I have been behind on this blog and the Marilyn Monroe reading list over the past few weeks (so I have some catching up to do!). The reason for this is that I was interviewing for jobs, and I am happy to report that I will be at an academic post next year beginning this fall.
As such, I decided to take a look at my wardrobe, and oh dear–it is a mess! Between the non-sensical quarantine purchases, the overabundance of leggings and sweatpants, and the generally poor condition of the (now slightly tight) work clothes purchased in 2019 and earlier, I realize that this summer I will need to do a major clothing makeover. So I put aside my Marilyn Monroe reading list for the week, and took out my 1962 Fashions and Fabrics home-ec textbook.
The textbook has been an incredibly helpful resource to me in researching and caring for vintage clothes. It notes the names of different styles, how to care for various fabrics, and spends a good deal of time helping the reader learn how to best define their own style (from a mid-century perspective).
One helpful section of the book (which you can download below) provides a sample wardrobe for a young woman named Linda. Accompanying the list is an explanation (not included in the file below) of things Linda will need to purchase over the next year, which includes descriptions of how to select clothes that are best suited to one’s pre-existing wardrobe, and how to pick and choose which items to buy (and which to reuse or repurpose). Though the list is not presented as a “capsule wardrobe” (a wardrobe that contains few pieces that are versatile and can be worn again and again), smaller wardrobes with versatile pieces were the norm for most of the early to mid-century. If one is interested in pairing down their closet, taking tips from vintage clothing lists can be helpful.
There are many reasons why people choose capsule wardrobes. Some do so to combat fast fashion and overconsumption. Others do so as a way to declutter (and therefore destress) their life. As someone who has worn vintage fashion for nearly two decades, I can attest to how overwhelming maintaining a collection can be. If I can cut my mending pile in half, I would be able to wear more of my clothes more frequently. In addition to these reasons, I live in a small space, which has only become more cluttered with my variety of activities I started during quarantine.
Plus….fewer clothes means more space for books!
So this last week I spent most of my spare time clearing out my closet and drawers (which I am still in the process of doing) as well as modifying the list provided in the vintage book. This will include adding workout/dog walking attire, swapping out some of the skirts for slacks, and more.
Once I feel confident in my wardrobe (hopefully by this summer) I will do an update here on the blog–but in the meantime if you are interested in following this particular journey, feel free to follow me on my main Instagram or TikTok. Patreon subscribers also have access to further Vintage Lifestyle Articles from my personal collection, which range from fashion and beauty to cooking and household care.