Define Your Style ~ Basics for a Classic Capsule Wardrobe

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Rachel Stone

I’m excited once again to invite you to join forces with me to help our last client in this capsule wardrobe “practice” series. Allow me to introduce Miss Susan Parker, an elementary music teacher! Susan is a practical, studious type that can come across as rather serious. Until she’s in her element!

Then her playful side and quirky sense of humor shine. She is traditional in her approach to style – except in color and pattern. She’s hoping for something unexpected and fun with lots of purple. This fall/winter season she is needing a professional wardrobe with some black for her performances. She has become tired of wearing solid black for years as a music performer and is ready for something classy, but with pizazz please! This being said, she actually does need to replace her well-love black pencil skirt… Miss Susan has a more slender, rectangle body shape with fewer curves. She’d like to create the illusion of more feminine curves without fussy details – like lace, or delicate fabrics. As a music teacher Miss Susan is on a budget and would like to stay under $25 – she is an avid thrifter herself and loves the idea of us finding hidden treasures for her! Let’s get started!

Style Profile for Susan Parker

  1. Personal Style: Practical, polished, traditional with a touch of whimsy
  2. Body Shape: rectangle, rather straight and slim.
  3. Outfit Formula: Separates with a focus on creating the illusion of a waist with more fullness through bust and hips.
  4. Color Palette: Black, grey, purple
  5. Capsule Purpose & Season: Fall/Winter teaching job

Shopping Notes: Search for grey as Miss Susan’s base color (instead of black), and purple as her accent color. Replace her black pencil skirt, and find a pleated A-line skirt to add fullness over the hips. Choose separates vs. dresses to create the look of a waist. Consider ruffles on the front of the tops to create more fullness at the bust. 

As we begin the hunt through the thrift store we come across this grey elegant blazer. It has a nicely tailored waist and the curved lapel with the bias trim adds a touch of femininity softening the structure of the blazer. We paired it with the grey pencil skirt without pinstripes because we didn’t want to create more angular lines for Miss Susan. Next we came across a lavender shell with a ruffled front ideal for creating more fullness at the bust and machine washable for practicality! These are excellent “bones” or core pieces to a professional capsule wardrobe.

Next we scored the show stopper! A classic pleated A-line skirt with purple, grey, beige, and black in a whimsical pattern. How could this be more perfect?! We’ve styled it with black kitten heels and a (thrifted) black beaded handbag.

It pairs with the blazer effortlessly and can go from office to dinner with a quick up-do, dangle earrings, and the change to a small, beaded evening bag. Practical and classy!

Since music buildings are usually quite cold, we added a cardigan and sweater for comfort and practicality. The light grey short sleeve cardigan is perfect for those early fall days when it can still be fairly warm. The “corsage” adds a feminine touch without being too frilly.

The polka dots on the sweater just say “fun” and break up the seriousness of the color. Miss Susan could liven a bleak wintry day by topping her whimsical A-line skirt with this fun-loving sweater!

Black skirts seem to be plenteous at every thrift store and we found this one by Talbots.

Here are a practical, comfortable for Miss Susan that will create the illusion of more curve at the waistline. The grey monotone outfit would work well with a black belt to give more definition at the waist and break up the color.

Here are a couple more outfit options demonstrating the versatility of the pieces we’ve found. The black ensemble has a welcome touch with the lively polka dots for when the head-to-toe black is called for. Can you picture more outfits we could suggest to Miss Susan? What other pieces would you add to further fill out this capsule?

Here is the final picture of name brands.

Our Cost:

  • Grey pinstripe blazer by Tahari – $5
  • Black polka dot sweater by LOFT – $4 (50% off!)
  • Purple ruffle shell by LOFT – $3
  • Black pencil skirt by Talbots – $4
  • Grey skirt by Ann Taylor – $4
  • A-line floral skirt by Ann Taylor – $4 (50% off!)
  • Dove grey cardigan by The Limited – $4
  • After taxes, and with my 10% thrift store discount…

GRAND TOTAL $21.60!

Thank you for joining me in this three part series! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the process and have more capsule ideas floating in my head… In putting together this capsule wardrobe and several others to sell online I learned so much about building a capsule wardrobe, but also about how to construct outfits! It is my hope that by sharing this experience with you and “practicing” building three capsule wardrobes together you would pick up some valuable pointers for creating your own. I’m considering an illustrated vacation capsule, and possibly a more casual capsule. Please let me know what questions you have and I’ll share what I’ve learned!

I’d love to know: Are there other capsules you’d like to see? What questions related to capsule wardrobes and putting together outfits you have?

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Author: Rachel Stone
Rachel is passionate about creating a comfortable and beautiful home for her family. She also loves to share the lessons she is learning with her wonderful audience both on this blog and her YouTube channel.

2 thoughts on “Define Your Style ~ Basics for a Classic Capsule Wardrobe”

  1. This post made me smile because it makes me think of myself!! 🙂 I am so much of what you described here down to how I used to wear black all of the time!! You’ve outdone yourself again with this post. I would love to read some more of these I love them and they are SUPER helpful!!!

    • Hey, Hub City Girl! It’s great to hear that you both enjoyed and benefited from this series! I really enjoyed putting them together and have received some good feedback. Next I was considering a spin on the capsule practice idea with some vacation travel capsules… Stay posted!

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