Exploring Chloe Rhee ’24’s Capsule Wardrobe: Clothing as a Medium for Self-Expression

Rhee wears white Doc Martens to compliment her white top

Rhee creates her closet out of staple items to compose an interchangeable wardrobe.

Rhee finds inspiration from fashion figures like Hailey Bieber

Chloe Rhee ’24 builds her outfit with sleek, interchangeable pieces from a capsule wardrobe — a collection of clothing composed of solely interchangeable items. She layers a black leather jacket over a white tank top and black mini skirt, and tights and black-and-white Doc Martens complete her striking look. Rhee explained how she’s been experimenting with a new type of wardrobe this year.

“This year, I’ve been trying out a capsule wardrobe type of thing where… you buy the basics that all sort of work together, and then mix and match as you go. So I think almost all the things I have in my closet go with pretty much everything [else], because I’ve styled it that way deliberately. It makes choosing colors a lot easier,” said Rhee.

Before coming to Andover, Rhee didn’t have much experience exploring her own style. She discussed how her mother often dressed her and her sister in identical clothing, as well how she largely conformed to fashion trends around her. Yet coming to the East Coast from California and attending a different school from her sister, Rhee found newfound opportunities to explore a more individualistic style at Andover.

“When I came here… I started thinking more about [how] my sister doesn’t go to school with me here, she’s across the country, how can I individually express my own style?… Over the years, as I’ve come here, especially being in the East Coast, as compared to the West Coast, or even in Andover, where it’s just this microcosm of people all around the world, it’s just so much more diverse compared to back home and what people wore [there, and] I started to think about it a lot more consciously,” said Rhee.

Rhee builds her wardrobe from brands like Aritzia and Abercrombie and Fitch, and wants to try thrifting more in the future as well. Instead of focusing on the clothes themselves, Rhee emphasized projecting a cohesive image through her fashion.

“A lot of people that I’ve talked to say that… I give off put-together energy… As my concept of fashion evolved, I sort of started thinking [of my clothing as] not just stuff I was [putting] on every day, but stuff that could contribute to an image. And I think I decided that looking put together and giving off that sort of energy was something that I wanted to do,” said Rhee.

Additionally, Rhee finds outfit inspiration from a variety of places, from famous figures like Hailey Bieber to friends at Andover. She described how she’s inspired more by her friends’ characters in their fashion than by their specific styles.

“It’s not necessarily what [my friends] wear, that [makes me go], ‘Oh, I want to go for that style,’ because I think they all have very individual styles…. Mia [Pao ’24] is very thrifty. Kelly [Yang ’24]’s super subversive, trendy. And then Emelia [Yang ’24] is really preppy, put together. But I think I was definitely inspired by the way that they use clothes to give off an energy or how interested they are in fashion. I think that’s very interesting, that’s something that has inspired me to develop a fashion style of my own,” said Rhee.

Looking towards the future, Rhee discussed how her style may change and evolve in different environments. She will continue to use clothes as a medium for self-expression throughout these shifting priorities and values.

“Right now, just because Andover is such a busy, overwhelming place, I think, for example, looking to [be] put together is something that I really value and the style that I have right now sort of reflects that. But maybe it’s like I evolve later on in life, [and] there may be other things that I prioritize… and I think clothes are a really great medium to do that,” said Rhee.