The Monday Style Edit: A workable office capsule
My mission: Put together an office wardrobe that doesn’t make me want to quit my job.
Everyone else is trying to streamline their overstuffed closets, and I’m over here thinking ‘you don’t know how good you have it.’ However, these are two sides of the same problem.
Unofficial uniforms are a trending topic currently and are just not the decluttering solution for me. I get bored too easily and for many reasons, the uniform approach doesn’t appeal to me. I will always, always get sick of the uniform and be stuck with (real life example) polos in eleven different colors.
The above is also the reason I shied away from the ‘capsule wardrobes’ that were popular maybe ten years ago. If you grew up in the 90s, is the stigma of being an ‘outfit repeater’ burned in your brain? It’s ridiculous, but there it is. Plus the whole boredom thing.
The problem is I tend to think in specific outfits when shopping, thanks to social media, magazines, and catalogs. Putting together the perfect outfit is fun! Unfortunately, even a stand-out outfit has a shelf life of one day. I have met the idea of the capsule in a slightly revised guise. The capsule doesn’t necessarily have to comprise your entire wardrobe.
Having a capsule dedicated to a specific place/activity - in this case, work - has made life a lot easier than just buying random clothes and assuming they’re going to be versatile.
I’ll start with my office’s dress code: Conservative Government Office Building. This approach can also be adapted for fun offices with free Spindrift and Bring Your Pet to Work Day parties. (Side note: who else is still going to an office? All the private sector people I Zoom with are always trying to blur out their home offices, but I see you, Alex.)
Next, I chose a color story to make it easy to mix and match everything. I’ve written before that I don’t really look good in black or enjoy wearing it, but I had started wearing it to work again just because I was so sick of my other clothes. The base of my new capsule is a mix of navy and ivory. Those are the colors I’ve been drawn to for many years, and wearing them every day ‘sparks joy.’ More practically, the bags I carry to work and all of my outerwear matches these pieces. The faded black pants I’ve worn grudgingly can be rehomed at last.
The capsule has to be seasonless, of course. At first glance, mine doesn’t seem practical for summer, but let’s factor in the icy blast of air conditioning from April - October.
These are the pieces I already owned that made it into the official capsule:
Molly Moorkamp Brynn Dress (navy)
Brooks Brothers button-down shirts (white, blue & white)
Banana Republic Hacking Jacket (navy)
Brooks Brothers slim cotton ankle trousers (navy)
Brooks Brothers gabardine trousers (sand)
J. Crew The Pencil Skirt (navy)
Duffield Lane cashmere cardigan (ivory)
Talbots ribbed button-sleeve turtleneck (ivory)
J. Crew ruffle-neck sleeveless blouse (ivory)
Talbots Charming Cardigan (navy)
Ferragamo Vara pumps (navy)
Vivaia Tracy pumps (ivory)
To be honest, I tried to add more pieces recently to complete the capsule. Unfortunately, I ended up returning everything because the items didn’t flatter me at all. So, the search continues.
Can/do I wear other stuff to work? Sure. But having a foundation of great go-to pieces I can mix and match and that I adore wearing is such a help to me. I feel most confident/polished in these pieces, and it’s one less scary thing about Sunday evenings. This list is open to future shopping, and it’s made far easier knowing exactly what will fit in.