The Ultimate Capsule Wardrobe: Work Essentials

April 23, 2016

Building on the original 12 "closet basics," it doesn't take much—just six more items—to create new outfits that are suitable for business casual work environments. I recommend adding (1) drapey blouse that tucks easily, (1) tweed or printed jacket for textural interest (really love this J. Crew new arrival), (1) three-season pencil skirt, (1) knee-length sheath dress, (1) dress pant, and (1) leather satchel.

For your work essentials, I would hew to the primary color scheme that you selected for your basics, adding perhaps one more neutral shade.

As I've mentioned in past posts, a little black dress with a small twist can be incredibly versatile (just add some color or texture to help them shine). I love my Black Halo Jackie O dresses because they are wrinkle resistant and universally flattering. 
Here are 12 more looks created using these six new pieces:

The next installment will likely involve pieces for casual looks. Stay tuned.

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  1. This is awesome!! I will def be back to see the casual outfits version of this! This has really made me realize how many classic outfits I have ready to go in my closet! Any other suggestions for a silk blouse? also - what are your thoughts on mixing black with navy? I have a great fringed tweed jacket from J Crew in navy and while I have the matching skirt I'm not sure how to break them up to wear separately. Thank you!

    1. Hi Kelly,

      Check out Equipment, Everlane, J. Crew, and Ann Taylor for silk blouses. I personally mix black and navy with impunity, though it's more of an art than a science. Something that I find works well is wearing a base of black (or navy) and then choosing an accent piece in navy (or black). So you might wear the tweed jacket with a gray or white tea, black pants, black booties, and a black bag. Hope this helps! :)

  2. I LOVE this idea!! I have way too many clothes and always find myself wearing the same essential pieces. You've inspired me to do some belated spring cleaning of my own :)

    I recently started my own fashion blog "Taylor Elle" feel free to check it out!

    Thank you and have a great day!!

    1. I'm glad you like this post, Taylor. :)

  3. Great post! What brand is the tweed jacket?

    1. The jacket is J. Crew: the Maple Tweed Jacket. It's from a few seasons ago, though I've seen it pop up on eBay from time to time. Definitely set an alert if you are interested. :)

  4. I love the black peplum belt with your Jackie O Dress. Where can I find it please??

    1. The peplum belt is ASOS, and is several years old. You may want to check Etsy, I've seen some really great options for a peplum belt there. :)


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