If you’ve ever found yourself digging through your drawers and closets at 7 am on a workday in a desperate attempt to put together a decent work outfit, you aren’t alone. It’s easy to acquire a lot of separate pieces that just don’t quite come together. For many years now, women in the know have relied on their capsule wardrobes to ensure that they can get dressed quickly, and appropriately, for work.
What Is a Capsule Wardrobe?
The concept of the capsule wardrobe goes back to the 1970s. Susie Faux, a British clothing boutique owner, coined the term to describe a collection of classic and interchangeable garments that could be worn over several seasons.
The concept eventually caught on, and many women began to craft capsule wardrobes consisting of a limited number of always-in-style garments that could easily be mixed and matched into dozens of outfits.
Putting Together a Work Capsule Wardrobe
The notion of what a capsule wardrobe should include has evolved over the decades, particularly as women have entered management and executive positions at work. The concept has remained the same, however: Shop for high-quality basic items in neutral colors that will last for several years and that can easily be styled into multiple outfits.
Capsule Wardrobe Pieces
While many fashion writers and stylists have strong ideas about what a capsule wardrobe should contain, the reality is that there is no one set of garments that will suit everyone. This is particularly true when it comes to putting together a work wardrobe, as workplace policy, as well as your industry, will determine what is appropriate for your situation.
Still, we can suggest some pieces that should hold most women in good stead:
1. Jacket or Blazer: Jackets and blazers add professionalism and layering options to your wardrobe. Every working woman should have at least two indoor jackets or blazers in their capsule wardrobe: One in black or navy and another in a lighter color, such as beige.
2. Tops: Button-down shirts are workplace classics, so be sure to have at least one white or off-white shirt in your closet. Other options include shells or sleeveless blouses that can be worn under a blazer, as well as one or two v-neck or crew neck sweaters during the colder months.
3. Bottoms: Your wardrobe should include at least one pair of plain black pants. Khakis or twill leggings in neutral colors are other options. Depending on where you work, a simple, tailored skirt is also good to have on hand for more formal occasions.
4. A Dress: The classic little black dress is a great option for after-work socializing and more formal work functions. If you need to wear your LBD to work, make sure it pairs well with a jacket or blazer and perhaps a string of pearls or a simple chain necklace. Other options include a tailored wrap or shirt dresses.
5. Outerwear: Don’t forget to add professional outerwear, such as a black, nay, or khaki trench coat to your closet. Another, slightly more formal option would be a simply styled long wool winter coat with a shawl collar.
The Importance of Accessories
The general rule for capsule wardrobe pieces is that they should be both classics in styling and neutral in color. These rules ensure that the pieces won’t look dated in a year or two and that they won’t clash with other wardrobe pieces.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t have the opportunity to add pops of color or be on-trend at the office. The nifty thing about a capsule wardrobe is that you can use handbags, scarves, and jewelry to create a unique, distinctive look. Even better, a capsule wardrobe’s neutral color palette allows you to go wild with color when selecting accessories.
Do you make use of the capsule wardrobe concept? Share your tips and tricks in the comments!