Level 4: Extra Nice

Today we start into the categories we don’t wear often, but need to have ready to go, just in case.

As a rule, I keep always have one Level 4 outfit on hand to get me through occasions where I need to be a little more dressed up than usual, but aren’t quite as fancy as a gala or wedding. For me, this is usually graduations, date nights, Remembrance Day ceremonies, parent-teacher interviews or baby showers. You’re probably going to have at least one of these occasions in a season so you might as well plan for it.

I used to scramble a week before any of these events looking for just the right outfit that struck exactly the right tone. This inevitably meant a panicked trip to the mall and at least one impulse purchase. I also never quite felt comfortable because I was wearing at least one thing I didn’t love and still didn’t quite feel appropriately dressed. Additionally, I had a ton of clothes I only wore once.

Now, when planning my seasonal capsule, I plan exactly one outfit for all of these occasions. I take a look at all the possible events I might need to attend that season and then come up with one look that will work for them all – footwear and outerwear included. Since I’m planning only one outfit, I get to take my time coming up with the perfect combination of garments that is going to make me feel confident and appropriately dressed in many situations. The result is usually a fairly classic look that feels true to my own aesthetic. I’m not trying to be trendy or wear the outfit I think I’m supposed to wear.

My current capsule was planned to get me through October, November and December. In that time, I know I need to dress for:

  • Meet the teacher night
  • Remembrance Day ceremony
  • Parent-teacher interviews
  • Hopefully one date night
  • Possibly one holiday party

I’m lucky enough to work outside the home right now, but even if you’re basically never leaving the house, it might be a nice feeling to wear something a little special for a zoom call now and again.

The outfit I have planned for these occasions needs to be chic, work appropriate, but also able to accommodate some accessories to take it from day to night. I have one shift dress (a Megan Nielsen River), a blazer (the Fulton Sweater Blazer by Alina Design Co.), black wedge booties and a trench coat or wool pea coat depending on the temperature. And that is my go-to nice outfit.

The real genius here is that I made the dress and blazer two years ago, meaning this is their third season playing the role of “nice outfit” in my closet. The trench, pea coat and wedges have been around for more than five years. And they’re not going anywhere. The timeless colours and fabrics plus cuts that accommodate body fluctuations mean these garments are going to be heavy hitters in my closet for a long time.

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