Over the years, I have learned if something looks effortless it usually isn’t.  The reason it appears easy is someone with mastery in a particular skill has executed it.  Therefore, I can recognize that, for some of you, putting together a tight wardrobe capsule may be challenging.  Whenever a client or blog reader remarks on how simple I can make getting dressed and putting outfits together can seem, I always tell them to take me to their job and watch me flounder.  This is what I do and if I can’t make it look like a breeze after nearly 25 years of being in the fashion industry I should seriously question my choice of profession.

I want getting dressed and putting a wardrobe together to be easy for you.  After all, I am certain there are more important things going on in your life.  I created this post to give you an easy way to build a wardrobe capsule by starting with a print.

How to Use Prints to Build a Wardrobe Capsule

What makes this approach of using a print as your starting point such an easy way to begin a capsule is the print acts like a cheat sheet of what colors to add and how to mix-and-match.  Color combining is often a challenge for many women.  Using a print removes the guesswork.  I am creating three small capsules below to give you some examples.

If you don’t like prints, don’t worry, all is not lost.  I will write some future posts on how to begin a capsule without using a print as the base.  Yet, keep in mind, you can reference a print without actually using it.  For example, you can look to a painting, a photograph from nature, the colors used in a pattern from home furnishings as a guide for combining color and building a capsule by looking to the colors used.

Let’s take a look at some examples

Capsule #1


When I saw this dress from Boden I fell in love with the colors and decided to use it as my guide for building this capsule.  What is interesting about this capsule is the dress won’t actually be worn with any of the additional pieces; it truly is just a color guide.  And using it as a guide, I was able to consider color combinations I might not have thought of without it.

All of these additional pieces work together and can be mixed-and-matched, enabling me to create at least seven outfits.

In addition to the dress, the outfits included in this capsule include, a rose colored blouse from Vince Camuto, a khaki pencil skirt from J. Crew, a skinny pair of pants in navy from Theory, a striped t-shirt from J. Crew, green cardigan from Biadani, white blazer from BOSS Hugo Boss, blue flower studs from Kate Spade, knot pendant from Madewell, cobalt pumps from Sam Edelman, tan block heel sandals from Steve Madden and cognac bag from Nordstrom.

Capsule #2


I created this casual summer capsule by starting with this printed scarf from Caslon.  Unlike the dress above, in this case, the scarf can be worked into the outfits.  Printed scarves are excellent ways to build a capsule.  Everything from this capsule can be mixed and matched and you can easily get a dozen outfits from all these pieces.

In addition to the scarf, the pieces this capsule include a casual jumpsuit from Madewell, drapey cardigan from Velvet by Graham and Spencer, A cobalt jersey tie top from L.K. Bennett, skinny black ankles pants from Lafayette 148, white jeans from J. Crew, denim jacket from Madewell, pink t-shirt from J. Crew, grey tote from French Connection, black espadrille wedges from Steve Madden, hot pink flat sandals from Sam Edelman, pink earrings from Kendra Scott and turquoise necklace from Michael Kors.

Capsule #3


This last capsule is a professional one and definitely one that can be great for business travel.  To build this capsule, I started with a printed blouse from Reiss.

I chose one suit that can be worn together and pulled apart.  I also included a dress that doesn’t match the blouse exactly.  However, that’s okay.  You’ll never wear the blouse with the dressy anyway.  What is important is the dress works with the additional pieces that you can wear with it, like the blazer in the cardigans.  From this capsule you’ll be able to get at least 20 outfits.  This is a whole lot more than you’ll need for a quick business trip.

In addition to the Reiss blouse, the pieces in this capsule include a boyfriend cardigan in grey from J. Crew, a charcoal blouse from French Connection, a blush dress from Judith & Charles, a black suit from Elie Tahari (link to blazer, link to pants) a pair of burgundy pants from J. Crew, grey pencil skirt from Reiss, eggshell cropped cardigan from Theory, grey bag from Salvatore Ferragamo, grey suede pumps from Calvin Klein, block heeled sandals in blush from Vince Camuto, amethyst pendant from Stella & Dot, rose gold drop earrings from Monica Vinader.

If you have been struggling with how to start a wardrobe capsule, I hope this tip of starting with a print assists you on creating successful ones on your own.