hopping for workwear shouldn't be a chore. But with the overwhelming amount of choice on offer, it’s easy to lose focus on what we actually need and end up with a wardrobe full of clothes that have no place in the office. Shopping strategically however, could be the answer, by investing in the essentials and building a curated collection of 20 items, specifically and exclusively for the office - recently branded the Capsule Wardrobe. The elimination of 'wild card' outfits and pieces that are only partially appropriate for work makes the morning routine efficient and reliable, as you can be assured that any shirt, skirt, jacket or pair trousers you grab meets a certain standard in quality and style. By investing in multiple pieces of these six staple items, everything in your capsule wardrobe will look smart, feel great and fit together perfectly, creating an immediate image of polished professionalism and making you feel ready for work by association.
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The all-in-one, throw-it-on item with the many names and just as many benefits. A knee-length dress is the perfect one-piece outfit that doesn’t need much thought and will always look sophisticated. Preferably worn as a neutral base, (black, navy, grey, cream) and in fabrics that wash well and are durable, invest in three or four different dresses for different occasions. Choose styles that have different sleeve lengths and necklines for variation without the need for accessories.
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You can never go wrong with a well-made suit in a meeting. Opt for those with flattering, feminine cuts and two-way sets, with both the skirt and the trousers to match the jacket. Fabric is the chief pawn here - a good suit will last you years and will make you feel invincible. Although one investment will set you up for life, having an extra as back up is never a bad idea.
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The Shirt & Blouse
Shop the look: Rodor 2 Salmon Leather Lapel jacket by Rose & Willard | Oversized Cotton shirt by VIKTORIA CHAN | The Eliza skirt by Bodyfrock | Yasmin Black ballerinas by Bonessi Ballerinas | Carnelia Tote by AEVHA London | Maze cuffllinks by Purple Luxe
Natural fibers are the best option for any top as synthetics will make you sweaty and shiny. Create a mix of neutral colours to use for a base and a few in brighter or bolder tones to mix-up an outfit or to layer with tailoring. Blouses allow for more flair but be weary of high-street mock-ups which are polyester based. Keep the embellishments to oversized cuffs and bows as beading of fabric panels can look tacky rather than tasteful.
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The Tailored Separates
For a formal approach towards less formal settings, good quality skirts and trousers are good to match with shirts, tops and sweaters. Separate jackets and trousers look chic and polished but give you more room for days when you can take it easy behind your desk. It's best to choose dark and neutral colours such as black, navy and grey, in order to make them more versatile with the rest of your wardrobe and for the occasion when you wear the as a set.
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Your best friend and office weapon. Choose a large, structured shape with a base for durability and storage. It should fit a laptop, a couple of presentations, a notebook and your chargers, along with a pair of flats and an umbrella. Your bag should be considered your transportable desk, and with that, it should be equally well organised. If a client gets a glimpse, it should reflect the qualities they hired you for. Ideally, it should have a closing to avoid any preying eyes so opt for designs that are stylish, spacious but with reliable clasping for privacy.
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Shop the look: Rebus Tailored Jacket by Rose & Willard | Amber Flounce Blouse by VIKTORIA CHAN | Rebus Cropped Tailored trousers by Rose & Willard | The Everyday Pouch by She Lion | Lilly Black Ballerinas by Bonessi Ballerinas | Perel Cufflinks by Purple Luxe
Heels also come with their own set of rules. Most of your shoes should come in a neutral colour; black, grey or nude will go with anything, saving you hassle on matching colours in the morning. A solid 4, 5 or 6-inch heel is always a confidence boost, giving us the power trip we need for a big meeting or presentation, but the compromise we make for comfort always will be a battle. When choosing heels, the rational of hem-line to heel-height is the only quantifier needed; the shorter the hem, the lower the heel. Ideally, your hem shouldn’t breach 2-inches-above-the-knee territory with the heel height staying within the limits of 3-6 inches. Flats on the other hand are easy; keep it chic and simple with black ballet slippers and pointed toe-flats for extra elegance.