By Alison Syrett Cleary
Updated Jul 18, 2017 @ 4:30 pm
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Credit: Courtesy of EDTN

Since launching 20 years ago with the ultimate pair of stretchy work pants, Theory has found its niche as a go-to place for wardrobe staples. Perhaps it was the source of your first real suit for your first real job, or the name behind your favorite little white T-shirt.

Personally, I got hooked in 2008 though the brand's super tight and stretchy “tubular tank tops”—an item so popular at the tiny boutique where I worked as a shopgirl that I used to hide them straight out of the shipment box to buy when my paycheck came through.

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But that was nearly a decade ago and since, my options have expanded. Finding the perfect fitted camisole these days is just a quick iPhone search away, and I can comparison-shop options for everything from fit to price to the ethics behind how they're made. And with all that extra noise, it can be tough for an old school company like Theory to compete.

Theory Capsule 1
Credit: Courtesy of EDTN

Shop the look: T-shirt, $55;

Not anymore. With its newest initiative, a capsule collection dubbed Theory 2.0, the label is ready to cater to a new generation of shoppers. The limited-edition range (which just debuted today) offers a tightly edited range of versatile designs developed by the line’s target audience: a handpicked group of young, on-the-rise talent from every department within the company.

Theory Capsule 2
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Shop the look: Coat, $495;

As someone who spends a lot of time reviewing new lines that promise to be the modern woman’s “capsule wardrobe,” I must admit this is one of the few that truly delivers on the claim—at least where my own needs are concerned. While the mix-and-matchable selection of easy knits (think just-slouchy-enough pullovers that are both cropped and full length), day-to-night tops (silky camisoles and relaxed button-up shirts), and basic bottoms (comfy wide-leg black trousers with a discreet pull-over waistband—i.e., pajama pants for the office), are simple enough to blend into most any closet, there’s a thoughtfulness to the silhouettes I rarely see in other basics-focused brands. Sure, I might need to buy some of these pieces, but I really want to as well.

Theory Capsule 3
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Shop the look: Moto jacket, $445;

Which brings me to another positive point: Although these clothes are made with the same precision as Theory’s main offerings, they are priced about 30 percent lower, with the most expensive item in the bunch (a double-faced wool coat) marked at $495. Better still, this project places a premium on socially conscious production methods, utilizing sustainable manufacturing and materials wherever possible. I’m particularly impressed with the even-better-than-real vegan leather used on a moto jacket and black leggings which, like all the fabrics in the collection, is also machine washable.

So no more sprinting to the dry cleaner after a long day at work? That might be the best news of all.

Theory Capsule 4
Credit: Courtesy of EDTN

Shop the look: Pullover shirt, $215; Trousers, $200;

Shop the first Theory 2.0 drop on the company's website and in-stores starting today.