Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Planning a Winter Wardrobe - Part 1

 It's that time of year again, and my mind has turned to that annual task of planning my winter wardrobe.  I've tried this in the past with mixed results, but I'm determined this year that I will succeed!  By the time the cold weather arrives, I want to have assembled a wardrobe of clothes that I actually enjoy wearing, that are practical yet stylish, reasonably comfortable, and that can be mixed and matched in order to provide enough variety for the next four months or so.  

In order to inspire myself, and perhaps you, dear reader, I've been trawling around trying to find vintage advice on wardrobe planning.  This brief article from 1948 has some good tips for starters: 

Winter Clothes: Hints on Planning a Wardrobe
by "Karara"

"Planning a winter wardrobe is no easy task for anyone and especially difficult when the choice of garment is restricted by a small budget.  The following suggestions may prove useful in helping to select a wardrobe that will serve its owner throughout the season.

Firstly, take stock carefully of all garments owned at present.  Sort them in orders of smartness, usefulness and colour.  If most of the will harmonise with one basic colour, such as brown or navy, it shows sensible buying in the past and provides a good start for the coming winter.  Accessories are often the most expensive items in a budget and also the most important ones.  After sorting out, discard garments for which there is no further use.  It is a good idea to make a bundle of them and give them to some deserving organisation.

Make a list of the articles you need.  If one of these is a good topcoat, which incidentally is a "must" in all wardrobes, choose one that will tone with most other colours.  A pale fawn coat will look well with nearly every shade, while a cinnamon shade may be allied with most greens, soft blues and browns.  If your accessories are to be navy this winter try to match shoes, bag and gloves as well.  Choose hosiery carefully too, since this is an important point towards achieving a well-groomed look.

Naturally, last season's suits and frocks will not have the "new look" but there is a possibility that they can be altered in various ways to obtain the new silhouette; hemlines can be lengthened, waists tightened, and shoulders rounded.  If they cannot be altered in any way do not worry.  Remember that the majority of women cannot afford to change their wardrobes overnight but must make-do with last year's clothes, whether they be outmoded or not.

When buying a new suit or winter dress choose deliberately and wisely instead of rushing the first one you see and like.  Make sure it fits and hangs well and have a good look at the quality of the material and the suit finishings.  Having made a selection, look around for matching accessories, remembering that they must match other garments too.  Have as many changes as possible in sweaters and blouses to wear with a suit.  This will supply a certain amount of variety in a person's dress.

Once a wardrobe is as complete as your budget allows, remember to look after it.  A would-be smart appearance is often marred by split seams, creased skirts, or food and drink stains.  Fairly frequent dry cleaning pays dividends with suits and coats, and so does careful washing of woollies and constant cleaning of shoes.  Clothes, like most things, demand time, energy and patience, if a good result is to be assured."

(from The Western Australian, 9 April 1948)