Saturday, January 14, 2012

{Colour Theory Week} A Co-ordinated Capsule Wardrobe

If you're just starting out in vintage, or looking to streamline your wardrobe, this 1950s article (originally posted on Wasp Waists and Wiggle Skirts back in 2009) might help. It recommends starting with a basic colour for accessories and major clothing items like a coat, and building your wardrobe around that colour. It's sound advice that's just as relevant today as when the article was first published.

Maintaining a single colour as a base throughout your wardrobe ensures that you can easily mix and match ensembles. Of course, for most of us in the modern, consumerist world, just one basic colour isn't enough - but it's still wise to build up two or three "capsule" wardrobes around each of your staples, to get the most out of your purchases.

If blue is your choice, start by selecting your accessories - hat, bag, shoes, belt - in navy... gloves should be white. If you want additional color, get another hat and a pair of gloves in pink or red. Now just see how many colors you can have - and how you can mix and match - by making sure your selections "go with" blue.

Perhaps you like brown. Again, start with accessories. Your bag, shoes, belt and gloves are brown, your hat beige. For more tone value, you could have an extra belt, pair of gloves and shoes - in beige. Now any of the clothes pictured on this page - coat, suit, basic dresses, dressy dresses and blouses and skirts - will be in perfect harmony.

Or if black is your choice... All your accessories should be black. Add some additional color, if you like, by getting a red hat, belt and pair of gloves. If your coat is black or grey, it will not only look well with your accessories, but with all the clothes shown here.

Coordinated? Certainly! Monotonous? Never!


  1. Oh I LOVE this! I'm so fascinated by wardrobe planning in the 30s-40s-50s. I keep collecting textbooks from that era that discuss creating and caring for wardrobes as part of a home economics curriculum.

  2. I love reading the sections in many of my vintage sewing books about coordination or building wardrobes around color schemes! Fascinating! Although I don't think I could ever be disciplined enough to do that with my closet, it still is a really sensible idea!

  3. These posts are so smart and practical! I'm sharing your link on facebook. Everyone needs to read these!! x

  4. I tend to have staples - skirt, trousers, jacket, jumper- in base colours (blue, grey, brown, black) and never buy anything unless it works with the staples, preferably more than 1 colour! If that makes sense?

  5. This is definately something I need to work on, hubbie, kids and i are using 40's ration logic to prove that era's waste nothing, make do and mend attitude made them (and can make us) healthier and perhaps enable us to save.
    Im dying to appy this logic to modern (and 40's)clothing in our experiment.... with 2 adults and 3 small but fast growing kiddies it would make a BIG difference.


I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Related Posts with Thumbnails