This is how it usually happens: when you think your closet is in a great shape something comes along to show you it is not so!
It came to me in a form of unexpected summer business trip....
I was leaving early Monday morning and knowing how reliable my closet is I left all packing for Sunday afternoon. Should be easy, right? Imagine my horror when I began to pull things from my closet to build outfits for travel and suddenly realized that I don't have right items for the trip!
Here are the conditions:
- Location: US South in August (North Carolina). Hot and humid outdoors and of course arctic A/C indoors;
- Venue: IT at the bank so I need to pack business casual;
- Duration: 5 days including plane-to-office and office-to-plane outfits.
My regular work code is smart casual (self-imposed, my office is just casual). However I could not dress the same way for the trip, I need business casual as I was going to the bank.
I have started with bottoms. I will take one skirt and one pair of pants for the variety. For a skirt I selected Halogen grey pencil skirt.
Now for the pants (pic 1). My first thought was micro-window pane tuxedo stripe pants which are a nice weight for summer. However when I began to create outfits with them they just did not feel right for the occasion:
they felt too busy for the customer site so I gave up after a while.
Oh bother - none of my other pants works either:
- blush khaki - too casual in fabrication;
- linen grey pants - the same;
- micro check crops - too big now, don't feel fab in them anymore; also that cropped length was more like shorts - not appropriate for the bank setting;
- all denim is out;
- white wide leg pants - they might have worked but I wore them once already and they were in the laundry;
OK, maybe I take 2 skirts. Let's see (pic 2):
- flared midi with subtle silver stripes - too big now and this style just does not seem business-y enough for the occasion;
- striped VC tube - too casual and too busy;
- red Halogen pencil skirt - the color feels too bold;
- polka dot flared midi - too busy.
Hmmm, no luck with another skirt - how about a dress (pic 3):
- floral sheath - feels too busy;
- tropical print sheath - too busy and bright.
Other dresses are either too casual or too warm for summer (like my Tahari ponte sheath).
Hold on, I have Martin black cigarette trousers, should work, right? Put them on - they are too big now! They supposed to be fitted and not fluid so they definitely look wrong (see how the fabric sticks out on the hips?) - pic 4.
Oh no! My flight is in 12 hours, my bed is strewn with clothes and I have nothing to wear!!!
In the end after 3 agonizing hours I did take the black cigarette pants: I paired them with long blouses to cover the ill-fitting hips and bum and they were passable.
So this is what I took in the end for 5 days (pic 5 - 9):
- 2 jackets (cream and blue Zara jackets: I think they were fine even though not very formal. If I had business meetings it would be a different issue but for working in IT they were fine);
- one skirt;
- one pair of pants;
- 2 long blouses;
- 1 sleeveless and 1 short sleeve top to wear with a skirt under a blue jacket;
- one button down to wear with the skirt sans jacket.
- 2 pairs of shoes: silver pumps and round toe grey low wedges. I don't love these wedges now but they worked and I traveled in them.
I survived this trip and want to think that I did not look like a hot mess but it uncovered some serious holes in my work wardrobe. Some of them are related to my weight loss (half of my bottoms are too big now) but they also show that I am lacking a proper business casual capsule which can work for me for 2 week trip. That interview jacket / suit hole I discovered some time ago? It also would be a part of this capsule. I also need it to work for summer and for winter - or I need 2 seasonal capsules.
So now I have this work cut out for me: to create this business capsule(s) re-using what I already have (if possible) and adding what I definitely lack.
I think I will be doing another post on this subject as I sure need help with this!
Sorry it was such a long post - if you stayed with me to the end you are my hero :-)