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The Merits of Keeping a Style Book

It has been just over a year now.  I decided to keep a Style Book for myself.  There have been a lot of events and places to go in that year and I have recorded key outfits.  I have been rescued by the Book a few times when I have been in a hurry to get out wearing a vintage “Look” .  Overall, it has been good, dear Reader, now I must decide whether to carry on or say good bye to this experiment.


What is a Style book?

A Style Book is a book that you record the details of the outfits that you wear to specific events or occasions.  You can record this in a book or have a file on your computer.  The choice of medium is very personal, but the information you record will build into a valuable resource.

Style book 1

My Style Book with pearl cuffs, 2 unmarked brooches a Monet bracelet and Christian Dior knot earings in smooth and textured gold finish

Why have a Style Book?

If you enjoy putting your outfits together, travel frequently, and attend a number of events through the year a Style Book will save you time. Also, if you are sourcing your outfits from a number of collections it is very helpful to know what you wore, when and any other helpful notes about the event or occasion.

Is it Time consuming?

You can record your outfit in as much detail as suits you.  When you are used to keeping a Style Book, you can jot down details in minutes.

How to Keep a Style Book

  1. Choose your medium. I have chosen an attractive hard backed notebook with plain pages.  Writing in pencil so changes and notes can be made very easily.  You will have your own preferences, you can make your book as elaborate or simple as you like.  If you are using your computer, you can include photographs.  I have chosen not to include photos because the lists are enough.

  2. Choose your template. By this I mean create template for recording – you can use the same way every time and the more you record the easier it becomes.

  3. Decide when to start.

Blank pages

I prefer blank pages – just waiting to be filled

My Style Book

I collect 1950’s costume jewellery, vintage handbags, powder compacts, silk scarves, hats and umbrellas.  To help me to wear and use as many items as possible I decided to keep a Style Book.  Thinking about it, all people in the public eye must do this – or have a PA to do it for them to save duplicating a “look”.

 The British Royal family have stylists who do all this for them – so why not plan like them?

 I take a traditional view of wardrobe management.  I separate my A/W and S/S clothes and enjoy a “Changeover” twice a year.  These are big events in my home involving:

  • Clothes

  • Accessories

  • Scarves

  • Shoes

  • Handbags

  • Jewellery

  • Makeup

On Mothering Sunday last year I decided to keep a Style Book for myself.  Over the year it has provided me with detailed information about what I wore to Vintage Fairs, Family get togethers and special events.  If I have been short of time to plan a new ensemble – my Style Book has helped enormously.  There laid out is a note of everything worn – also what my husband wore too.  I can pick out the skirt, top, jacket and shoes quickly.  The jewellery is also there in the plan.


My Template

Once started, it was clear that a standard format or template would really help me.  I tend to think laterally and to record a template would help.

Style book

Page open at Easter last year, with Monet matte gold bracelet, Monet round brooch and unmarked pearl and gold earings that go together and at the top some 1950’s dressy earings

I have decided to start from the feet, with shoes and handbag first, working upwards with a separate list for Jewellery.  I like to use a numbered list because I tend to think in sequential steps.  So my template has just developed like this:

  1. Shoes

  2. Handbag

  3. Skirt

  4. Top

  5. Jacket

  6. Scarf

For the Jewellery, like this:

  1. Earings

  2. Necklace

  3. Brooch (worn on top)

  4. Bracelets

  5. Ring

  6. Outer Brooch (worn on Jacket or coat)

Love Your Clothes

You can keep useful phone numbers in the book that help with the care of your treasured clothes.  I have my dressmaker’s details, companies I have bought from and my dry cleaners.  In Notes I can record thing that have worked very well and the things that did not.  I also record alternative scarves or jewellery so a successful look can be tweaked.

You can see at a glance what items need to be repaired, cleaned or altered.


As you get more used to noting down all the elements of these outfits you will develop shorthand of your own.


You may make checkists to help you to plan exactly what to take on holiday.  Some people have a standard list and take it for each time away.  If you like lists, your Style Book can work with a checklist – each informs the other.

For example, my husband and I sometimes take a 3 night stay at a favourite hotel.  For this stay I love to get to work on my outfits – what am I going to wear?  I plan outfits like this:

  1. Arrival/Departure

  2. Day outfits

  3. Evening outfits

To avoid taking too much luggage my style notes help me to make each item work as hard as it can.  I love working out what jewellery to wear in the daytime and in the evening and ALWAYS try to fit in as much jewellery as I can.

Creating “Sets” of Jewellery

My Style Book has really helped me with my jewellery, to create “sets “of earings, brooches and bracelets that I always wear together, with specific skirts and tops.  The Combinations are endless.  You do not have to bother about forgetting a brilliant pairing – if it is in the book.

You will have lots of creative ideas when you look into your wardrobe but, for me sorting out the jewellery and deciding what goes together is an enormous source of pleasure.  When I find a combination that works I think what it will go with, when I can wear it and how to wear it.


Left, a selection of brooches that can be worn on jackets or handbags.  Right an umarked 1950’s demi parure in a green-blue colour

Well dear Reader, as you may have guessed, I am going to continue with keeping the Style Book.  Why?  Firstly, I enjoy keeping it, secondly, I can see easily what worked well and not duplicate a look worn to regularly attended events.  After another year it will be an even greater help and will record more wonderful ensembles and jewellery sets.

Thank you for visiting Gloriously Vintage today – Happy Easter Weekend


About Gloriously Vintage

My name is Elizabeth. I am so thrilled to be learning how to write a blog about my adventures collecting vintage treasures. This new adventure is to mark my 60th Birthday this February in 2016 and to start this decade with something new. I have been collecting Powder compacts, 1950's costume jewellery, vintage handbags, silk scarves, vintage umbrellas and hats for over five years now. I try to wear and use as much of my collections as possible. This has added great enjoyment to my life! As a child my "best game " was always dressing up. I kept all my dressing up clothes in a large wooden banded trunk in the spare bedroom -the third bedroom. Creating outfits and characters, wearing jewellery always with a handbag and a powder compact I would play on my own for hours. Most of my treasures then came from jumble sales and bric a brac shops browsed with my parents on holiday. Life has a way of coming round full circle. In my fifties I found increasing joy in being able to just be myself and adopt the hairstyle I wanted and the vintage look that suited me. I source all my "top clothes" from Oxfam on line and charity shops Mixing new tops, shoes and sometimes handbags with my vintage accessories has given me a signature style that is unique. I have always tried to be an individual and not follow the crowd. I find most of my collections at vintage fairs, charity shops and going to Antiques for Everyone at the NEC has been a marvellous time for hunting out treasures and learning more about the things that have sparked real passion for me.

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  7. Really nice Idea. I think I use my Pinterest and my blog to do this in a way


    • Dear Katherine, I so enjoy reading your blog and seeing your outfits there. I am very new to social media and am getting to grips with Pinterest. I think it is marvellous to be able to have outfit photographs recorded like this. Best wishes, Elizabeth xx


  8. What a marvelously lovely idea. I’ve read accounts of various vintage style books, including some from the Victoria era of the years, but you’re the first modern day lady I know who is keeping one. Kudos to you on doing so. It’s downright inspiring!

    ♥ Jessica



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