Fans Addicts of British television will be familiar with the wonderful series “The Durrells” (or “The Durrells in Corfu” if you’re here in the US where for some reason we have to rename UK shows :::cough::: Great British Baking Show, what even…). This delightful series, now in its third season, follows an expat family in 1930s Greece, their adventures, relationships, and exploits….and their wardrobes.
We’re all particularly enamored with the wardrobe, the work of costumer designer Charlotte Holdich, who uses a blend of new-made pieces and true vintage to give the show a particularly authentic look. Oh, the original 1930s chiffony sundresses I’ve lusted after….and the leghorn straw hats, and the wide-legged trousers, and the relaxed-looking blouses with gathered yokes and slightly puffed sleeves.
Yes please, this coming Summer I’ll have me some of that.
As much as I would love to make a whole Durrells-inspired wardrobe, I find less and less time to sew lately, especially basic wardrobe pieces, which you think would be easy and quick but I still can’t put together a “simple” ’30s style blouse in one day. So I’ve been lurking the internet for off-the-rack pieces. I even went *actual shopping* recently…in actual stores…which was a mix of therapeutic and horrifying, unfortunately weight more to the latter.
But I have found some things ready-made to buy. Other items are still on the make-it-myself list. Here is what I’ve come up with for my Durrells Summer Wardrobe:
Louisa Durrell wears a lot of fairly loose-fitting pastel-colored linen or cotton collared blouses with short cuffed or puffed sleeves. These can be pretty hard to find off-the-rack, but sometimes you get lucky with J Crew Factory store, Old Navy, Unique Vintage, Modcloth. Emmy Design, Freddies of Pinewood, House of Foxy, and Vecona Vintage have some good repro options as well. The key is the fibre – linen or cotton, or rayon for fancier get-togethers.
|Wearing History “Smooth Sailing” Sporting Togs pattern – has the trousers, the blouse with the puff sleeves, and an option for shorts too.
Most of my blouses I’ve made either from scratch or upcycling a thrift-store shirt. My favorite patterns for blouses of this style are Wearing History “Smooth Sailing” and Simplicity 8243 but there are also loads of original vintage patterns available too.
|The Greta blouse from Vecona Vintage
Another good option for casual tops is a nautical knit shirt or light sweater. Old Navy and Target almost always have striped knit shirts.
My favorite outfits the Durrells women wear of course involve trousers – high waists and wide legs – but they also wear a lot of lovely ’30s skirts too.
Lucky for us modern lovers of vintage, high waisted pants are getting easier to find now. My favorite brands are Emmy Design, Vecona Vintage, and Vivien of Holloway, but I’ve also found great options from eShakti, Unique Vintage, and even Forever 21 with a surprising selection of linen and cotton beach pajama and paper-bag waist bottoms this season.
|Emmy Design “Seaside Palazzo” pants – these come in a bunch of colors and even prints and have very ’30s seaming on the yoke.
Skirts with the right cut and length are harder to lay hands on, but check out the House of Foxy “Flutter Skirt,” Emmy Design “Art Deco Dream Skirt,” or consider making your own. 1930s skirts are very quick and easy to put together. I like Decades of Style #3004,
|The House of Foxy makes great ’30s separates.
Broad-brimmed straw hats, ’30s brimmed cloches, and Panama hats take center stage in the show, but none of the hats feel out-of-reach for a DIY project.
|A casual cloche with a clever use of extra straw braid and petersham ribbon to decorate the crown.
One of my favorite weekend projects is to re-shape real straw hats and re-trim them just with steam and some spare trims like petersham ribbon or bits of extra straw braid. I highly recommend hitting up the local thrift shop to look for real, cheap straw hats to play with.