Capsule Wardrobing

Special Occasion Capsule

Happy day, dear reader!

We are entering special occasion season! You know: Easter, Mother’s Day, graduations, weddings, etc. etc, etc… So how are you fixed? Will there be a last minute rush to find something new? Or do you have a trusty Special Occasion Capsule (or Collection) that you can rifle through, add some accessories, and go? If last minute rush is your M.O., I’m going to suggest you get off that expensive and frustrating merry-go-round and pull yourself together a small, and I mean SMALL, Special Occasion Capsule to save you money, headaches, and stress.

You don’t need a lot of pieces to keep you covered! Back when we attended a military ball at least once a year, I had two dresses… One navy and one black. I alternated years, switched up the jewelry and shawls, and don’t think anyone was the wiser. Now maybe you don’t have any formal occasions. I understand, I haven’t been to a formal in years! Most of us live a very casual lifestyle, so why spend money on special occasion wear? Well, that’s hard and easy. Easy, because we all have special occasions sometimes. Hard, because “How will I know what’s appropriate?” That’s not as hard as it seems!

Let’s get started by shopping your wardrobe! Do you have?

1) A Dress or Jumpsuit (Basically a dress with legs!)

Ideally, you want one or two simple, versatile pieces, on the more refined side. Think Refinement Level 2. Any way you might style a dress, you can also style a jumpsuit. It’s just a dress with legs. In a holiday post, I styled this jumpsuit 5 different ways for New Year’s Eve

If you wouldn’t be caught dead in a dress, or jumpsuit, then look for a solid colored dark suit that jacket can be dressed up like a tuxedo. I’d look for two trousers to wear with it, one slim and the other with a wider leg.

2) Metallic Shoes

Comfort is really important here! You want them to work with your personality, coloring, style, issues, and weather! I have a few pair of metallic heels, some pumps, another is a sandal. If you don’t wear heels, then look for a flat strappy sandal, or an awesome loafer. Stay tuned! There will be a post all about styling metallic shoes coming soon!

The dressier shoes on the right of this image will be more versatile.
Even the flats and loafers! Save the ones on the left for casual wear.

3) A Small Handbag Like a Clutch

My pewter clutch is at least 20 years old. I use it 8 or 10 times a year, and it suits most of my special occasion purposes. I even grab it to give some extra style to date night. No, I can’t pack a water bottle in it, but it’s not meant for that! I did buy a red beaded bag for a recent wedding, so now I have another “fancy” bag. I also have a silver tote, but that was an emergency purchase you can read more about here. If you want a bag you can carry hands-free, look for one with a chain handle. Note: Please don’t carry your everyday bag to a special event. It will drag your whole look down! It’s all about refinement level…

4) Sparkly Jewelry or a Special Scarf

Accessories are the secret sauce, peeps! You can wear the same dress over and over, and no one is likely to notice if you keep the dress simple. (It doesn’t need to be an LBD!) and change up your accessories. In the outfit below, the scarf is what makes the statement. You don’t even really notice the dress! It’s just a backdrop. You can see I didn’t bother with my metallic clutch for this daytime wedding look. I decided my larger blue one was enough!

Let me also add that borrowing is a perfectly acceptable option. I might suggest it should be your first option. Not only is it a good financial choice, it’s planet happy, too! I borrowed these lovely earrings, and one of the bracelets from my friend, Amy. She has a fabulous jewelry collection…

No wardrobe happens overnight, despite what the makeover shows might have you think! I’ve been building and refining my special occasion capsule over the years, adding a dress here and a shoe there. And passing on the pieces that no longer fit. It’s probably time to reevaluate the white dress with the lace pattern. I found at a consignment shop when we were on vacation a few years ago. I’ve worn since, even for our vow renewal for our 25th anniversary. Because the pieces aren’t worn daily, and I stick with pretty classic (Some might say boring!) silhouettes, they stand the test of time and can be freshened up with a new scarf or jewelry.

One last thought… Maybe it’s time to broaden your definition of Special Occasion! Like I said earlier, I break out my clutch for date night, or when we opt for dinner out. You can wear your metallic pumps to add flash to a work outfit or even an everyday look. And some sparkle? Well, that’s a good thing to add to almost any day! Every day is special, so why not add some Special Occasion to it and make it feel moreso? Think of Pieces 2, 3, and 4 as a Special Occasion Beauty Bundle, and add some flair to an everyday look!

I’m so glad I wrote this post… It’s given me inspiration for packing for the evening gala at my conference! I’ll be taking my jumpsuit! How did shopping your wardrobe go? Do you have some basics to pull together a Special Occasion look, or do you need to keep your eyes open for some additions next time you go shopping? Post holiday sales, and consignment shops are great places to find additions to your Special Occasion Capsule, and keep you solvent at the same time! I love to hear from you… Let me know what you found, or what you discovered that you need in the comments below!

Stylishly yours,

PS: I have since added some dressy business wear to my special occasion capsule. Life got a little crazy in 2020 which meant some retooling…

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