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Working Week Capsule Wardrobe

Author: Lauren Coleman

It’s been a while since we had a reader request over on these pages, so we were more than happy to help out Faye when she contacted us with a sartorial dilemma.

I’m returning back to work in September after baby number two and I would love your help to buy a capsule work wardrobe to make me feel confident and stylish returning back to work for what feels like will be forever.
I started in my current role straight after I found out I was pregnant for number two so I had old work clothes and maternity clothes from last pregnancy.
I’d really love advice on stylish workwear I can mix and match that’s comfortable, easy to commute in and pick up two children in, and easy to wash/wear!
I manage a large team and visit clients in London but I don’t need to wear a suit and clients are all work smart/casual.
So any advice, help, guidance would be amazing so I can feel ready, prepared and hopefully confident returning to work in my new fabulous wardrobe!

I can’t lie, it’s been two years since I stepped foot in a corporate office but I feel Faye’s pain. I know what it’s like to feel out of sorts on the wardrobe front returning to work.

The below are suggestions for formulating a weekday working capsule wardrobe. When I was working in an office environment five days a week I think I had around ten ‘outfits’ so each combo was only worn twice a month. This saved me from getting bored to tears with the same get up. It’s tricky to suggest particular items at this time of year with so many sales running. Hopefully the shopping widgets will give a few ideas.

The Midi Dress

When I used to work in an office, I was all about the dress. It’s much more cost-effective than shelling out for tops and bottoms. I think we’ll all agree the midi seems to have taken over as the length of choice. I love seeing a midi paired with a pair of pumps as well as with heels so would work well for the school run as well as meetings.

Pleated Skirt

Pleated skirts seem to make a comeback every single year. I’ve wheeled my leopard print one out for its fourth year. On down days I like to team with a band tee but they also work well for a more corporate setting with a plain tailored-shirt, blouse or shirt. When the weather turns cooler bring out the blazer or cardigan.

Cigarette Pants

We love an ankle grazer here at Rock My Towers. They’re an easy way to look cool and pulled together running around after little ones. Again this style works well with trainers and heels so you can easily switch footwear dependent on the time of day.

Blouses and Shirts

I’m conscious Faye mentions she’ll be back to work in September. Hopefully they’ll still be a few more months of warmer days. However when the weather does get cooler, a thick coat thrown over a blouse or shirt is office and weather appropriate.

Blazer

No matter how casual, nothing elevates an outfit quite like a blazer. For a bit of polished professionalism, you can add to any attire. Oversized continues to be on trend and when it comes to colour and print then anything goes.

Jumpsuit

My friend Sam always rocks a culotte jumpsuit. They look so smart when you team with a blazer. Obviously it’s best to leave the ones with a super low neckline for nights out but there are heaps of office-appropriate tailored ones about. Just like the dresses above, it’s a whole outfit in one so is perfect for a capsule wardrobe.

Thin Sweaters

I still have a lot of the thin sweaters I used to wear in the office as they’re so versatile. Zara seem to bring out a different variation on the basic each year so fingers crossed it’s a good design this year. The basic short sleeved one in their new collection would be a great multi-tasker.

What advice would you suggest for Faye? Which workwear favourites have made their way into your wardrobe? Anyone else have a capsule wardrobe for the office?

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9 thoughts on “Working Week Capsule Wardrobe

  1. Good suggestions ladies….I am returning back to work as well after maternity leave at the end of the year after number 2 & was a bit lost on where to start with office stuff. Very useful 🙂

  2. Think about using mainly neutral colours which will always tone together in any combo – black, white, navy, camel, etc.
    Then you can add a few zingier pieces (e.g. this bright yellow shirt will go with my black cigarette pants and my white skirt and under my navy V-neck sweater, etc. etc.) and accessories.
    For capsule pattern-matching it would be easiest to go always plain solid so it’s not an issue, but that’s a little boring. I think the key to mixing patterns with solids or patterns with patterns is to get the colours right (shades and tonally).

  3. A little late to this but – yes to pleated skirts! Preferably with elasticated waist bands as I know the pressure after 2 babies to feel nice when you may not quite be the size you used to be (plus they are super comfortable anyway). The only problem with pleated skirts is that they aren’t usually washable… I find jersey dresses also very easy to wear and those do wash – Boden etc all do an array. I tend to buy neutral colours (black, navy etc), as Suzie says, and then brighten up with a cardigan etc when I feel like it. Also, I actually find skirts/trousers and tops easier than dresses for a capsule wardobe in as much as you can team a skirt for example with different tops to give you more choice and “looks”. For cardigans and jumpers I love Uniqlo, always great quality and wash really well (although I use the handwashing setting on my washing machine, not sure I would put them in a regular wash). Also agree on patterns Suzie! You don’t have to have a completely neutral block coloured wardrobe. I have plenty of stripes or even totally mad and multicoloured things, but I always team with a block colour of some sort. And have a good rummage on The Outnet for something a bit special if you feel like it and budget allows, I think about half my wardrobe comes from there and it feels nice to look a bit different. Good luck!

  4. M&S are great for basics for work. Last time shopped for work clothes they had a big selection of plain tops in various styles and colours for as little as £6!!! The three tops I bought are all washing and wearing well, so great quality as well as prices.

    Also, I love a 3/4 length sleeve and find it makes any outfit look stylish.

    A pop of colour with a belt or scarf is a really easy way of changing up and outfit too.

    Have fun shopping x

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