There is a major movement towards capsule wardrobes right now. Many of us spent the last year happily wearing our sweats and jammies, and a return to street clothes has given us pause. Lots of people are more determined than ever to only wear what is truly comfortable, functional, and makes them feel fabulous. At the same time, more people than ever are determined to pare their belongings down to only the things that are truly useful and/or beautiful. The point of intersection of these ideas is the capsule wardrobe. The trick is that in order to build a small-but-mighty wardrobe that ticks all of those boxes, every item must be quintessentially YOU. There’s no room for “okay” or “make it work” in a capsule wardrobe, or even a well-curated one.
You might be wondering how to make sure that every item in your wardrobe is “quintessentially YOU” and that’s okay. We’re here to help! Most people know what they like, and most mature people understand what cuts and styles of clothing help them look and feel their best. However, very few people have taken the time to distill their style into a thought or phrase that acts as a constant guiding star to their clothing choices. If you can identify a three-word phrase (three is an idea, not a rule, by the way) that encapsulates your style, and vow to refrain from purchasing any daily-wear piece of clothing that doesn’t fit your style phrase, you will have a wardrobe that truly works for you and expresses your taste and style. It is much easier, then, to pare down to a capsule.
Think of your very favorite outfit, right down to your undies, jewelry, and perfume. When you want to feel perfectly turned out and perfectly at home in your clothing, what do you wear? What outfit do you never tug at or fidget with? What makes you look and feel your confident best? For me, it’s skinny or straight-cut jeans, paired with a women’s T-shirt or lightweight cotton sweater, topped with a blazer or jacket. No outfit of mine is finished without a high-quality handbag, preferably in a bright color, statement shoes (must be comfy!) such as a metallic smoking slipper or leopard print pump, and accessories with an unexpected twist. A bold necklace or quirky bracelet are my go-to pieces.
Did I mention that the T-shirt might be plain white or a Blondie concert tee, or that my jacket is just as likely to be a classic motorcycle jacket as a tweed blazer? Or that my bracelet might be a chunky chain-link OR a delicate love-knot bangle? That’s because my style is “Punk Rock Prep.” I am a gingham-wearing, loafer-loving, semaphore-reading Prep to my core, but I also love the music and culture of the Punk, Alternative and New Wave movements. My personal style is a reflection of dreaming of retiring to Nantucket Island and listening to 80s alternative music in my perfectly-appointed screened-in hearth room porch. It’s wearing a cashmere cardi over a Cure T-shirt.
That was a lot about me, but it’s just as an example. My husband is “Executive Rock Star,” because he’s an attorney but can’t let go of his musical aspirations; a discreet edge to his professional attire makes him feel more like himself. My bestie is “Elegant Grandma Chic,” because she embraces truly mature styling, but builds her looks from top-quality classics—pearls and cashmere factor heavily into this look! My sister is “Boho Party Girl,” because she favors a Boho vibe, but mixes in bright, completely over the top accessories that express her love for ostentatiously joyful objects.
So, what are you? Do you know what style you favor? Goth? Preppy? Romantic? Classic? 60s? Who are your style icons? What are some of your dream wardrobe acquisitions? Think of your all-time favorite Royal wedding dress, Bond movie, or store window display; what did you love about it? How did it speak to you? As an example, if your style icons are Audrey Hepburn, Ina Garten and the Duchess of Cambridge, you might settle on “Comfortable Polished Classics.” If you know your style leans Romantic but you also love horror movies and Amal Clooney’s style, you might be “Edgy Romantic Power-Dressing.”
This is a simple concept but a complex task. If you can distill your style into a phrase that will guide your wardrobe choices and clothing purchases, you will empower yourself to shop with great purpose. This is not only financially responsible, it is ecologically responsible. You can wear only things you truly love, pieces that make you feel terrific, while paring your wardrobe and your life down to the essentials. Fabulous essentials, but still the essentials. A capsule wardrobe isn’t about wearing only black and white; it’s about having just what you need and nothing you don’t. If all you need is hot pink, who are we to judge?
The best part is that it doesn’t matter if your style calls for jeans, yoga pants, shirt dresses, business suits or Bermuda shorts—we’re not here to tell you what to wear, only how to figure out what’s right for you—and better basics from a reputable retailer will always stand you in good stead. Whether you shop for sexy wrap dresses or plain women's white blouses, we’ve got you covered and we’re eager to help you dress like your best, most stylish self.