Save time in the morning, shop less, and create space in your closet by curating the perfect capsule wardrobe for work.
Save space, time, and money
There are plenty of reasons to build a capsule wardrobe for work. First of all, buying fewer clothes can save you a lot of money. And if you usually buy cheaper and mass-produced clothes, you’re keeping the environmental impact down as well.
The third reason is to save space at your place. And if you’ve ever been a part of the London property market, you know how valuable space is.
Quality and fit over quantity
If you buy fewer clothes, you can buy better quality. Keeping a dress for several years and reusing it feels so much better than throwing it out every month because it’s torn and ill-fitting.
Finally, with a small and perfectly curated wardrobe, it will be much easier to pick out an outfit in the morning before work.
Your clothes will be of good quality and easy to pair with each other. This will save you time every morning, and you can spend it on more important things than wardrobe.
Follow the steps below to build a capsule wardrobe for work.
1. Pick a colour scheme
There’s nothing as efficient in streamlining your wardrobe as choosing a preset mix of colours.
When you build a capsule wardrobe, you need to be able to combine almost all of your clothes, and if you don’t stick to a colour scheme, this will be almost impossible.
You probably already have one or two favourite colours that you keep wearing all the time. Why don’t you build a wardrobe around them?
If you don’t know what you look good in, check out a colour style guide. Most of the time, blondes with a light skin tone are advised to stick to the cold colours, and women with darker skin tones and hair can go for warmer and bolder colours.
2. Divide your clothes into categories
Since I’m from Scandinavia, my skin is naturally super light. Therefore, I choose to build my wardrobe around blue and greens.
But I don’t just go and buy an entire green wardrobe. Rather, I follow a set of guidelines to make the clothes easier to match.
The first and main category that you want to build your capsule wardrobe around is your basic pieces. Those are sets of trousers, jackets, skirts, and some dresses.
I mostly keep all skirts and suits to neutral colours like black, grey and dark blue. This is something most people with business formal dress codes end up doing anyway, so you probably do the same.
3. Choose a different colour for tops and dresses
Since you want to be able to wear all your suits with almost all your tops, you need to make sure they work well together.
You can still have some of the most basic colours like black, grey and blue, but try to sprinkle in some more colour here as well.
I buy tops in shades of blue, green, purple, and of course also in black and white. But for the blues and greens, I choose bolder and brighter tones that stand out from the other pieces I will wear them with.
For dresses, you can do the same. It means you can pick up a suit, and match it with any top or dress in your closet. Super easy!
4. Use accessories that stand out
You’re probably thinking that this way of dressing might end up being boring. But your outfit doesn’t have to stop at the clothes.
You can still put on some nice jewellery, or add a colourful bag. In fact, I make a point out of buying colourful accessories.
The accent colours that work well for accessories are often colours on the opposite end of the colour wheel. So if you’re like me and build a wardrobe around dark blues, grey and green, you can choose bags in burgundy, bright red, or for example fuschia.
You can also play with orange, brown, pale grey, or a bright green bag. It plays well with the rest of the wardrobe since it stands out from the clothes. And it also gives the outfits a fresh, new look every time you use them.
5. Jewellery changes the outfits as well
The same goes for jewellery. You can get a lot of nice statement pieces that are wearable for the office. Every time you add a necklace to a top or dress, it can get a completely updated look.
This also saves a lot of space when travelling.
You can easily bring a dress and a jacket for daytime, and switch the jacket for a big piece of jewellery for the evening. Pair it with a nice smaller bag, and no one will notice it’s the same outfit.
6. Packing the perfect capsule wardrobe for a work trip
Black dress from Karen Millen | Cut-out nude pumps from Karen Millen | Skirt and jacket from Theory | White ribbed sweater from Karen Millen | Lavender blouse from See by Chloe | Blue satin blouse from Reiss
As mentioned above, you can also build a small capsule wardrobe for a work trip to save space.
For some of us women in consulting, investment banking, or law, travelling with hand luggage only is quite normal. Getting enough stuff with us is always a challenge.
Follow the same guidelines as above. Choose a colour scheme for tops or dresses and add one or two standard pieces consisting of skirt or pants and a jacket.
In the example from the picture, I’ve chosen what would be a typical wardrobe for me if I’m away for meetings for four days and need to save space.
If you really struggle, read She Moments’ guide on what to pack for work trips here.
7. Keep the number of shoes to a minimum
This doesn’t necessarily have to be true when you’re creating a capsule wardrobe for work. But if you’re building one to save space for a work trip, this is one of the most efficient ways of reducing the sheer volume of stuff.
Shoes take up a lot of space, and you don’t necessarily need that many.
If you’ve already chosen a colour scheme for clothes, you can easily transfer this to your shoe wardrobe. But you don’t necessarily want to go for the same colours here.
Get something that works well with several colours. Black is always an easy go to, but I feel like nude is often the most versatile colour to combine with my darker suit colours.
Can you ever cheat?
The list above sounds very strict, and sticking to a fixed colour might be boring in the long-run.
It doesn’t mean that you can never play around with different colours, but the main part of your wardrobe is more efficient if the pieces match.
I sometimes throw a few red pieces into the mix, but I mostly end up wearing it outside of work.
Do you plan a capsule wardrobe for business trips? And do you have any other tips for curating the perfect capsule wardrobe for work?