Reporting live from underneath a pile of feathered skirts, it’s me, a woman who owns far too many clothes. Please don’t tell Jessica Mulroney.
The Canadian stylist, who is known for her close working relationship and friendship with Meghan Markle, landed a fashion correspondent gig on Good Morning America this week. For her first segment, Mulroney broke down the concept of a “Capsule Collection” and why every woman should have one.
Mulroney, who dressed the duchess in a $1,495 Brandon Maxwell sheath and $2,454 Givenchy pantsuit, has one simple sartorial wish for all us non-royals. “A capsule collection is finding those six pieces you can mix and match, do day to night,” Mulroney said in her seven-minute segment. “[Clothes that] you actually wear; they don’t just hang in your closet.”
It’s a laudable endeavor, for sure. There’s nothing wrong with craving a streamlined morning routine, where slipping on a prepared pantsuit saves you precious time, and you’re not wasting money on statement vintage pieces that you’ll wear maybe a total of three times in your life.
Especially since in New York, where GMA is filmed, closets are precious real estate, and a generation of Sex and the City fans still uses stoves as sweater storage space. Mulroney’s thrifty approach to dressing is solution-oriented.
That red pleather dress you drunk-ordered online one night at 2 in the morning and haven’t worked up the courage to wear outside your bedroom yet? Replace it with a crimson “power blazer,” since you spend your entire life at a desk anyway.
If you wake up in the middle of the night with a nagging, soul-stifling feeling that something’s missing in your life but you just can’t place it, then you probably don’t own a white duster coat that’s appropriate for both the office and happy hour. Per Mulroney’s insistence, “You must have [one] in your closet.”
And of course, if you don’t own a cowl-neck chestnut sweater that works when belted or free-flowing, then who even are you?!
Much like Cher Horowitz’s computer closet from Clueless, the six staples—the aforementioned blazer, duster, brown sweater, plus vegan leather leggings, a tastefully printed midi dress, and tailored black trousers—spit out calculated ensembles that are acceptable for any situation but never exceptional.
The result is a type of situational cosplay, and Mulroney’s models end up looking like special edition Barbies. There’s Corporate Cathy in her sensible pantsuit. Weekend Plans Wendy matches her cardigan with a black beanie. Meeting the Parents Mary, who must hide her sleeve of tattoos, does so via her cover-everything cowl neck and shin-grazing printed skirt.
I know that throwing on a white button-up and boyfriend jeans communicates a sense of ease to the world—it’s the type of polished-but-easy mentality that earned Meghan Markle the high praise of being “so relatable!” in blog headlines around the world.
I see your relatability, Meghan, and I raise you the high that comes with pulling out a pair of neon pink wide-legged jeans that I haven’t worn since 2016, as well as realizing that the high waist and highlighter hue just works with my brand new cropped mustard-yellow sweater.
Like all vices, my more-is-more mentality comes at a cost. The bifold door of my cramped closet never fully closes. When it does, the legs of a baby pink jumpsuit inevitably spill out from the cracks. A gilded Bob Mackie cocktail dress lives under my bed—I swear I’ll wear it to something someday.
Would I feel less claustrophobic in my 400-square-foot studio if I wasn’t constantly kicking chunky heels out of the way? Probably. Am I aware of my frivolity? Yes—especially any time my mother visits and tells me so.
But it just feels good to spend mental energy matching things myself, rather than get lost inside a black turtleneck because Audrey Hepburn wore one in a movie 60 years ago, forever making it classic. Google already writes all my emails for me anyway. I can handle dressing myself.
Sure, my looks might not communicate, “Look, world, I’m put together,” in the way Mulroney’s do. That’s because I’m not.
When the going gets tough, it’s understandable that the tough might reach for a structured blazer. There’s a sense of stability in the capsule collection—as long as you own these six staple pieces before you’re 30, you’re wearing the uniform of a capable human.
Unfortunately, you can still get fired in your power blazer. You can still get dumped in a duster coat. If your world decides to implode, it’s going to do so regardless of what you’re wearing—so I’m going to wear that feathered skirt, thank you very much.