Workwear Basics for Building a Capsule Wardrobe

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your work wardrobe with luxury basics, create a timeless minimalist capsule closet, or you’re a new grad looking to build an office wardrobe, YOU are in the right place. I’m guiding you with my top 9 MUST HAVE workwear basics. I highly recommend choosing these products in classic/neutral colors to create a good foundation to layer your style on top of with edgy accessories and stylings. 

*Tip: If you find any basics that fit well, look great, and you love…buy MULTIPLES!

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Below items are mentioned in the video but keep reading for alternative options!

The Workwear Basics

The key to creating the perfect work wardrobe is to have a foundation of workwear basics to build from. To get the most out of a minimal or capsule wardrobe, you want to look for pieces that fit together interchangeably in your closet to make creating outfits modular. A good rule to remember before adding new pieces to your closet is the Rule of 5! The Rule of 5 states you need to be able to create at least 5 outfits that incorporate your potential, new piece before purchasing it. Luckily, I believe everything I’m mentioning below can help create at least 5 or more outfits for work.

I tend to lean more minimal/subdued in my office style. For me, this makes it easier to pair together pieces and keep a consistent wardrobe. A classic look I wear consistently is a monochromatic look aka ALL BLACK from head to toe.

Ready to get started building a foundation of workwear basics? Below are some of my favorite styles from TNT (tried and true) brands. 

1. Pointed-Toe Flats

Start with some quality flats and work your way up to higher heels. If you work in a larger office or have to consistently run to meetings, having a chic pair of pointed-toe flats can save your feet from aching on busy days. Two brands I love for pointed-toe flats are Sam Edelman and Rothy’s! Both brands use high-quality materials that will survive extensive wearing (I know from first-hand experience!)

2. Black Slacks

Finding a brand of go-to pants for work is challenging! It takes time to find a pair that fits your body comfortably and looks great. My absolute favorite pair of work pants are made by Liverpool Jeans. The Kelsey Knit Trousers are their comfiest style and are the perfect blend of comfort and aesthetics. They have amazing stretch so no matter what duties you have to perform, these slacks will fit right into your routine comfortably.

3. Oversized/Boyfriend/Longline Blazers

A blazer is such a classic staple for any work wardrobe. My favorite (and trendy!) style is the Boyfriend/Longline blazer because not only does it have the structure of a blazer, it has the versatility of a cardigan or jacket. The oversized fit of a boyfriend blazer is more comfortable to me than a traditional suit-style blazer. It toes the line of professionalism and comfort while also flirting with the latest trends.

4. Work Bags

You’ll need a great work bag to show up prepared and ready to get stuff done! I prefer commuter backpacks for my day to day trek into the office. The double strap spreads the backpack weight across both shoulders and there’s a multitude of pockets for chargers, pens, wallets, and ID tags. On days when I want to look cute, I’ll bring a tote bag! A good tote organizer, and I can’t recommend the Tote Savvy Deluxe enough, is the key to minimizing clutter in your tote.

Also, including a shameless plug for my other work bag related content!

Don’t forget to check out my tote bag organizer post on how you can tackle that often-messy tote bag.

5. Denim

Check the dress code and atmosphere before wearing but if your office is more casual or has a casual Friday, denim is an easy way to “relax” your work outfits and add more versatility. I love swapping out my black slacks for black jeans in preparation for the weekend. and denim jackets also pair well with more formal tops or skirts to add a bit more whimsy to your wardrobe. Even if your office does not have a casual Friday, you can always pack a denim piece to transform your outfit from work to happy-hour ready!

6. Belts

If you’re looking to splurge then this is your category! This is a vital accessory to any pants-wearer so you know you will get a lot of use with these. A nice belt helps to accentuate your waist and give your belt loops a purpose. Invest in a good leather (or faux-leather) belt for years of wear. My favorite, thick-leather designer belt is this black leather Marmont belt.

7. Jewelry

The final touch! Great accessories can take an outfit from banal to chic. adding accessories is a great way to dress up without adding more pieces to your core wardrobe. My favorite pieces to start with are ear-hugging hoops and dainty pendant necklaces. I recommend starting with a few classic pieces and adding more layers from there.

8. Pleated Midi Skirts

Skirts are like blog posts, you want them long enough to cover the important parts but short enough to keep things interesting. In terms of skirts for the office, you can’t go wrong with a midi-length skirt. The midi-length hits below the know and works with a variety of tops. Pair that with a pleated fabric and you have the perfect combination of structure, flow, and style.

9. Polyester/Poly-Blend Blouses

Try looking for blouses with a little polyester in them. Since polyester tends to not wrinkle, you’ll spend less time prepping outfit and ironing – perfect for those days when you hit snooze one too many times!

*This list does not include foundation garments like bras, shapewear, or slips but let me know if you would like to see a post or video on that as well! Looking to start smaller? Check out my Top 3 Workwear Essentials post for the things you needed, like, yesterday!

Let me know down below: what are some of your go-to workwear pieces?


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