Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Vintage Capsule Wardrobes

May 1940. Marie Claire.

Though the term “capsule wardrobe” wasn’t coined until the 1970s, the idea stretches much further back. The general purpose of such a collection is to have a wardrobe that is made up of only a few interchangeable pieces. It may be for economic needs, the environment, or simplifying the dressing process. For many, it comes down to quality over quantity. The idea has popularized so much in modern fashion as a response to the concepts of “fast fashion”. For those of us who want to adopt a vintage wardrobe, it can be a great way to start the process, or simply to have a full range of outfits for a weekend event or vacation. In my case, I’m feeling overwhelmed by how much clothing I have that I don’t use, while at the same time never having “the right thing” to wear!

The ideas behind capsule wardrobes were essential in the 1930s and 1940s. With the depression, war, and rationing, creating a wardrobe that stretched its utility as far as possible was a constant topic in magazines. Even Vogue, amidst its high fashion spreads, published articles on economic wardrobes. So how did vintage magazines approach this concept?

One popular method was that of the multi-use garment. A simple dress, often a slip style, with seemingly infinite possible coordinated outfits. Jackets, blouses, belts, wraps, and other accessories change up the style just enough that it would be unrecognizable. This seems like the perfect way to start out a vintage wardrobe, or create a travel-friendly style!

July 1, 1938. Vogue. 

January 21, 1939: Australian Women's Weekly.

The interchangeable wardrobe was another way to stretch a small number of garments further. This in particular resembles the modern capsule wardrobe. Some gave specific numbers for an entire wardrobe, such as Vogue’s “$100 Campus Wardrobe” from 1940. They recommended 16 parts: 4 skirts, 3 blouses, 2 jackets, 2 sweaters, 2 hats, and 1 coat in addition to a pair of shoes, gloves, and other basic accessories.

August 15, 1941. Vogue.

Others were less numerically inclined, with visuals of how to take a few coordinated basics to make a range of ensembles. This Australian Women’s Weekly from 1941 shows just a few outfits made from 2 blouses, 1 jacket, 1 dress, 1 evening gown, 1 pair of trousers, 1 pair of shorts, and 1 skirt. It’s meant to represent a wardrobe that can adapt to any social circumstance.

October 4, 1941: Australian Women's Weekly.

Some overlapped these two ideas with a few ensembles that mixed and matched entirely. Each bottom has three different options for tops that vary the look. 3 blouses and one jacket can carry you through a lot of options!

December 2, 1939: Australian Women's Weekly.

A central theme throughout these articles was the use of color and pattern to keep things harmonious. One 1939 article shows how a fun and colorful stripe can be made into 4 different pieces, then matched with a skirt and jacket in a solid color. Another from 1942 shows a striped fabric in 3 colorways with 2 solids to match. How to use color as a method of wardrobe styling extends far beyond the economic “capsule” concept as well. But that’s a topic broad enough for another post!

October 21, 1939: Australian Women's Weekly.

November 7, 1942: Australian Women's Weekly.

An economic wardrobe starts with the best basics. Investment pieces that won’t go out of style and won’t fall apart quickly. Vogue recommended starting with a best dress, suit, and coat in a 1933 article on smart economics. A few accessories (hats, blouses, scarves, etc) would then be the less expensive accents which could be renewed and replaced to keep up with fashion. The same idea was touted as the “French Way” to be thrifty circa a 1930 Vogue article. Regardless of why you might want to start your own vintage capsule wardrobe, these articles provide a great set of parameters.
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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Royal Vintage Shoes Now Have Leather Soles!

Daphne wedges are wonderfully danceable - they lace up securely on the foot, are soft and comfy with a low heel, and have leather soling.
Big news! This Summer season we have made the switch from rubber to leather soling. There are a couple of reasons for this and a few things you will want to know, so here goes...

Leather soles are great for dancing. You can swing the night away on real leather soling, but not on rubber, which is one reason for our switch thanks to ample feedback from the dance community.

Broadway also chimed in with some vital information - did you know you can adhere rubber to leather, but you can't glue leather to rubber? Broadway performers often prefer different kinds of rubber for their soling, so giving the option to customize was important.

If you live in a wet and slippery climate, you might prefer the rubber soling. No problem! A shoe repair shop can easily put on a rubber sole in any "stickiness" you like.

Gorgeous new "Cora" 1940s sandals in soft suede, now with leather soles.
Our leather soles are sealed for durability. Leather soling, being a natural material, needs protection. When your Royal Vintage Shoes come new, they have a topically-applied acrylic sealer over the raw leather that helps form a barrier from moisture. As you walk, this sealer scratches off where your soles impact the ground, but remains around the edges and areas that do not make contact. To keep your soles from sucking up too much water, we recommend regularly applying mink oil to the raw leather portions, or painting on acrylic sole paint/sealer.

It's easier to try-on-and-return now, thanks to the sole sheets. Because leather soles are softer than rubber, they can scratch and scuff easily when trying your shoes on. We always recommend trying your new shoes on carpet, a towel, or a clean soft surface. We've also left the sheets on, which are adhesive plastic barriers that protect the soles. (these are a normal part of footwear manufacture that are usually removed before completion) Once you decide to keep the shoes, peel the plastic sheets off (they're slick otherwise!).

All of our shoes *except winter boots* will have leather soles from now on. With styles like "Aspen," meant to be worn outdoors in cold and wet weather, we're sticking with the rubber soles for safety and durability. The first collection to feature the leather soling is S/S2019 "Foxtrot." You'll still see rubber soling on our heeled shoes on RoyalVintageShoes.com for now, as we phase out these older styles.

We hope you like your new shoes and enjoy the quality, danceability, and feel of the leather soling. It's just one more step towards comfort and authenticity.
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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

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New Colors for Aspen Boots - Poll!

Fancy leopard print? Hate it? Let us know in the poll below!

Hi! We're already thinking ahead to Fall (I know, whattttt?) and we need your help to decide on new colorways for our popular Aspen Booties.

We currently offer black/black and red/black, but we'd like to expand into something new...please let us know what you like!

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Monday, April 29, 2019

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Meet the New "Poppy" Oxfords - Foxtrot Summer 2019

Practically perfect in every way - Poppy Retro Oxfords in blue suede + leather, with a contrast shoe lace in bright red, by Royal Vintage
Opening for pre-order in April, our fresh and fabulous new "Poppy" Oxfords live up to their name, available in a bold blue hue or a rich red. We were inspired by sophisticated textures, eye-catching color combos, and heroines of yore.

The new "Poppy" Oxfords in gorgeous red suede and leather, paired with bright blue ribbon laces. Poppies also come with matching red laces.
The Poppies are made of luscious suede foxed with matching calf leather in a very 1930s design with the teardrop toe and broguing. The oxfords lace up with a contrast ribbon lace, but we've also included a matching lace in every box.

Oh this blue! Delectable blue suede and leather and bright red ribbon laces. Each pair also comes with a matching pair of laces. 
The Poppies rise on our 2.5 inch 1930s heel, perfectly balanced for all-day-and-night comfort. Plus, for the first time, all of the new Royal Vintage shoes come with sealed leather soling, great for all types of wear including dancing.

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