My SPRING WORK DRESS

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Dress: ASOS | Bag: Coach | Heels: Banana Republic | Necklace: Ann Taylor

I’ve mentioned this dress in some of my capsule wardrobe videos as an example of my blue accent color. So far, I’ve only worn it to the office, but I’m hoping to have an occasion to wear it outside of work soon, because I think it has so much potential! 

I paired this dress with my banana republic platforms (similar to my first post of this dress) although I usually wear my lace-up flats at work for comfort reasons, obvi.:)

You guys probably also recognize the brown coach bag from my capsule wardrobe tour video which I take to work with me everyday. 

I usually wear my hair in a braid or bun to work, so I decided to keep this look authentic to my true style. This braid turned out a little messy, but I think it makes the look a little more interesting. 

Maria xxxo

BLUE DRESS PANTS

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Tank top: ASOS | Slacks: ASOS | Lace-up Ballet Flats: Banana Republic | Sunglasses: Madewell | Clutch: Anthropologie

It’s been really refreshing to incorporate looser clothing items into my capsule wardrobe recently. I’ve been slowly pruning my wardrobe to a collection of high quality pieces of a variety of cuts, so that I can mix and match items freely. I had to remove a pair of old slacks and decided to order two pairs from ASOS to replace them. I ordered a pair of black and these powder blue ones. (This shade of blue is one of my accent colors). Watch my How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe video to learn more.

These are seriously the most comfortable “formal” pants I’ve ever worn. They’re perfect for spring and summer because they’re so flowy and bright. I can’t stand wearing tight pants in the summer – not a fan of pealing those suckers off after a hot day. (TMI – sorry!!)

I paired these slacks with a fitted blush colored tank top (which looks more nude than blush in the photos). I like the way the look turned out. It was perfectly fine for our Saturday evening walk through the park and I’m excited to pair it with more flowy tops in the future.

The lace-up flats have been featured so much recently, but I want to make sure that I share actual outfits I wear from my capsule wardrobe with you guys. Hopefully, it’s not annoying to see the same piece multiple times, but helpful because it gives you ideas of how you can style something multiple ways! See how else I styled these flats, here, here, here, and here

Also, I apologize for the coffee cup being in almost all the photos! Before we went to the park, we stopped to get a snack and I totally forgot to put my coffee down before taking photos hahah. 🙈🙊

Anyways, hope you all are doing well. Please don’t hesitate to reach out – I love how social media gives us a platform to connect! I want to see your outfits and how you style your pieces.

Be sure to follow me on YouTube – I post every Wednesday and Friday at 6am! This week I’m sharing a bridal makeup tutorial since that time of year is coming up for a lot of people. (Lol any excuse to wear that dress again 😜)

Lots of love,

Maria

XXO

HOW I STORE MY CAPSULE WARDROBE

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Check out my last post 5 Steps to Build a Capsule Wardrobe.

I personally prefer to store my wardrobe using a clothing rack because it’s an easy way to see everything together and assure that your colors and styles go well together. It’s also not as easy to hide items, which really holds you accountable to keeping things neat! (As a slob, I need storage to be as simple and easy as possible! If I have the opportunity to shove things in closets or drawers – I will)😄

My clothing rack is organized by color because it makes it easier for me to put an outfit together in the morning. I also think it’s more pleasing to the eye when things are organized by color. (That might just be me, but I think it looks sloppy otherwise)

Clothing that is out of season is stored in an under the bed storage box. I don’t switch out my wardrobe once per season because, at least in New York, the seasons tend to transition slowly. (Example: It’s been both 40 and 70 degrees this week hahaha). I’ll take a few items out when it feels right.

Style Worksheet #2

I take joy in a well organized room / home! It sounds so lame (seriously, I stayed home to clean for an entire day over the weekend), but have an organized closet makes me feel so much better. The questions below are an exercise to help you figure out which storage / organization system works best for you – there are no right or wrong answers. Don’t take it too seriously. Take it several times over several periods of time. I’ve included my answers to help you get started!

  1.  What kind of space are you working with?

A small (but BEAUTIFUL)  apartment in NYC built in the 1930s when apparently wardrobes were pretty small / closets weren’t a priority. We have one small closet in the bedroom. We use it to store our socks, pajamas, unders, and workout clothes. Check out a tour of my closet here. 

2.  What can you afford right now?

Simple, but well designed clothing racks. I bought this one from Urban Outfitters on sale for around $130. I really like it because it has two shelves where I store some of my more attractive shoes and my massive mother-of-pearl jewelry box from South Korea. Sangbin liked my clothing rack so much that he decided to get one…so now we have two! Our bedroom is actually just a walk-in closet with a bed now.😄

CHOOSING OUTERWEAR FOR YOUR CAPSULE WARDROBE

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 Jacket: Madewell | Turtleneck: Madewell | High-Waisted Black Jeans: Madewell | Sneakers: Adidas Superstar | Sunglasses: Madewell (in Bordeaux) 

It’s easy to forget about outerwear when planning your wardrobe, because at least for me, I didn’t really consider it to be part of an outfit until recently. When you go to an event like a wedding, people generally comment on the dress you’re wearing, not the coat you wore over it on the way there. However,  after seeing photos of Kate Middleton in her coats, (Check out some of her coats here) I started to notice what a difference it makes. Plus since moving to NYC, I spend a lot more time outside looking at what people are wearing! (Seriously, I’m considering doing a post about my recent wardrobe additions that have been directly influenced from New Yorkers).

As much as I love Kate Middleton’s style, I still have to consider that I have a Capsule Wardrobe and can only allot two to three outwear pieces per season, because while I’ve discovered how fun outwear can be, I still have to save room in my wardrobe for shoes, denim, tops, dresses, bags, etc.(Watch a video on how I built my Capsule Wardrobe)

How to Choose Outerwear for Your Capsule Wardrobe:

(Check out my post: 5 Steps to Build A Capsule Wardrobe , if you don’t have one already / are interested in the concept)

  • Identify the base and accent colors within your existing wardrobe: This is probably the most important step, because you’ll want it to compliment the outfits you’ll be pairing it with. As you all saw in my Capsule Wardrobe post, my wardrobe is super heavy in blacks and neutrals, so it made sense for me to get a black and white coat! My accent colors for Spring 2016 are blush and light blue, which will also go well with this black and white coat. You don’t have to choose a color that matches your base or accent colors, but it should look nice  with them. One of the best perks of having a Capsule Wardrobe is the freedom to mix and match without having to worry if they go well together! Do the work up-front in buying items that make sense and then fuhgeddaboutdit :p
  • Determine where you’ll wear the outerwear the most: I have a day job which requires I wear business attire, so it makes sense for me to choose a jacket that can be worn in a professional setting. The other two days of the week, my outfits are much more casual. If you have to dress professionally 70% of the week, at least one of your outerwear pieces should allow that. (See how I styled one black dress three different ways for work.)
  • If you’re drawn to it, figure out why: Even though most of my clothes are neutral in color, I love big prints to breakup an otherwise plain look. (Check out my patterned bag to see an example) I saw this jacket in the sale section of Madewell and put it on immediately. While you’re out shopping, and find yourself gravitating toward a specific piece, ask yourself why you think that is. Did you see someone whose style you admired wearing it? Do you like the way you look in that color, cut, fabric, etc.? The more you do these types of exercises, the more you’ll learn your style and easier it gets building your wardrobe.
  • Quality over quantity: This one is a given, but a good reminder. If you have a minimal wardrobe, you better invest in quality pieces so they don’t fall apart after a few wears. The same is especially true for outerwear because most people will wear the same coat / jackets everyday for months, so they wear out much faster than other pieces within your wardrobe.

 Above all, make sure that you love whatever piece you buy!! (Because you’ll be wearing it all the time) :) 

Lots of love,

Maria xxo

EASTER DRESS

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Blue wool coat: Zara | Dress: ASOS | Lace-up Flats: Banana Republic  | Bag: Coach

This post is a little late, but I wanted to share what I wore to Saint Patrick’s cathedral for Easter this past Sunday because it’s such a special piece in my wardrobe. I bought this it two years ago for engagement photos with Sangbin in Indianapolis. I absolutely love the sequin and beading details.

Sangbin and I got to the cathedral an hour before mass because we wanted to take pictures on the stairs and with the arches. Still being novice New Yorkers, we had no idea how crazy it would be!! I think there was an Easter parade there earlier in the day because the stars and sidewalk were covered in people wearing the most outrageous Easter bonnets. (In hindsight, I wish we had gotten a few photos) We ended up taking our photos across the street in front of a beautiful gold wall, which worked out nicely.

 

 

LITTLE BLACK DRESS – STYLED 3 WAYS

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Look 1: Dress: BrassTurtleneck: Madewell | Lace-up Flats: Banana Republic Bag: CoachNecklace: Ann Taylor | Glasses: Warby Parker

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Look 2: Dress: Brass | Bag: CoachLeopard Smoking Slippers: Madewell | Vintage Gold Watch: Bulova | Glasses: Warby Parker

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Look 3:  Dress: BrassLeggings: Under Armor | Platform Sandals: Jeffrey Campbell | Glasses: Warby Parker

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Since starting my Capsule Wardrobe about a year ago, I’ve become picky about what gets added into my collection. However, when Brass approached me to feature one of their dresses on my blog I figured it would be a great opportunity to show you guys three different ways you can style their A-Line little black dress.

How I wore it in one week: Twice to work in mid-town Manhattan and once over the weekend hanging out in NoHo.

The good:

  • I was stopped by a stranger (for the first time) who wanted to take a picture of my outfit featuring this dress. I was so surprised I didn’t realize the girl following me yelling “excuse me!” like five times was for me. (p.s. I’m suddenly inspired by her to have a New York street style section on this blog…)
  • The quality of the material is excellent and lays very well. I have no fear that this dress will last season after season. I hate buying a piece of clothing and then having to ditch it after a handful of wears due to poor materials and construction.
  • The pockets are so subtle, but completely functional! (the perfect size for a phone) which is ideal for me because I hate carrying a purse everywhere, but also feel the need to carry like 10 things with me at all times.
  • I can wear this dress in a professional setting and still be comfortable. (I’m talking to you post-lunch food baby)

The bad:

  • I say this knowing that it’s probably just me, but I personally am not a fan of the wide neckline because I’m afraid people can see down the dress when I bend over.  I also feel like if I don’t have perfect posture, the dress makes an unattractive crease in the bust. I compensated for that by wearing a black turtleneck under the dress in Look 1.
  • I got the dress in an XS and it still seemed a little large to me (especially in the sleeves) – not a huge deal because I generally like loose dresses, but I wish it was a little more fitted, especially since I’ll wear it to work so often.

I’d recommend this dress to someone:

  • Just starting a Capsule Wardrobe – you probably need a black dress like this if you don’t have one already, plus it’s a great piece to practice styling in multiple ways!
  • With little children – it would definitely hide most stains and since the material is so durable, it would survive a lot of washes.
  • Who’s great at layering (or accessories) – this is basically a blank canvas for you to work with.

 

If you have this dress (or end up purchasing it) please tag me on Instagram with how you styled it, so I can see!

Lots of love,

Maria xxo

5 STEPS TO BUILD A CAPSULE WARDROBE

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What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

A curated collection of clothing (usually consisting of 30-40 items) that can be easily mixed and matched. A Capsule Wardrobe should be personal to your style and contain two-three base colors and one-two accent colors.

5 Steps to Build a Capsule Wardrobe 

1. Inventory what you have already

Set aside some time, put on some good music, and go through your entire existing wardrobe. I’ve been doing this step of the process since I was 14 and always start really strong (as you can probably guess, it’s not too hard to throw all your clothes from the closet to your bed), but then quickly lose steam once I realize how much work it’s going to be going through them. :p

A few tips – it really does help to put some good music or do this with a friend. I once had a FaceTime session with a friend going through their makeup and beauty products…it took forever, but was a lot of fun.:)

Once you’re throughly overwhelmed by all of the clothes you didn’t realize you had, remove items that don’t fit you, or don’t make you feel good. Make a pile and add clothes that have tears or flaws that you’re not willing to have fixed or aren’t your style anymore. You should a pile ready to be donated or thrown away now.

Be as critical as you financially can afford to be at this stage. If you really hate everything you have, but can’t afford to replace everything at once, just remove as much as you can – sometimes it’s better to build your wardrobe slowly because your additions will be more thoughtful.

2. Look for trends in your existing wardrobe

Review what’s left. Do you notice any trends? Do you gravitate toward certain colors or textures? What do your clothes say about you? Are they mostly appropriate for work, school, or events? Are they a mix of multiple. Is there anything that you need that’s missing from your wardrobe?

3. Build your base

Choose two to three colors to be the base of your Capsule Wardrobe. Typical base colors include: black, brown, tan, gray, and white.These should be colors that can be mixed and matched interchangeably. Your base is what will make getting dressed everyday easier because you won’t have to worry if pieces go together.

It also allows you to focus more on incorporating your accent colors and accessories to your outfit, which in my opinion are way more interesting and specific to an individual.

My base colors are black, light tan, and light gray.

  • Black: I work in an office in Manhattan and most people dress in black at work. I also think my blonde hair looks sophisticated against black clothes.
  • Light Tan: It’s a few shades darker than my complexion and hair color. I like the way neutral monochromatic colors look together. I think it brings out the color of my eyes  and texture of my hair.
  • Light Gray: For days when I don’t want to look as intense as a full black outfit can look on me, I opt for a gray based outfit.

4. Choose one-two accent colors

These should be colors that you are drawn to and make you feel confident.

If you’re not sure where to start, think about people you know who’s look you really like. What colors do they wear? Do they have a smilier complexion or hair color to you? It also helps to pay attention to color against complexion and hair color. I don’t believe there are any definite rules, but you may notice that you feel more confident wearing some colors or cuts of clothing against your complexion and hair than others. Start to take note of what works well for you.

If you’re still not sure, don’t worry about it too much. Seriously, if you pay attention you will figure it out over time.

My current accent colors are sky blue and blush.

  • Sky Blue: I saw a woman in the office wear a sweater in a beautiful powder / sky blue color and decided I had to incorporate it into my wardrobe. I found a dress in that color and was thrilled to discover it looked really beautiful against my hair and complexion, although I actually think the color would be flattering against any complexion. This color also looks great against my base colors.
  • Blush: Ok, so everyone seems to also be in love with this color right now too, but I think it’s because neutrals are so popular right now and it’s basically a really feminine neutral.

5. Invest in quality pieces

Look for stores that sell high quality clothes made from good fabrics and well constructed. This can be really tricky and expensive so be sure to take your time and do what works for your situation. It’s better to take your time and invest in pieces that you love and will last a long time than to haul a bunch of clothes that will fall apart after several wears. Because a Capsule Wardrobe is a refined collection (generally 30-40 pieces) you’ll be wearing the same pieces more often than you’re probably used to.

Tips to building a Capsule Wardrobe:

  • Don’t feel like you have to do these steps in one day. This is a process that is ever changing. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get it perfect.
  • Be observant. Start paying attention to what people are wearing and ask yourself lots of questions to help understand what your style is and why you like certain things better than others.
  • Don’t get discouraged! I promise you can do this and keep it up. Give yourself time and think of it as a project rather than something that’s done once.

Style Worksheet #1

Your style is generally just a collection of repeated looks you know how to do and are easy for you to put together. Take some time to think about what you’ve noticed and feel comfortable in. The questions below are an exercise to help you discover what your style is – there are no right or wrong answers. Don’t take it too seriously. Take it several times over several periods of time. I’ve included my answers to help you get started!

What colors look best on you?

Black, light tan, light gray, sky blue, blush

What materials do you like best?

Wool, denim, sequins, chiffon, cotton

When was a time you felt really great in an outfit? Where were you? What were you wearing?

Last Easter, a church with massive stain glass windows, a light blue chiffon dress covered in sequins and beads. Probably wasn’t the best choice for other mass-goers because I was  a human disco ball reflecting light EVERYWHERE. It’s the most beautiful dress I’ve ever worn, even more than my wedding dress.

Why do you want to build a Capsule Wardrobe?

Simplify my life. Also…there’s no space for my midwestern wardrobe in New York City.