Imagine a typical week day. You wake up bright and early in the morning, eat breakfast, take a shower, and start dressing for work. You try on this or that outfit; change this top for that blouse, this blue skirt for the grey pants, and before you know it you’re already running late. Of all the things you have to do every morning, worrying about finding the perfect outfit for work shouldn’t have to be one of them.

This is a big reason why having a work capsule wardrobe is gaining popularity with women everywhere. Not only is it an effective solution for saving time in the mornings, it is also cost-efficient and practical in the long run. More and more women are making the switch to having work capsule wardrobes and are happier for it. So, if you want to take the stress out of your morning routine, then this is the perfect solution for your wardrobe woes.

What is a work capsule wardrobe?

Breaking it down, a capsule wardrobe is a small wardrobe made up of limited clothing pieces that you can mix and match to come up with numerous outfit ideas. A work capsule wardrobe is a collection of pieces you can put together to come up with stylish looks that are suitable for your work/office environment.

Typically, a work capsule wardrobe, or business capsule wardrobe as some may call it, consists of 20-40 pieces of clothing including: skirts, pants, shirts, tops, dresses, and coats (shoes, bags, and other accessories such as jewelry may or may not be included).  More importantly, these capsule pieces are based on your company’s culture and dress policy (that is, if you have one of those).

So if you’re planning on creating a work wear capsule, make sure to consider culture, dress code, your level of activity, and the intangibles that make or break an outfit for you like comfort, temperature, etc. 

25 piece

Photo Courtesy: HonestlyModern

Why should you have a work capsule wardrobe?

It’s a time saver.

Based on the above scenario, this is a no-brainer. Having a work capsule wardrobe will save you tons of time in the mornings because you already have an idea on what to wear based on a limited number of pieces

After putting together your own work capsule wardrobe, you can come up with a large number of different outfits by mixing and matching different pieces within the capsule. For the average number of 30 capsule pieces, you can easily put together enough outfits to last an entire month. And if you can get more creative, you can stretch it to two or three months, a wardrobe for an entire season!

Repeat outfits are minimized.

Don’t you just hate it when you get rushed during dressing up for work that you just grab whatever your hands reach first then when you get to the office you discover that you’ve worn the exact same thing three days ago?

Planning your work ensembles ahead of time can actually work great for you.  Not only do you breeze through work mornings easily, you can also guarantee that an outfit isn’t repeated enough times that your office mates think you don’t have enough clothes.

Expert Tip: Take snapshots of as many outfits or combinations that you can think of. That way, you can just sort through your photos and plan your outfits week by week. No stress, no hassle, and certainly no more embarrassment at the office.

It’s cost-effective. 

Have you ever experienced impulsively buying a dress during one of your trips to the mall just because of its cute color or style, and after a time find out you’ve worn it only once and it’s been relegated to some forgotten part of your closet, with the other pieces you’ve already forgotten about because you keep wearing your favorite blouse or go-to pants?

Having a work capsule wardrobe will save you money in the long run. Sure, setting up a capsule wardrobe can be pricey at the beginning, but think of all the savings you will eventually have. Having a work capsule wardrobe will minimize your spending on clothes simply because you already have a wardrobe that works well for you. You will find that you don’t need to buy that cute blazer/dress/pants/blouse/coat to wear at the office or because you don’t have anything to wear at all because the ones you have already work well with the other pieces of your capsule and still looks great.

The work capsule wardrobe is a really a minimalist approach. Since all pieces work together, it maximizes outfit options for the least amount of money.

Photo Courtesy: Looking Stylish

Photo Courtesy: Looking Stylish

So how do I start a work capsule wardrobe?

Starting a capsule wardrobe for work wear can be a daunting task when faced with a closet full of clothes, but it doesn’t have to be. A trick to getting started is to empty your closet entirely and separate out your work clothes.

  1. Browse through all your work wear clothes and separate them into four piles: Nope, Seasonal, Love it, and Maybe.

Nope: It doesn’t fit you anymore, it’s outdated, and you know you won’t wear it ever again. Sell it in a garage sale, trade with a friend, or give it away to charity.

Seasonal: These pieces are considered seasonal staples like a wool coat that’s perfect for winter but not for summer. These seasonal staples should be placed in storage and brought out again when making seasonal wardrobe changes.

Love it: These pieces you are in love with and would not part ways with anytime soon. They’re a great fit, chic, and versatile.These are the perfect start to your work capsule wardrobe.

Maybe: These are pieces that you are a bit iffy about – maybe it’s a bit small for you now but would look great once you lost a few pounds, the color is a bit off or maybe its an expensive gift from a loved one – keep these “maybe” pieces in storage for when you change your mind. If the season ends and you still haven’t changed your mind about storing them, it’s time to get rid of them.

  1. So what pieces do you include in a work capsule wardrobe?

Ideally, you should start with neutral/monochromatic basics such as pants, skirts, blouses or blazers that you can later layer on with colored, printed or patterned pieces to come up with chic outfits.

Four is a good base number for each kind of clothing in your capsule. For example, 4 kinds of pants: two pants in monochrome colors (black and grey or khaki), another pair of pants with patterns or prints, and the last pair should ideally be a statement piece (red trouser pants, for example). Do the same with your tops, sweaters, blazers, skirts, dresses, etc. and you should be covered for every work occasion there is.

Accessories such as shoes, bags, and jewelry may or may not be included in your total capsule count. These accessories, if chosen correctly, can complete any outfit to result in chic, office-worthy ensembles.

Here’s a more comprehensive sample of a work capsule wardrobe along with the combination of outfits derived from the capsule to give you inspiration:


week 1 week 3 week 5

Work Capsule Wardrobe by Kristin727

Work on your capsule wardrobe based on your personal style, and as time goes by you can add or subtract items from it to suit your changing needs. Also, it’s not limited to just your work clothes – you can also create other capsule wardrobes for weekends or casual wear for all-around efficiency in your wardrobe department.

What do you think, ladies? Is a work capsule wardrobe something you might seriously consider trying?


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