The Perfect Capsule Work Wardrobe

I confess, I'm far from a minimalist (the boy foresees some logistical difficulties with my shoe collection and tiny condo closets). But perhaps this is why the idea of a tightly edited collection of mix-and-match basics seems so fascinating. Whenever I see a "Several Pieces, Umpteen Different Outfits" tutorial, I get excited about seeing all the different looks the stylists came up with while working within limited parameters.

This Shopbop lookbook caught my eye a couple of weeks ago and I haven't been able to put it out of mind since. Even if you can't afford Michael Kors watches, Vince trousers, Equipment silk blouses or Diane von Furstenberg wrap dresses, you can derive great styling ideas for how to recombine a handful of basic pieces into enough looks for two weeks.

The list of lookbook items serves as a good checklist for fresh university graduates who've just landed their first real jobs and need to put together a professional wardrobe fast. How many of these pieces do you have in your wardrobe?

  • Black blazer
  • 2 pairs of trousers (1 pair black, 1 pair in another neutral)
  • Black pencil skirt
  • Black pumps
  • Commuter flats
  • 2 sweaters (1 crewneck, 1 cardigan)
  • Trench coat
  • Classic work tote
  • Patterned blouse
  • White button-down shirt
  • Oversize watch
  • Day dress

Looking for more workwear inspiration? Check out this post with outfit ideas for Monday to Friday that I did last year when I began my new job.


  1. I've been trying to edit my wardrobe! Yup condo closets can be tricky, and I only get half of one. ;) This is a good way to sort through to which are actually basics.

  2. I have the black blazer, black pencil skirt, and cardigans (but I REALLY need new cardigans because mine are getting worn out). I also (sort of) have a white button up, but mines silk with black trim (like your Madewell one!).

    The only thing I don't necessarily agree with is the dress-I think it depends where you work. At my office, I usually wear a silk top with pants or a pencil skirt and dressy flats. I'm ALREADY way more dressed up than most of the people that work there. I think a dress would just put it over the top.

    And I wish I could wear cropped pants! But they never seem to look good with flats.

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