Focused and Flexible: Building a Camel and Black Work Wardrobe Capsule
Recently, I started working with a new client who is fabulous. We had immediate chemistry and working together has been a pleasure. To protect her identity, I have given her the alias, Mrs. Radiant. She has a C-level position, travels a great deal for work, and when she isn’t on the road she works from home. Mrs. Radiant reached out to me at a common time when most clients do, she recognized her wardrobe wasn’t nearly up to the level that her career was. She knew this wasn’t something she didn’t have the ability or the bandwidth to handle on her own. As with most clients, Mrs. Radiant gave it her best shot prior to hiring me and lost a lot of money and time in the process. I was warned prior to even seeing what was in her closet that we had a lot of work ahead of us.
It was true, we did have a lot of work to do. When I got a look at our starting point, it was quickly evident that Mrs. Radiant’s wardrobe was not up to snuff but it was nowhere near being a lost cause. In fact, her wardrobe looked like most closets I have seen, which is usually filled with a bunch of desperate attempts, rushed purchases, and not a lot of strategizing.
However, it was not a failure. In fact, when we cleared away the mistakes, there were quite a few successes in Mrs. Radiant’s closet. What I noticed about these successes were they shared a lot in common. A lot of these pieces were black, which was a flattering color for Mrs. Radiant, and that the black looked best when she paired it with camel. It was this that helped me formulate a plan. Given how much Mrs. Radiant travels, the importance that she is able to mix and match on the fly, and how user-friendly her wardrobe needs to be, I made the suggestion that we start by building off the successful pieces in her wardrobe and build a camel and black capsule.
I decided to share this plan as a blog post because we’re living in a time where we’re simplifying everything and asking for the easiest solutions to our problems. The goal would be to make Mrs. Radiant’s wardrobe as user-friendly as possible while not sacrificing style in any way. And the beauty is, with these two neutral colors, it’s easy to introduce other colors down the road.
BUILDING A CAMEL AND BLACK WORK WARDROBE CAPSULE
Shop for the pieces in this capsule: 1. Rag & Bone Celia Recycled Wool Blend Long Sleeve Wrap Dress 2. BOSS Long-sleeved knitted dress with abstract jacquard pattern 3. L’Agence Kenzie Double Breasted Bouclé Blazer 4. BOSS Bashina Stretch Poplin Blouse 5. M.M. Lafleur Lilia Jacket 6. Kendra Scott Rue Long Station Necklace 7. Theory Basic Sweater Tee in Feather Cashmere 8. Vince Chrysanthemum Silk Shell 9. COS Fine Wool Turtleneck Top 10. Saks Alpaca Blend Duster 11. Akris Punto Jersey Cap-Sleeve Sheath 12. BOSS Selrita Suede Skirt 13. Vineyard Vines Seaspun Cashmere Cable-Knit Crewneck Sweater 14. Theory Etiennette Blazer in Good Wool 15. Black Gold Statement Necklace 16. Theory Treeca Pant in Good Wool 17. C by Bloomingdale’s Short-Sleeve Cashmere Sweater 18. J.Crew Factory Leopard calf hair belt 19. Victoria Beckham Silk Blend Pleated Detail Cropped Cardigan 20. Hobbs Simone Wide Leg Pants 21. Halogen Cap Sleeve Blouse 22. AGL Manola Velour Slipper 23. Stuart Weitzman Gardiner Booties 24. J.Crew Elsie pumps in leopard calf hair 25. Marc Fisher Zala Block Heel Pump 26. Aquatalia Roxana Booties 27. M.M. Lafleur Irene Slingback 28. Aquatalia Deana Boots 29. M.M. Lafleur Mejia Pants 30. Theory Korene Glen Plaid Stretch Wool Pants
This isn’t an exact replica of Mrs. Radiant’s camel and black wardrobe capsule but it does contain many of the items in it, including pieces she already owned prior to hiring me along with some of my suggested shopping selections. Some of the pieces included are not part of Mrs. Radiant’s capsule but are being shown as an example or alternative to sold-out items as Mrs. Radiant and I are still in the middle of our work.
A few items of note.
The Akris Punto Dress (Item 11) This is a perennial style that they always run which you could pay full price for or you could search for on The RealReal. So instead of paying nearly $1000 for the dress, you could pay around $100 for it, like Mrs. Radiant did if you keep your eye out for it on The RealReal. And, trust me, this dress is perfection. It’s worth scoping it out on there.
Aquatalia Boots (items 26 & 28) Aquatalia shoes and boots are expensive and understandably so, they’re amazing. Despite that, it’s hard to justify the price. If buying them second-hand on places on Poshmark, as I do, if you keep your eyes out on Aquatalia’s site, they have amazing sales. Mrs. Radiant got both these pairs for a fraction of the price.
L’Agence Kenzie Blazer (Item 3) This blazer is a new piece in Mrs. Radiant’s wardrobe and a piece that really tied things together. The blazer isn’t cheap at just below the Veronica Beard price point but the color and texture make it a versatile piece and the only alteration Mrs. Radiant needed was sleeve hemming.
BOSS Bashina Shirt (Item 4) I put so many clients in this shirt because it’s so perfect. It’s an investment for a white shirt but the construction of it eliminates gaping at the bust and the need to retuck your shirt throughout the day given its streamlined shape. If you are looking for a crisp white shirt but find features like gaping and keeping the lines of your shirt clean and flat difficult, this is the shirt for you.
Victoria Beckham Cardigan (Item 19) Even my clients with plenty of money to spend often shy away from Victoria Beckham because the price point is hard to justify. Case in point, this simple cardigan was originally $720. Now it is $288 with only mediums and larges left. If you want it, act fast.
60 Outfits Built From this Capsule
Using the pieces from the capsule, I have pulled together 60 different looks. More than enough for a busy executive’s lifestyle.
You don’t have to overcomplicate things in order to look good and even though restraint can initially feel limiting it can actually be quite liberating. By streamlining Mrs. Radiant’s wardrobe as we establish her foundation, we’ve been able to swiftly pull together her wardrobe and it will be one that she’ll be able to easily mix together herself so she can focus on more important things while projecting an image that is on the same level that she is. My sincerest thanks to Mrs. Radiant for allowing me to share her story and for our continued journey together.
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