Tag Archives: Young fashion

Visiting The Capsule Wardrobe

The Capsule Wardrobe – one woman’s project (mine)

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
Ankle boots
Leather handbag
Leather belt
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?????

Wardrobe clutter
Cotton shorts

Over the next few weeks I intend to have a sort through my clothes and put together my own version of a Capsule Collection.

Further Posts to follow….

Coolclobber Free Postage offer June 2018

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June shopping special offer… Floslingerie


Here’s the latest shopping offer from Floslingerie.

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A revolution in shirt design, 1960s men’s fashion.

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Re-imagining the Shirt in the 1960s.
Men’s shirts through history have been fairly functional. They would keep a chap warm and well covered up, and particularly throughout the nineteenth century they would have been fairly voluminous with a wide straight cut, maybe with a generous shirt tail to tuck in to trousers, sometimes with detachable starched collars and cuffs. The collarless shirt, sometimes made of wool flannel, would be worn mainly by manual workers, a white or pale coloured shirt would be worn by office workers.
In the 1950s and into the 1960s, Rael-Brook was one of Britain’s largest manufacturers of men’s shirts. Their advertisements, featuring dancing shirts, were shown on the television, accompanied by the catchy musical jingo, ”Rael-Brook, Rael-Brook, the shirt for men”. Real-Brook introduced subtle stripes and soft colours, including primrose and pink to their range, to attract younger men to buy their products. In the early years of the 60s, millions of white shirts were imported from Hong Kong to Great Britain, but the younger market demanded something different. Arrow and Tootal were popular brands with the younger buyers, offering new and brighter patterns, with an emphasis on a new slimmer silhouette and innovations to the collar. Tab collars and button down collars became popular, as did pointed collars and rounded collars.
In 1963, Ben Sherman brand was born. Ben Sherman (neé Sugarman) came from the USA and started up a company making an iconic 1960s shirt. It was immediately adopted by the Mods of 1963, and later by Two-Tone and Ska followers. Like an Italian profile, the Ben Sherman shirt was a very slim fit with a square cut hem ( no bulky shirt tail!), it had a box pleat at the back, a back button and button down collar. It came in many colours and patterns. The Ben Sherman shirt was the epitome of mod fashion for British men.
In the USA, Arnold Palmer, probably the best known and best loved golfers of the 1960s, won the US Open in 1960, and created his own brand, Arnold Palmer Enterprises, a year later. From those early years, shirts were part of the Arnold Palmer range, and bore both his name and his own logo, a golfing umbrella. The Arnold Palmer shirt of the 1960s comes in a variety of colours and patterns, plains and abstract, has a sharp collar, is a slim cut, and reflects the tastes of young American Pop Culture.
Colour and pattern remained a feature of men’s shirts throughout the 1960s and into the 70s, when collars and cuffs became more exaggerated, sometimes with the addition of frills. 1960s shirt fashions remain infinitely sharp and wearable, making them highly sought after pieces of vintage clothing.

Vintage classics of the 60s and 70s

 Biker vest
For bikers or metalheads, black leather with pockets and straps 1970s vintage.
Biker vest
Biker vest in black leather

This classic 1970s black leather biker vest is a recent addition to the shop. It will fit a medium/large , and is complete with loads of pockets, a cotton lining and various straps to adjust the fit. Visit the shop for full details.



Wool suit
Classic Deréta two piece
Deréta classic
1960s Deréta two piece, skirt and waistcoat…perfect for office or about town!

Deréta is a great English label to look out for. This fab two piece suit is in pure wool and has a brown taffeta lining to both the waistcoat and the skirt. From the 1960s, this look was really popular for the “girl about town”  or for office wear and could be teamed with coloured tights and Mary Ann strap shoes, or with little boots. Under the top you could wear a nylon turtle neck ( as shown), a skinny rib sweater or a fitted shirt. As with all vintage of this era, it is best to check actual measurements with your own as label sizing is quite different then and now. This is labelled as a size 14, but is more like a 12 with a smallish waist!



Academic gown
Academic gown for teachers or wizards
Academic robe
By appointment to HM, academic robe.

A bit random…..Traditional Academic robe by Ede & Ravenscroft. This style is graduate attire for Bachelor awards. It has a fluted back falling from a stiffened yoke and stiffened fronts and it has bell sleeves. All details in the shop.



Photoshoot, BEWTstudios, Cardiff

Coolclobber Photoshoot My 2017
May Photoshoot Bewtstudios Cardiff

I am always looking at ways to update my shop and keep it looking fresh.  Last week Coolclobber was at Bewtstudios, Cardiff Bay with photographer Greg Gladysiak and ten models for a day long shoot organised for Coolclobber by marketing and events consultant, Boisbach.

If you follow CoolclobberVintage on Instagram you can see some of the fabulous shots that show off some of the vintage treasures in stock right now!


Here are a few!

80s party dress
80s short prom dress
1960s two piece
1960s Jaqui O style two piece
Jacket and cap
Casual denim and flat cap
Black and white two piece dress and jacket
Two piece silk and angora mix
Prom king and queen
Cute prom wear! 60s Tux jacket, beaded column dress
Traditional robe
Elegant traditional man’s robe
Shirt hat braces tattoos
Shirt hat and braces
Raincoat and flat cap
The classic vintage raincoat
80s does 40s styled for now
80s does 40s re-imagined

All of the above are available or about to be listed at Coolclobber.


1980s Vintage, fashion icons, muses and influences.

1980s Vintage is distinguished by a number of distinct styles and looks. Essentially over the top in every way, an 80s look is easy to re-create….you just have to think of a theme and exaggerate it! There is little subtlety here!

Key looks

Punk. Mid and late 70s and right in to the 1980s…..The Mohican or Mohawk, Doc Martins, slogan T shirts, rips and safety pins, face jewellery and piercings, leather, tartan, bondage, S &M.

New Romantic. Pirate outfits, Braided jackets, big belts, frilly shirts, face paint, long boots, androgeny, night club glamour.

Dallas style Shoulder pads. Power dressing, big hair, Dallas, Miami Vice, Dynasty and other American TV series, Joan Collins, Linda Evans, Don Johnson.

The puffball skirt, acid washed jeans, spandex, leg warmers, leotards, headbands, Flashdance, puff sleeved prom gowns, the man ponytail, shoes without socks, pastel jacket over T shirt,  Hammer pants, gold lamé, the body stocking.

The Sex Pistols, Siouxie Sioux, Vivienne Westward, Adam Ant, Duran Duran, Yasmin Le Bon, Boy George, Culture Club,  Spandau Ballet, Lady Di, David Emmanuel, Katharyn Hamnett, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, Madonna, Leigh Bowery, Steve Strange, Annie Lennox.

All of the styles above can be classified as either young fashion or power dressing….the two principal 1980s fashion themes.  Young fashion takes its inspiration from pop music and Television and film and celebrates independence, the new, the loud, the alternative, the individual.  Power dressing is all about assertiveness, taking control, creating a business persona, creating a successful persona. It is glamorous and based on the impression of wealth  and taste ( ironic).

1980s cocktail dress, coat, scarf.
1980s does 1940s cocktail dress, red wool coat, silk headscarf.


80s clutch bag
1980s leather clutch
Pirate jacket 1980s
80s crêpe New Romantic jacket



Shopping for Vintage clothes and accessories.

What is the appeal of Vintage clothing? Fit, repairs and fabrics…..

If you are interested in the history of fashion, you are interested in vintage clothing, and maybe already be knowledgeable about different eras and styles , about specific designers and about the development of signature looks.   Choosing to wear vintage often means expressing your personality through a specific look, from a hairstyle to an outfit, right down to your shoes and accessories. You can choose a specific era, e.g the 1960s or the 1940s, and style yourself accordingly as a 60s dolly bird or as a 40s land girl.  Or, you can choose key vintage pieces, e.g a coat, a dress, a knit, and combine them with your contemporary wardrobe to add a vintage twist.

The great thing about shopping for an wearing vintage is that you are often looking at unique pieces, and when you create your own style you can be sure that your look is your own!

It is still possible to come across clothes that date from the late 1800’s, and those would be classified as antique.  Victorian and Edwardian pieces are often fragile, and personally, I would regard  them as collectors or museum pieces.  Similarly, pieces from the first two decades of the 1900’s are often un-wearable…with some exceptions. Probably the best preserved pieces from the early 1900s are evening dresses as they were often stored well , particularly the expensive heavily beaded pieces that we associate with 1920s flappers.

If you want to look into 1920s fashions, the names and labels you can look for include Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Elsa Shiaparelli, Madeleine Vionnet & Norman Hartnell.

For practical purposes, Anything over twenty years old is regarded as vintage, and wearable styles can be found from every decade stretching from the 1980s to the 1930s.

If you are aiming for a complete look, do your research. Look at books and fashion magazines from the era that interests you, do some on-line research, visit fashion collections in museums….there are plenty of resources out there!

When shopping for Vintage clothes there are a few things to bear in mind.


When you are looking at vintage clothes, particularly at anything pre-1960, production methods are quite different. Unlike today, when clothes are mass produced, often abroad, vintage pieces are often made in small runs, or even made for individuals by a tailor or dressmaker.  Some pieces that you find will have been made at home, probably cut from a commercially available paper pattern produced for the home dressmaker.  The size charts that are more or less standardised today, i.e bust waist and hips measurements, were often quite variable before the 1960s.  It is also true that the changes reflect the current average body shape of the 21st century woman or man, which is taller and broader than it was in our mothers or grandmothers era.

Do not take the size on the label  for granted! Generally waists are smaller and the general silhouette is curvier on older pieces, so make sure that you know your own measurements and take a tape measure with you when you shop!   Expect to have to make a few alterations to the fit of your vintage garment to suit your own body shape, so check seam allowances and depth of hems, or check if there is room to move buttons etc.  If you do not already own a sewing machine, think about investing in one so that you can make your own alterations!


It is useful if you are handy with a needle and thread, or with a sewing machine ( see above).  Some alterations are easy for beginners, e.g. Sewing on buttons, stitching a split seam….but some take a bit more skill, e.g. Replacing a zip, adding tucks or darts to a bodice.  Check over your vintage finds carefully for any obvious flaws, rips, moth holes, stains etc., and before you buy, consider if you can remedy the flaw . Sometimes, a piece is beyond repair, but some beautiful fabric can be salvaged and up-cycled.


Vintage clothing up until the 1960s is likely to be made from a quality fabric such as wool, silk or cotton, with rayon or viscose or early synthetics like Tricel mimicking silk.  These fabrics drape and hang well, and looked after properly, will last for many years. However, they often need specialist cleaning. True synthetics, polyester, nylon etc. Came in to their own in the 1960s. 1960s fabrics are often harder and harsher, distinguished by their bright colours  and  designs. This was the start of easily washable fabrics that can often be drip dried or spun and that need no ironing. Much of the fashion clothing from this era was aimed at a young consumer, and was not made to last!

Smock dress
1960s smock dress