Work Wear Capsule Wardrobe – Part 2

Hi! For all of you that didn’t get a chance to see part 1 of this series, no worries! You can check it out HERE

If you don’t have time to look at it now, that’s ok too! Part 1 was about purging all the pieces you have that don’t fit, look loved over too much, or that you don’t really wear/like any longer.

I purged over 100 pieces!! AHHH!!

To recap, let’s define what a capsule wardrobe is. Traditionally, it is defined as a collection of clothes and accessories that include only items considered essential. My definition of a capsule wardrobe is, a wardrobe of pieces you love & feel your best in.

For this part of the #acarriedaffaircapsule series I will be discussing how to find your own style and build a work wear capsule wardrobe with the colors you love! I’ll go ahead and forewarn you that there might be a little more purging that has to be done. Don’t worry though, you’ll feel so great knowing you only have functional and versatile pieces that you love hanging in your closet. To help you, I created a free printable guide!

Click Here to Download the Guide

The guide will help you establish your style that fits your work place dress code. Yay!  Initially, I scoured the internet for guides that were already in existence, but I couldn’t find one that was tailored to work wear specifically, so I made one. I also included photos of some of the pages filled out for a reference point to provide more clarity. Please note, this is specific for work wear. This doesn’t pertain to non-work wear attire.

So first, we need to establish your work place dress code. To help you, I listed the three main dress codes and their definition.

Professional Dress – this is the most conservative work wear category. Pant suits, business suit & jacket.

Business Casual – this is a more relaxed look, but still semi-conservative. This would include a collared shirt, khakis, dress pants, knee length dress or skirt.

Campus Casual – this is more for what you wear at home when you’re not at work. Jeans, tee shirts, sweaters, etc.

As stated in the guide you’ll want to take into account casual dress days, if offered at your work place. For instance, my work place has casual Friday’s, so I make sure to wear jeans on Friday’s.

After identifying your dress code, you’ll want to find a style that truly represents you. Think about the style icons that speak to your soul. I used Pinterest to help me identify my style. You’ll want to think what works best for your body type as well. Not what you think you would look best in 10 pounds less. What you look like right now. You are you and nobody else can be. Own it!

I also created a board on Pinterest specifically for work wear ideas. If you want to check mine out for some inspiration, my handle is @acarriedaffair and the board is named A Carrie’d Affair Work Wear Capsule. I initially searched work wear outfit ideas and started pinning all the outfits I loved. Based on my pins I realized the classic look with a splash of girly was my style. I also learned my love runs deep for ruffles & pleats!

Once you figure out what your style is, you’ll want to identify a color pallet. You don’t have to stay within the number of colors/textures I specified in the guide, but I found doing that for myself helped me easily narrow it down to colors that I think actually look good on me and that I consistently wear. I took my eye color, complexion, hair color into account. Knowing my color pallet, I steered clear of other colors. Mainly because I know I don’t truly like them on me. I like them on the person in the photo.

So, the first step to narrowing down your color pallet is identifying a base color or colors. What base color(s) do you wear to work daily? For me it’s black and navy. What’s funny is, I learned a lot about myself when filling this out. I realized I had a lot more navy pieces than I thought. I guess I really like navy blue.

After identifying a base color, you’ll choose 2-3 neutral colors (that compliment your base color), 1-2 accent colors, and 1-2 textures that you just can’t live without. That make you feel your best in! I put a number on it to keep things simple. I mean, being all over the place is what got me here in the first place.

When I filled this out I took into account that I have olive skin, dark hair, and hazel eyes. What may look good on someone with blonde hair, a fair complexion, and blue eyes may not look as good on me. I also took into account the colors I get the most compliments on.

After you narrow down your color pallet, it’s time to do a clothes audit. Do you have work wear pieces that don’t fall into your work wear color pallet? If you find that you have pieces that won’t compliment your color pallet, think about letting them go. I know it’s hard. Believe me! I let go a few other items after identifying my color pallet. With a glass of wine in hand of course. Well actually, a pint of Cherry Garcia Ben & Jerry’s, but wine sounds so much more sophisticated. Either way, think of it as a good excuse to go shopping for pieces that you really love. That made you happy didn’t it?? Yeah, it did…

Now give yourself a big hug! You have identified your work wear style & color pallet! The colors you feel and look your best in. Yay!! Now take a look at your capsule-in-progress. How excited does it make you to see only pieces you love in the colors that make you look your best??

After the clothes audit, you’ll want to write down all the {work wear} pieces you have remaining. I know it seems super tedious, but you’ll want to reference this page when identifying outfits later on in the guide. It will also help you keep track of what you have and plan outfits out in advance. The point of a capsule is to keep your wardrobe manageable, and to do that we need to take inventory of what you have.

You’ll also want to take inventory of your shoes. If you are like me, then you probably have too many pairs of work wear shoes. I realized there were only a select few pairs that I actually wore consistently. My rule of thumb was if I wore them less than 5 times over the course of the past year then I donated them. Buh-bye tan perforated open-toed heels. I will miss you sitting on my shoe rack covered in dust, because I never wore you. #theshoestruggleisreal

After going through my shoes, I do think I am good on black heels for now.

Ok, so do you remember when I told you writing down your clothing inventory would come in handy? Well guess what, you’re going to need it to help you identify 1 weeks worth of work wear outfits. I completed mine with the next work week in mind. Knowing I had a couple days of client meetings, casual Friday, and a couple days at my desk, I planned accordingly.

If you are struggling with this, know that Pinterest is your friend! I have actually made Pinterest a part of my nightly routine to help me pick out work outfits for the following week. For instance, if I know I want to wear a specific white blouse on Monday, I’ll type “white blouse outfit ideas” in the search bar and scroll through until I find something that I could pull off, with what I have. Doing this also helped me figure out what laundry I would need cleaned and if my outfit would require me to shave my legs the night before. Bahaha! JK…but really. I know I am not the only one that does that. Am I?

Moving along…

Because I share a closet with my husband, closet space is limited. So, I purchased an inexpensive clothing rack that I call my inspiration rack. I use my Inspiration rack to layout my work outfit for the next day. It definitely has made my mornings more manageable. Plus, I sleep in for an extra 20 minutes in the morning, knowing I don’t have to stare at my closet trying to find an outfit. All I can say, picking out my outfits in advance has been life changing!! I also think to myself, what did I do before Pinterest!?!?

Now for the fun part!! Writing out a shopping list! First, write down your budget. Then identify pieces you want to buy that will become part of your work wear capsule. When doing this think quality over quantity. You want to invest in quality pieces that you’ll get a lot of wear out of. Also think of places that give you consistent quality. If you have a specific item in mind write out the cost of the item as well. If you are not sure of the cost, write out an approximate amount. After you have your shopping list complete, total the cost for everything. If all of your pieces together are more than what you budgeted for, buy the items you want most now and put the others in reserve for when you can spare more money. Curating the perfect work wear wardrobe will not happen overnight, so give yourself a little slack and congratulate yourself on making it this far!

Well friends, that’s it for part 2 of the #acarriedaffaircapsule series! I hope you enjoy my free printable guide. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or message me on Instagram. My handle is @acarriedaffairdesigns Thanks so much for stopping by! For part 3 we will be discussing accessories. See you then!

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Work Wear Capsule Wardrobe – Part 1

First, what is a capsule wardrobe? Well dictionary.com defines it as, a collection of clothes and accessories that include only items considered essential.

Now here is my definition, a wardrobe of pieces you love & feel your best in.

I love the concept of a true capsule wardrobe, but I don’t want to narrow it down to a specific number of items or only have items that are considered essential. That’s just way too much pressure! I mean every once in a while this mom gets to leave the house to do adult things, and when that day comes, I will want to wear something fun and non-essential. Ya hear me? Which is why I cannot do a true capsule. Really, I just want a wardrobe that I love, but not overwhelmed by every time I look in my closet. Doesn’t every girl?!?

I did more research about capsule wardrobes, I found that a lot of them were tailored around non-work wear attire. As a young woman working in the business world, most of my clothing is work wear. But I also love fashion, versatility, and  comfort. So here I am. Starting a work wear capsule wardrobe blog series for all you fashion forward women in the workforce. 💼

Dressing nice is something I look forward to, but trying to find something to wear every morning…not so much. 😒 Before I started this #acarriedaffaircapsule my closet had become unmanageable, which made it extremely hard to decide on an outfit. Especially when I have to make sure my oldest is getting out of bed and getting ready for school. All before my first cup of coffee. 😳 #thestruggleisreal I mean…REALLY, real.

My love for clothing has been strong since I was a little girl. Not having a lot growing up, I became brand obsessed after landing my first “big girl” job. I wanted all the nice clothes I didn’t have as a child. To the extent that I was over buying, and not buying things that I really loved. More like buying because it gave me a sense of satisfaction that I could finally afford nice clothes.

Well, fast forward six years, 2 kids, and a mortgage later I’ve had to take it down a notch or 12, with my clothing addiction. 😂 But it has been a blessing in disguise. Doing so, I was able to discover my true style, simple, clean, & elegant. Once I figured that out, the rest started falling into place.

Before we start, let’s take a poll. If you were blindfolded and had to wear the first shirt you picked out of your closet, what are the chances you would be happy with your decision? Well, I did that experiment, and I wasn’t happy. That was when I knew I needed to take inventory of my clothes and figure out what I actually love and what I don’t.

So the very first thing I did to start creating my work wear capsule was purge. I pulled out all the clothes in my closet. I mean EVERYTHING. Work wear and non-work wear.

When I did this, I realized I still had several pieces from my first big girl job. Who was I kidding?!? After baby K, I knew that size 6 sheath dress wasn’t going to fit me anymore. So in the words of Elsa, I needed to “let it go!” So I did. If you are like me and struggle with getting rid of clothes that you know dang good and well you’ll never wear again or should wear again, then this blog series I’m about to embark on will not only give you a new perspective on your wardrobe, but will also be therapeutic. Bonus, I won’t charge you a fee for my services! 😂

If you don’t have a problem getting rid of clothes, thats ok! You’re just one step ahead. Ultimately, my goal with this series is for you to have a simple and versatile work wear capsule that you absolutely LOVE. ❤ Also, if you are the kind of person that doesn’t struggle with letting clothes go…TELL ME YOUR SECRETS!! My palms were literally sweating when I was typing this thinking about the purge that was getting ready to go down. So if you’re like me, take deep breaths and know I’m right here with you.

Ok, moving along…

After you pull everything out of the closet, divide out your clothes into two piles. One pile for all your work clothes and one pile for all your non-work clothes. You’ll probably want to do this exercise for your non-work wear clothes too, but this series is focusing on work wear.

Using scrap paper or sticky notes, write out the 3 categories below. One category per sheet.

Love
Maybe
Let it go!

Once you have your labels, start dividing out your work wear clothes on your bed into those 3 categories. Don’t try anything on at this point. We will get to that in a second.

After you have all your clothes divided, immediately put all the items in the “let it go” category in a trash bag or tote. Just do it! Don’t look back. If you do, then you’ll start second guessing yourself and think, “well, I might wear this again…” No you won’t! Letting it go was your first instinct. Stick with it. 😘

For all you clothes hoarders (like me) take a deep breath and give yourself a pat on the back because you just completed the first step in creating a work wear capsule wardrobe you love. 🙌🏼

Next, take the clothes from the “maybe” pile and try them on. If something doesn’t fit, let it go. If it doesn’t look good, let it go. If you are hesitant about it, now that you have it on, guess what…let it go. This is exactly what I did. There was a plaid button down shirt that I wanted to keep, but it was tight in the arm,  so I took a deep breath and let it go.

For all the clothes in the “maybe” pile that you ended up keeping, put them back in your closet.

Now take all the clothes from the “love” pile and thoroughly inspect them. Do they look old? Have stains on them? Or just look like you have loved them over a little too much? If so, say goodbye and put them with the “let it go” items.

Now that you have decided what stays and what goes, put the “love” pile back in your closet along with the maybe items you kept. I did this exercise with my non-work wear clothes as well. To keep them separated, I used different hangers. Wooden hangers for my work clothes and white hangers for my non-work clothes. This will also make your mornings easier! 😊

See that wasn’t so bad! The whole point of this exercise was to figure out what pieces in your closet you really love and identifying the pieces that you don’t love or wear any longer.

I ended up donating over half my closet! 😱 That’s crazy talk, but I already feel better!

Look at all the clothes!! 😱😱

The purge definitely tested my willpower, but I can now confidently say that if I were blindfolded and had to wear the first shirt I picked out of my closet, I would be happy with my choice. 😊

Now go pour yourself a glass of wine, 🍷 or eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s! 🍦 You definitely deserve it!

Side note, look up the non-for-profit organization www.dressforsuccess.org and see if there is one in your area. They take women’s gently used work attire, have them professionally cleaned, then provide them to women in poverty that are striving to find their economic independence. It is truly a wonderful organization that is changing the lives of women every day. Not only are you making your life easier, you are helping other women get back in the work force. Win, win! 🙌

And…that’s a wrap! 💃 I hope you enjoyed part 1 of the A Carrie’d Affair Work Wear Capsule! For part 2 we will be establishing your style that fits your work dress code as well as identifying basic “staple” pieces. Bonus, I’ll have a free downloadable workbook, that I created, that will guide you to a work wear capsule you love! ❤️

Thank you so much for stopping by! See you next time. Xo

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How to Make your Photos Look Awesome…Using an iPhone

I have had several people message me asking me how I make my photos look so nice on Instagram, so I decided to make a blog post to share all my tips & tricks.

A lot of people think I use an expensive camera, but on the contrary. I use my iPhone. Always have. What’s even crazier, my iPhone screen was cracked for several months before I finally upgraded to the 7 about two months ago. So my photos from early August until December were all taken with an iPhone 6 that had a shattered screen. 😳🙄 and when I say shattered, I mean sometimes I would get chards of glass stuck in my finger when I would text on my phone. ☹️

I do need to give props to my husband for giving me advice. With being an executive chef and having a culinary degree he had to take food photography classes, so he knows all about how to make photos look swoon worthy, at least food photos. 😊 Plus he has been in several food competitions where he had to photograph his food, so I am confident he knows what he is talking about.

Tip 1: Props.

My husbands advice is to always have an odd number props in your photo. This tip is more for flatlays or food photography, but wanted to share for all my fellow flatlay lovers.

I like to use 1 or 3 items. Like when I’m baking with cinnamon, I’ll use 3 cinnamon sticks, spice spoons, or whatever makes sense for what I’m photographing.

Tip 2: Minimal background noise.

Ever wonder how some of my pictures have such a bright white background? Well wonder no more!

I use a white cardboard trifold that is used for school projects and it only cost $3. Yup, you heard me right, $3! I also use a white foam board. Also $3.


I take my photo, then when I’m done, tuck them away next to the refrigerator so baby K doesn’t destroy them. 😂

I used the white trifold propped behind so the cake is the only focus


Tip 3: Ample natural light.

From experience, I know the morning sun is perfect for kitchen photos and the dining room and entry way photos are best taken in the late afternoon. It’s all about how our house is positioned with the sun.

If you have an iPhone, touch your screen where you want to focus on the picture. A box will appear along with a vertical line with a sun icon. When you see this, and while you are still touching the screen slide your finger up to make the photo brighter, or slide your finger down to dim. Side note, I NEVER dim my photos, always brighten.

To make the picture brighter, I’ll tap on the darkest spot, then snap the photo. For example, in the above photo I tapped on the greenery.

Tip 4: Keep your lens clean.

It may not be a fancy camera, but you should still take care of your lens on your phone. Think about everywhere you put your phone: in your purse, back pocket, on a dirty counter, etc. All of this can cause your photos to come out grainy or blurry if you are not keeping the lens clean.

I clean mine off every time before I take a photo. You might think I’m crazy, but if you clean it with a lint free cloth (or your shirt you are wearing) 😂 I promise you will see a difference.

Tip 5: Photo editing.

I use IG to filter my photos, but I dont use the out-of-the-box ones. I choose normal for the filter then select edit to customize the photos. I rely heavily on the “Sharpen” option. I usually sharpen my photos to at least 40. If you have used this before you know what I’m talking about. If not: select a photo, select edit, scroll until you see “Sharpen”, slide the ball as desired. Sharpening your photos provides clarity and shows the textures of what you are photographing.

I also frequently use: contrast, brightness, shadows, & highlights.

Tip 6: Additional apps.

I love the semi-blurry background when taking close up photos of something, such as flowers, but IG doesn’t have that feature so I use an app called Re-touch to make the background blurry.

Please note, all of these tips & tricks are my opinions. I love light & bright photographs so that’s what I am basing all of my hacks on.

Well friends, that’s all for this post. I hope you found it enlightening and know you don’t have to have a super nice camera to make your photos look awesome. Until next time. Xo