Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration with Chico’s. As always all opinions are my own.
When I first moved to Europe and began working in Switzerland in 2003, one of the first observations I made about the women in the office is that while they were very stylish and put together, they seemed to wear the same clothes. There was one woman, in particular, she was Italian by birth, but had lived in Switzerland for a very long time.
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She was responsible for PR (public relations) and was not only passionate about marketing in general, but she was quite flamboyant. I arrived in Switzerland in the spring and in my first few weeks, I would see her in bright pink and bright orange suits with a simple blouse and lots of jewelry. I admired her for being “bold enough” to wear the same clothes multiple times in a short time frame.
Then I realized. It is just plain smart. (And honestly, after a while I didn’t even notice!) She was capsule wardrobing way before it was trendy. And in fact, if you read my advice on how to pack for Paris, it is the way most French women approach their wardrobe. Also capsule wardrobes and the absolute best packing approach for traveling – hands down.
Capsule wardrobes are just plain smart and Chico’s has not only mastered the concept, they pride themselves in offering unique fashion finds that help you build that wardrobe, while also offering versatility so it never looks like you’re wearing the same outfit twice! This fall, Chico’s is taking the guesswork out of dressing yourself by offering 10 pieces that you can wear in 20 different ways. (I actually think it could be more!) I’m sharing a sampling of the outfits I created from curating a few pieces from their collection and a few tips on creating a capsule wardrobe.
My Chico's Wardrobe Selections
You may have followed me on Instagram for a while or have seen some of the outfits, I've worn on the pages of this blog, so you might be looking at the collection above and think, that doesn't look like Andi. But even though there are pieces in beautiful shades of magenta and mustard, there are also pieces in navy, black, and grey! You will see in the tips for creating a wardrobe further down, that you have to be you! So when I made my collection choices I selected:
- The Bateau-Neck Sweater in Heather Grey
- The Ruffle-Front Shirt in White
- The Sophia-Slim Ankle Pants in Black
- The Petite Denim Jacket
I choose these pieces because I know I will wear them and after receiving them and wearing there are a couple more pieces I will be selecting to add to my wardrobe. Most specifically the ankle pants in navy as I absolutely love these pants! With those 4 pieces, I was able to create X outfits.
To spice things up a bit I added some jewelry. Picking out the jewelry was actually harder than the clothes since Chico's has a great collection! I rarely wear jewelry and don't have a lot, but what I do have I would consider “classics,” so when choosing pieces for my outfits I went with pearls.
“A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls.” – Coco Chanel
My selections were:
- A single-strand necklace
- Linear earrings
- A Starburst pin
Here's how my outfits came together.
Outfit #1: Everything at once!
I chose pieces that could be layered altogether depending on the weather and/or the occasion. So this outfit combines the denim jacket on top of the Bateau-Neck sweater on top of the Ruffle-front shirt over the Sophia-Slim ankle pants. I've also got the single-strand (faux) pearl necklace and Starburst pin on. This is perfect for colder weather or a day or presenting in the office (I would take off the jacket). I could also easily wear this in Paris for a day of activities that moves into dinner.
Outfit #2: taking off a layer (and adding color!)
Just because I like a monochromatic color palette doesn't mean I can't be fun. I added a huge pop of bright red with these shoes that I paired with the Bateau-Neck sweater on top of the Ruffle-front shirt over the Sophia-Slim ankle pants. That red is drawing a lot of attention, so I kept the single-strand (faux) pearl necklace on to add some texture to my top half. The other thing I will do with this combo is drop the necklace and add my red glasses! No one ever called me boring!
Outfit #3: taking off a layer
There is nothing more French (and therefore classic, in my book) than a white shirt. The ruffle-front adds a nice design and instant flare. Paired with the Sophia-Slim ankle pants it is ultra-classic. I kept the necklace on but if I was feeling it was all too fussy, I would drop that stick with the blouse and pants and feel very comfortable in this for work, for Paris, for travel – these pants are incredibly comfortable – and more!
I threw the Bateau-Neck sweater back over my shoulders – I often get cold in conference rooms, on planes, and in restaurants, so I always like to have something I can add to combat a chill!
Outfit #4: Simple basics
This outfit just screams “me.” I like simple, classic and comfortable and I would travel in this, work in this, walk in this – all the things. I want this outfit in a few more colors and life would be complete!
Once again, combatting any potential chills, I'd have that denim jacket on hand. The Starburst pin also adds interest to the outfit, then again, so would the red shoes!
I loved how everything fit and how comfortable it felt. As I mentioned before, I will be picking a few more pieces from this collection to complete my wardrobe and if you are looking for versatile, easy-to-wear clothing to build a wardrobe for work, for play, or for travel, I highly recommend you check out the Chico's has a great collection!
I have a lot of travel blogging friends that have written about the rule of 3 for packing. Basically, it comes down to trying to wear each item you pack in 3 different ways. As you can see from the outfits above that isn't hard to do. I only used 4 of the 10 pieces!
My tips for building a capsule wardrobe
Build a wardrobe that fits your life
Be realistic and practical about selecting your capsule wardrobe. Be true to your needs. Don’t try to be aspirational, your wardrobe should reflect your day-to-day environment, you should be able to reach into your closet and feel comfortable wearing any piece in there. And those pieces should feel comfortable! Simplifying your decision-making process reduces stress!
Start with a favorite piece
Got a pair of pants or jeans that you love, a blazer or tee that you can’t live without? Start your capsule with that! Build around that favorite piece, it will be a lot easier to create your wardrobe, and more fun to wear execute your capsule strategy and you will likely be more successful with this concept. If you don’t have a favorite piece find one! Might I suggest something from Chico’s?
Plan your outfits
Once you have selected pieces to make up your capsule wardrobe, try planning a few outfits. Try putting together outfits for a few days.
Make sure that every piece works
If you invest the time and effort to create a capsule wardrobe you will actually have less to choose from, which is not a bad thing, but everything needs to work. If you have a piece that only works with part of your collection, that you only wear once in a while, then it isn’t pulling its weight and you should consider getting rid of it or swapping it for something else. Trends come and go and so does the money you spent on that trend!
Forget about imposter syndrome
Everyone has seen the perfectly dressed influencers on Instagram sporting their magnificent wardrobes. You might tend to feel a little jealous or unworthy, may feel intimidated or unworthy, but don’t! Be inspired! Feel challenged to find a capsule wardrobe that works for you! You do you! If you feel like your choices are underwhelming, consider adding some “sparkle.”
I’m not big on jewelry and my Chico’s choices are in the grey/black/white palette so to add some character, I chose some pieces that felt a little larger than life (at least for me). People may not necessarily remark about my outfit (other than I look put together and sharp) but they will remember my broach or the fact that I wore earrings and that’s enough to get a wow! And you know me, I say throw a scarf over anything!
Welcome to easy street!
Once you’ve created your capsule wardrobe, you don’t need extra time to get ready. You don't need extra time to pack a suitcase. You won’t be spending money on shopping. You’ll naturally have more time to do other things with your time and your life.
How about you? Have you tried creating a wardrobe from a few great pieces? Have you gone full-on capsule? Do you capsule when you travel? Lastly, if you have to pick 3 or 4 pieces from Chico's new collection to start a wardrobe, what would you choose? Do tell!
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