the capsule wardrobe | fall 2016: clinicals


it certainly doesn’t feel like fall at all, but my academic year starts a week from today so I had to get started on a portion of my capsule wardrobe earlier than seasonally-appropriate. for this rotation, I’ll be required to wear business casual clothing at my clinical sessions. for my program, ‘business casual’ means no jeans, closed-toe shoes (with hosiery), and a semi-dressy top with a conservative neckline. keeping these requirements in mind, I took a good look at what I had in my closet and then pinpointed some pieces I needed to buy: some dressy shells, top layer options, more professional-looking flats, and a good pair of black trousers. some of the pieces above may look familiar because I highlighted them as things I was eyeing during the nordstrom anniversary sale. obviously, some things worked out!

one | the only item I purchased that wasn’t on sale were these pants. they were more expensive than I wanted, but they fit perfectly, are machine-washable, have good stretch but still structured, and highly recommended by my boss and several friends. I had planned on buying two pairs of trousers but ended up just buying just this pair because of the price and because no other pair came close in comparison.

two | I finally found a blazer that works for my body, so I bought it in three colors! they wouldn’t work for a completely business-attire environment, but for business casual, these are perfect. the knit is comfortable, and the open front is really flattering on me.

three | these flats are fierce, and I’m so glad that I guessed the right size before they sold out. this pair was a 2-for-1: I was looking to replace my pair of smoking slippers and for a pair of dressy flats.

four | these tanks are long enough on the bottom and high enough on the neckline to be appropriate, and I plan on wearing them underneath a cardigan or a blazer. they are a bit sheer open in the lower back, but I’ll have a layer on top to cover that detail during clinical. plus, that lets them be a great going-out option, too.

five | I was so pleased to find a long-sleeved blouse in a mixed-media design – the knit back is great for comfort & ease of movement. the neckline doesn’t come down too low (no hint of cleavage), and the tunic length & long sleeves make it a great piece that doesn’t require a top layer.

six | as for this cardigan, I wasn’t sure about the ruffles (I tend to like pieces that are a little more streamlined), but I was surprised to find that it looked really good on and added just the right amount of unexpected detail. the sweater part is the perfect light grey and is ridiculously soft.


these are the pieces that I already had, rounding out my 16-piece clinical capsule wardrobe.

seven | I couldn’t find this exact turtleneck online in the black but it comes in a bunch of other colors, and this is a thicker option. I like the tissue weight because it lies flat and makes it really easy to wear under other pieces of clothing.

eight | this cashmere sweater is actually from the men’s section. I prefer the way their version drapes on me as opposed to the women’s version.

nine | this cardigan is a great basic and is a workhorse staple in my wardrobe in general. the wool is warm but thin enough to not be too bulky.

ten | this is an old pair from via spiga that I scored at a great price at nordstrom rack a couple of years ago, but this is a similar pair in classic leather with a work-friendly kitten heel.

eleven | this coach bag was a christmas present a couple of years back. it’s such a great classic shape in a not-too-big but not-too-small size. sadly, coach no longer makes this exact style, but this, this, and this are similar.

twelve | aside from a watch and my wedding band, the only jewelry I’m allowed to wear is a pair of stud earrings. these are one of my favorites. I love that the raw cut of the herkimer diamond gives a little edgy twist to an otherwise classic earring.

thirteen | every nurse needs a watch with a second hand. I prefer to wear a watch with a metal or silicone band because it’s easier to disinfect and I don’t need to worry about getting it wet every time I wash my hands. this watch has a really versatile shape, and the pink second hand is a nice touch.

are you ready for fall?

wardrobe essentials

  grey tee | white tank | striped tee | slouchy sweater | white button-down

chambray | black jeans | white jeans | dark jeans

knit dress | ankle boots | wrap cardigan | leopard flats

ever since getting serious about simplifying, I’ve been thinking about what I consider “essentials”. for more serious things, essential = vital. for more trivial things, like my wardrobe, essential = basic. I used to think that “basic” sounded so lackluster, the opposite of special. but when I think about how they’re the most hardworking, most well-loved pieces of my closet upon which everything else is built, it brings to mind perhaps a more accurate definition of essential: indispensable.

these are the pieces that feel the most “me”, the pieces that require no thought at all but still make me feel put together. and so, if I had to cull my capsule wardrobe down to only the pieces that were indispensable, these are what would make the cut.

what are your wardrobe essentials?

fall wardrobe additions

fall wardrobe additionsI’ve found while putting my fall wardrobe together that this time around, the process is much, much easier. I think a part of that comes down to experience, but I think it’s also because I have a much better sense of how I want to dress in the cooler weather. again, that comes with practice because it’s really fall/winter/cool spring here almost 9 months of the year, so the bulk of my wardrobe in general is for cool weather. over the years & before I ever did this capsule wardrobe experiment, I’ve learned by trial & error what works & what doesn’t.

I’ve picked up 11 things over the past few weeks, and save for a special thing or two, I think I’m all set for the season ahead.

one | these jeans are the perfect shade of deep, dark blue in a boot-friendly legging style that’s super flattering & comfortable.

two | these flats were my splurge for the season. the merlot color is so beautiful. I love that it’s in a statement color but in a practical silhouette. thanks to boston’s no sales tax policy on clothing & shoes and a timely promo code, I was able to lessen the sting on my wallet just a little. every little bit counts, right?

three | these black skinnies are replacing a much-loved pair that have faded beyond redemption.

four | while I have plenty of big, oversized, cozy sweaters, I have very few slim ones that would work well with a skirt. this one has cute buttons down part of the back, is lightweight, & is the most lovely burnt orange color. note: this ran a whole size small on me, and other reviews said something similar, so if you’re interested, you might want to size up!

five | this scarf has my entire fall color palette on it. I have a sizeable scarf collection but nothing that’s similar to this one.

six | I’d been eyeing some blanket scarves from asos, but once I saw this one in-store at loft, I was sold. the colors are right where my mood is for fall. this scarf is really big, which I love.

seven | this striped sweater dress is going to be worn to death. I have a similar one from j.crew that I bought 3 years ago that is still in constant rotation. this one is perfect for fall as it’s thick enough for cooler temps but not so thick that you’d overheat.

eight | I wasn’t sure how this dress would look on me in person, but I really loved the color palette and how it reminded me of the 90s (aka, my childhood) but in a sophisticated, muted way. plus, I’m all about easy dressing, and a good dress is about as easy as it gets.

nine | this may be my new favorite flat – it’s insanely comfortable, fits my wide-ish feet well, relatively affordable, & comes in a million colors. now I know why they’ve gotten rave reviews. these were a lucky find  in boston at  t.j. maxx for half the retail price.

ten | I have plenty of black boots, but aside from this new pair, I only had another brown pair that was more cognac in color & in a riding boot style. I had been eyeing these for awhile and was saving up to buy them from nordstrom in another color, but while we were in boston, I ran across this pair at t.j. maxx and found that I liked the rich, dark chocolate a lot. bonus: they were $50 cheaper than retail + no sales tax.

eleven | a pair of ponté pants is a must in my closet. it has a lot of give, which is great for comfort, but also has enough structure to look more dressy than a pair of leggings. these have really nice detailing on the seams and felt really substantial on (no see-through issues!).

what have you added for fall?

p.s. I’ll be posting my complete fall capsule wardrobe on tuesday next week. :)

my handbag collection


satchels || coach borough bag (loving this similar one) | coach juliette (similar) | mk medium sutton | dooney & bourke domed satchel (vintage, from  my mom; bag pictured is very similar; this one is available)

totes || cuyana short tote | mbmj metropolitote | longchamp le pliage large shopper | longchamp medium short handle

crossbodies || coach city bag (vintage; check ebay) | rebecca minkoff mini mab | coach swingpack (current version) | fossil memoir novella (similar)

travel || lo & sons omg | warehouse backpack (similar)

clutches || clare v. leopard | shoplately grey suede (similar) | coach brown (similar) | rachel roy kindness (similar) | kultura raffia (old from the philippines; similar) | j. crew black (similar) | whistles w/ chain (similar)

over the years, I’ve built up a good collection of handbags. as someone who dresses more on the plain side, I know just how much bags & accessories in general can keep the most basic of outfits from being boring. along with shoes, I tend to spend more money on bags because I know that I’ll use them for a long while, but there are some high street pieces that I got for a steal & love just as much. most if not all of these pieces were bought on (major) sale or are vintage, and a lot of them were holiday & birthday gifts. I’ve linked the exact bags if they’re still available; otherwise, I linked to something similar.

I’m in the process of doing another closet clean-out, so this will be a fun way to document what I started with in the handbag department. 

p.s. I read somewhere that the average woman (whatever that means) has 21 bags…which means I’m right on the money. how about you?

fall flats

flat-outflatsleave it to j.crew to bring out some gorgeous flats for fall… #Iwantthemall. but alas, my closet, conscience, and budget can only take so much ( ;) ), so I’ve got to pick & choose. my heart is set on the d’orsay sloan flat in that rich, burgundy color, but I’m still teetering on which color for the gemma flat. on the one hand, the blush pink is oh-so-pretty and has enough warmth to actually look good against my skin. it’s a good staple neutral that would go well with everything. on the other, leopard is a neutral, too, and leopard is always a win in my book.

so let me turn the question over to you. if you were me, which would you pick:  blush pink or leopard?