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How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe for Work

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe for Work

I recently taught a class for leasing agents at Tidewater Builders Association on how to dress professionally. Topics included the importance of length, fit and quality of the garment, as well as the non-verbal aspect to our image; hygiene, hair/nails/makeup, and attitude to name a few. The TBA committee also wanted an interactive component, so their employees had the opportunity to see in real time the Do’s and Don’ts of what to wear. I thought this was an excellent opportunity to illustrate how to build a capsule wardrobe for work, so I partnered with LOFT Town Center. From this partnership I was able to create 15 different looks with 10 pieces. That’s 3 full work weeks of outfits!

The capsule wardrobe is not a new concept; the term was first coined in the late 1970’s by Suzie Faux, a London boutique owner of “Wardrobe” who believed that a woman’s closet should be one with “certain essential, timeless pieces that could last decades and be paired with seasonal accents like jewelry.” 1 The idea was to invest in quality pieces and to have them tailored to fit the individual. This would allow the woman to build an array of well-ensembled outfits year after year. Although the upfront cost would be high, the long term return would pay off over the course of 3-5-10 years. American fashion designer, Donna Karan, took this idea and changed mainstream fashion forever. After 10 years designing for Ann Taylor, Karan “launched Seven Easy Pieces with her first collection in 1984—and revolutionized the way women dress. A bodysuit, a tailored jacket, a skirt, pants, a cashmere sweater, a leather jacket, and an evening look. With Seven Easy Pieces, women could create infinite combinations with these easy-to-wear garments.” 2

The appeal of the capsule wardrobe is easy to understand:

Quality clothing

Customized fit

Ability to mix & match

Ease & efficiency in getting dressed

Although some may find Ann Taylor LOFT prices to be a small investment, their pieces can be considered quality classic basics. Better yet they carry sizes from petite, misses and women's making their clothing 100% inclusive. I’m a sucker for mixing prints, which I’ve done here in a couple of the examples. It’s easiest to “read” the infographic below by pairing the featured top with the various bottoms. Each outfit is finished with either a pair of nude or black heels. The idea here is to build a simple and easy wardrobe to create a seamless, stress free way to get dressed. You can pick out any one of the tops here and pair it with any one of the bottoms. This is the beauty of the capsule wardrobe - versatility and efficiency. Do you use the concept of a capsule wardrobe? Share your successes and challenges HERE.




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