Depending on your field of work, you may feel pressured to have several different dressing options on hand. If you work in a representative role, dressing appropriately is essential and the same may apply to sectors like finance or legal. Even if you have a classic office role, fashionable colleagues can urge you to keep up with your outfits. But how do you do that without buying new pieces every few weeks? Here’s how.
Capsule is key – Start an office capsule wardrobe. This concept has become a popular trend recently. Originating in France, this concept stands for choosing a certain amount of pieces each season that mix and match (almost) perfectly with each other. By picking the right pieces, endless combinations are possible. Sounds easy, but in reality it takes months to years of dedication to perfect this system for your whole wardrobe. I recommend these ladies for help: Alli, Christine, Meg.
One by one – However, incorporating the capsule wardrobe concept for the workwear part of your wardrobe isn’t that hard. Here’s how I did it: I picked 3 blazers that are very different in style (I have a classic black one with small dots, a light pink one and a grey one with pinstripes.) Then I picked 4 pairs of pants, 2 skirts, 3 blouses, 2 cardigans and 3 long sleeve shirts. If you differentiate between office and non-office shoes add these too. Now, besides trying to pick only a few items each, the key is to have one core item that everything else matches with. For me the blazers are the core item. All other items match with at least 2 of my blazers. Now this sounds easy in theory, but I highly recommend trying on all outfits at home. Just because it looks good in your head, doesn’t mean it will actually convince in reality.
Switch it up – Now you may agree that focussing on mix and match is a great concept to stay organized and somewhat stylish, but there’s still the problems mentioned above like keeping up with trendy colleagues and not looking too simple. Having a limited amount of fashion options gives you room to try something else with complimenting style aspects such as your hair, makeup or jewellery. If you feel like you’ve been sticking mainly to a few of your capsule styles, force yourself to not wear them for a week or two. If you feel too uncomfortable with other styles, switch out an item or two before the next season.
Seasons – As mentioned earlier, the capsule wardrobe concept encourages switching out items every season. This is not only to have weather appropriate clothes, but also gives you the possibility to incorporate some new styles, change your colour palette or reduce the capsule overall. After some getting used to, four occasions a year will feel completely sufficient to re-evaluate your wardrobe.
The Testrun – Don’t jump into your capsule wardrobe instantly. Test out the concept for a while. Pick one item and try to wear it for a few days, styling it differently. I recommend a cardigan or blazer for this, as they are harder to adjust to than a pair of basic pants or a blouse – and the testing phase should challenge you. A less basic item will force you to go through your closet more thoroughly, looking for matching items. This leads to a better overview, which of course is essential to pick the right pieces for your final capsule.
Of course this system doesn’t only work for the office, but any other part of your wardrobe. Having a secure dressing base for your professional life can take away a lot of morning hassle and help you gain confidence plus focus on more important things (like what’s for lunch?) – Enjoy!