I think it’s safe to say I am back at full force after my bout with COVID. The early part of last week was a bit up and down but I was pretty much better with the exception of some taste and smell issues by Friday. I was experiencing phantom smells, known as Phantosmia, which is when you smell something that isn’t there. I kept smelling what I can only describe as day-old Italian cooking where nobody bothered to do the dishes. It was foul. Then I was smelling an oppressive scent of shaving cream, which my husband, Frank, wasn’t using. When I experienced this phantom smell, I also lost my sense of smell but only of specific things, like the tumbler of fragrant honey-infused bourbon I was drinking. On Saturday, when Frank and I opened cracked open a bottle of wine, it had absolutely no taste. I believe my sense of taste and smell are back to normal, but even with small bouts, Phantosmia can really do a number on your ability to trust your senses.
As last week continued to be a bit topsy turvy, despite its upward trajectory, I knew I had to consolidate my workload. There was no way I could address client work while also getting all new blog topics done. So I sort of just told my client, Mrs. Gracious, I was going to blog about the vacation capsule I was working on for her. Normally, I get permission, and, obviously, if Mrs. Gracious wasn’t comfortable with my plan, I wouldn’t have done it. However, given how solidly I protect the identities of my clients in these posts, she didn’t have a problem with it at all. Quite the opposite, actually. She was really looking forward to it.
Mrs. Gracious, a client I have never blogged about before, deserves the alias I have given her. We met a few months ago when she reached out after only reading a few blog posts. In situations like this, where someone contacts me with limited knowledge of my work, it’s different than when someone is a longtime reader, a Facebook Group member, or a newsletter subscriber. In the latter case, my work speaks for itself and these women are just waiting for the right moment to push the button and get started. In situations like with Mrs. Gracious, there is a lot more pressure. I am asking these women to place their trust in me while parting with a decent amount of money after just one phone call. Mrs. Gracious and I took small steps to start. I worked on her fall wardrobe and helped her build a capsule for an international trip last December. This began to change everything for Mrs. Gracious’ wardrobe including the colors in her closet. I even got a text from her while she was away telling me how well her travel capsule was working out. As a result, I’m now basically a permanent (virtual) fixture in Mrs. Gracious’ closet.
To help you get to know Mrs. Gracious and why I gave her this alias, the first time I met her on Zoom, she greeted me wearing a winter white cardigan and matching top that was so tranquil and flattering against her skin tone and modern short blonde haircut, it was instant that I could capture her style. It’s serene, modern, uncomplicated, and clean. Her personality is welcoming, kind, and open, and being a seasoned gal living a vibrant third act in retirement, Mrs. Gracious knows how to perfectly balance the energy of road-tested wisdom and playfulness. Despite there being 20 years between us, we often exchange very silly texts.
Packing Mrs. Gracious for a Trip for Florida
With a week-long getaway to Florida planned in February with her husband and a group of friends, Mrs. Gracious enlisted my help to put together a warm-weather vacation capsule, and this time we were starting from scratch. This was fine with me because a clean slate from which to start is my preference. The information I got about the trip was that it would be a lot of relaxing and lounging, some swimming, nice casual dinners, and a slow pace. Sounds like a dream, right? With resort lines hitting the stores around this time, it wouldn’t be impossible to find some warm-weather vacation-friendly pieces but not exactly a breeze either.
Mrs. Gracious’ Vacation Capsule
Shop the Pieces in Mrs. Gracious’ Capsule
- V-neck Top 2. Playa Button-Down Shirt Dress 3. Hemp & organic cotton Striped Tunic 4. Short Sleeve Tunic 5. Linen Gauze Relaxed Shirt 6. Marquee Woven Visor 7. Cotton & Linen Striped Scarf 8. Beach Sarong in Linen-Cotton Stripe 9. Linen Jersey Tank 10. Beach Cover-Up in Linen-Cotton 11. Dip Dye Midi Dress 12. Linen & Cotton Printed Skirt 13. Linen & Cotton Tiered Dress 14. Jersey Maxi Dress 15. Organic Voile Shirt Dress 16. Belted Maxi Dress 17. (uh-oh, misnumbered and missed 17) 18. Skinny Leather Wrap Belt 19. Norma Kamali One-Piece Swimsuit 20. Primadonna Marquesas Swimsuit 21. Hemp & Organic Cotton Tank 22. Gold Tassel Tote 23. Kayla Sandal 24. Lola Platform Wedge 25. Nonohe Leather Flip Flop 26. Pisces Sandal 27.Twisted-Leather Flat Sandals 28. Suede Metallic Tassel Clutch Bag 29. Linen Elastic-Back Wide-Leg Pants 30. Cropped Linen Trousers 31. Garment-Dyed Cropped Linen Trousers 32. Piazza Sempione Audrey Pants in Cotton 33. Ceramic Pendant Earrings 34. Circle Cuff 35. Horn Chain Necklace 36. Set of 2 Wheatberry Chain Bracelets 37. Set of 3 Beaded Stacking Bracelets 38. Camila Drop Earrings 39. Set of 2 Musée Pendant Necklaces 40. Teardrop Earrings 41. Maive Pendant Necklace 42. Smoth Horn Bangle
This is exactly what I presented to Mrs. Gracious and it requires some clarification so you can fully understand it.
- First, it was not suggested to Mrs. Gracious that she purchase all of what I built. There are enough pieces in this capsule for her to take a six-week vacation. The reason I always pull together as many pieces as I do is so that a client can cherry-pick what they do like while not losing the connective thread of what I built. By presenting Mrs. Gracious with the outfits you will see, she could easily choose which items she liked and then smartly decide which additional pieces would also be the best to also purchase in order to retain the capsule. As this capsule grew, we also realized we weren’t just puttng a capsule together for this vacation, we were pretty much building her entire summer wardrobe.
- This capsule was based on Mrs. Gracious’ preferences, personal style, and coloring. Mrs. Gracious prefers visors over hats, was looking for a swimsuit with a vintage Esther Williams look, doesn’t like too many sandals with thongs, and prefers 3/4 or sleeveless over short sleeves. Mrs. Gracious’ coloring looks best when she wears rich muted colors, soft summer shades, and washy neutrals. She has prety much eliminated black from her wardrobe and prefers navy. By far, the brand Poetry came through for me the best, and I also selected pieces from brands including Piazza Sempione, Primadonna, Frank & Eileen, Everything But Water, and The White Company.
- Generally, I recommend lots of inexpensive costume jewerly in vacation capsules because they are small to pack and can dress up and down looks which can take them from day to evening. I like a beach bag that can be used as a general tote and a small pouch that can be used as a clutch when needed. I make the recommendation that the pouch also be used to hold small things during the day inside the larger tote.
- What you don’t see is in addtion to these selections is that I also present alternatives to some of the pieces in the capsule that may vary by price point or slightly by look but will still work within the capsule and give my clients addtional alterntives in case something is sold out or I have gone over-budget. I call these the equivalent of that little bit of extra milkshake you get.
Outfits Created From Mrs. Gracious’ Capsule
Here are all the outfits I created using all the pieces from the vacation capsule above. There are certainly more that could be built, but this gave Mrs. Gracious more than enough guidance.
Building a Capsule is Not an Exact Science
I wish could say I am so good at my job that Mrs. Gracious will just buy what she needs and be done but, unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Nothing is a guarantee when you are at the mercy of brands and retailers, so there will be some back and forth with some purchases, some things won’t fit, some pieces won’t look like they do in the photo, and some things will be sold out before Mrs. Gracious even has a chance to get to shop for them. Even as I was finishing this post up, she and I had this funny text exchange about an alternative swim cover-up I suggested to her.
Regardless, this capsule still establishes the foundation that she and I will continue to work from as it all gets finalized. It will get done and Mrs. Gracious will look amazing on her vacation. My sincere gratitude to Mrs. Gracious for allowing me to share her capsule, and for the trust she has put in me to help develop her wardrobe and her style. It has been nothing but a pleasure.
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Such a pretty wardrobe, but I LOVE the “Esther Williams” swimsuit idea!
Thanks, Cynthia! Keeping a client’s identity on lockdown is obviously important but sometimes I do wish readers had the ability to really see who the people behind the pretty wardrobe are because then you would really see what a perfect fit these capsules are. So I try without, revealing too much, to tell as much as I can to give a bit of context. When we were discussing bathing suits, I had in my mind an Esther Williams style so when Mrs. Gracious said it, I knew we were on the same page.
This is indeed a lovely capsule!
Working with Bridgette was and is a really wonderful experience. She has taught me so much about using new colors and has helped me purge my closet of black! Don’t get me wrong, I still use black but it’s controlled now. Black items that I used to wear all of the time began to look old, sad and depressing…and maybe they always were just old, sad and depressing. While purging my closet of many items I felt both relief and guilt, because I had never even worn some of the things, but I did it and I don’t think I miss one single item. Bridgette is always open to feedback and I am learning (I think) to be a better communicator about colors and styles that I am most comfortable with, but I am willing to try new things. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. I do feel that creating the winter wardrobe was much much easier for me than this current summer wardrobe, but I do see that it is beginning to come together. Bridgette’s capsules have also helped me see how pieces that I already own fit in with the capsule outfits, and using these items from my own closet have sometimes helped them seem more current and vibrant. Another thing that Bridgette helped me with was her shoe suggestions! They made outfits look fresh and up to date. I now have navy, light gray, chestnut and oxblood colored footwear in my closet! I am so glad that I reached out to Bridgette and plan to continue learning from her and working with her.