If you recall, I created a work wardrobe capsule for my client, Mrs. Radiant, that was exclusively black and camel, last fall. You can check it out here. It received rave reviews for its simplicity and ease from both readers and from Mrs. Radiant who told me that traveling for work has never been easier. Prior to working with me, packing for business trips filled her Sundays with stress and dread. She would go on desperate last-minute hopeful dashes through department stores that produced mediocre results she sort of hated, and her closet was filled with randomness that yielded little she could use to cobble together an outfit. After her fall work wardrobe capsule was built by me, she had no problem packing her tight, cohesive, easy-to-mix travel capsules in seconds.
A few weeks ago, in preparation for spring, Mrs. Radiant texted me that she was feeling bright and colorful this season. She sent me images of bright greens, pinks, and purples that sprung off of white and black. I loved the direction. It felt fresh, vibrant, new, and right in line with how I had been feeling with the pandemic easing and the world starting to feel normal again. We’re all ready to blossom. I also enjoy it when a client offers direction, not dictation, direction. Dictation would be if she told me exactly what she wanted me to find, like a grocery list and I was an Instacart shopper. That’s not what I do and would be missing the point of taking advantage of my expertise. Mrs. Radiant’s direction was not unlike when Ms. Intentional told me the benefits she was getting from exclusively wearing navy, black, and camel and gave me license to work my magic within those parameters. Given how well Mrs. Radiant did with her capsule last fall, I wanted to create a colorful work wardrobe capsule for spring.
The bright liveliness of these colors matches Mrs. Radiant as a person. I named her Mrs. Radiant after all. To summarize briefly, Mrs. Radiant is my type of woman and not unlike most of my clients. We’re both bold, unfiltered, we lean in, are courageous, and in charge of things…except when she misses an appointment. That last part is more of a dig at Mrs. Radiant who had to push her appointment with me back an hour last week because she forgot about it. It was beyond completely fine and I really wound up needing the extra hour, but I also jokingly texted her back to, “get her sh*t together,” to which she replied with the ‘100’ emoji and we both laughed. As I said, Mrs. Radiant is my type of woman.
How I built Mrs. Radiant’s Colorful Work Wardrobe Capsule
Assess the Carry-Overs
When a client comes around after putting an initial capsule together it’s a little different than the first time because the first capsule has already been established and there are many things that will carry over. These things are usually year-round or nine-month pieces that will work all season or at least early on and drop off once the pinnacle of the new season hits. I want to be able to take the items that already exist in a client’s wardrobe and feed them in so there is cohesiveness and an increased value in all a client owns. So, to start, Mrs. Radiant established all those carry-over pieces with me.
Review What Mrs. Radiant Purchased On Her Own
Next, due to the fact that Mrs. Radiant is extremely type-A and a doer, common qualities found in most of my clients, she tends to go rogue and shop without me, often asking for feedback along the way. It’s not unusual to get a text from her with a shopping link and a cheeky text that says, “Mom, can I get this?” to which I will reply with something equally cheeky like, “only if you eat all your vegetables first.” She had already picked up a few things for her new spring wardrobe that started shaping the color direction. The shades included green and magenta that were built around a scarf she liked and some tops. This would be our starting point. We jumped on a Zoom for a quick strategy call and after that, I was off and running to do some shopping with me knowing full well if I didn’t get started quickly, Mrs. Radiant would get itchy fingers and probably try tackling it by herself. She’s actually not a bad shopper but I was really looking forward to taking my own spin around the sites to see what I could find.
Don’t Wait on Resale
My first stop wound up being The RealReal which can be a tricky place to start shopping for clients if I am capsuling. I want to gather all I can before I start mixing and matching pieces. One of several reasons I capsule and mix-and-match what I find is to cross-check my own pulls to make sure what I am selecting makes sense and works together. Because of this approach, I will have things sitting aside until everything is ready to be mixed together and checked. It could be days that everything is set aside in a folder. Due to The RealReal being a resale consignment site, if you miss out on something it is gone and likely not to return unless someone else consigns the same exact piece in your size; a bit unlikely. As I was finding things on The RealReal, time was of the essence. So I started texting my finds to Mrs. Radiant in real-time and taking screenshots of the capsule in its early stages so she could get an idea of my plans for each piece. For the first time, I built a good portion of a client’s capsule with the client chiming in. We pulled together the foundation of it in just an hour or so with hopes that what we were picking would work once she received it. More on that later.
To give you an idea of how critical this step actually wound up being, a magenta dress, which you will see below in the capsule, was a piece I saw as being a critical player of the capsule. When Mrs. Radiant clicked on it minutes after I sent it to her, it was on hold by someone else. We panicked. Yet, how it works on The RealReal is whoever puts it in their cart has 15 minutes to decide whether or not to buy it before it gets removed from their cart and it goes back into rotation and becomes available to the public again. When this happened with the magenta dress, this was the text thread between Mrs. Radiant and me. Note: thread not for those easily offended by foul language.
I wish I could fully capture how absolutely hilarious that moment of elation was the second that magenta dress became available again after 15 minutes of tense waiting along with how much I cherish the authenticity and in-it-togetherness I share with my clients. It really does feel like teamwork and while the relationship varies based on the personality and temperament of each client, there is usually some level of closeness, humor, and connection I share with each one. This truly is the best part of my job.
Shopping for Additional Retail Items to Round Out Mrs. Radiant’s Colorful Work Wardrobe Capsule
Once these key pieces were set, it was my job to finish shopping on my own for the remaining pieces to round out the capsule and then mix and match the looks. A few days later I had this all off to Mrs. Radiant to review and because she jumped on The RealReal pieces so quickly, some of those items are already in her possession. Be sure to check out photos of her wearing those things at the end of the outfits I created. My thanks to her for allowing me to share them.
Mrs. Radiant’s Caspule Colorful Work Wardrobe Capsule
Shop For the Available Pieces in Mrs. Radiant’s Capsule
1 Lilia Jacket 2 Merritt Jardigan 3 Raw Edge Tank 4 Cotton-Cashmere Short Sleeve Swaeater 5 Washable Silk Stretch Tee 6 Rory Cardigan 7 Jersey Cap-Sleeve Dress 8 Link Chain Necklace 9 Bone Earrings 10 Interlock Earrings 11 Green Deco Bar Necklace 12 Horn Chain Bracelet 13 Magenta Tagua Necklace 14 Purple Seed Necklace 15 Prehnite Studs 16 Green Silk Tassel Necklace 17 Green Tortoise Chunky Necklace 18 Natural Buffalo Horn Necklace 19 Buffalo Horn Ring 20 Green and Gold Geometric Earrings 21 Natural Horn Drop Earrings 22 Horn Bangle 23 Magenta Minimalist Earrings 24 The Millia Sneaker 25 The Penny 26 The City Sandal 27 The Lustro 28 The Gia 29 The Felize 30 Alexandra Pants 31 Curie Pants 32 Franca Pants 33 Single Button Blazer 34 Tailored Trouser 35 Crossover Blazer 36 Flex Waist Trouser 37 Italian Leather Belt 38 Green Leather Belt
A few Notes About Mrs. Radiant’s Capsule:
- Some of the items I am linking to are things Mrs. Radiant already owned but are still available, like the Lilia jacket (#2), the Akris Punto black dress (#7), Argent Suit (#’s 34 & 35) M.Gemi pumps (#27), and the raw edge tanks (#3). Other items, like the Vince white cotton button-down, the Vince camel and ivory chrysanthemum blouse, the tan Lafayette 148 pants, and Talbots wide-leg black pants. These items that were already owned by Mrs. Radiant but are not available. The L’Agence blazer, rght next to the Llilia blazer (#1) is the Kenzie style that L’Agence runs all the time. However, this Cappucino shade is not currently available. The other items that aren’t available are pieces she purchased from The RealReal and can’t be purchased.
- Regarding the Akris Punto dress that Mrs. Radiant owns and is available at Saks. Mrs. Radiant bought her dress at The RealReal. This is a style that Akris has run for years so while it is always available retail it is also always available resale. It is a phenomenal dress I put clients in all the time. I’d keep my eye out for it resale if you are interested in it too. It has an invisible zipper at the neck and can be worn as a jewel neck or zipped open.
Outfits Created From Mrs. Radiant Colorful Work Wardrobe Caspule
These are all the looks I created using the pieces from Mrs. Radiant’s colorful work wardrobe capsule. In the past, I have given multiple jewelry and shoe options for each look I create, but this time, I decided to streamline it by only offering one shoe choice and one jewelry option. My choices in how I capsule are always dictated by what’s best for the client. What I like most about this capsule is the way it all works together but Mrs. Radiant can still pull it in a colorful direction as well as a neutral one. She can bring color into her looks but her capsule isn’t too singular in direction or one-note looking. This isn’t a capsule where she’ll begin to be known as the pink and green lady because those are the only colors she’ll be wearing this spring. Let’s take a look at the outfits
The Pieces Mrs. Radiant Has Received So Far
These are The RealReal pieces Mrs. Radiant has received so far. Everything has fit. The first dress, the now infamous Magenta dress, is from Akris Punto. It’s slightly roomy and will need some minor tailoring, but otherwise is perfect. The skirt, #2, was initially a tough sell for Mrs. Radiant which I am sure she is laughing about now. Skirts can be tricky for her because she tends to be straighter in the midsection, but the colors were made for the capsule. We call it the confetti skirt. Mrs. Radiant had the burgundy top hidden away in her closet which I berated her about when I found out because I could have used it when constructing this capsule. Outfits #3 and #4 are of the deep green tank dress from Michael Kors Collection which is dreamy and fits Mrs. Radiant like a glove. I had her try it with her grey Michael Kors Collection shrug she had in her wardrobe from fall. Outfit #5 is the Givenchy blouse she purchased from The RealReal. The decision to add this blouse was to duplicate how Argent styled the magenta suit Mrs. Radiant purchased. Argent didn’t offer the blouse they styled the suit with (weird) so I found this style as a close approximation. She styled it with her wide-leg black pants from Talbots. Lastly, I asked her to try the deep green Michael Kors Collection dress with her L’Agence Kenzie blazer in Cappuccino, just as I capsuled it. It was a total win.
If You are a Professional Woman, Don’t Be scared Off By Color
A few years ago, I was speaking to a professional woman’s group and a woman working in finance countered my suggestion about adding color to work looks. It was an uncomfortable situation because she actually got a bit angry and offended. She decided she was going to school me on what women needed to wear work despite the fact that I had not only been styling professional women for well over a decade but had also been styling professional women in finance for years. She explained that women should only wear neutral colors like black, navy, camel, and grey in order to fit succeed and that it’s not appropriate to wear color. I would have pushed back harder in response to her comments but I felt sorry for her that she believed she had to self-marginalize in order to get ahead. Women, especially today, don’t have to comport themselves in the workplace with these preconceived notions any longer to succeed. If you are feeling bright and vivid for the workplace this spring, let it shine.
My sincere thanks to Mrs. Radiant who not only allowed me to share her colorful work wardrobe capsule but for entrusting me to help her shine just as bright outwardly as she does on the inside.
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These are great! I work from home almost exclusively now but have to dress professionally when I travel a few times a year for work or speak at conferences. I have similar looking pieces from pre-COVID that still fit and this capsule inspired me for my next business trip in May. A big thank you to you and Mrs. Radiant for sharing this!
Hi! Yes, this is the same situation with Mrs. Radiant and what I am finding with quite a few clients where they work from home and often hit the road and need to dress, maybe not all as dressed as pre-pandemic but still pretty dressed. In some cases, they will have some cases, they will have a few in-office days where they are either on the road or back home, but it seems most of the dressing happens when they are traveling. It’s a nice balance, I think because, for the most part, they can be more relaxed but when they can also break out some nicer looks when they need. I am finding creating these balanced type wardrobes fun to create as well.
There are definitely ways you can use your pre-pandemic clothes and shift them to a more casual workplace and I am pleased to know that you gleaned some inspiration for yourself from this post. Mrs. Radiant will be happy to know you got some ideas. I will be sure to direct her to this comment if she hasn’t already seen it herself.
Thanks! I finally used the inspiration from this post to pack for a week-long trip and it worked out great. I even picked up some of the jewelry you listed! I also realized I’m at a bit of a disadvantage since so many of your great outfit combinations involve skirts and dresses. I won’t wear anything that exposes my bare legs indoors since I freeze in any sort of A/C and people tend to look at you funny when you wear hose (I loved it since I would keep me legs from freezing). I can’t be my best at work when I’m rubbing my legs trying to keep them warm! I tried printed pants, but something about those scream PJs to me. Keep up your great posts – I’m finally getting a chance to catch up on them.