The Work Capsule Wardrobe: 18 Essentials You Need to Look Chic Every Single Day

After spending the last year and a half working from home, I need some reminders about how to get dressed up again, so I'm relying on an office capsule wardrobe more than ever. In the mornings, I don’t like to spend time thinking about what I’m wearing. Instead of trying on endless outfits, I would rather spend my time sipping a morning latte, catching up on the news, and scrolling through the latest updates on my Instagram feed. To cut back on the time I’m spending deciding on what I’m wearing to the office, I’ve narrowed down my options to some key office essentials to develop an easy work capsule wardrobe. 

Ahead, see the 18 pieces I rely on for my outfits to wear to the Who What Wear office. I will admit that these are pieces I wear to a fashion-centric work environment (that take the latest trends into mind), so they may not be suitable for every workplace, but you can tailor them to your particular workspace. Go on to see my outfits and shop the workwear staples I can’t live without.

Build a Foundation of Polished Basics


(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols)

I tend to invest in great basics that I can wear and re-wear on the regular. 

1. An oversize blazer

2. Great T-shirts

3. Wide-leg jeans

4. Kitten heels

5. A structured bag

6. Design-forward earrings

Invest in a Tailored Suit


(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols)

There is no question that suiting has been one of the biggest trends in recent seasons—and it's one that easily translates to the office.

7. A suit jacket

8. Matching pants

Look for Wardrobe Essentials That Are Finished With Interesting Details


(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols)

Wearing wardrobe essentials that have unexpected silhouettes and cool design elements instantly breathes life into a simple outfit.

9. A button-down with fashion-forward finishes

10. Modern everyday jewelry

11. An oversize button-down

12. Interesting textures

A Great Pencil Skirt


(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols)

There's a reason a pencil skirt is a classic office-wardrobe staple.

13. A black pencil skirt

A Chic Tote Bag Is Key


(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols)

I replaced my flimsy canvas carryalls with a leather tote bag, which instantly makes my work outfits feel more pulled together. If you end up carrying your laptop and other items back and forth from your home to the office, I recommend finding a great bag to use on the regular.

14. A tote bag

A Matching Set Is a Go-To for the Office


(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols)

Few things are as easy to throw on as a matching set. Pantsuits are great, but I also love a cropped bottom.

15. A polished jacket

16. And matching bottoms

Tailored Outerwear


(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols)

Once you hit the cooler months, refined outerwear is an easy way to finish an outfit. A long double-breasted coat is a perfect thing to throw over just about any look.

17. A tailored coat

18. A leather blazer

This post was published at an earlier date and has been updated.

Associate Director, Special Projects

Kristen Nichols is the Associate Director, Special Projects at Who What Wear with over a decade of experience in fashion, editorial, and publishing. She oversees luxury content and wedding features, and covers fashion within the luxury market, runway reporting, shopping features, trends, and interviews with leading industry experts. She also contributes to podcast recordings, social media, and branded content initiatives. Kristen has worked with brands including Prada, Chanel, MyTheresa, and Luisa Via Roma, and rising designers such as Refine and Tove, and her style has been featured in publications including, Vogue France, WWD, and the CFDA. Before Who What Wear, Kristen began her career at Rodarte, where she worked on assistant styling, photo shoots, and runway shows, and at Allure, where she moved into print and digital editorial. She graduated from the University of Southern California, where she studied art history and business, and currently lives in New York.