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How to Choose the Capsule Wardrobe That’s Right For You

November 08, 2019 | Filed in: Your Closet

Whether you’re a partner at a law firm or a just-out-of-college social media coordinator at a startup, there’s a good chance you’re looking for ways to simplify your life. Our suggestion is to start at the beginning of the day, when the first big decision you’ll make—“what should I wear to work?”—can often be the most fraught (so many sweaters!). But there’s a way to make this conundrum a whole lot easier: the capsule wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe is a curated set of clothing that can be mixed and matched to create numerous outfit combinations. It’s versatile, can go from day to night, and is meant to feel streamlined, not repetitive. You’ll never get bored of a capsule wardrobe you really love, because you’ll instantly get the sense that your life is easier, but you’ll also feel great wearing it. 

Here at M.M., we’ve been working on creating a collection of capsule wardrobes—which we call our Omakase Menu (in Japanese, Omakase means, “respectfully allowing another to decide what is best”)—that apply to different types of working women and their unique needs. We thought not only about style, but also about fit. Some women, like creatives and teachers, need to be able to move around and get dirty in their clothes. Politicians and CEOs, on the other hand, need to be ready for a big meeting or a TV appearance at the drop of a hat. We considered both young women trying to look the part at their first jobs, and senior professionals who run the company. 

Our research led us to five archetypes (though we plan on expanding to many more): The Power Player, the Disruptor, the Multitasker, the Frequent Flyer, and the Mediator  (and we’ve already had M.M. employees take the first three for a spin). Interested? We thought you might be. Here’s how to decide which Omakase wardrobe is right for you. 

You might be a Power Player if…

The Cheryl coat, the Butler top, the Mejia pant, the Wide Strap belt, and the Grace loafer.

Are you someone other people look up to? Are you at the top of your game or the head of your field (and if you’re not, are you hoping to close that deal soon)? If so, the Power Player Omakase may be right for you.

The Twyla top and the Lenox skirt.

Made up of some of our most refined and elegant suiting (sharkskin, FTW!), the Power Player is meant to take you from desk to dinner without a second glance in the mirror. When M.M.’s CEO, Sarah LaFleur, spent a week in the Power Player Omakase, she paired the Jane Dress with the Cheryl coat; wore the Lenox skirt out to dinner with her husband; and then again later in the week for a meeting with board members. Such is the typical life of a Power Player.

You might be a Disruptor if…

The Disruptor isn’t afraid to pair her favorite sneakers with her favorite work pants (the Zhou culotte, duh). And that makes sense, because after work, she’s heading to a book club or to dinner at her favorite hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant. She has a free spirit, but also describes herself as having a “type-A personality.” That’s because she loves to be organized, which is precisely why a capsule wardrobe is her best friend.

M.M.’s Senior Creative Project Manager, Sofia Rainaldi, fully embodies this dichotomy. When she took the Disruptor capsule for a spin, she found the Foster pant to be polished enough for work and stretchy enough for helping out at a friend’s band practice. Later that week, she paired the Sarah dress with the Arbus sweater, which kept her warm while unexpectedly walking a dog on a photoshoot. 

You might be a Multitasker if…

The Rowling top, the Noho skirt, and the Beebe belt.

Are you someone who needs to be ready to present in a meeting at any time, but also wants to run after-work errands without doing a whole outfit change? Chances are, you’re somewhere in between a Power Player and a Disruptor—which would make you a Multitasker.

You need a capsule that is streamlined and contains classic pieces that are wrinkle-resistant and offers machine-washable essentials, like the Lagarde shirt and the Noho skirt. You’re going to want a statement coat, like the Osborn trench, for chilly mornings and a stretchy, wear-with-anything Woolf jardigan. Like M.M.’s Senior Communications Manager, Maya Iginla, you might find yourself throwing it on over an Etsuko dress during the week and pairing it with jeans on the weekend. Either way, you’ll always be polished and put together, no matter what the week throws at you.

You might be a Mediator if…

Do you bring a cup of tea to every meeting? Are you the person in the office people confide in before they go to HR? If so, chances are you’re a Mediator. You like things to be cozy and warm and are a reliable and trusted confidant to coworkers and friends alike. 

A Mediator should fill her wardrobe with knits and sweaters she can swap in and out as the temperature dips. Think: the Gwen dress underneath the Kendall top for a Monday morning coffee run and the Morandi sweater over the Choe top for a Saturday afternoon FaceTime with a long-distance grandparent. 

You might be a Frequent Flyer if…

You may not consider yourself adventurous, but your passport doesn’t lie. You’re constantly on the move, both for work and for fun. To live this up-in-the-air lifestyle, you need a trusted packing list that takes you from the airport lounge to dinner with clients, and then back home again. 

The first thing on a Frequent Flyer’s list is always a jardigan (no need to bring an extra sweater for the plane), and number two is a good pair of pants that are more comfortable than jeans—AKA, the Foster pant. And of course, there’s no better way to look both mysterious and purposeful than topping the whole look with a chic trench

Shop all five capsule wardrobes here

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Caitlin Abber is the Brand Editor at M.M. LaFleur, and an award-winning writer and content creator. Over the last decade she has held senior editorial positions at MTV, Women's Health, Public Radio International, and Bustle, and has bylines at InStyle and Read more of Caitlin's posts.

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