Friday, November 9, 2012

one suitcase: business casual capsule wardrobe


Post 8/8 - The purpose of the "One Suitcase" feature is to try to show you how you can pare down your packing list when you travel without sacrificing the number or variety of outfits you have for the range of activities your trip may entail. I have learned through trial and error (and the pain of lugging wayyy too big a suitcase) that by packing a few favorite & versatile pieces of clothing I can mix and match the items into a surprising number of outfit options. You just have to do a little planning up front. Hopefully the posts this week will show you my method and help you find the potential of the clothes you already have in your closet!

In case you missed it:
Checklist - Here's a checklist/graphic that could help you pack or reference outfit combinations!





The method:  
1. Basics - First I pick some basics pieces to lay the foundation for the trip. I try to pick my favorite go-to clothes. Clothes I know I wear over and over. The ones that go with almost everything. For me, this usually involves  laying out my black work pants, my favorite jeans and a pair of super comfy flats.  
For this capsule wardrobe I have chosen my black three piece suit (skirt, pants & jacket), grey sheath dress, favorite dark jeans, white button down shirt and a black ruffled tank top.
2. Interest - Second, I add a few interesting pieces to compliment the subtle basics. I look for pops of color or fun patterns that will make the basic pieces more exciting. I try to grab items that will compliment each other or at least be somewhat in the same color scheme. For me, I'd usually go for a striped top, a dress, few colored cardigans and an interesting blouse that would go with both cardigans.
For this capsule wardrobe I chose a print wrap dress, polka-dot pencil skirt, tie-neck blouse, pink t-shirt, striped shirt and two colored cardigans.


3. Accessories & Shoes - Finally, I add some accessories to complete the outfits. Jewelry, belts and scarves take up very little room and can dramatically alter how an outfit looks. Unfortunately, shoes is the area I still struggle with. I always want to bring just one more pair. But I've learned to limit myself to only either blacks or browns (depending on my clothes) and then nude/beige shoes go with everything.  
For this capsule wardrobe I chose three necklaces, one gold watch, black belt, black pumps and nude flats.


          Proof of concept - My clothes in my suitcase!

          47 comments:

          1. I love this new series! Makes me want to take another look at the way I pair the clothes in my closet

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          2. I shared this series with a friend of mine who is just about to finish grad school and needs to start building her professional wardrobe. She loved your posts! So, not only does it help with packing but it's a great "starter wardrobe" list, too.

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          3. This series was COMPLETELY awesone - thank you so much! I did a Maternity Outfits 30 for 30 back in January and I know how much work it takes - so thank you - you've thoroughly inspired me!!

            By the way, I'm totally gutted that I can't seem to track down that watch in the UK. Grrr....

            Sarahx

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          4. i love this! i'm graduating from grad school soon. this list is super helpful, thanks!

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          5. cool love this concept. great way to maximize your closet.
            xo
            Rachelle
            http://pinksole.com

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          6. Told you once already, but I loved this series! Thank you for showing us how much variety we really CAN get out of our wardrobe! I also like how you mixed pieces in both casual and professional ways - good for me since I have a hard time separating what's "for work" and what's "for everything else."

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          7. Pretty please do a series on casual vacation wear. I don't have a glamorous job and rarely wear any business wear. I loved the new series anyway. It still made me think about my wardrobe in my closet. :)

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          8. This series is, by far, my favorite of yours. Wow..30 outfits from just 14 articles of clothing. It shows that good planning is worth the effort.

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          9. love this series! I was wondering if you would share the handbags you use on a regular basis?

            Thanks

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          10. I think this is a really great series. I love the idea and I think it's so helpful for people who are interested in fashion but need to focus on the practicalities. I know that's me and all my friends! I look forward to seeing more of this type of series. Great work!

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          11. Yay! Thank you all for the kind words!!

            I'm so glad this was a fun series that everyone enjoyed!! It took me a little while to figure it all out but it seems like the result was useful. So definitely going to continue!

            I'm going to be taking a vacation near the end of the year so I'm already turning over ideas for a vacation suitcase! It will need to have beach, poolside, tourist/exploring and dinner/dancing outfits. I'm excited already! :)

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          12. I love this post and the beach vacation, too. Do you plan to do more? I'm so clueless when it comes to mixing and matching. Your post really help to see how to plan different outfits!!

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          13. I found your blog through Pintrest because one of my friends pinned your "one suitcase" photo. I absolutely LOVE it. I check it everyday now and have used it to create new outfits for work. It is also inspiring me to get a few new pieces. I love seeing all the different combos you make. Keep it up!

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          14. I love this! Just out of curiosity/for scale, what size/brand is your carry on?

            Thanks for the inspiration!

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          15. Thanks everyone!

            Megan,
            It's a small roller from Target.

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          16. I LOVE this! Just found it on Pinterest...I have to travel for up to 30 days at a time with Disaster Services in the American Red Cross...I now work at HQ, and this series has been EXTREMELY helpful in how I can maximize my wardrobe while out on an assignment. Thank you so much - I've already purchased some more pieces so I'm ready to go the next time disaster calls!

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          17. Sherri, That's super cool that you found it helpful! Flattered!! :)

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          18. This is so amazing. I'm going to Europe in Winter, so I'm trying to adapt your ideas for a cold-weather wardrobe. Seriously, so genius!

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          19. This is awesome! My husband and I travel a lot, so this will come in so handy. Now, can you do one for a June-European-touristy kind of vacation? That's the one I really need. ;)

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          20. I am a clothes-aholic to the extreme. I found this on pinterest and altough I rarely travel find it fantastic. I am going to use this to help me decide what is important in my wardrobe. Seeing how you do this is inspiring me to think that maybe I only need 16 items for each season.

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          21. Very impressed and wish I had come across this before moving to Tokyo for a year on a work assignment with only one suitcase in tow!

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          22. I used this post as in inspiration for a 3week business trip. I brought 16 items of clothing, including shoes, and I didn't have to repeat a single outfit. It was amazing! So... THANK YOU! You're all sorts of awesome!

            P.S. Any chance of doing a "Spring in Paris" set?

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          23. Glad you enjoyed! Euro trip is definitely next topic - it will just be a few months before I can get the time to do it!

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          24. Wow! This is amazing! I am in the process of losing weight and this will be very handy for transition wardrobes. I will probably need to buy one size for spring / summer, then a new size for fall / winter before reaching goal weight, at which point I will have to buy new clothes again. This will be a very helpful way for me to make cost effective purchases that give me lots of options! Thanks!

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          25. Please keep it up! I created a shopping list based on your post
            - I matched close I already have (mostly this is about basic items)then derived color pallet from it, after this defined missing pieces and decided what colors & prints I need them to be so they compliment the rest of the capsule conception. Thank you SO MUCH!

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          26. Currently preparing for a 3 month internship out of state and I just knew I was going to over pack. This is EXTREMELY helpful! Thank you

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          27. On my way to Africa to work for two weeks - and I've figured out my packing list now! Thank you! Please post more in the future!

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          28. this is so helpful....Curious if you plan on doing laundry when you travel? I always wonder about the tops. Love your input.

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          29. Anon,
            If I do laundry depends on the length of the trip - but I find it totally worth it to pay a little to send out laundry at a hotel in order to keep my packing light versus lugging extra stuff around for the whole trip.

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          30. You are an equivocated genius! This is so smart and so well done, thank you!

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          31. Please put together a suitcase for us girls that only wear pants and want to cover our upper arms at all times. Business casual.

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            Replies
            1. Check out my pinterest board of work outfits wearing pants & cardigans: http://pinterest.com/outfitposts/summary-work-uniform-pants-cardigan/

              Hope this is helpful!

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          32. Wow, I just discovered your blog and it's great! I love your style and all your clothing choices are classic and simple. I would wear everything in this capsule but the grey dress (too short) and platform pumps (no platforms for business wear).
            Keep the outfits coming!
            Thank you!!!

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          33. Wow! That's amazing! I love all the different options, thanks for showing how basics go a long way with accent items. Really helpful!

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          34. I am so pleased I found this. I live in Europe and did a search for some equivalents here. Found everything that is kind of the same all for £130! Amazing. Thank you!

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          35. Just amazing blog and concept! I find it so helpful for "shopping in my closet" and also packing for business trips.

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          36. I just finished my carry on challenge not so long ago and starting a different on. It really takes some thinking to come up with a capsule that works for all kinds of occasions. Love traveling light and chic.
            Check mine out :) http://www.pattyliu.com/day-31/

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            Replies
            1. I checked out your post & it is so cute! I love your layout and outfit choices!

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          37. My work entails 100% travel. I go from one assignment to another and the attire is almost always business casual. I try to be practical when packing since I am not a fan of those large suitcases. A co-worker shared your link with me and I am hooked! Thank you for showing us that we can indeed travel light and smart and still look fresh, beautiful and stylish.

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            Replies
            1. Yay! I'm so glad you find the blog useful! :)

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          38. Great post! I am really bad at matching and mixing outfits, that is why I feel like I buy so much because I feel like I don't have anything that matches with anything else. I need a consultation haha.

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