Thursday, July 12, 2012

Travelling Light: Weekend Wardrobes

I absolutely love the idea of packaged "wardrobes" of interchangeable, co-ordinated pieces, and it seems they were quite the thing in the early 50s. I recently posted a novelty print set from 1950, and I've just come across some more from the early 50s Sears catalogues. They're just so practical - I so need to make myself a set for my holiday to Turkey in September!

From 1951, the 4-piece set above comprises flared skirt, bra, blouse and shorts. The 'sun bra' and skirt are in "a striking palm leaf print in shades of gold, blue and tangerine. The blouse and shorts are "solid tangerine, beautiful for blondes, brunettes and redheads, handsome with suntan."

An adorably demure polka dotty wardrobe from 1952 "makes four outfits, each worth a big rave" (!) It was available in navy/white and red/white colourways.

Also from 1952, a 4-piece wardrobe with reversible bra, in a "sun-kissed lime and tangerine" colour combination "to put you in the spotlight". I guess it would certainly do that!

Another 1952 wardrobe, this time in coloured denim with gingham, available in lime green, shrimp pink and charcoal grey colourways.

This saucy polka dot set from 1953 came in navy with white.

A preppy little stripe set, again from 1953.

And lastly, the piece de resistance - the epitome of atomic era print design. "Multicolour asters dance like sunbursts on white ground fine cotton broadcloth. The solid colour broadcloth "picks up" the sunniest hues of the print with a choice of three delightful colour schemes". This came in print with solid lime, charcoal grey or melon rose. From the tie-waist blouse to the detachable-strap bustier, I love it all.


  1. I do believe I am seriously in need of one, or preferably all, of those sets!

  2. Why don't they sell things like this anymore?:-( Do you maybe have some suggestions on which patterns I could use to recreate this? Thanks!

    1. I totally agree with you. These outfits allowed you to go from casual to a much more "put together" look in no time, and it seems that designers today don't have that kind of practicality in mind anymore.

    2. I plan to mix and match various sewing patterns for my set, but you can get patterns with three or four garments in the same pattern - I searched "playsuit pattern" on etsy and found a few including Simplicity 4748 from 1954, and Butterick 6165. There are lots of patterns which give a top, shorts and skirt, for example Advance 7049, and you could make up a bra/bustier top to match from a separate pattern - Mrs Depew on etsy has e-patterns for several different styles.

      Hope that helps!
      xx Charlotte

  3. I love these sets! I wish I had better sewing skills so that I could whip up a few of these...!

  4. I love the idea of packing smartly and with a minimum of pieces, too. I've read time and time again that most people massively over pack (especially for short trips), and I know I've been guilty of that myself sometimes (though less these days - with so many moves under my belt, I've got streamlined packing down pretty well ;D).

    Wonderful catalog pages, thanks for sharing these delightful summer looks with us.

    ♥ Jessica

  5. I could definitely see myself in some of these sets.

    Love how the last one manages to run from casual beach wear to an outfit that these days wouldn't look out of place at a dance or fancier restaurant.

    All the best with either sourcing patterns or drafting your own for Turkey - I look forward to seeing what you manage to do!

  6. Oh my goodness! I have never seen these before but they are marvellous! I would love one for a holiday =) if you do make one for Turkey please share! =)

  7. Ooo, I love them all! It would be nice if designers still thought of this sort of functionality. I think the last piece is my favorite, too... I wonder if the description means the starburst print was in lime, melon, and charcoal over white? I think that would be lovely, I can't get enough of grey shades.

  8. I can't wait to see you make these, if you go ahead! I love packing a limited amount of clothes - makes me really think about what will go with what :)

  9. I love sunsuits! I could spend hours looking at them all, page after page. I'm making some 1940's natuical slacks, and then if I like them, I'll make another pair, but make them shorts instead! :)

  10. Fab! I tend to accidentally do this by having far, far too much black and grey in my wardrobe... but it's tragically un-summery! These sets are so cheerful and have a real 'holiday' feel.

  11. Most people I know go and splurge on a whole new wardrobe for when they go on holiday...where are weekend wardrobes when you need them??

    I hear Rio is nice this time of year...

  12. I'll have one of each! Those are so practical, not to mention gorgeous!

  13. OMG! Love these! Finding a complete set may just be the holy grail, don't you think?

  14. Those are awesome! I wonder if anyone has one in person?

  15. What a grand idea! It's fun to imagine how many different options you could wear with those separate pieces.


  16. What fantastic outfits... I would've gone for the red polka dot! :) x

  17. I want them all! so cute! I'll have to start looking for patterns for wardrobes like that and stripey and polka dotty fabrics.

  18. All patterns for wardrobe have a fantastic look and different option to wear.



I'd love to hear your thoughts!


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