Fashion · Vintage

A capsule wardrobe?


I have received a marvellous gift from my sister, namely a copy of Woman’s Weekly magazine from 13th April 1968. It’s a treasure-trove of marvellous advice and inspiration from fashion to beauty to natural history (should come in handy when I have to help educate my grandson), not to mention an adertising feature for carpets which shows the desk I want. Woman’s Weekly was classically a source of quality knitting patterns and I will cover these soon, however today I’m going to look at the “About Town” section where “Our London Girl tells the Tale of Two Cities, both selling red/white/blue as the fashion story for 1968″.

It was with a slightly nostalgic eye that I began reading the piece, wherein London Girl has just returned from the Paris fashion collections with her notebook full of tantalising details, but halfway through I began to think this wardrobe sounds very me!

The details read:

At Balmain:
Vermilion jacket over red/navy v-neck dress; long navy/red spotted scarf at neck, side-fitting red beret, navy stockings and shoes.
Navy/white/mustard check suit with navy bias-cut tie-neck blouse, waist-cinching navy belt, mustard beret.
Navy dress, collared and cuffed in white, with inset red cummerbund and gilt buckle. Red halo hat, pearl and gilt earstuds.

At Nina Ricci:
Navy/white/mustard plaid cape, lined mustard, over navy jacket and belt, plaid skirt. Navy lacy hose, gloves and navy/white shoes and hat.
Red/navy/white plaid cape and skirt, white crêpe blouse and lacy stockings, red carnation.

At Lanvin:
Navy/white pinstripe jersey three-quarter coat, navy belt, hat, shoes and hose. Enlivened with orange shirt, gilt jewellery.
Red/white Donegal suit, navy hat and belt, stockings; white polo top, important gilt earstuds.
Benedictine green coat with navy stockings and shoes, green/navy hat.

At Castillo:
Navy coat, gilt buttoned, with white mandarin collar and cuffs. Carnation red belt, white hat and gloves, red shoes, navy hose.
Navy skirt, jacket, hat and stockings, vivid cherry pink waistcoat, white cravat and belt.

At Patou:
Navy/white check sleeveless coat, skirt – navy blouse and beret.

We all know I’ve been wanting a good navy skirt for the longest time, I already rock the gold/mustard tone in one of my handknits and green is on my radar. Navy and red is perhaps the tastiest colour combination ever. Berets? I love me a good beret. And navy lacy hose? Surely a staple for the coming winter (I’m not sure where I’ll get them, but I will).

If, like me, you wondered about the “Benedictine green coat”, my brief research concludes that it’s a herbal shade of green connected with the liquer Benedictine and not anything to do with the colour of monks’ habits. I am stumped, however, about what an “important gilt earstud” looks like and how we deal with any “unimportant” ones that come our way.

Now, this got me thinking about capsule clothing/dressing/wardrobes. These are very trendy at the moment and awash with muted shades, all black and grey and beige and white. However, this isn’t a new trend and it doesn’t have to be the least bit neutral or tasteful. Back in the 1980s when my daughter was young, there was a fashion book in our local library that I just loved. It had double-page full-colour spreads every so often of a capsule wardrobe, but these were colourful concoctions (I remember one in particular being very pink and purple). I bet if I could have found that book in the shops I would have bought it, but I only ever saw it at the library. Then again, back in the 1980s I didn’t have a computer and the internet and I wasn’t able to do the research. Guess what’s changed? Yes! I think I have tracked down a copy of this book and although it has meant breaking my rule about shopping on Amazon, it might just, with a following wind and the correct alingment of the stars, one day turn up on my doorstep. If it does, and if it is the book I remember (there were an awful lot of such books around in the 1980s) then I will share it with you.

For now, though, I think I might look at navy lacy tights. I’m thinking Wolford….

4 thoughts on “A capsule wardrobe?

  1. I have always loved Women’s Weekly knitting patterns and read this with interest. Loved the designers listed Balmain, Nina Ricci et al. WW list M & S, McKays, Zara et al these days… 😋

    1. Hi, yes it’s amazing to think of Woman’s Weekly – which I associate strongly with my own grandmother – reporting on such fashion luminaries. I haven’t bought a weekly magazine in years, but I am tempted to have a read of the current crop just to see what’s out there (are weekly magazines even in print in this time of plague?). What I really want, though, is to subscribe to the 1960s version which, I’m afraid, is only going to be possible if I get around to inventing time travel. It’s been on my to-do list for years….

    1. Hi, yes, this sister is probably the person who knows me best in all the world and is also the most forgiving of my foibles (at least to my face). I would be lost without her. We shared a bedroom until I was 14 and although I’m sure we must have squabbled at times, I don’t remember it.

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