Capturing 1930s Style

Hello all! I hope everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving had a wonderful Turkey Day and is now gearing up for that magical holiday called Christmas. I realize I’ve been a bit lax in my blog posting as it’s been almost a month since my last post. Yikes! I apologize for the delay, but I’m back and here to inspire you with period drama fashion!

Since I started this blog, I’ve been wanting to do a fashion post on one of my favorite movies and books: I Capture the Castle. The first time I saw this delightful film, I was captured (pun intended) by the multifaceted characters and the whimsical plot. It manages to be both poignant and humorous. In fact, I love this movie so much, a screencap of it appears in the banner of my site. That’s a young Rose Byrne in the third square, playing, ironically, Rose Mortmain in the film.

I Capture the Castle DVD cover

Based on the novel by Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle is about an eccentric and impoverished family who resides in a crumbling castle. The story is told from the point of view of Cassandra Mortmain (played by Romola Garai). Cassandra is very much the peacekeeper of the family, which includes a father with a serious case of writer’s block, a bohemian, nudist stepmother, a frustrated older sister, and a precocious younger brother. There’s also Stephen, the hunky, loyal servant who stays on with the family despite not being paid.

I Capture the Castle movie screen cap
Just your not so average family.

Cassandra and Rose are very close as sisters, despite being quite opposite. Rose may be the elder one, but Cassandra deals with their family’s poverty much better than her. Rose wants nothing more than to escape, specifically in the form of marrying rich. The family’s tumultuous yet staid lives are forever changed with the arrival of two American brothers — Simon and Neil  — and their mother.

This is definitely a character-driven plot. The unique and flawed cast of characters are what make this movie so enjoyable. The fashion in the film, set in the 1930s, is enjoyable as well. The Mortmain sisters, due to their poverty and the influence of their bohemian stepmother, add a one-kind-kind flair to the fashion of the 30s.

In examining the fashion from this period drama, I want to show you a couple of outfits worn by Cassandra and Rose and then give you ideas on how to recreate them. I’ve also decided to split this post into two parts. This first one will examine two of Rose’s ensembles, while the second one will be on Cassandra. Make sure to be on the lookout for Part II!

Rose from I Capture the Castle
Rose makes the “I just washed my hair look” into something whimsically beautiful.

With her billowy curls of vibrant red hair, Rose would stand out even if wearing a paper bag, not that Rose would ever deign to wear one. Instead, she strives to be fashion-forward even with her lack of money. After all, necessity breeds creativity. Rose wears several enchanting dresses throughout the film. It was definitely hard to narrow down her outfits to just two, but I went ahead with my favorite dress of hers in the film as well as one of her more casual outfits.

Get the Look:

Rose and Simon from I Capture the Castle

Simon and Rose from I Captrue the CastleThis dark red, almost burgundy dress with open shoulders is like something a woodland nymph would wear. It has a boho-chic quality to it, and there’s no denying Rose is giving 1930s style her own special pizzazz. She even has flowers in her hair!

Rose with flowers in her hair: I Capture the Castle

In order to capture this look, go for a like-colored dress in a similar fairytale-esque style, either long in order to fully channel Rose’s outfit or short if you’d rather not wear a maxi.

Forever 21 crisscross back maxi dress in burgundy
Forever 21
LuLu's Wine Red Lace Maxi Dress
Missguided open Shoulder Ruffle Skater Dress in red
Lace Cut Out Detail Open Shoulder Skater Dress in red
Cut out shoulder burgundy shift dress
Cold Shoulder Scallop Hem Shift Dress in burgundy

Adding flowers gives a special, ethereal touch to this outfit.

Light purple flower headband
headband with red flowers
white rosette headband
Forever 21
headband with gray flowers
Lilac and rose flower crown
White flower crown
Urban Outfitters

Get the Look II:

I adore this outfit. Firstly, Rose is donning a wide leg trouser jumpsuit, and while trousers weren’t worn too often by women in the 30s, that certainly doesn’t stop the spirited Rose. I’m not sure if I would ever wear wide-leg pants myself, but either way, Rose pulls them off wonderfully, and I love how she’s paired them with an olive cropped cardigan and cute knit beret. Also, don’t forget about Rose’s glass of crème de menthe, which she purposely chose to complement her red hair. So go ahead and chicly sip a glass of this sweet green liqueur as you recreate Rose’s darling outfit (provided you’re of legal drinking age of course). After all, Rose is definitely using the drink as an accessory, so why shouldn’t you? 😉

Now onto the outfit!

green cropped cardigan`
Sage green cardigan
Olive green space dye cardigan
Cropped knit cardigan is almond beige color
Free People
Olive green knit cardigan
Olive green long cardigan

For the bottoms, opt for gray trousers in either a wide leg or loose fit.

Heathered grey wide-leg pants
Forever 21
wide-leg pants in grey








High-waisted ankle trousers in gray
Charlotte Russe
Gray Wide Leg Mini Check Pants with Button Detail








Wide-leg pants in gray
grey trousers
Ann Taylor

A knit beret really pulls this look together and gives it some added chic appeal.

Blue ombre knit beret
Urban Outfitters
Sequin blue knit beret
Blue stitch beret
LAUREN by Ralph Lauren
Knit beret hat in blue
La Fiorentina

And the most important rule to remember when recreating Rose’s I Capture the Castle style? Always make an entrance…

Rose in I Capture the Castle gifI Capture the Castle gifRose tripping down stairs in I Capture the Castle


And so commences Part I in my I Capture the Castle fashion post!

Cassandra and Rose hugging in I Capture the Castle
GIFs via

In Part II, I’ll show you Cassandra’s take on 1930s fashion and, of course, how you can recreate it.

Which of Rose’s outfits do you like better? Have you seen or read I Capture the Castle?


9 thoughts on “Capturing 1930s Style

  1. Lovely post! I haven’t seen I Capture the Castle yet though I LOVE Romola Garai! I thought she was great as Emma. Isn’t Henry Cavill in this also? He was very young I think.


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