You might remember Mrs. Boundless, the client I helped pack for a trip to Slovenia a few weeks ago. While she was away on her trip, she checked in with me about our next project, a business trip she has in June which was to be part of her general spring wardrobe update. This had been on my radar screen, simmering in what we refer to in-office as the “yellow zone,” and had just gotten bumped into the “red zone,” which means being actively worked on. Due to Mrs. Boundless’s vacation, when she reached she had no idea that the week prior, I had an emergency leave of absence due to my husband’s hospitalization and was now a week behind and had only just begun pulling ideas for her spring wardrobe while keeping in mind, this business trip had the most pressing immediacy.

Because I was behind on my work, at that moment, I decided to change course.  Despite my usual approach of working larger, in this case, I decided to take a “start small and grow” plan of action with Mrs. Boundless’s wardrobe needs.  After all, we already had a few things from her Slovenia capsule that we’d be carrying over into her spring wardrobe, and with this business trip around the corner, there wasn’t time to think big picture.  We were going to grow her capsule from a small seed instead.  

Building a Wardrobe Capsule as You Go

I thought this would be a really interesting capsule to share ongoing —if Mrs. Boundless continues to allow it— because I think there is a reality to it that many can relate to.  We all pick up a few things here and there as the need arises.  In order to keep wardrobes tight, however, we still need to keep our minds on the bigger picture so our closets don’t become filled with randomness and orphans.  This is exactly what I am doing with Mrs. Boundless.  We’re starting small and each capsule I am building will eventually grow into something larger and cohesive and will mix and match.  As we move into the next season, we will carry pieces over that are seasonless and build again.  It’s a realistic and steady approach we should all use in our wardrobes if we are smart.

Revisiting Mrs. Boundless’s Slovenia Capsule

To get you up to speed, we should go back to Mrs. Boundless’s Slovenia travel capsule so you can see which pieces I took from there and used for this upcoming business trip.  If you want to see the post as a whole, you can view it here.  The thing to know is there is always a difference between the first capsule presented to a client and how it winds up in the end.  The first capsule is the framework.  It evolves over time. Things will fall out due to sizing issues, pieces being out of stock, client preferences, and items clients already own.  So first, let’s compare where Mrs. Boundless’s capsule started and where it ended.

Mrs. Boundless’s initial Slovenia Travel Capsule

Building a Wardrobe Capsule

I always start out with more options than a client needs so they can choose without losing the integrity of the capsule.  In many cases, a capsule is my first pass with a client and I am still getting to know them and am trying to get a temperature read.   This capsule successfully established style and color direction, brands, and fit, and it gave me a ton of intel to work with.

The Finalized Slovenia Travel Capsule

Building a Wardrobe Capsule

It took a lot of time, back and forth emails, and trial and error to get this capsule finalized.  To protect Mrs. Boundless’s privacy, I swapped some images from her actual wardrobe that were used in this capsule and are close matches to what she owns and packed.  As you see, this capsule is much smaller but still manages to maintain the integrity, look and color direction of the original vision.  All told, Mrs. Boundless still could put together more than enough outfits for her trip, which I presented to her to take along with her as a reference.

Moving on to Mrs. Boundless’s Business Trip Capsule

So now it was time to select pieces and mix looks for  Mrs. Boundless’s business trip.  Despite the fact that I am in pretty regular communication with her, we really didn’t talk about much besides her Slovenia trip before she left.  I knew her business trip was in June to New England with the partners from her law firm at her boss’s home.  She told me that much of it would be held outdoors and that there would be a dinner.  I tracked my notes and didn’t have any information on how many days the trip would be if there would be any work involved or other activities.  My guess was this was to be an easy non-working trip, but we all know that even if it is a non-work event, it’s still work if you’re spending it with fellow colleagues.

Based on this, my goal was simple, dress to impress in an upscale, professionally casual way.  This is New England we’re talking about, and an affluent part of it, no less.  Mrs. Boundless is a successful female partner at a law firm, and even if the mood is relaxed, she needs to look on point even if she is in a relaxed atmosphere and not working.  There needs to be a luxe look of quality in everything she packs.  I decided to give her more than she would probably need so she could decide to pull back if necessary.

Mrs Boundless’s Capsule

Building a Wardrobe Capsule

Shop Mrs. Boundless’s Business Travel Capsule

1 Fatima Dress 2 Cloudsly Cardigan 3 Upcollar Dickey Jacket 4 Cherry Blossom Botanical-Print Cardigan 5 Resale from The RealReal, not available 6 The Hockley 7 Clever Crepe Pants 8 Vicky Tank 9 Resale from TheRealReal, not available 10 Antonia Top 11 Vintage V-Neck Tee 12 The Hutton Belt 13 The Flat Sandal 14 The Danza 15 The Felize 16 Kyanite Dewdrop Earrings 17 Tourmaline Necklace 18 Dark Fuchsia Drop Earrings 19 Ruby Gold Necklace

A few notes:

  • I carried over many of the jewelry pieces from her original Slovenia capsule, and one of the tops she packed.  
  • The mint M.M. Lafleur top is one we had originally tried to work in the Slovenia capsule but it didn’t work knew we would be keeping it for spring. 
  •  Having just worked with Mrs. Formidable who needed longer inseams, I knew I could count on Mavi jeans for jeans with inseams at least 32” long.
  • The navy pants are part of a suit from The Fold so if in the future Mrs. Boundless wants to purchase the jacket, she has the pants ready to go.
  • All the other pieces I had already forecast as potentials for her general spring capsule.  Now that they’ve been used in this capsule, they’ve more strongly earned a possible spot.

Next, I sent Mrs. Boundless this layout of outfit ideas with descriptions below each to give her some thoughts on the type of situation she could wear them.  Now knowing exactly what the itinerary would be, I wanted her to have different options she could consider.  Of course, there are more things she could the pieces, but I wanted to limit the options in an easy-to-digest manner.

A Strategized Wardrobe

Approaching your wardrobe with a sense of strategy, even when you build slowly and buy a few things at a time, may seem like it zaps all the fun from fashion, but it doesn’t. You can still have passion, fun, and a love of clothes while at the same time being smart about what you buy and how you build your wardrobe.  In fact, when you carefully consider how you build and buy, your experience with your wardrobe and clothing will be a lot more enjoyable because your wardrobe will be a lot more workable. 

It will be really fun to see where Mrs. Boundless’s wardrobe ultimately winds up, but one thing I know, it’s going to be amazing.  My thanks, as always, for her generosity in allowing me to share her journey.