Most women want tight and cohesive wardrobes. They dream of limitless mix-and-match possibilities, of being able to open their closet doors and just grab outfits with ease. Sadly, for most women, this isn’t the case. In their minds, they know that a tight wardrobe capsule is the way to go, however, they already have a closet full of clothes. Unless they are going to torch everything they already own, the task of creating a wardrobe capsule feels impossible, much like closing the barn doors after the horses have gotten out.
In today’s wear-to-work post I am going to show you how to create a capsule of existing pieces in your wardrobe while also showing you how to build upon what already exists in your closet when you go shopping. Below is a random grouping of wardrobe pieces that may not, at first, seem like they can be mixed-and-matched. However, using just those pieces I am going to illustrate how easy it is to build a spring wardrobe capsule.
When building a capsule there are few pieces that are important to have. I call these items connectors that can glue the novelty pieces together. These pieces aren’t always the most fun or attractive but their merit comes from how easily they can be worn with everything. Here are some examples of what these pieces can be and what you can consider having in your wardrobe to tie together a tight capsule.
- A long gold or silver necklace: It goes with everything and can finish any outfit
- A pair of beige shoes: No matter what your outfit looks like, these shoes will work
- A pair of neutral colored pants: These pants don’t have to be black. Any neutral color will work and will go with whatever color you are wearing on top.
- A pair of novelty gold or silver earrings: Similar to the long gold necklace, they can finish a look and go with anything
- A pair of colorful shoes: Green is a great example of an accent color because it complements any color you are wearing. They are very versatile
- A metallic belt: If you are just starting to wear belts, start with a metallic one. You’ll be able to wear it with everything which will make it easier to get used to wearing a belt
- One good basic blazer: Choose one in a neutral color that can be worn with most of your wardrobe.
- A basic cardigan: Choose a simple silhouette and in a color that can work with most of your wardrobe.
- A solid colored top: Go for basic and choose a color like white, chambray or any other neutral shade that can be worn with prints and other colors.
Keep in mind, these suggestions are only examples, your connectors may be a bit different depending on your style and needs. However, what makes a connector piece is that it can be worn and used multiple ways.
With connector items, like these the pieces, your wardrobe, that may feel random and stray, may suddenly become easier to wear. Your clothing is only as good as the versatile connectors that tie everything together. Take a look at the nine outfits that I created using the pieces from what seems like a random capsule of wardrobe pieces.
In these outfits, I used these tan pants from Reiss as the anchor piece to create these three looks.
In the first ensemble, I used a versatile chambray shirt from Modcloth layered under a navy blazer from J. Crew. To make the outfit look less dull, I added the metallic belt from Nordstrom and green pumps from Nine West.
In the next outfit, the pants have been styled with a yellow t-shirt from Boden under a light grey cardigan from J. Crew and used a navy necklace from Stella & Dot to bring in a third color. Finishing the outfit I used these tan sandals from Nordstrom. Unlike the first outfit, where the green pumps add some color to a all neutral outfit, the colorful look of this outfit needs a more understated colored shoe.
In the last look, a teal Tory Burch shirt works with the tan pants. To bring in a second color that complements the teal, I added these coral flats from Modcloth and then tied the two colors together using these novelty earrings from Stella & Dot. Finally, due to the novelty earrings style, the simple gold necklace from Kate Spade is used.
It’s likely you have a fun printed dress in your closet for spring, like this one from Boden. It’s also likely that you haven’t been getting as much as you wish you could from it. Instead of wearing it one way, look to your capsule connectors to give them some fresh looks.
In the first outfit the green Nine West pumps adds some unexpected color to the dress. The outfit is finished with the gold Kate Spade necklace.
In the next outfit, I added professional touch the dress by using the navy J. Crew blazer. The outfit is finished with the beige wedge sandals and novelty gold and silver earrings.
In the last look, I added the same light grey cardigan and used the long gold necklace and beige wedge sandals again.
When you add a print to your wardrobe, like this one from Reiss, you want to make sure you have the right pieces to wear with it and get the most out of it. One way to do this is to look at the colors in the print and make sure you have items in your closet of those colors. Next, you also want to look to your connector pieces to help you see these outfits through.
In the first outfit I used the same yellow tee from Boden, as well as the navy blazer from J. Crew. While this t-shirt does work great with the skirt, also note that it worked earlier in a previous outfit. When purchasing pieces to go with wardrobe item make sure that you can wear them beyond that one look. The outfit is finished with those same beige wedge sandals and navy necklace from Stella & Dot.
In the next outfit Tory Burch top is used again. With the top being more novelty it looks finished without any topper piece and the outfit can be accessorized simply with the same long gold necklace and beige wedge sandals.
Lastly, the versatile chambray shirt. Here it is styled with the coral flats and basic gold and silver earrings. For an additional finish, the gold belt could definitely be used here.
When creating a capsule wardrobe spend time focusing on having both novelty pieces and connector items that can be mixed and matched. As long as you have your connectors to connect the novelty you’ll be amazed how easy it can be to mix-and-match what you own and create your own spring wardrobe capsule.
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I know it seems like I use this word a lot for your posts…brilliant! You are the Wonder Woman
Thanks! I hope you are well. I haven’t seen you around the forum. I am humbled by your kind comment! It’s so funny how well posts that I feel iffy about do. This one felt a little scattered to me, but has really gotten a lot of positive feedback.
Love how it is not dominated by neutrals! Such a variety of looks. Beautiful.
Thanks Melissa! As long as you have some neutral connectors in your wardrobe you’d be surprised by how much color variety you can have. Often when people talk about building capsules they keep the color very limited, but you can really step out when you have some pieces that tie them all together! I am glad this post helped you!!!
This is exactly what I needed! I start at my new job next month and have been struggling with what to add to my work wardrobe or even with knowing what is considered business casual-appropriate. This post is perfect. Thank you, thank you, thank you! 🙂
You are most welcome! Good luck on your new job!!! Business casual can often be harder than corporate because it is a lot more mix and match. Accessories will be your best friend in finishing those very basic business casual pieces.
Thanks for the awesome post and blog, Bridgette! I was promoted just after New Year’s, so your advice has helped me see many more outfit possibilities in my closet. You’ve got a great eye for color!
Thanks so much, and congrats on your promotion! Thanks for your kind words! Mixing color has always been my strength, even long before I went to FIT. I remember stumbling on a photo of me from high school and I was wearing a chartreuse top under a burgundy cardigan. I am glad this post has helped you!