start thinking about Christmas Shopping, and if you are into Vintage, it’s a great time to source the perfect gifts for your friends and family.
My selection of menswear items includes both clothes and accessories. My on-line shop, Coolclobber, has a wide selection of menswear from all eras, with a particularly good section of small items that are perfect for gifting. Wallets, grooming kits, scarves, gloves and hats make great gifts and many of these items are priced between £20 and £50. I also have some fabulous shirts, sweaters and coats, and many of my items are Deadstock ( unworn old shop stock). Many items in stock are postage free within the UK, right up until the end of the year!
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.
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!
The Capsule wardrobe project is temporarily on hold! No apologies, I have been working on other things whilst enjoying the unprecedented heat wave! Apart from my garden and vegetable plot, I have been busy taking photographs of new stock for Coolclobber and Floslingerie. We have now had weeks and weeks of hot sunshine, and I have had to eat my words about shorts! It has been too hot to wear much else!
So, here are some of my latest stock items for Coolclobber ⬆ Tap on any photo to enlarge it.
I think that it may have been back in the 1970s that I first heard of “The Capsule Wardrobe”as a fashion concept. “The Capsule Wardrobe”, “Wardrobe Basics” or “Wardrobe Essentials” have been the subject of articles and books on and off for at least fifty years….and probably before that too!
It is true that fashionable looks in clothes are often re-cycled or re-worked from previous eras, and it is often said that if you keep your old and no longer fashionable clothes, they will eventually come back into vogue. It is also true that some clothes are regarded as “Classics” that never really go out of fashion, and can be worn stylishly year on year.
As a collector of Vintage clothes, my view is that Vintage pieces work well as key items in the “capsule”approach to dressing well, adding a large helping of creativity and originality to a “look”.
Personally, I like to mix eras rather than adhering to a head to toe style from a specific decade. Mixing it up a bit also allows you to choose styles, cuts and colours that work best with your particular body shape, skin tone and life style, allowing you to create a unique personal look using pieces that are versatile and to some point, interchangeable.
So, most articles that you come across will suggest some Wardrobe “essentials” that can be worn in a number of combinations to create different outfits.
These usually include:-
A plain and well cut white T shirt
A plain and well cut long sleeved crisp white shirt
A well cut knee length or over black pencil skirt
A knee length navy or plaid pleated skirt
Straight cut blue denim jeans
Straight cut black trousers
Well cut black blazer
Well cut overcoat
Little black dress
Flat black pumps
High heel court shoes
Coloured scarves and jewellery to accessorize
With these basics you can create different looks to suit occasions and mood….
e.g T shirt, jeans, leather belt, ankle boots, black blazer
White shirt, plaid skirt, overcoat, pumps
White shirt, black blazer, black trousers, ankle boots, bag
LBD, high heels, coat
Mix and match. Add in flashes of colour and bling with accessories……
So far, so good. Some lists are more specific, and more prescriptive, some suggesting that your “Capsule Wardrobe” should consist of 12 items or 20 items or 30 items……some are more inventive and more adventurous, showing fabulous clothes with eye watering price tags!!!!! And some are so “tasteful” that they create a kind of uniform…..wearable but dull!!!!
Looking at my own wardrobe (literally) I see that what I own and what I wear are two different things. I like the idea of organising my clothes and wearing more of the items I love, rather than always seeing them on hangers and hardly wearing them at all. I think that I need to sort through my collection, discard those clothes that are never going to fit me again, or that I bought on a misguided whim, and create my own version of “The Capsule Wardrobe” to include my favourite Vintage pieces along with new items, creating outfits that Will express my style and personality, and that I will enjoy wearing!
This may take me some time……I seem to have Uber-numerous coats, jackets, dresses and separates to sort through…..plus plenty of items I shouldn’t really admit to…….a stack of cotton summer shorts….Why?????
Over the next few weeks I intend to have a sort through my clothes and put together my own version of a Capsule Collection.
Historically, hats were always an essential element of any man’s wardrobe. Worn to denote occupation, worn to denote class, to keep the elements at bay, to protect the wearer from missiles and blows, and to make a statement about culture, taste and style….hats were worn with pride and with dignity. In the liberal 1960s and 70s, men’s wear in general became more casual and individualised, and the classic hats of former eras fell from grace, or were worn for more limited occasions as a part of formal dress.
With the renewed interest in styles of the past, lovers of vintage, watchers of costume dramas etc., have discovered a new love of classic hats, and their many forms. A man can create a particular vintage look more effectively by including a hat in his ensemble. There are many styles to choose from, but I am particularly fond of those classic styles that can be worn by Everyman, looking stylish without looking as if in fancy dress!
The British Bowler.
I love the bowler hat, as it is quintessentially British in origin and in nature. I always associate the bowler hat with suave Patrick MacNee…Steed in The Avengers (1960s). He was the epitome of London cool sophistication in his sharp suit, with rolled umbrella and bowler hat. The bowler is a classic, created by the eponymous Bowler Brothers, William and Thomas. They were commissioned by the 19th century hat retailer Lock & Co. To create a sturdy low crowned hat for their aristocratic client Mr.Edward Coke. This was in the mid 1800s, and for the next 100 years it was a popular style with city gents and politicians. In general, the bowler hat is no longer worn by the man in the street but is still a popular choice for high society occasions. For an authentic look, the bowler should be worn with a classic suit or with a well cut overcoat, smart shoes and gloves.
The Trilby and the Fedora
These classic styles are similar, and are perhaps the most commonly worn and popular of hats, particularly in the first half of the 20th century. They were both invented in the early 1890s.
Generally made from wool felt, the Trilby has a narrow brim and an indented crown, and is usually tightly turned up at the back ( and less so at the sides). The Fedora has a wider brim, and also has an indented or pinched crown. Both usually have a hat band, often of ribbon, and may either be stiffened or soft. Right up to the 1960s these were everyman’s hats, but the Fedora in particular is associated with glamour….often worn by film stars of the era….and by gangsters!
The Trilby and the Fedora are having a revival, and in my shop there is always a lot of interest in both styles. For a touch of glamour, 1930s to 1960s style…..wear with a classic trench coat ( incidentally, it’s a style that looks great on men and equally good on women!)
The Panama and the Boater
The Panama hat and the Boater are both men’s lightweight Summer hats, originating in the 1800s. The Boater is a flat crowned, stiff brimmed straw hat, with a ribbon band, often worn by tradesmen, barbers shop quartets, and particularly by butchers. It is also the classic hat for wearing when messing about on the river…..punting or rowing. Wear it with a good striped blazer and white bags for an authentic vintage look.
The Panama hat is finely woven from palm fronds and is as flexible as the Boater is rigid. The Panama usually has a pleated or dimpled crown and a ribbon band. It is an elegant hat popularised in the movies and beloved of both screen stars and public notables. Wear it best with a lightweight linen suit.