This week I am headed to a conference that poses a packing challenge because I am wrapping in 2 days of conference with 12 days of visiting my parents in Phoenix. This called for some extreme minimalism: 2 shirts, dress pants, 2 pairs of shoes, and a sweater.
I blogged recently about my hatred of dress pants, and the good news is I’ve found a pair I like a lot at Loft. I actually managed to make a conference outfit that feels like “me” this time around, also, which is progress because I really don’t enjoy business casual clothes.
I’ve started to think more seriously about building a business casual capsule wardrobe as well. I won’t be on the job market for another year, but I’m a slow shopper so I would like to get a start on this now. As part of a capsule wardrobe, I like to pick 4-5 colors and focus on buying clothes in those colors so everything matches (this makes packing for anything AMAZING!).
However, I’m not really sure what colors to go with on this. I would love to do black/camel as my neutral bases and blush (pictured here) and burgundy as accents. However, I can’t deny that I tend to gravitate toward navy and grays also. But, because I’m going to start with a small business wardrobe I think I should start with more limited colors. (PS: I just got these Sam Edelman flats and they are the most comfortable flats I’ve ever owned. Conference MVPs for sure).
What do you think? What colors would you go with? If you’ve built a business capsule, do you have any advice about what items to start with?
Talking unicorn items today…you know, the things that you have picked out in your head and you wait and wait for them and then suddenly one day you’re out shopping and you find the one! I was wasting time while waiting for a brunch reservation in Kansas City when I wandered into the boutique next door (strategically open for hungry people like me, I’m sure!) and this shirt caught my eye. I had been wanting a white button up shirt for a while and when I tried it on I knew it was the one! It hangs really well and is a kind of athletic-y fabric that doesn’t wrinkle. Amazing.
If only it were always this easy. Unfortunately, I’m a to-do list motivated person, which means I tend to pull the trigger way too soon on clothing items that are not perfect and then realizing my mistake once the tags are already off. I’ve decided the key to waiting for the right clothing item to come along is to shop for dream items really casually–I keep a list in my phone of things I’m on the look out for. Currently:
-White shirt (found it! Spendy but here if you are also on the hunt)
-Overalls (nearly impossible because I’m so tall)
I try to keep the descriptions really loose so that I’m open to trying lots of things on. For example, I don’t really have a color or fabric in mind for the moto jacket, I figure I’ll just know when I find one I’m in love with. And then I can donate the two that are currently sitting in my closet that I don’t love. Whoops.
If you return to grad school after working an office job for a couple years you might have this conundrum: how do you style all the great business clothes you accumulated? I still have two nice suits sitting in the back of my closet, guilting me because they’re not getting enough use. So today I’m here to focus on how I dress down my dress clothes, starting with the pencil skirt.
My formula for dress clothes tends to be pairing one fancy piece with a bunch of other casual clothes. So today, I went with a chambray button up and lace up sandals. I do the same things with suit jackets (with a t-shirt plus jeans). I also like buying things that look like dress clothes but are super comfy, for example, pull on pencil skirts! (Like this one I’m wearing, and this one, which doesn’t have side slits).
Do you have any clothes that suddenly seem too fancy? If so, what are your strategies to make them work?
Phew, the 10×10 challenge is over. I’m really happy to be back to my full wardrobe, but the challenge did have its perks. In no particular order:
1) i felt way stylish every day. When I get dressed in the morning, I tend to style things in the safest way I can, probably because I’m tired and not thinking ahead. But with only 10 items to work with, I had to start pairing clothes in ways that weren’t my first choice, which is how I learned that culottes + a long cardigan sounds excessive but actually feels pretty cool!
2) Less choices is just better. Having a limited color scheme may seem boring, but it also makes getting dressed a no brainer, because everything goes together. I picked black and white, blush, and navy as my colors and I felt like I could do no wrong in whatever I paired.
3) I should totally do this every season before I go shopping. I think from now on I’ll pick the ten things I’m most excited to wear for the season and use them all to get dressed for at least a week before I go shopping. This challenge definitely helped me identify holes in my wardrobe (more sandals!) and now I feel more confident in the colors and styles I should be looking for.
4) Start with accessories. As someone who is not very naturally accessory-inclined, picking accessories that all coordinated and building outfits around them was a fast way to get dressed in the morning. Here were a few of my picks:
5) Making internet friends in the best! Seriously had so much fun commenting on everyone’s outfits on Instagram and got a bunch of good ideas from others. If you participated in the challenge, thanks for your inspiration! ❤ If you want to do your own 10×10 challenge, check out Style Bee’s guide, and maybe see you in a summer or fall challenge!
What I wore for a chilly, casual Friday.
Day 9! Meeting famous scholars and going to class today.
Thank you! It’s from Old Navy. I don’t see this print on their website right now but they have some other fun tiny prints. I want this one!
Day 8: only two more days of wearing the same 10 articles of clothing! Woo! Today I get to start dissertation field work. So. Excited.
Here’s my day 7 outfit of the Spring 10×10, which I wore this morning to get brunch to celebrate our 7th anniversary. And then to browse around a record store and buy some anniversary vinyl (which is I thing I made up but would now like to honor on every anniversary).
Now i’m off to the pottery lab, though, so nice clothes have to go because I’m mixing glazes for the first time today and I just know I will get them all over my shoes. In between I’ve been doing some Feminist Security Studies reading for one of my final projects. Some days grad school is full of stuff I don’t want to do, but today it is full of the things I’m 100% interested in, and that feels really nice.