If you had given me Lisa Comfort’s wardrobe for a weekend to Paris I wouldn’t have been too disappointed. But I would have felt a little underdressed in my navy/beige/tan “imaginary Parisian” wardrobe. As Sue S from Fadanista said:
I want pieces that go together but which are vaguely stylish and which make me feel a bit more glamorous than my usual holiday apparel.
Me too Sue. So I set myself the challenge of creating a capsule wardrobe for a couple of nights in Paris, that had a bit more style and could be made up fairly quickly.
Lisa suitcase included
- T shirt
When I put a capsule wardrobe together my thoughts often turn to fashion history. I find this is a good way to create a mood, or a theme for a collection. And if you can get a mood then it is fairly easy to get a set of clothes that work together. But the really easy way, as many have mentioned is to buy one good pattern that has lots of options. Two were suggested by readers. Eimear suggests Butterick 2704, and Su suggests Vogue 2815. You probably have your own favourite go to wardrobe pattern – do let me know if it is one you would recommend.
So, young sewers, I will let you into a secret. This really radical idea that will make you happier than an eBook or sticking together pdf patterns.
You can still buy, on eBay or elsewhere, amazing vintage patterns by some of the greatest designers of the 20th Century, for around a £5. These arrive with ready to use pattern pieces and full instructions. Much more useable than a set of pdf patterns and you don’t need a printer or glue. And what would be nicer than having a little wardrobe designed by a great designer, backed up by experienced pattern cutters, with professionalism instructions?
When I thought about a great holiday wardrobe, I thought of Perry Ellis.
There is something about his youthful, elegant and sexy clothes that would be ideal for a weekend away. They have a strong fun factor, but they are also practical and comfortable. This feature in Vogue magazine in 1985 shows the wonderful flexibility of Ellis’s wardrobe. He sticks to a white/grey/blue palette which always looks fresh. He is a fantastic designer, and later patterns into the 1990s were created by Marc Jacobs. Sarah Sheehan has written some interesting articles on the fashion house. Most of the patterns I show below are available at relatively low prices as the 1980s still remain relatively unfashionable with pattern collectors, despite these looks becoming very contemporary.
Vogue 1521 would be a first choice for me. I just love that sash at the dropped waist, and the pleated longish skirt. This would be my skirt and blouse and I love the fabric and colour choices on the envelop. But for a weekend away I might be more adventurous with the colour choices. One set would be in one colour so that with the sash it could look like a dress. The other set would be in a complementary set of colours so they could all be switched around. I think I would do one of the skirts knee length and the second one longer.
Vogue 2666 would probably fit the bill if we wanted to create the whole wardrobe from one pattern. But I would use this for the T shirt/pullover, trousers and a sexy dress. The skirt and trousers are pull-ons (thanks Lynn for freeing up my descriptions!), and these would be easy to make and nice to wear on a long weekend.
My final choice might be Vogue 2474 because I think we need a jacket. The cropped jacket on the left is very pretty, but I also love the way it can become a long, sexy dress. Also this pattern comes with some great paper bag pants. I would certainly wear the shorts on a long weekend in Paris – bare-legged in summer but with tights in winter. However the “boyfriend jacket” is in all the shops right now for autumn – loose fitted jackets, often double breasted, 1980s style. If I had a bit more nerve I would probably go for Vogue 1522 instead. I think this is the jacket featured in the Vogue photoshoot at the top of the post. This pattern also features the low sash that we saw with Vogue 1521. In fact this one pattern could easily replace the Lisa Comfort e book with its trousers, shorts, dress, jacket and top. And one thing I didn’t care for about her styling was the shoes. I prefer Perry Ellis’s shoes too.
What patterns would you choose? Any suggestions for a colour scheme that would work well for a couple of nights in gay Paree?