Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Looking back in order to go forward

My grandmother a New Years Eve in the 1930's.
Late-ish 30's. Love the corsage!
More of her fab 30's style can be found here.
This blog will soon have its second birthday and I feel the need to talk a little of why it came to be in the first place. You probably already know, but bear with me. I read Alla kvinnors book (“Every Woman’s Book) when I was in my teens and was completely fascinated by the idea of building a co-ordinated wardrobe over the course of four years. I once again got the book in my hand, two years ago; it came at a point where most of my clothes felt too old, too un-flattering and too uncoordinated. It wasn’t very hard to decide to follow the suggestions in the book to get my own 40’s wardrobe.

A huge inspiration was my grandmother Greta, who, born in 1913, would have been just the right age and economical range Alla kvinnors book was aimed to. Because, as a friend pointed out, the book isn’t really for every woman. The wardrobe is clearly meant for a woman with a rather generous budget, if still not so wealthy that the need to re-make and mend clothes could be omitted. A woman who could buy clothes, but also make them. My grandmother got married in 1943 and she and my grandfather both made a bit of a class journey. She was a working class girl, albeit not from the poorest circumstance, her mother was a housewife and her parents owned their house. My grandfather’s parents were prosperous farmers, but when they both died the year he turned 23 he used his inheritance to give himself an education. After their marriage my grandmother, reluctantly, gave up her job to stay at home and they lived quite well on one salary. They had a nice house, went on holidays abroad in the early 50’s, when that was quite new and expensive and in the early 60’s they built a summer house in the archipelaggio. And one of the reasons they did live so well, was my grandmother’s taste, swing skills and ability to basically make both hers and my mother’s wardrobes from scratch. I don’t think she owned a copy of Alla kvinnors book, but it would have suited her taste.
Grandmother in the early 30's.

I have made some adaptations on my wardrobe plans. For example, year one has been split into two years, so the plan is now five years instead of four. The reason for that is that the wardrobe begins with the idea that several garments already hangs there, which made year one demand much more garments than the other three. I have also made a few changes when it comes to colour and material. I’m not getting myself a real fur coat, but will make one in faux fur. It was impossible to find a tweed coat in the desired colours, so I bought a grey wool coat instead. Still, I try to keep as close as possible to the original idea and if I change something I do my best to make it fit. I have also moved a bit style-wise. I started out in the late 40's, but now I lean more and more to the very first years of the decade as well as the very late 30's.
 I have made several posts where I present information from Alla kvinnors bok and if you are new to this blog, then I think you will find it worthwhile to go back and read those posts. The five years can be found at the top of the blog. Garments that I have made, or bought, can be found there with pictures and links to their original blog post.

Two posts on when to wear what styles:
Three posts on fabric used in the 1940's;
How to choose a flattering hairstyle

Grandmother on another New Year's Eve in the 30's. I still have the blouse!


Bunny Moreno said...

My favorite post for the new year so far! I loved reading about your grandmother-what a beautiful life they seemed to have! Such blessings! I enjoy reading about this amazing journey you are on and look fwd to hearing more about it!! Happy New Year!! xox


superheidi said...

Happy New Year! I am too looking forward to your journey.
Wow, those pictures are so stunning, And you even got the blouse, my word!

aprettymess said...

Happy New Year!
Your grandmother sounds like such a lovely person. Thank you for sharing her beautiful pictures.

Jessica Cangiano said...

I think that one of the most critical elements to the long term success of just about any plan is flexibility, and it certainly sounds like you've been doing a good job of incorporating that into the building of your wardrobe (such a making a fur coat instead of buying one). I hugely admire your undertaking no matter how many years it takes, and look forward to enjoying - and learning from - your wonderful posts throughout 2013.

♥ Jessica

Isis said...

Bunny: Thank you! They did have agreat life together. On tehir 50th wedding anniversary they told me that they had only ever had one argument and that was that mt grandfather didn't allow my grandmother to continue working when they got married. He was afraid that people would think that he couldn't support his wife. But, and my grandfather was stubborn as a mule and never admitted that he was wrong, he did realize eventually that he was at fault. :)

superheidi: My grandmoterh spent every penny she could on her wardrobe. :) I need to dig up teh blouse and take some photos. Unfortunately my grandmotehr was tiny back then so I can't wear it.

Isis said...

aprettymess: Thank you. She could be difficult too, but overal she was a great person with a great style. :)

Jessica: Yes, I think you need to have flexibility. And in this project the clothes are meant to be part of my wardrobe and need to reflect what I want to wear. It would be interesting to make the wardrobe very strictly, picking a year to start with and then work forward the years with the changing fashion, but it would probably not be a wardrobe that I would really want to wear.

Second Hand Rose said...

Lovely reading about your Grandma, she was truly beautiful! Congratulations on your blog nearly being two! XxxX http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.co.uk

Jemima Granny Chic Gal said...

Lovely photos. Fabbylous that you have your Grandma's blouse and have a photo of her in it from so long ago. I don't think my nanna has any of her old things left. I might have to ask very nicely if she does.

Isis said...

Second Hand Rose: Thank you so much!

Jemima: I have a lot of clothes from her, so I'm lucky! :) She used to spent everything she could on clothes, so they are very nice. I hope your nanna has something you can have!

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