Saturday, May 16, 2015

My 1950s Capsule Wardrobe Plan

So earlier this week, I shared my 1940s capsule wardrobe. I really started working on it at the beginning of this year and I'm so proud of it! But now it's time to work on my 1950s capsule wardrobe. I'm planning on a larger capsule wardrobe and I won't really be focusing on Fall/Winter at all since I'm now in Florida but I'm excited for it to get started.

I'm going to start with a quick list of what I'd like to have in my wardrobe and then I'll break it down to see what I have and what I still need to make. I chose to base my plan after this one from 1949. It's actually a vacation wardrobe for the woman who wants to see the world. The original plan:

  • Two Suits: one tropical-weight grey worsted for travelling, with knife-pleat skirt and half-belted jacket; one fine black woollen tailor-made (the skirt can be worn with an off-the-shoulder pullover, to become an evening dress)
  • Six dresses: print dinner dress; heavy crepe dress; four cotton dresses
  • Undies: Petticoats, camiknickers and panties in the new nylon tricot; two brassieres; girdle; Six pairs of nylons
  • Four pairs of shoes: bronze kid ankle straps; black suede ankle straps; black courts; tan walking shoes
  • Two Pringle twin sets of cardigan and pullover, plus one black evening sweater
  • Four hats
  • Accessories: Four pairs of gloves; long woollen stole; three cotton headscarves; gold choker necklace (can be used on a belt for evening)

total: 30 pieces (not including the underwear)

My edited plan:

  • Two skirts and two blouses: For me, I definitely won't get much use out of two woolen suits. So I'll be changing the two suits out for two skirts and two blouses. If I pick coordinating sweaters then I can still get that suit look without having an actual suit.
  • Six dresses: I really like this category although I'll replace the heavy crepe dress for something more summer appropriate.
  • Undies: I'm pretty good here though I could use a new slip.
  • Four pairs of shoes: My interpretation of these shoes are metallic sandals, neutral strappy shoes, neutral pumps and neutral comfy flats. I have plenty of shoes so it shouldn't be hard to come up with four pair for my wardrobe.
  • Two cardigans and two blouses + one for evening wear (?): Ok, so I'm swapping the pullover part of the cardigan for more blouses.  I also like the idea of having one top that could be worn with a skirt for evening wear but I do actually have evening wear already so that may or may not happen.
  • Shorts: I'm adding in 1 pair of shorts because it's Florida.
  • Four hats: Will definitely have plenty to choose from!
  • Accessories: I can dig the 4 pairs of gloves but I doubt I'll need a stole or head scarves (all though it would be cool to have a few that matched some of the dresses) and I'll swap the gold choker necklace for my good old pearls.
total: 28 + I may swap in some other accessories for the hair scarves.

So it's definitely bigger than my 1940s capsule wardrobe but things were bigger in the 50s. (And it's still smaller than the Project 333 wardrobe suggestion of a 33 piece capsule wardrobe). In some categories, like dresses, I already have more than 6 50s dresses but I really want a color coordinated mix and match wardrobe. And I have other unique things, like my patio dress, that will just exist outside of the capsule wardrobe.

Blouses: 4

For blouses, I want one white, one black and the other two are sort of up for grabs. For the Florida summer, light weight natural fibers are a must. I'm currently sewing a black blouse but I still need a white blouse. The two bonus blouses I'll probably pull from ones I already have.

 Skirts: 2

I already have 2 circle skirts that could work depending on how my color palette develops. I am leaning towards black as my neutral color so a brown circle skirt may not work. I'd also like one less full skirt like maybe an a line.

Dresses: 6 (one "fancy" dinner dress, one medium fancy afternoon/tea dress, 4 cotton day dresses)

I currently have 2 light weight shirtwaist dresses and another one on my sewing table. And I do have some options for the more fancy dresses.

Cardigans: 2

I just purchased a cute white bolero and I'll probably include my go to red cardigan.

High Waisted Shorts: 1

I already planned on making a green pair of shorts. I also have a pair of jean sorts but they are a bit big now and I haven't decided if I should try to take them in (ugg topstitching) or just make a new pair.

Hats: 4

I definitely have plenty of hats. Deciding on just 4 will be the hard part!

Gloves and Shoes: 4 each

For gloves, I'm thinking black, white crochet and maybe one or two pair in a fun color. On the shoe front, I'm up for flats, flats and more flats. I also have a few pair of trusty wedges and my Remix sandals to throw in the mix!

Can't wait to get this finished so I can share it with you! And wear it, of course. I'm sure I'll change my mind on a few things but this is making some progress.


  1. Wow! What a lot of beautiful things for my eyes to take in all at once. Do you have a lot of things to sew up? Did you set yourself a deadline or do you just go with it? I'm always setting deadlines but always, always break them.

    1. I have quite a few pieces to sew up but I do have some that will work in this plan. I don't really have a deadline set. This is always going to be one of those work in progress type things but I did want to have some sort of plan. It makes things go a lot smoother.

  2. Awesome plan. Pearls would be a part of any mid-century capsule wardrobe for me, too. Thank you for sharing that seriously delightful original example, too. I love the idea of looking at what you pack for travel in terms of the weight like that.

    ♥ Jessica

  3. What a fabulous plan! I definitely could use a plan like this. I'm trying to add more structure to my wardrobe and especially as far as staple pieces that I can mix and match. So it's nice to see this as a kind of guide to a plan that works. :)