Work Wear Capsule Wardrobe – Part 1

First, what is a capsule wardrobe? Well 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.

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 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

Shop Some of The Pieces I Love 💋

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