May 2020 Casual Outfit Capsule

May Capsule Wardrobe

One of the many things I’ve learned over the last few months is that I love getting dressed.

Don’t get me wrong, during this stay-at-home experience I’ve had more than my share of days where I look down at 3 pm and realize all I did was put a fleece over my pajamas.

But more often than not, getting up and getting dressed as made the difference between a miserable or great day.

Now that it’s Spring and orders are relaxing, let’s look to the future! While working from home is going to be the norm for some time, entertaining at home is going to surge too.

Many of us are excited to start to welcome friends and neighbors back into our homes and onto our patios for some much needed human interaction. 

So today’s collection offers some relaxed yet polished looks for the coming weeks and beyond.

How Our Capsules Work

At the beginning of the season, I publish a cornerstone collection filled with size inclusive wardrobe basics. Specifically for this year, I focused on versatile stay-at-home appropriate pieces that you can easily transition back into normal life. 

In the following months, I create smaller capsules meant to help expand those pieces and build out your options.  

Within the content of these posts, please pay attention to the links and notes about size. If a featured piece is not available in all sizes, I make every effort to offer an alternative, but please remember I am limited to retailers and their inventory. 

To help create a mix and match wardrobe, also reference pieces you picked up in April’s Collection so you can see how all of this builds. 

Related: Stay and Work From Home Capsule Collection: April

Let’s jump in … 

2020 May Casual Capsule Collection

 

May Capsule Wardrobe

Maybe it’s the color combinations, but this capsule feels so optimistic. I’m extra excited for the shoe options. Two of which are going to require an at home pedicure 😉 

You can use this post one of two ways. 

First, you can shop it. I recommend all of these pieces based off my experience as a stylist and personal shopper, AND my deep knowledge of our readership. 

Or, you can use this as inspiration. Maybe you have similar pieces already in your closet and this gives you a push to try a new combination, or you’re simply motivated to get up and get dressed in something you love. 

Either way, there is nothing but good intentions behind all of my posts. 

All Dressed Up 

May Capsule WardrobeDress, $75 (on sale $50)  |  Sneakers, $42  |  Earrings, $135 

I have this dress from Banana Republic in “Sandy Beige Dot.” (You can see it here.) The yellow is limited, but worth highlighting. Either print is beautiful. 

A dress is even more comfortable than sweats but looks and feels a 1000 x chicer. Give it a try this week and throw on any dress you may already have hanging in your closet. Banana is excellent for size range. This dress is available in missy, plus, and petite up to a size 20. 

I’m showing it with sneakers so you can run in and out of the house, play with the kids, go for a walk, etc. I’m loving the look of these by Sam Edelman, on sale here.

The trick to pairing sneakers with a lightweight dress is to make sure the sneaker has a slim profile. If the shoe is too bulky, it will look off-balance. Whatever you do, not wear your white “gym” shoes – they are an entirely different animal. 

Finally, adding a gorgeous earring can elevate your look and mood. I am becoming a big fan of Julie Vos Jewelry. Her pieces are the kind that you don’t see coming and going. They are also reasonably priced for the quality and craftsmanship. 

If you need it, grab the denim jacket we featured last month

Better Than Pajamas

May Capsule WardrobeShorts, $20  |  Sweatshirt, $35  |  Slippers, $40  |  Earrings, $45

A few days ago on Instagram I took a poll to see who loved shorts, and who loathed them. To my surprise, the results were straight down the line. So if shorts aren’t your thing, you can easily replace these with the linen ankle pants we featured earlier this week, see post here. 

For this outfit, I use an olive pair of pull on shorts from Old Navy. Olive is a fantastic neutral, but these come in six other colors. My second color choice would be the caramel, and for the preppy pop of color, the mango. They have a 4″ inseam and come in sizes XS – XXL.

Whenever I wear shorts, I always pair them with a 3/4 length or long sleeve top. That’s just me, it helps balance out my proportions. Otherwise, because I’m tall, I look like all arms and legs. 

This sweatshirt from LOFT doesn’t show well in the image above, a better image is here. It’s lightweight, and has a flattering curved hem in the front. Available in missy, petite and plus sizes, in three colors. 

It also pairs with these jegging jeans from our April Capsule, and these adorable leopard print sneakers

For this look, I kept it casual and realistic with these “spa” slippers, basically fuzzy flip flops, for under $40. 

Then a simple pair of studs by Kendra Scott so you can hop on a Zoom call and look kind of professional. 

At Home Nautical 

May Capsule WardrobeShirt, $25  |  Jeans, $99  |  Sandal, $89  |   Earring, $58

I could not love this outfit more. I live for a striped shirt and this one from Everlane is only $25. I paired it with crips white jeans with a relaxed frayed hem. Next week I have a round up a white jeans (that aren’t see through – so stay tuned!).

These are under $100 from 7 for all Mankind. They are a mid rise, with sizing up to a 33. They run true, and remember, they might feel snug when you first try them on, but they will stretch. 

For shoes, I went with another Sam Edelman, these are a neutral flat in the color saddle, for under $90. They go here, with the dress, with shorts – pretty much everything but leggings and sweats. 

Finally, earrings. These chic white enamel hoops are comfortable enough to wear all day, so why not! I like them here, or with the dress in either color. 

 


Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist View Postand wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.


 

 

Stay and Work from Home Capsule Wardrobe

Spring Stay at Home Capsule Wardrobe 2020

Today’s capsule collection is a little different than what I originally had planned for this month, and that’s okay. As we navigate our current reality, I want to focus on ways to make us feel comfortable, safe, and keep us optimistic as best as possible. 

Over the last few weeks, I’ve heard from so many of you (and truly love it!), sharing your tips on how you’ve personalized a routine, how you’re benefiting from getting up and getting dressed, and how merely slipping on a pair of “real” shoes sets you up to be more productive. 

I organized today’s post like most other capsules. There is a lot of mix and match opportunity within the collection, and with pieces I know you already have.

There are as many size-inclusive options as possible. Almost everything is on sale, so I made sure that these were pieces you’ll be comfortable in now, and will easily transition back into real life in the coming weeks. 

Stay and Work-From-Home Capsule Wardrobe 

Spring Stay at Home Capsule Wardrobe 2020

Think of this as a shopping and/or checklist.

You may have versions of these at home already, if not you can pick these up here. Scroll down the page to see how and why I added certain pieces. 

Unlike my other capsules, I focused more on practicality and less on elevating style, while still sneaking in some fashion where I could. 

Stay and Work From Home “Must Have” List

Legging, $59: These are the best leggings. They are thick, but not too heavy. I’ve had pairs for years and they wash so well, which is something to consider. Plus Size here

Leopard Sneaker, $69: I ordered these for myself, I absolutely love them. 

Hoodie, $59: Available in white and black, in sizes XXS – XXL. Wear now with leggings and sneakers, take to the beach in the summer. 

Pink Sweater, $70 (on sale $35): This washable wool sweater is ideal for chilly spring weather. It comes in a dozen beautiful colors, in regular and petite up to an XXL. Banana Republic is currently having a 50% sale making this around $35. 

T-shirt, $30 (on sale $15)  I have loaded up on black and white tees lately. This one from J. Crew is available in all sizes up to a 3X in over a dozen colors. Also 50% off on their website making this only $15.

Denim Jacket, $110 – A classic denim jacket is a spring time staple and no one makes one better than J.Crew. Throw it on over anything as you spend more time outside as an alternative it oversized sweats and sweaters. Available in all sizes up to a 3X.

Now let’s see how to wear them … 

Leggings and Sneakers 

Spring Stay at Home Capsule Wardrobe 2020

Legging, $59 and Leopard Sneaker, $69 with either Hoodie, $59 or Pink Sweater, $70 or T-shirt, $30 and Denim Jacket, $110

I can’t get over how much I love these sneakers. I’m going to spray mine with Scotchguard to keep them gleaming white. It’s that contrast between the print and the stripe that makes them so sweet.

A legging/tunic/sneaker combination is an obvious one for right now. Using a fun sneaker and a tunic with a hood updates it a bit. 

Then I paired the pink sweater with the leggings as an example of what I would wear on a day I want to stay comfortable, but have to hop on a Zoom call. Wearing a color that brings light and life to your face is an easy way to look your best on those dreaded video calls. 

Finally, a tee shirt and denim jacket is just the thing for sitting outside watching the kids, or taking a quick walk around the neighborhood. 

Next, let’s add a few more items:

Jeggings, $39: These jeans, by 1822 Denim look like jeans but feel like soft leggings and are under $40. I have been living in them when I want more of an outfit but don’t want to feel confined (because let’s be honest, the jeans I dreamed of fitting back into this spring are going to continue live, lonely, in my closet). They run true to size and stretch – available in sizes up to a 20W. 

Gray Sweater, $10: This $10 sweater from H&M can be worn like a cowl neck, one shoulder or off the shoulder, so you can wear it around the house during the day, or save it for an in-house date night on the weekend. 

Tie Front Shirt, $15: I’ve always liked the idea of a basic with a twist and this one is just that. It’s just a simple long sleeve tee, but the tie front detail makes it feel special. 

Jeans and Sneakers 

Spring Stay at Home Capsule Wardrobe 2020

Jeggings, $39 and Leopard Sneaker, $69 with either Pink Sweater, $70 or Gray Sweater, $10 or Tie Front Shirt, $15 

All three of these looks are outfits you can lay out at night, and hop into at the start of your day. You’ll look pulled-together, and be comfortable. Be sure to add your everyday jewelry, fix your hair and add a little make up – you’ll feel like your normal self

Then, I added: 

Mule, $145: A backless mule is casual, but still a shoe. I find, especially when I have to get a lot of work done in a little time, that putting on a shoe quickly gets my head in the game. It sounds silly, but I’ll take productivity wherever I can get it right now.

Another nice option here would be a pair of Rothy’s that many of you already have. 

Polka Dot Shirt, $80 (on sale for $40): Button downs don’t get enough attention, in my opinion. Jackie Kennedy use to just wear them around the house, and we can too.

I don’t think you’re allowed to have a bad day if you’re wearing polka dot, so that’s what I went with. It’s on sale for $40 in missy, tall and petite up to an XXL. 

Jeans and Loafers

Spring Stay at Home Capsule Wardrobe 2020

Jeggings, $39 and Mule, $145 with either Pink Sweater, $70 or Polka Dot Shirt, $80

Now is the time to go into your closet and pair your jeans with tops you’re “saving.” Take them out, wear them, and you’ll report back that it made your day better. 

Finally, a dress … 

Dress, $30: I have been searching for dresses that work for our current at home lifestyle. I want something easy to wear and function in during the day (I have three kids, one of which is a very busy toddler) but still looked chic and make me feel like me.  This is it, from H&M, I sized up one. It’s also available in red and a navy stripe up to a size XXL. 

Simple Tee Shirt Dress

Spring Stay at Home Capsule Wardrobe 2020Denim Jacket, $110 with Dress, $30 and Leopard Sneaker, $69

You can wear it with the denim jacket and sneakers now, and when the weather warms a chic slide, and make it your go-to travel dress on the day we’re boarding flights for all of our rescheduled trips. 


Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist View Postand wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.


 


The Spring 2020 Work Capsule Wardrobe

Spring 2020 Capsule Wardrobe outfit

Our Work Capsule Wardrobe for Spring 2020 is here! This is the first wardrobe capsule in a series of capsules we will launch throughout the season. 

Today, we start with the most professional of the collections. But, while this is very much for work, some fantastic items in here are worth looking at even if you have a more casual lifestyle. 

How to Navigate the Capsule

All of our capsules follow a similar formula to how I use to shop for clients.  They start with a few foundation pieces, some layers and a hero piece – in this case, this tweed separate jacket

I do my very best to offer as many size options as possible, which dictates a lot of the retailers. These are all U.S. retailers because that’s what I have access to, and I stay in season with the East Coast. I don’t have the capacity to do this any other way. 

Other websites charge a fee for these kind of capsules, but I don’t and I have no plans to in the future. Please feel free to share our posts with friends who may also benefit from them. 

Scroll to the bottom of the post for a complete breakdown of all the size options. Almost every piece is available in missy, petite, plus sizes and even tall, sizes.  

Spring 2020 Work Capsule Wardrobe

Spring 2020 Capsule Wardrobe outfit

Suit Jacket, $178  |  Tweed Blazer, $139  |  Iris Blouse, $80  |  White Top, $49  |  Tank, $55  |  Dress, $148  |  Cardigan, $30  |  Suit Pant, $90  |  Jeans, $68  |  Necklace, $65  |  Hoops, $55  |  Tote, $25  |  Black Heel, $50  |  Tan Heels, $160

I put a ton of thought into each of these pieces, factoring in your past purchases, comments and requests along the way, and price point based on what I know works for you. 

Balancing practicality and style is the most important note to hit. I want you to feel polished and professional, confident and comfortable. 

Just from the pieces above you can create 11 different outfits. That’s before you add in a skirt, and a few more blouses, and other pieces you may already own,  so this is a fantastic first capsule of the season. 

Staple Dress

Outfit from The Well Dressed Life's Spring 2020 Capsule collection featuring a dress, necklace, bag, and heels.

Dress, $148  |  Tan Heels, $160  |  Necklace, $65  |  Tote, $25

A dress with a sleeve is a gift. You can literally zip it up in the morning and be dressed for the day seconds. When I talk about focusing on texture instead of pattern to elevate a garment, this is what I mean. For as simple as this dress (from J.Crew) is, it has amazing depth because of the fabric. 

I’m featuring navy because it’s a good navy,  and feels perfect for early spring. It’s also available in black which you can’t go wrong with.

I paired it with these tan suede block heels I found at Bloomingdales. I like a neutral with a navy skirt in warmer weather. Generally, I recommend finding a neutral-to-you heel so you can seamlessly continue the line of your body. This heel is what I would call a generic neutral. It’s darker than my skin tone, and lighter than others, but you’ll get the same, soft, long legged effect. 

They are also available in a lovely navy or black suede.

AND, speaking of black heels, you can absolutely wear black heels with navy.

People lose their minds when I say it’s not only acceptable, but fashionable to pair black and navy together, more about that in tomorrow’s post. 

Then, to add more visual length, this long necklace by Gorjana provides a sliming effect by cutting through the neckline of the dress. It’s $65 and you will wear it all the time. 

Then I found a simple tote at H&M for only $25. I also rounded up a nice selection of work bags in this post from a few weeks ago. 

Classic Suiting

Outfit from The Well Dressed Life's Spring 2020 Capsule collection featuring a black suit, white top, black heels, and gold hoops.Suit Jacket, $178  |  Suit Pant, $90  |  Black Heel, $50  |  White Top, $49  |  Hoops, $55

Suiting is so much different from when many of us first entered the workforce. They use to be stuffy and overly conservative. Now, they feel more like a finished outfit.

Many workplaces are super casual, but if I were in a leadership position in any environment, I’d rock a suit every now and again. This J.Crew suit (jacket and pant) is by far one of my favorites. The pants will hit right at your ankle, ideal for spring/summer dressing. 

I have long been a Theory girl. I have been a fan of their suits for years. But they are expensive and don’t offer sizes after a 12. J.Crew is a wonderful alternative that is a fraction of the price and offers all the sizes.

As an under piece, buy this sleeveless tie top blouse . It’s fantastic. You’ll wear it with everything. Here, it’s under a suit, and I use it in other ways below. 

Because the top as some interest at the neck, I opted for these hoops to play off the movement. I own these and wear them all the time. 

Finally, I included a low kitten heel pump for only $50 at DSW. They also come in beige, grey, navy and fuchsia. A kitten heel is a nice height to pair with an ankle pant. 

Hero Blazer 

Spring 2020 Capsule Wardrobe outfitTweed Blazer, $139  |  White Top, $49  |  Hoops, $55 with either Suit Pant, $90  |  Black Heel, $50 or Jeans, $68  |  Tan Heels, $160

When we talk about a hero piece, it’s usually a statement piece that makes the whole capsule work. This tweed blazer by Halogen at Nordstrom is that piece here. Use it to add some personality to your basics. Plus size option here. 

Above I’m showing it with the suit pants, the white tie neck blouse and the black kitten heels for one outfit. 

Next, take the same blouse, or just a simple tank, and pair it with flare leg jeans and the tan suede block heels. For both looks, wear the gold hoop earrings

 

Add Casual Layers

Spring 2020 Capsule Wardrobe outfitCardigan, $30  |  Tank, $55  |  Necklace, $65 with either Suit Pant, $90  |  Black Heel, $50 or Jeans, $68  |  Tan Heels, $160 

Next, we dress the basics down with a cozy layer. By now you know knits from H&M are my budget friendly resource (this one is only $30) for high style, low price point pieces that take your look up a level.

I went with the pink option, but it’s also available in black or white. 

Underneath, I used the Nic + Zoe “perfect” tank, and let me tell you, it is pretty close to perfect. It’s available in an array of easy to wear colors and neutrals, in missy (up to an XXL) and petite here. Plus size available here

Because the sweater is long and open, the long necklace will complement the style nicely. 

Alternatively, you can wear the tie neck sleeveless blouse, skip the necklace and wear the hoops

Pretty Go-To Blouse

Spring 2020 Capsule Wardrobe outfitIris Blouse, $80  |  Necklace, $65 with either Suit Pant, $90  |  Black Heel, $50 or Jeans, $68  |  Black Heel, $50 

Finally, sometimes you just want to throw on a blouse and a great fitting pair of pants. This blouse from Banana Republic comes in nine colors, in missy, tall and petite. It’s so pretty, has simple details and is easy to wear. Just add the long necklace and pair with either bottom for a go-to professional, yet casual chic outfit. 

Size Information

J.Crew

Suit Jacket, $178 Classic sizing from 00 -24, also in petite and tall.

Suit Pant, $90 Classic sizing from 00 – 16, also in petite and tall. Alternatively, these pants also match the suit jacket and come in classic sizing 00 -24, also in petite and tall. 

Dress, $148 Classic sizing, also available in petite and tall. 

Nordstrom

Tweed Blazer, $139 Available in missy and petite, from an XS – XXL, plus size here

Tank, $55, Nine colors, available in missy and petite from XS – XXL, plus size here

Jeans, $68 Available in missy and petite from size 0 – 18, generally run large, plus size here.

White Top, $49 Available in XXS – XL (size 16) 

H&M

Cardigan, $30 Available in pink, black and white, XS – XXL 

Tote, $25

Banana Republic

Iris Blouse, $80 Available in nine colors, XXS – XXL in missy, petite and tall. 

Neiman Marcus

Necklace, $65 

Hoops, $55 

Bloomingdales

Tan Heels, $160

DSW

Black Heel, $50 

________________________________________________________

Our content is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers in any way. 

Recommendations are based on personal experience and my time working with women as a stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram  and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

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2019 Casual Summer Office Capsule Wardrobe

Casual Capsule Wardrobe Outfit Options

We’ve received many requests for a capsule wardrobe specifically for a casual office in the summer. “Casual” translates in different ways. The last time I worked in an office, casual was the general guideline for our dress code, but what people wore varied, and depended on their job, role, and seniority in the company. Not surprising, the higher level executives, and go-getting up-and-comers always looked a bit more elevated than everyone else.

I’m of the school of thought that getting dressed for work is a way to show respect for what you do, who you work with and, of course, yourself. So if you work in a very casual environment, you don’t have to show up in a three-piece suit – that would be inappropriate and too fussy, but some better, classic pieces and a few thoughtful accessories will take you a long way in looking your best.

As much as this is a capsule that works together, it’s also a list of seven pieces that will make building a relaxed summer work wardrobe a bit easier. 

Casual Summer Office Capsule Wardrobe

Casual Capsule Wardrobe Outfit Options

Ankle pant, $52  |  Skirt, $150  |  Short Sleeve Sweater, $29  |  Dress, $71  |  Cardigan Sweater, $45  |  Sleeveless Shell, $99 |  Nude Flats, $69  |  Wedges, $60  |  Scarf, $79 |  Earrings, $80  |  Blouse, $49 

 

A Dress

Finding a starting point for a capsule can feel overwhelming. That’s why I like to start with a statement piece and pull color and inspiration from it. Sometimes it’s a blouse with a fun pattern or a scarf with an interesting mix of colors. Today, we are starting with this shift dress from Eliza J. (on sale for $71). It’s available in petite and missy, up to a size 16. The same dress in a different pattern is also available in plus sizes. 

I like the idea of a shift dress with a sleeve for a less formal office. You can skip a blazer, and not have to add any additional layers while still looking professional.  Pattern can be tricky in a formal business setting, but when the rules are relaxed feel free to have some fun and bring them into the mix. 

Pants

We feature so many different styles of pants, it’s hard to narrow down to one, but if I have to, for the summer, an ankle pant is the way to go. They work with a heel and a flat, so one pair will take you far. Here, we featured navy and white (they are also available in black).

I went with these particular pants because they have a very flattering side zip, flat front detail and are a cotton stretch blend, making them less formal but still professional. They are on sale for $50 in petite and missy and a similar style in plus size here

Skirt 

Not everyone loves a skirt, so if they don’t appeal to you, you can skip right over this. If, however, you like them, and need one that will wear well all day long, this Ming Wang straight skirt is fantastic. It’s in a wrinkle-resistant knit, so it wears and travels well. The knit material makes the skirt feel sporty, rather than stuffy. Be sure to have it hemmed at the most flattering point of your leg, just about your knee.

Short Sleeve Top

I’m so excited to have found this short sleeve sweater top from Banana Republic. It’s just the piece for a chilly summer office when you don’t want to have to wear an extra layer like a blazer. You can wear it with so many things.

If you have printed skirt in your closet and you can never figure out what to wear on top, this is it. If you want to wear a simple top and pants to the office, maybe add a scarf or necklace, this is it.  You can choose from eight colors, in XXS – XXL. The neckline and sleeve length are universally flattering, and it will hit right at the top of your hip, helping to elongate your legs. 

Sleeveless Blouse

If you need a more significant layering piece, this washable silk shell, also by Banana Republic, is ideal. We’ve featured it several times in the past, so – yay! – if you already have it. You could wear this on its own if you are comfortable with showing your arms, but it’s also a lovely first layer, that works with any topper. Other color options available here

Lightweight Cardigan

I think it’s important to incorporate pieces I know many of you have to help build a wearable wardrobe. This cardigan was a top reader pick after we featured it in our last work capsule. In this collection, you can pair it with the pants and the dress to create some interest with layers and texture. 

Simple Blouse 

I love the crisp, clean feel of this blouse. You can wear it on it’s own, under a jacket or cardigan, add a scarf, or a necklace. It’s easy and kind of perfect. It’s available in a few staple colors here in missy and petite and in the same color options in plus size here

Shoes and Accessories

The key to capsule dressing is simplicity and versatility. Keep shoes neutral so they can work in as many outfits as possible. For a casual office, we used a basic closed toe flat and then a streamlined wedge (side note, beige wedges are hard to find but ideal for summer parties and weddings outside or on the beach, so if you need a pair consider picking these up). Both shoes will work with any outfit. 

Finally, I found a soft and feminine scarf you can tie around your neck or loop around your handbag. It’s especially flattering with the neckline of the sweater top. And these pearl drop earrings are classic with a twist, providing movement and texture to any of the outfit combinations. 

See below for a few outfit ideas. 

Dress Up or Down 

Casual Capsule Wardrobe Outfit Options

Dress, $71  |  Cardigan Sweater, $45  |  Wedges, $60  |  Earrings, $80

Notes: You can also wear the dress with the flats and no cardigan. Or, if you have the Eliza J. white blazer in ivory you can add that on top for an additional look. 

Ankle Pants Three Ways 

Casual Capsule Wardrobe Outfit OptionsOne: Ankle pant, $52  |  Nude Flats, $69 | Blouse, $49  |  Earrings, $80;  Two: Ankle pant, $52  |  Short Sleeve Sweater, $29  |  Wedges, $60  |  Scarf, $79; Three: Ankle pant, $52  |  Sleeveless Shell, $99  |   Cardigan Sweater, $45 |  Nude Flats, $69 

Notes: You have so many options here. In addition to the looks above, try a column of white and ivory – be brave! Pair the white pants with the simple blouse and add the beige cardigan, earrings, and wedges. Or pair the blush sleeveless blouse, with the white pants and the beige cardigan and gold tone accessories for a soft and fresh look. 

Casual Capsule Wardrobe Outfit OptionsOne: Skirt, $150  |  Short Sleeve Sweater, $29 |  Scarf, $79 |  Nude Flats, $69; Two: Skirt, $150  |  Earrings, $80  |  Wedges, $60  |  Blouse, $49 

Note: The skirt is so easy; it will work with many tops you already have hanging in your closet. If you are on the tall side, you could also add the long cardigan, just make sure it doesn’t overwhelm you and the outfit. 

 

 

Our 2019 Summer Capsule Wardrobe for Work

2019 Summer Capsule Wardrobe

Over the last few years, there has been much buzz about capsule wardrobes, to the point that the definition has become muddied. So before we jump into today’s post, let’s clear up some things.

What is a Capsule Wardrobe ?

Capsule wardrobes are not merely a roundup of seasonal pieces. Instead, they are a thoughtful grouping of garments meant to mix and match within a set. It’s a system of dressing that focuses on a few key pieces and builds out outfit options by staying with a specific color and pattern profile.

Wardrobes ideally are a collection of capsules, with one capsule subtly moving into the next. When I worked with clients, one of my favorite tasks was building out capsules. It often took several seasons, but when we were able to get to a place of real closet cohesiveness, clients were always thrilled.

But not everyone wants such a structured system, and frankly, capsule dressing takes a lot of discipline. Buying random items, or spontaneously shopping, doesn’t really work here.

Because I take a more practical approach to getting dressed (and life in general), I always focused on creating micro-capsules with a smaller grouping of items with the same mix and match goal. Think of it like Garanimals for adults.

These kind of groupings are ideal for business and business casual dressing, and super helpful if you frequently travel for work.

Today, that’s just what we created, a simple summer capsule wardrobe for work, using many items we featured throughout the spring.

2019 Summer Capsule Wardrobe for Work 

2019 Summer Capsule Wardrobe

Blazer, $98 |  Dress, $119  |  Pants, $90 |  Camisoles, $42  |  Slides, $97  |  Ivory Camisole, $35  |  Cardigans, $41  |  Pump, $195  |  Hoops, $50  |  Studs, $69  |  Necklace, $17 

All of our posts are created based on my experiences as a personal stylist for over a decade. Within the content, you’ll find our top picks, and additional recommendations, including as many size inclusive options as possible.

Because it’s the summer, inventory levels are already low so if you see something you like I encourage you to act on it.  Unlike the fall, the summer is a quick season with little replenishment happening. 

Of course, if you have similar items hanging in your closet I want you to use them. These posts are both a shopping guide and inspiration for how to recreate looks with pieces you already own, that is one of the reasons we reuse items we’ve featured in the past. Our goal here is to help you build out a wearable, versatile wardrobe.

Key Items

There are a few items I want to specifically call out before we get into the mix and match. This blazer is ideal for the summer months. I appreciate its updated styling that seems modern while remaining classic. It comes in five colors, including white (featured), black and red, also in petite. And in plus size in black and white here.  I posted about it in our private facebook group, and members are already reporting back about how much they like it.

This timeless sheath by Banana Republic comes in sizes 0 – 20 and includes specific tall and petite options. Right now it’s on sale for $69. 

Same for the pants we featured (in black and navy). They are also on sale for $69, 0 – 20 in regular, petite and long. We’ve been featuring more and more BR because they are truly size inclusive, I like their quality for their price point, and their design feels ageless. 

We featured these Via Spiga heels in our Most Comfortable Heels for Work post and they have been a popular pick amongst our readership. They are also available in a medium beige tone.  

Finally, I recently ordered the featured camis from Nordstrom and love them.  They don’t feel as bare as they may look and are the ideal weight for layering in the summer months. Of course, you can wear any cami or tank you prefer. 

Within this capsule you’ll find dozen of outfit combinations. We are showing a few below along with some tips and best practices.

White Blazer 

2019 Summer Capsule Wardrobe

One: Blazer, $98  |  Hoops, $50  |  Camisole, $42  |  Navy Pants, $90  |  Slides, $97; Two: Blazer, $98  |  Hoops, $50  |  Dress, $119  |  Pump, $195; Three:  Blazer, $98  |  Hoops, $50  |  Camisole, $42  |  Black Pants, $90  |  Pump, $195  

A white blazer (this is actually more of an ivory) instantly freshens up an outfit. For under $100 it’s a great buy. Use it in place of a cardigan to bring structure to your outfit and don’t limit its use to these pieces.  

Print Cami 

2019 Summer Capsule Wardrobe

One: Camisole, $42  |  Studs, $69  |  Pants, $90  |  Cardigan, $41  |  Pump, $195; Two: Camisole, $42  |  Studs, $69  |  Pants, $90  |  Blazer, $98  |  Pump, $195  

An easy way to start a capsule is by focusing on one pattern that you will use as an accent and then pull supporting colors out of it. Here, I used this sweet floral, and let that be my guide for the color palette. This is an easy way to know that the colors you are working with complement each other. 

Long Cardigan

2019 Summer Capsule Wardrobe

One: Cardigan, $41  |  Necklace, $17  |  Camisole, $42  |  Black Pants, $90  |  Pump, $195; Two: Cardigan, $41  |  Necklace, $17  |   Dress, $119  |   Slides, $97; Three:  Cardigan, $41  |  Necklace, $17  |  Ivory Camisole, $35  |  Black Pants, $90  |   Slides, $97

Finally, a long cardigan can make a more formal piece feel casual, which is a nice alternative in the summer months. I especially love the combination of neutrals above.

 

Wear to Work: Travel Friendly Capsule Wardrobe for Your Next Business Trip

Wear to Work Capsule Wardrobe
Wear to Work Capsule Wardrobe

In today’s edition of Wear to Work, we’re answering a question from a reader about suits, suiting separates and creating a capsule that will travel well to a business conference.

Hello Megan,
I appreciate your blog posts, particularly the focus on pulled-together office casual looks. I’m writing to suggest a blog post topic about finding a great suit for work travel. What details or cut makes the pieces look good as stand-alone separates as well as a sharp-looking suite?

I’ve been looking for a suit that fits into my  conference travel packing formula:
Day 1: suit jacket and dressy jeans en route (jacket doesn’t get wrinkled in my suitcase)
Day 2: wear a suit for my killer presentation
Day 3: suit pants + twin set

A related topic that I’d love your advice on is navigating the items sold as “suit separates.” At Nordstrom Rack recently I tried “suit separates” that was hanging on the same rack by the same brand.  I was annoyed to find that the fabric and the colors were slightly different between jacket and pants – I was hoping for a mix and match option, but instead, they looked like I’d gotten dressed in the dark.
This was true with both Anne Klein and  Calvin Klein. Disappointing! Do you have any hacks or workarounds for this?

Thanks!
Melissa
Durham NC

Sample Travel Capsule

Wear to Work Capsule Wardrobe

Day One – TravelTank, $130  |  Blazer, $70  |  Jeans, $168  |  Earrings, $160  |  Pump, $56 Day Two – PresentationBlazer, $119  |  Pants, $65  |  Tank, $130  |  Earrings, $160  |  Bracelet, $110   |  Pump, $56 Day Three: Business CasualPants, $65  |  Tank, $130  |  Cardigan, $27  |  Earrings, $160  |  Bracelet, $110   |  Pump, $56

Thank you for your question, Melissa!

First, let’s start with travel appropriate suiting.

Travel Suiting

For something to travel well it all comes down to the fabric. You want to avoid linen, linen blend and certain cotton blends. It’s best to look for four season wool, a wool blend, microfiber, poly blend and anything with some stretch.

I like this Anne Klein jacket and trouser, featured above, made in a poly-blend. Note the color is called “Anne Klein Black.” This tells us that these are meant to be worn together. More on this is a minute.

Hack: Pack your suit in your suitcase wrapped in a dry cleaning bag. It will arrive wrinkle free every time. 

Next, let’s talk about mix and match suiting, because it’s a question I’ve been getting for years. I came up with a simple formula to follow when using a suit as a base for a capsule:

  • Mix and match suit pieces within a collection
  • Layer in separate jackets
  • Pair suiting bottoms with better tops and sweaters

I explain why in more detail below:

Suiting vs. Suiting Separates

Some suits are designed with true wardrobe building in mind. Brands like Lafayette 148, Hugo Boss and Theory offer a basic line of suiting that allows the consumer to purchase a few pieces each season.  You could pick up a skirt and jacket one season, then a pair of pants and a dress the next and the fabric and dye lot will be the same.

This, of course, comes at a cost. The fabric and process is expensive, but the quality is excellent. It’s a smart option for someone who spends their days in suits.

The most popular suits are in the mid range brands like J. Crew, Talbots, Ann Taylor, and Anne Klein, etc. Each season they create a few suiting capsules that you can buy and mix and match them within that collection.

Typically, you’ll see these hanging on a rack together. They will most likely not work with pieces you purchased in previous seasons, although there are a few exceptions.  But you can usually find a pant/skirt/dress/jacket combination that interchange nicely.

Shopping Tip: If you are at a discount retailer, like Nordstrom Rack or Off 5th, they hang garments by the same brand together, but those pieces might not have been designed to be worn together even if they look similar. Often they are from different collections and even seasons. 

Suits by nature are formal which is why a suit jacket looks funny when paired with jeans or separate trousers. That’s why I recommend wearing your suit jacket exclusively with the bottoms for which it was made.

When traveling, you can easily wear the suit bottoms with different tops. Statement jackets, like the tweed blazer above, gives a suited look and complements the fabric of the pants.  You can also wear the pants with a blouse or knit for a business casual outfit.

But when you’re not traveling, try to keep the suit together so you don’t wear out the bottom faster than the jacket.

Creating a Capsule

In the image above I created an example of a travel work capsule using the suit as the bridge piece. For a capsule to work, keep it simple, and limit the use of colors. To add interest, focus on accessories and textures.

Anne Klein makes an affordable suit that will travel well and work for a variety of functions on your trip.

If you want to travel in jeans (these are my go-to), pair them with a separate blazer for a casual yet still professional look. If you needed something a little more formal, you could swap the jeans out for the suit pants.

For the day of your presentation, wear the full suit with a simple ivory shell (this is a similar but less expensive option) and classic but modern jewelry. This bracelet and these earrings are gorgeous and pack a lot of style.

Finally for walking the convention floor and attending seminars, wear your suit pants with the same shell, and add a lightweight cardigan.

I hope this helps!

Have a question? Leave them in the comments and we’ll answer them here!

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