Wearing: Finery jumper (here and on sale!) holding vintage Celine pumps (similar here) Vintage Chanel brooch (similar here)
I thought it would be fun to write a little about the capsule wardrobe principle when it comes to vintage clothing and accessories. I have always enjoyed buying and wearing vintage, and my concern with a capsule wardrobe was that I would have to be very selective about what I bought going forward, and as I like to mix up modern and vintage pieces, how would I be able to get a good balance of this with a limited number of items?
The ideal number of pieces in a capsule varies I think from person to person. I have used 40 as about the right amount for me; I've actually gone over by a couple of pieces for the winter capsule but I imagine I will go back under this number for the spring one. I find that, especially in winter, coats are a necessity and with the British weather to contend with, its' useful to have one for cold weather, one for rain, etc.
So where does the vintage element come in? I thought I'd round up some tips that I've found helpful to me, in case you are thinking of pursuing a similar project but also have concerns about how to make it work for you.
Choose pieces that you love. This seems so obvious, but sometimes (and this isn't just relevant to vintage) we hang on to things that maybe don't suit us the best or even fit all that well, just because it feels as if we should. Especially with vintage, I get a bit precious about it because I think, I can't replace it. If I sell it, or give it away, it's going to be impossible to find again, which isn't a fear you'd have with high street clothing, as you can usually always find a suitable replacement. I am still searching for the perfect pair of woven loafers after my favourite vintage pair were destroyed in 2009. 7 years on and I'm unable to find any that I like even remotely enough-they've become the vintage equivalent of an urban legend I think!
Likewise, don't become so precious about it that you accumulate tons of stuff you never wear. I recently found a top I'd bought from a jumble sale in 2011. I've never worn it, well, perhaps once? but never since; it's not really my style but because 'it's vintage' I've just been hanging on to it. I'm unlikely ever to wear it, though, so I have decided to let it go to a new home, where someone will appreciate it more than me!
Moreover, don't be so precious about things that you don't wear them. Your wardrobe should not be a mausoleum to fashion; rather a busy (ish) carpark where clothes come in and out with regularity, being worn and enjoyed, returned, and worn again. If a piece deserves a parking ticket for outstaying its welcome, it's time to reconsider it. Why don't you wear it? If it's simply too old and fragile, consider framing it, hanging it on a wall or putting it on a hanger and on display rather than keeping it tucked away; especially if it's a beautiful piece that makes you smile. If you're worried you'll spoil it, don't; wear it and enjoy it. There are clothes tucked away in the darkest corners of wardrobes the world over being kept 'for best' and, to be honest, by the time 'best' rolls around, they are tired, outdated and have lost the sparkle they once had. Those Celine pumps in the picture only really ever started being worn this summer, after festering in a suitcase under my bed for the best part of 5 years. I adore them and they are so comfortable. I don't know why I didn't start wearing them sooner!
Take good care. Treat your vintage clothing with respect and keep it in a good condition, and it will serve you as long (probably longer) than anything bought from the high street would. You don't have to faff about too much with hand washing, either; my friend Vix sets a great example for the advocation of the use of the washing machine, and she should know-she is a vintage trader.
You don't have to buy it, either. The times I've seen the most incredible vintage things in the chazza but, over the years, have learned to walk on by, as I know I won't wear them. Leave them for someone who will, rather than leaving them to linger in the wardrobe forever (or until a suitable occasion arises, which it won't, because you'll always find something other than it to wear)
Vintage doesn't have to be obvious, either. I have a couple of amazing silk shirts that you'd think were recently made, as well as some beautiful loafers that look strikingly modern. Investing in pieces like these that will sit timelessly next to your on-trend purchases are a really key way to add a touch of vintage into your everyday look without feeling overdressed or too costumey.
What are your tips for keeping vintage in your wardrobe?