I’ve been thinking a lot lately about capsule wardrobes. Partially for my mundane clothing, but even more so for my costumes! It doesn’t work for everything, but I’d like to be able to shift up some of my “looks” by interchanging pieces, layers, or accessories to be able to get a little more use out of my sewing rather than relying solely on “outfits”.
Now, there are outfits that really don’t lend themselves super well to the capsule wardrobe concept as far as I’d like to explore it… and others that do super-well.
My Viking Age outfits lend themselves super-well to the capsule wardrobe concept. I already have a strong colour scheme for this ‘wardrobe’, and already have numerous pieces that work together.
There is a nearly endless combination of underdress (serk) and apron dress (hängerock) and then the hanging panels (which I don’t entirely agree with, but definitely open up some possibilities for bling) and over garments.
I’ve found the garments in this ‘collection’ to be easily portable, and wearable for both warm and cool weather events.
Finnish Iron Age
My Finnish Iron Age wardrobe would be another strong contender, but I have very few pieces here so far, so it’s a place for development, not for current tweaking.
The colour story here is mostly dull, but not a strong story… since there are so few pieces in this wardrobe. I want to stay as close to commonly anticipated natural dye colours, and reference real historic finds as much as possible as my research piece.
Due to the delicate nature of so many elements of this costume, it’s not something I’d travel with much, though replacing some elements with more portable items might be an option.
Likewise, my Ottoman Empire ‘wardrobe’ would be a strong contender, as all of the pieces are highly interchangeable. Like the Finnish costume, I have limited pieces here so far. This again is an area for further development.
I don’t have a strong colour story here, other than BRIGHT, but I think that intermingling other bold, bright colours into this would work while staying on-theme.
All of these items are super-packable, which makes them great contenders for out-of-town events, and since there are multiple layers, I’d consider this for warm and cooler weather events.
I feel like my Italian Renaissance ‘wardrobe’ is a fairly good contender for the capsule wardrobe area, however of my two outfits, one is far too big for me right now. That means I am mostly starting with just one outfit.
The colour story of one outfit is red/black/gold… while the second is green/teal. If I add new pieces to this wardrobe I would want to explore how to coordinate new pieces with existing pieces.
The newest hat for this is only moderately packable, and because these garments are very full, they take up a lot of space. I don’t know if I have the time/interest/storage space for these pieces which can be worn at so few events.
My existing German Renaissance costume really only works to swap out accessories, as the gown’s skirt, bodice, and sleeves are all attached. While I could make more accessories for this costume wardrobe, I don’t know that I want to make that a priority.
Due to the feathers on this hat, it’s not a particularly packable costume, so I wouldn’t want to take it to out-of-town events.
I feel like my Byzantine ‘wardrobe’ will best remain a single-outfit costume. All pieces of this costume are highly integrated, and I don’t think that adding new accessories will help create a different story.
A new dress may be an option to get more versatility out of the existing accessories in fact, but that’s as far as I can see this plan going.
This may be worth exploring in the future, because the outfit, although it has many elements, is very packable for out of town events, and in my opinion, is very visually impressive.
My single-outfit Roman ‘wardrobe’ would also lend itself well to the capsule concept, but I’m not going to focus here at all since I constantly forget this outfit, and think I’ve only worn it once.
My 14th century sideless surcoats would also be good contenders for a capsule wardrobe… to an extent. Basically I team each of the surcoats with under dresses from much earlier periods, so they’re kind of already asking another piece to play double-duty.
Other than making MORE surcoats to accompany more under-dresses…. I don’t really see the point in working on a capsule wardrobe in this area…
The other consideration, is that the hats for these costumes (so far) aren’t especially portable, which limits these costumes to mostly events here in Calgary.
Next I’ll be looking at the different areas and figuring out each more in detail. Stay tuned, or follow the “Capsule Costume Collection” tag to read more if you’re coming to my blog well after the original publication date.
You can also follow my page on Facebook, where I’ll share updates from this project, as well as interesting stories I find online around costuming, sewing, and crafting… along with lots of Viking Age stories too!