January 8, 2012

Mind the wardrobe gaps

While living abroad in Europe a few years back, I got to experience long distance rail travel for the first time. Though various Canadian cities have local train (light rail) systems and there is certainly a cross country rail line (Via Rail), the later is often very pricey and can involve days of one's time to reach distant destinations (so it's not generally most peoples’ first mode of long distance transportation), and isn't nearly as wallet-friendly as most European rail lines.

During the process of boarding and later stepping off of trains throughout that beautiful continent, one is (especially in the UK and Ireland) greeted with a sign that says "Mind the gap". This warning is to remind passengers to be careful of the space that often exists between the entrance (door) of the train and the platform onto which they're supposed to step. On most occasions the gap was a tiny one, but every now and then you did need to take a bit of a running leap to make sure you didn't plummet down onto the rails.

Today's post however has little (beyond what we just discussed) to do with train travel and much more to do with my take on that classic, cautionary railroad station poster.

Lately, you see, as we've begun to pack for our upcoming move, I've been giving my closet a good once over, examining each garment and accessory, shoe and bag. Having done so, I can tell you that there are more than a few really basic pieces missing (or in short supply), and so the words "mind the wardrobe gaps" sprang to mind a few weeks ago.

I couldn't help but smile as they did, for I think the expression makes a lot of sense. For quite some time I've been aware of these (figurative) holes, yet have worked - or jumped - over them as best I could.

Over the past three years in particular I've, more often than not, been housebound due to my health, so I felt it hard to justify buying much in the way of new (be it vintage or otherwise) clothing (and let me tell you, for a vintage fashionista like me, that was not easy!).

Soon however, we'll be leaving Toronto and heading to my home province of B.C., which means that there will be many more occasions for get-togethers, even if (as I highly suspect many will) they take place at our house, and this means that the time has come to - with a predetermined budget squarely in mind - fix a good many of these wardrobe gaps.

Naturally, as you may imagine, this is a task that I take on with a rather generous amount of glee. Shopping for vintage clothing is amongst my very favourite activities and it's fantastic to know that I'll once again be growing my wardrobe, filling it as I do with pieces that I truly need.

In the process of sleuthing around the web for bargains on everything from black pencil skirts to repro vintage jeans (Freddies of Pinewood, something of a splurge, I'm the first to admit, have already been ordered), it can be all too easy to fall into the "ooooohhh pretty trap", by which I mean that you're easily swayed away from your original shopping list into buying something gorgeous, just because it beckons your name.

A treat or two is alright, but I'm trying to follow the list of garments I'm shopping for very diligently - no side tracking for this vintage shopper.

A shortlisted version of my current vintage (by which I mean genuine vintage, vintage repro or modern pieces that look thoroughly vintage) shopping inventory includes the following:

-A black (or other dark coloured) cocktail dress

-A 1950s black (or brown, navy or dark grey) daywear dress

-A formal daywear dress (of the sort that would be perfect to wear to a wedding)

-Dark/neutral hued vintage repro/style trousers (I'm thinking Heyday or Big Beautiful Barbara Brown as possible sources)

-Both a short-sleeved and long-sleeved white blouse (in 40s/early 50s styles)

-More crinolines (a hunt that's been going on for quite a while, as long time readers may recall from this post on the subject that I wrote nearly two years ago)

-More neutral hued vintage gloves (picked up four pairs from various etsy sellers for a song already, so I should be well covered there for the moment)

-A pair of saddle shoes (ok, I'll admit it, this one is a bit more of a longstanding want than a true need, but I've been pining for a pair since I outgrew the pink and white ones I had as a little girl, so that just about qualifies them as a need!)

There are other entries on this list, too, some of which I've crossed off already, but in the coming weeks, the items mentioned here are the ones that I'll likely be focusing a lot of my attention on.

So far all of my shopping has been done online, as I suspect the bulk (if not the entirety) of it will be when all is said and done.

{While online shopping doesn't give one quite the same ease of trying on garments as purchasing in a real world store does, it is still a huge blessing and fantastic way to help vintage fashionistas (like yours truly) track down whatever items may be on their sartorial shopping lists from the comfort of their one’s own home. Charming late 1950s image via Captain Geoffrey Spaulding on Flickr.}


I'm trying to pick up most of these pieces before we move so that my closet will be a lot better equipped to handle the plethora of potential situations I may need to dress for once we land in British Columbia.

While some things do overlap, this list is not the same as my vintage wish list. That is one focused more on whimsy and daydreams (and likely requires the winning of a sizeable lottery to finance it), this is one of good old-fashioned practicality.

It's about picking up lovely, quality, basic pieces that will help stretch the other items in my closet a lot further, while giving me greater confidence when I go to get dressed - knowing I'll (hopefully) no longer be without some pretty basic pieces.

I've been minding those wardrobe gaps for a long time - too long perhaps - but the moment has come to plant my feet firmly on the proverbial platform and take charge of the situation!

And who knows, perhaps, when all is said and done, by budget might even leave from for one or two of those delightful little pretty pieces that aren't truly necessary, but oh-so-wonderful to hang in one's closet.

Wish me luck, dear gals - I shall keep you all informed of how my shopping turns out in future posts.


  1. I took have major gaps, I tend to shop for one item too much for too long, before I had no skirts, now I have no tops!
    Crazy methods.

    Good luck in your shopping!


  2. Nice list, and it will be so much fun to shop for those items.

  3. I loved your "ah-ha!" fashion moment heheh Its great that you are tending to your wardrobe which is important to do whether you wear vintage or not. I have a few gaps in my everyday wear wardrobe that I am dying to tend to-I have worn maternity for almost 4 yrs so this past yr was the first time I realized.."ugh-oh! I dont have any..." I am a beginner at vintage so at the moment I am collecting everything til I sort it all out and then I know clearly what I need/want/like hehehe Happy you are doing this for yourself!! HUGS to you sweets! B