The 'IBM to Startup' Micro Capsule Wardrobe

Last week, I had the privilege of creating a small Capsule Wardrobe for a big force in the field of software engineering. The client is leaving IBM – and more than 10 years of “corporate” culture – to join a hip startup in downtown Toronto.


After years in pressed suits and tightly buttoned up shirts, he wanted to energize his wardrobe and express his personality. He had good style instincts and great wardrobe basics; he just needed a few key pieces to elevate his style vibe from the IBM uniform.

I pulled just five clothing items (and a couple of accessories) to bring a whole new style vibe to his existing wardrobe, including: 


The clothes are unique to my client's needs, but the styling principles apply to anyone who wants maximum impact from a minimal amount of clothes!

5 Style Principles to Steal

1) Mix High and Low | Mixing up higher-end investment pieces with affordable, trendy ones, is a recipe to bring both polish and energy to your capsule. For this client, we mixed investment pieces by HUGO and Armani Jeans, including stunning dress shirts and studded, velvet loafers, with statement layering pieces by TOPMAN. 
2) Pick a statement color | After years suiting and IBM blue work shirts, my Software Engineer was ready to break out of corporate dressing with some poppin red. Adding one statement hue to a capsule that is otherwise predominantly neutral is a great way to add dimension and signature style without limiting your capsule coordination options.
3) Add statement accessories | Male or female, a statement accessory puts a personalized stamp on your outfit. Adding a bold red watch and headphones with red piping to this capsule carries a signature vibe from outfit to outfit. 
4) Add Neutral Prints | A great styling trick to add visual interest is the addition of what I like to call "neutral prints". These are subtle prints, as in the dress shirts in this capsule, or classic prints, like polka dots and plaid. The beauty of the neutral print is that it works with virtually anything, including "non-neutral" prints (like the floral bomber) for several interesting combos. 
5) Restyle Work Shirts for a Low-Key Vibe | A crisp work shirt always brings polish and professionalism to your outfits, but if you want to tone down the stiffness of your button up, trying rolling the sleeves and popping the collar for a relaxed vibe.

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