Fashion Q & A:
What is Capsule Dressing

Q: I've just found your site and I love it already. I am building a new wardrobe from scratch and I've heard color capsule dressing (or clothing capsule dressing) is a good way to begin. I am a mom so I dress casual most of the time including jeans, but occasionally dress up for dinner, a show or a play. Have you heard of building your wardrobe this way and if so how do I begin?

A: Capsule dressing is an effective wardrobe strategy. It is the practice of building a wardrobe with interchangeable items that mix and match well.

Start with a pantsuit — black is an obvious good choice because of its day to evening appeal. Next, add a skirt from the same manufacturer in the same color and fabric as the pantsuit. A long skirt will give you more versatility since it can be both casual and/or dressy in its presentation depending on the top and shoe you wear it with.

If you can find a dress that can be worn under the jacket or alone, grab that too. Like the skirt, be sure the dress is from the same manufacturer and from the same dye-lot as the pantsuit to ensure that it will work with or without the jacket. A classic sheath dress (either sleeveless or with a short sleeve) will give you the most wear from year to year making it a true investment.

Finally, load up on tops, a shawl and a variety of shoes and you'll have several looks from the same base pieces. Check out the "Advice" section of our web site for more articles on how to strategically build an interchangeable and multi-purpose wardrobe!