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Our Essential Guide to Summer Capsule Wardrobes

July 26, 2019 | Filed in: Your Closet

A capsule wardrobe is a combination of basics and statement pieces you can mix and match to create completely new outfits. For summer, we’re focusing on just eight items. “We wanted to show customers what they can do with the minimal items that they have,” explains Nyjerah, M.M.’s Styling Excellence Associate. “We want to highlight that less is more when it comes to summer. It’s not about the number of items you have, but rather how you maximize your garments to create multiple looks.”

Why You Should Have a Capsule Wardrobe

“Most people want to build a capsule wardrobe when they have too much to wear and are at the point where they say, I have nothing to wear,” says Nyjerah. But there’s nothing quite like the feeling of going into your closet and knowing that everything in there has a purpose and looks great on you, and that’s what a capsule wardrobe is for. 

Molly wears the Peggy top, the Foster pant, the Imogen jacket, and the Capri earrings.

More reasons to build a capsule wardrobe:

How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe

Designing your own capsule wardrobe is all about understanding your own personal style. You should pare down your clothes to those that fit you and those that you’ll wear, and add items for the type of capsule you’re building. 

“It really depends on your style personality when it comes to a capsule wardrobe,” Nyjerah points out. “Focus on building your foundation, and then, season by season, add in the pieces that change up your standard looks.”

Molly wears the Jane dress, the Capri earrings, and the Ella sandal.

The first step in building a capsule wardrobe is to sort all your clothes (yes, all of them—even your gym clothes). Eventually, you’ll end up with four piles: Love, Maybe, Donate, and Trash. To sort your clothes even further, go through the Donate pile and really think about why you don’t wear each piece. For example, if it’s a special occasion dress that you look great in but rarely wear because you don’t attend that many events, add it to the Love pile. Throw items that you like, but don’t necessarily fit into at this particular moment, into the Maybe pile. Divide everything else into the Donate and Trash piles.

Molly wears the Jane dress, the Imogen jacket, and the D-Ring belt.

Focus on what’s in your Love pile to get inspiration about your style. “The items you wear the most tell you who you are as a person when it comes to styling. Look at things like color and length,” advises Nyjerah. “You want to establish the base of your wardrobe by considering those criteria. Then, invest in key pieces that change up those basics and allow you to dress looks up or down and maximize your wear.” 

When going through your clothes, Nyjerah recommends that you “focus on what you can wear now instead of on what will fit later. You won’t really be utilizing your clothes as much as you should. If you’re not going to wear something within six months, that’s an issue—and if you’re not going to wear it within a year, that’s way too long.”

Molly wears the Peggy top, the Cobble Hill skirt, the Imogen jacket, the Capri earrings, and the D-Ring belt.

Style is a reflection of everything about you. One way to home in on your style is to create a mood board on Pinterest (we’ve already created one based on this capsule wardrobe). Add all kinds of things to the board, not just clothes. This activity will help you see your style holistically. “I love seeing style visually,” says Nyjerah. “There’s nothing like seeing it on paper.”

Capsule Wardrobe Essentials

A capsule wardrobe should take the seasons into account and focus on materials and pieces that are weather appropriate. The base for most capsule wardrobes consists of the following: a couple of tops, a few pairs of pants, a skirt or dress, a scarf, two pairs of shoes, a bag, a coat or sweater, and a statement accessory. 

Our summer capsule wardrobe is all about lightweight materials that can go from work to dinner. This wardrobe includes only eight items, but you can easily create 20 different looks. 

The essentials in our summer wardrobe include:

Our team member Molly wears the Peggy top, the Cobble Hill skirt, the Capri earrings, and the Crinkle Stripe scarf.

Mix and Match: Styling Your Capsule Wardrobe

Once you’ve created the ideal capsule wardrobe, it’s time to start creating outfits that will take you through the season. Ideally, you’ve fine-tuned your color story, so you should be able to mix and match most of the items in your wardrobe. Follow these tips to create more looks:

Molly wears the Peggy top, the Foster pant, the Imogen jacket, the Capri earrings, and the Ella sandal.

Build a Capsule Wardrobe Online at M.M.LaFleur 

Now that you know how a capsule wardrobe can change the way you get dressed in the morning and ultimately give you more time and confidence, why not work with a stylist to build one of your own? At M.M.LaFleur, our goal is to take the work out of getting dressed for work. When shopping at M.M.LaFleur, you can work directly with one of our stylists at a showroom or pop-up location, peruse our online store (there are stylists standing by to answer any questions and provide guidance).

Use our capsule wardrobe planner to start building your own capsule wardrobe at mmlafleur.com

Photographs by Yan Ruan. Styling by Nyjerah Cunningham.


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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 OprahMag.com. Read more of Caitlin's posts.


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