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How a Capsule Wardrobe Helps Me Live My Authentic Brand

Living a brand that’s not authentically you, is simply exhausting.
- The LinkedIn Gal

When I help someone create their LinkedIn profile, articulate words and a great headshot are only half the equation - actually LIVING the brand takes commitment and consistency. One practice that I use to LIVE my brand is designing a capsule wardrobe. 

What is a capsule wardrobe? In the words of Caroline Rector, the person credited with the capsule wardrobe concept, it is “a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally love to wear.”   

This might sound like a big commitment if you've got an overflowing closet (which I did) but I needed to find a way that made living my brand easy. I started with the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Her method required emptying my entire closet on my bedroom floor and one-by-one picking up each item and asking if it sparked joy. The first few items I really had to think about what sparking joy meant, but it's actually a very simple concept. First, it deals in the present. For me this meant an item needed to spark joy right now for me to keep it. Second, I needed to identify physical responses that signaled I was experiencing joy. This turned out to be a smile or flutter in my body. If something didn't spark joy, I thanked it (part of the Kondo method) and set it in a bag to donate. (Side note: I kept the bags in my closet for about 3 weeks just in case I had made a terrible mistake.) The clearer I got about joy and wanting more of it, the easier it was to let go of things that didn't spark it.

The clearer I got about joy and wanting more of it, the easier it was to let go of things that didn’t spark it.

When I was done, my closet looked pretty bare but functionally my decisions became easier. Every item sparked joy. I was happy getting dressed in the morning, even if I was choosing the last clean shirt I owned.

Remember how earlier I said living a brand takes commitment and consistency? Well I had about 7 bags of clothes that said I had the commitment part down. The question is whether I could sustainably live this way. Two and a half years later, the answer is absolutely. I love my wardrobe and it is an authentic reflection of my brand. I'm also clear that in order to be my best self, I need to manage my energy appropriately and that means making some things (like getting dressed) really easy. (Read more on decision fatigue here.)

And now I'll get to the part that you might be really curious about: what do I have in my wardrobe? Here's what's in my capsule right now:

AG Farrah in dark blue AND black

AG Farrah in dark blue AND black

Black Leggings

Black Leggings

An anorak jacket in olive green

An anorak jacket in olive green

Black faux-leather jacket

Black faux-leather jacket

I own this shirt in maroon, grey/green, and black. So easy to dress up/down and long enough to give some coverage with leggings.

I own this shirt in maroon, grey/green, and black. So easy to dress up/down and long enough to give some coverage with leggings.

Classic white blouse

Classic white blouse

Classic gingham check.

Classic gingham check.

A "cold shoulder" shirt + floral is trendy, so I'm comfortable that this might only last 1 season

A "cold shoulder" shirt + floral is trendy, so I'm comfortable that this might only last 1 season

In white and heather gray

In white and heather gray

A chambray shirt is so versatile

A chambray shirt is so versatile

Once you own a black sheath dress, you'll wonder how you lived without one

Once you own a black sheath dress, you'll wonder how you lived without one

Leopard flats

Leopard flats

TOMS Black Leather Bootie

TOMS Black Leather Bootie

Sam Edelman Tan Suede Bootie

Sam Edelman Tan Suede Bootie

A great scarf 

A great scarf 

A statement necklace

A statement necklace

A signature bracelet

A signature bracelet

A handbag that looks great year-round

A handbag that looks great year-round

Athleta lined pants 

Athleta lined pants 

Athleta Chatarunga pants for yoga

Athleta Chatarunga pants for yoga

Athleta Renew tank

Athleta Renew tank

Athleta CYA Hoodie - weekend lounge wear at its finest

Athleta CYA Hoodie - weekend lounge wear at its finest

The part that I've loved learning is that the clearer I've gotten about my brand, the easier it's become to live it. I'd love to hear from you - what choices have you made to simplify your life so you can dedicate energy to things that bring you joy? What routines have you created to live your brand with ease?

Thanks for reading!

Jen