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How Five Different Founders Wear One Mix-and-Match Capsule Wardrobe

These founders have different body shapes, wardrobe needs, and senses of style. See how they make our newest capsule their own.

By Madeleine Kim

A capsule wardrobe is a set of pieces that can be mixed and matched to create a wide variety of outfits. And to help you make the most of your M.M., we’re releasing a new one each month. Featuring styles from our Founders’ Seven collection, this month’s extra-special capsule is inspired by five female founders: M.M.LaFleur founder Sarah LaFleur; Nude Barre founder Erin Carpenter; theSkimm co-founders Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg; and Poppy Seed Health founder Simmone Taitt.

For the first capsule of M.M.LaFleur’s 10th year in business, it only felt fitting to highlight a few female founders we admire. So about a week ago, Sarah invited Erin, Carly, Danielle, and Simmone to her apartment in Park Slope for a photoshoot and a chat. During their conversations, each of these remarkable women shared the ins and outs of their relationship with style: How it’s evolved, how they think about getting dressed, and the fashion icons that inspire them. One similarity among their answers really stood out: All of the founders said that today, one of the most important aspects of their wardrobes is comfort—but it wasn’t always that way. 

theSkimm co-founders Carly and Danielle shared that when they started their business, they relied on super-tight, brightly colored dresses similar to what they’d seen on broadcast television. “It wasn’t authentic,” Carly told Sarah. “Even if we looked good, we didn’t feel good.” Meanwhile, Poppy Seed Health founder Simmone shared that she used to avoid stretchy fabrics, hoping that wearing stiff clothing would help improve her posture. “If it didn’t stretch, it would make me suck in my gut and straighten my back,” she explains. “But who wants to be tortured like that?”

Today, they’ve found a happy medium: Each woman Sarah spoke with has a strong sense of personal style and prioritizes pieces that make life easier. Nude Barre founder Erin, for instance, takes style inspiration from Beyoncé and Diana Ross—but when she’s at home, she’s all about comfortable pajamas.

The pieces in this capsule reflect this mentality: They’re comfortable and easy, beautiful and expressive. Keep scrolling to see the outfits and read Sarah’s conversations with these four incredible founders.

Founder of Nude Barre

Erin Carpenter

How would you describe your style in three words?
Classic, glam, and chic.

How has your style evolved over the last decade?
I was more risk-taking with style when I was younger. Now, I have the kids, I’m in a routine, and I don’t want to think a lot about what to wear. It’s like, ‘That goes with that. Great. I’m going to put that on.’

A decade ago, I was not married and didn’t have children. I lived alone, here in New York City, and I was embarking on entrepreneurship, figuring out what that looked like. I was still a performer and an artist, so I was going to castings and auditions regularly on a daily basis. It was a different type of hustle and bustle than what I have going on now.

What’s the first thing you consider when you’re getting ready in the morning?
First is breastfeeding access—I’m pumping four times a day and nursing the baby twice a day, in the morning and before bed. So whatever I wear has to be easy access. And then step two is that it has to have stretch in case I need to bend down and get a child off the floor.

Do you have a capsule wardrobe or a system you follow when getting dressed?
I usually reach for something comfortable—leggings or something else with a lot of stretch. And it really depends on what I’m doing. If I’m working from home, I might wear knit pants with a matching sweater for cold days or leggings with a matching top on warmer days. I’m really into the matching set thing, because I don’t have to think about what top goes with the bottom. It has to be easy.

What’s the most-worn piece of clothing in your wardrobe?
Pajamas. Especially if it has a button-down top. I change into pajamas as soon as I get home.

Who’s your style icon?
Two people. First, I really love Beyoncé’s style. Her everyday is not the same as my everyday, but she has a lot of looks for everyday that could transfer from the office to a date night or a dinner. I definitely look to her for hair and makeup styles, too. And then I’d also have to say Diana Ross. I grew up with her being my style icon.

Co-Founders of theSkimm

Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg

How has your style evolved over the last decade?
Carly: Back then, anytime we did a photo shoot or anything, we would dress like highlighters. We would go for bright colors. The brighter and tighter, the better. As producers who were looking at broadcasting, we thought, ‘This is the easiest way to look good on camera.’ But I didn’t feel like myself.

Danielle: We couldn’t move. We couldn’t breathe. Flexible was not in the vocabulary. But now, I would describe my style as flexible. I look for flexibility in terms of fabric, but also metaphorically—clothes I can wear for different occasions.

Carly: Today, I prioritize comfort. The pants I’m wearing now are truly the most comfortable pants I’ve ever put on. They feel like sweatpants, but they don’t look like sweatpants. I feel very “welcome to my boardroom”—I feel sexy and take-charge.

What’s the first thing you consider when you’re getting ready in the morning?
Danielle: I go through my schedule. We’re in a transition between working from home and waiting for theSkimm’s new office to be finished, so I’m going back and forth between my office and seeing my kids on breaks. The outfit I choose really depends on my day.

Carly: I pick out my outfit the night before. Always. I actually can’t go to sleep until I’m able to visualize what I’m going to put on in the morning.

Do you have a capsule wardrobe or a system you follow when getting dressed?
Carly: I do have a little bit of a system. It may or may not be called “The Order” in my head. I organize my clothes by color, and I usually like to ground my outfit in one thing: either the sweater I’m wearing and what goes with it, or a pair of pants that haven’t been worn in a while. I ask myself, ‘What outfit can I build around these pants?’ And that becomes a fun little creative project for me.

Danielle: I’m really big on closet organization. I organize my clothes by type, and then by color. I have two little boys, a toddler and a baby, and my toddler really loves touching fabrics. Often, I’ll hold up two things, and he’ll pick. He’s very decisive.

What’s the most-worn piece of clothing in your wardrobe?
Danielle: Jeans. I have gone hardcore mom jean, because I’ve had two kids in two years. I would love to venture out from the mom jean, but that’s my life right now.

Carly: Also jeans. I tend to wear darker washes, and always with stretch.

Who’s your style icon?
Danielle: I always go back to the Kate Hudson boho-chic era, circa Almost Famous. That will forever be my ‘Could I pull this off?’ look. I will always be trying to emulate that a little bit.

Carly: I love Amal Clooney’s style—idolize it. I’d say Amal Clooney x Audrey Hepburn.

Founder of Poppy Seed Health

Simmone Taitt

What’s the first thing you consider when you’re getting ready in the morning?
I was an early bloomer, and I was in training bras really early and learned everything about how to take care of my girls. So the first things I consider in the morning are bras and undergarments.

One big thing that was always a pet peeve of my mother’s, and is now a pet peeve of mine, is spillage. You want your clothes to settle nicely on your curves, and spillage hinders that. The other thing that I always suggest is to get yourself measured. You would be surprised how much your cup size changes through life’s transitions, whether you’re having babies or not—just our evolution as women makes it important to get yourself measured every couple of years.

How has your wardrobe changed over the last few years?
Before the pandemic, I was a sky-high heels girl. I had heels for every occasion—there was no way I was leaving my house without them. Back in the day, there was a trend (which I think is coming back, and I don’t know how I feel about it) of wearing sneakers with high heels. It was big in hip-hop—people like Lil’ Kim made it popular.

But that was my style then. My style now is a beautiful wardrobe of flats and kitten heels, and what I put on my body now usually has stretch. I never used to wear a lot of stretch, because I always felt like unyielding clothes helped me with my posture. If it didn’t stretch, it would make me suck in my gut and straighten my back. But who wants to be tortured like that? I think it’s important for your clothes to be tailored and feel really good, but to also have a little stretch.

Who is your style icon?
Tracee Ellis Ross. I wish that I just had a style fairy to help me look like her. She looks great when she’s glammed up. She looks great when she’s hanging out on the beach in a bikini. She just looks great—and part of that greatness comes from her confidence, which is incredible. Her style is *chef’s kiss.*

Written By

Madeleine Kim

Madeleine Kim is the Senior Brand Manager at M.M.LaFleur, where she started out as a stylist. She loves developing styling-focused content and creating newsletters that bring the M.M. community together.

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