Some of my clients go shopping once for Spring and once for Fall and that’s it. They’re happy to top up with new footwear, accessories and the occasional party dress during the year, but prefer to get the bulk of their annual shopping done in two sessions.
This shopping strategy does not work for everyone. Not at all, and most of my clients prefer to shop more frequently throughout a retail season. But it can work for clients who have very demanding jobs, travel extensively, and have a family. As a professional who needs to look absolutely tip top, it sounds daunting to get your seasonal shopping done in one day. But actually it’s quite manageable for three reasons.
First, I’ve been working with these clients for years and know exactly what they have in their wardrobes (most of which we purchased together). Second, there is a generous budget. And third, their wardrobes are already filled with beautiful pieces that relate well to each other. A quick top-up with the right items after a seasonal closet edit and review is all that is required.
I recently went Spring shopping with a client who shops in this way, and we got it all done in an afternoon. You’ll see the exact pieces that we chose in the collection at the end of the post, as well as photos of the items in the dressing room. For your visual benefit, I’ve put the capsule into a polyvore set, representing the items as accurately as I can. You can see the exact items we purchased in the finds I have added at the end of this post.
A few things upfront about my client. She works in a corporate business casual environment and is polished in the extreme. She’s tall and hourglassy, and prefers a neutral wardrobe made up primarily of solids plus a few classic and tonal patterns. She enjoys impeccable quality and better-end pieces, pearl jewellery, and has a soft spot for shoes. She carries one bag for the season. She is a tailored Modern Classic, but enjoys a few trendy pieces to keep things interesting. She also wears a pair of very contemporary French blue specs that create a fabulous juxtaposition with her professional classics.
The items in the capsule mix, match and layer to create all sorts of fabulous outfits, but they ALSO work well with many of the items my client already has in her wardrobe, thereby creating even more outfits.
We chose a palette of light neutrals and ink blue with a splash of colour for this capsule. We deliberately left out black, brown and grey because my client has those capsules fully covered for warmer weather. She is also covered with business formal suiting and dresses across all neutrals. We added more ink blue because it’s a new dark neutral for my client. As far as colours go, my client likes all sorts of blues and greens, and the occasional bright orange piece. We also started a blush capsule a few years ago and add a little to that every season.
Here are the items:
Bottoms: My client had a very good run with dressy, tailored and fashionable ankle pants over the last few seasons. In the spirit of, “it’s not broke, don’t fix it”, we added four more pairs to her trouser capsule. White, tan and ink blue wardrobe essentials. We added a pair of cropped kick flares in a textured blue fabrication for an ultra trendy touch. We also thought that a trendy textured ink blue midi with fun back zipper detailing would be a fabulous addition, since all her pencil skirts are black, white or patterned.
Tops: We chose ten tops which are very different from each other to create maximum variety. Three pullovers, four blouses and three button-down shirts.
- pullovers: A trendy metallic cropped style in chartreuse, a classic silhouette in a geometric ink and white pattern, and a trendy oversized style in bright orange.
- blouses: A classic long sleeve in blush, a trendy sleeveless waterfall ruffle in white, a printed shell top, and a navy neck-tie blouse.
- button-down shirts: A grey and white gingham shirt, and two blue and white striped shirts.
The blouses and shirts can be fully tucked and semi-tucked with a belt, or worn untucked. They can also be layered under some of the pullovers and all the toppers.
Toppers: We chose three toppers in different silhouettes. A long collarless jacket for extra drama in a small navy and tan geometric pattern. A tailored white leather jacket, and a Spring tweed blazer in shades of olive, grey and chartreuse.
My client wears a topper to work that she keeps on indoors most days, but will also wear a pullover or blouse with statement jewellery and no topper.
Footwear: My client has a thing for footwear and already has a beautiful assortment. We simply added more light, dark, bright and patterned footwear to create an even wider variety. An ultra trendy round toe block-heeled pump in navy, ankle strap pumps in nude and black, and pointy toe gold slingbacks. We are still looking for another pair of Summery animal print pumps and classic orange pumps.
Accessories: All the outfits are completed with an assortment of fun gold, silver and pearl necklaces and bracelets, classic pearl or diamond studs, and contemporary oversized specs. Gold or white belts feature strongly, and there’s only one handbag (an off-white shoulder tote). My client has all these items in her wardrobe already.
With the extra versatile capsule, plus the other items that she has back at home across different colour palettes, she’s set for the season.
You might find it helpful to use this capsule as a template for your own business casual Spring refresher, even if the colours and the items are not exactly to your taste. Begin by pulling out the pieces that you have in your closet and lay them out on the bed. Note what’s missing and add it to your shopping list. Tweak the colours and silhouettes to suit your needs.
Here are the exact items in my client’s new business casual capsule for Spring 2016.