Build a Better Business Wardrobe

One of my friends literally had a job opportunity fall into her lap last week that was an improvement over her previous position in so many ways: better work environment, more responsibility, and a pay raise. (Cha-ching!)

Talking over drinks she confided she was worried more than anything about what she was going to wear to her new workplace. It’s a struggle to find clothes that suit her body-type already; trying to add more professional pieces to her wardrobe while on a budget made it an even bigger challenge than usual. “I don’t want to buy a bunch of new stuff just to wear to work,” she complained.

It made me think about my own wardrobe journey, from the time when I had an overflowing closet (working at a clothing store didn’t help), to the time where I learned to let go of things I was holding onto just because I didn’t love myself. Even now I’m not totally satisfied with my clothing collection, so we ended up having a lot to commiserate about.

The capsule wardrobe is a concept that I’ve been contemplating for sometime now ever since I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The idea is to pair down your wardrobe down to 33 key pieces (minus things like underwear, socks, workout clothes, etc.) that can mix and match with ease. (Although according to this article, most of us are doing it wrong.) The term was originally coined by London fashion boutique owner Susie Faux and has now become popularized through sites such as Project 333, which has a detailed explanation of the whole concept and a step-by-step guide on how to implement it into your own life. There’s even a psychological theory behind it- decision fatigue– which brought more attention to public figures such as Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg for their “uniform dressing”.

Unless you want to spend hours down the Google rabbit hole, I suggest not searching capsule wardrobe examples. (Besides, I did most of the work for you here on Pinterest.)  A lot of it is in the strategy- this breakdown really helped me to visualize how it might look if I tried to design one of my own.

After ransacking some ideas from here and here, my friend and I came up with a few work outfits using the clothes already in her closet- we just stuck to a neutral palette, incorporated some subtle patterns and shots of color, and brainstormed ways to layer pieces for the chillier months to come.

Honestly, most of us just want to get up and go to work with as little hassle as possible. Cutting down on her clothing choices, and leaving her only with outfits that were coordinated and classy is making her leave for work a more confident woman every morning. Creating a capsule wardrobe isn’t really for the faint of heart- it does take time and effort- but for someone looking to create a better business wardrobe it seemed totally worth the effort.

And as for me? Well, I might have gotten a little inspired too. Let’s just say that we all know what I’m going to be doing this weekend, and it’s probably going to have something to do with my closet.

Have you experimented with a capsule wardrobe in your life? Did it make a difference on how you dressed for work? Let us know what worked for you (or if it didn’t!) or email me at keepingbusyb@gmail.com. I could use your advice too!

Or, hey- maybe you’re totally not into this capsule wardrobe thing anyway. This article makes a good argument for how our obsession to minimize our closets is taking away our personality and sense of style. Is she right? You be the judge!

 

 

My Other Mission in Life

For those of you who know me in real life (read: not from the inter-webs) you’ll know that I’m not the only busy B in my family!

KBB_blogging_sistersThat’s L. my little sister. She’s got a hot little fashion blog that she started back in 2010. I’m so excited to share that after a brief (but heartbreaking) hiatus, Mission Fashionable is back and it’s better than ever!

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This blog is a great outlet for me to share the things that make running my business, my home and my life easier. Fashion isn’t something I talk about often, and dressing myself in a way that suited my personality and body type was something with which I always struggled.

It wasn’t until I started working at a small women’s fashion boutique in the east end of Toronto that I became familiar with the satisfaction that comes with helping other people (in this case, mainly women) feel good. Selling clothing became not so much about the color of the piece or whom it was designed by, but how much it did for the buyer’s complexion, figure and self-esteem. Women of all shapes and sizes would torment themselves isolating faults as small as the faintest knee dimple, and even the most beautiful, smartly-dressed women had issues with their bodies that the rest of us mortals would not be able to understand. It was easier to relate to other people and build selling relationships the more apparent it was that we suffered from the same issues.

Mission Fashionable is not a blog about telling you what the trends are, or how they are supposed to be worn. It’s about finding creative ways to cultivate your own sense of style, whether you have the budget to shop every day and experiment with trends, or if you’re simply looking to freshen up your wardrobe with a few key pieces. Most of what I know about dressing myself comes from my experience shopping with sister. L. has personally helped me through so many style crises that I’d recommend her blog for anyone who wears clothes- from the most experienced, stylish dresser to the nerdiest yearbook editor who can’t get out of her jeans-and-sweater rut (yes, that was me circa 2004).

Of course while you’re checking out her blog you’ll also have to check out my awesome photography skills, pictured here:

hpim00351I mean, I know my sister is stunning, but it’s my photography that makes the difference, right? Right?

Check out Mission Fashionable (I highly recommend Bloglovin if you’re interested in a good system for organizing all your blog feeds) and see why I’m making such a big fuss. You can also follow L on Twitter and Facebook for more style and shopping tips. Maybe if you say pretty please she’ll be willing to do a style consultation for you.

Don’t believe in the awesome powers of L? She made me look like this, people. Like this. This is my glamour shot.

IMG_5263I think I should go into modeling. Seriously. Especially seeing as this was supposed to be a very serious corporate headshot photo shoot. Then again, maybe I should stick to my day job.

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Have you visited L’s site yet? Do it now! Got the clothes and just need the organizing? I talk about some of my closet organizing solutions here.