How I Built a Capsule Wardrobe for Work (So I Can Get Dressed in 5 Seconds)

In the mornings, I don’t like to spend time thinking about what I’m wearing to the office. 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 in on some key office essentials to develop an easy work capsule wardrobe.

Ahead, see the 13 pieces I rely on for my outfits at the Who What Wear office. I will admit that these are pieces to wear to a fashion-centric work environment (that take the latest trends into mind), so they may not be suitable for every workplace, but there are some tweaks you can make to each of them to 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

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

I've been wearing this blazer on repeat since I got it last year, and it's truly one of the most essential building blocks of my office wardrobe. It elevates a simple outfit like a T-shirt and jeans, but can also be layered over slip skirts or midi dresses.

I gravitate toward T-shirts with a slightly boxy, oversize silhouette.

I find that jeans that mimic the shape of trousers—like these ones—are a great fit for the office.

For the office, I look for a mid-height heel that's comfortable and easy to walk in.

This bag is part of my everyday office uniform.

Invest in a tailored suit

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.

A great suit jacket is a versatile work wardrobe item that can be paired with any number of outfits. 

But a suit jacket looks especially polished when worn with coordinating trousers.

Look for wardrobe essentials that are finished with interesting details

By wearing wardrobe essentials that have unexpected silhouettes and cool design elements, it instantly breathes life into a simple outfit.

Instead of wearing a standard button-down, I look for ones that feel special—like this one that has voluminous sleeves and an exaggerated collar.

For jewelry, I look for pieces that are versatile enough to wear every day, but cool enough that they stand out. I keep two of these Daphine rings stacked on my hand and almost never take them off.

A great pencil skirt

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

Though you might opt for a subdued more style in some workplaces, I like to wear an updated take on the classic—like this patent version.

I recently learned that a chic tote bag is key

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.

This chic bag is only $60 (!) and also comes in white.

A matching set is a go-to for the office

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

Tweed is one of my favorite fabrics for officewear because it always reads as put together.

You could find a skirt suit set, but I think this skort version is particularly office-friendly.

Tailored outerwear

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.

I bought another version of this coat last year (see in the photo above), and it's been one of my best fall/winter purchases.