How to create a work from home summer capsule wardrobe

Nikki Parkinson Fashion, How to 20 Comments

The youngest is back at school next week. It’s been great relaxing the routine a little but when you run your own business from home, the whole work/life juggle gets a little testing.

Mother guilt kicks in about just how much time he’s spent on PlayStation. Work guilt kicks in because you know you’re only ticking off the essentials and not really getting down to the nitty gritty of the year ahead. 

Despite this push-pull of family versus work, I’d still rather have that happening from my home office base. A big motivation for me starting my own business was to create a flexible working situation around my family after many years of doing employee/employer/kids tug-of-war. Hats off to all those parents juggling vacation care and relative stays to get through the school break. Four weeks’ annual leave only goes so far!

But here we are, the second last day of eight weeks’ school holidays and it’s time to swing back into the structure of the school year. 

Maybe you work from home too? Or have a goal to do the same? Maybe you’re a mum at home with kids? Maybe you’re retired? Maybe you work in a casual workplace?

If you said yes to one or two of the above then this post is for you.

Creating a work-from-home capsule wardrobe might seem like a simple exercise. I mean how many people will you actually see in a day? Why not wear the same thing over and over again?

True. Totally cool with that if it works for you.

What happened with me – and why I started the #everydaystyle movement – was that I did wear the same thing over and over again.

In short, was bored with what I was wearing. It was convenient and comfortable but it didn’t give me any spark or motivation to get on with my day.

Not to mention, it left a perfectly wonderful wardrobe sitting there unloved.

So I started planning my outfits in advance (get our free planner to help you do that too) and put photographs of me in those outfits on Instagram – EVERY DAY.

I quickly discovered that you didn’t have to sacrifice comfort and convenience to achieve that daily spark and motivation. 

AND I found and created combinations of clothes that I hadn’t tried before.

Now, this planning is very much a habit – as is getting dressed for the day ahead and putting on a (simple) face of makeup. It’s a ritual that sets me on track to stay focussed for the day ahead.

I’m easily distracted so having morning rituals like these really works. Maybe it could work for you?

15-piece work-from-home summer capsule wardrobe

Creating a capsule wardrobe for yourself is a great exercise to do. It’s something that I’ve worked closely on with the members in my Ultimate Capsule Wardrobe style challenge group. (This online program will open up again for autumn-winter late March.)

At a base level, I start with 15 pieces: two dresses; three tops; three bottoms; one jacket; three pairs of shoes; four accessories. I work from a base of neutrals and add one, maybe two accent colours. The key is having the majority of pieces work with the majority of other pieces in the capsule. From those 15 pieces you can add more but this disciplines you to only add pieces that work with existing pieces.

Putting together a capsule wardrobe is never about buying everything new. It’s about working with pieces from your wardrobe and only adding in any gaps that might become evident.

For this work from home capsule wardrobe, I’ve included comfortable heels and a tote bag. These two pieces can instantly transform a casual outfit into business casual for a meeting out.

Stay at home mums … the heels wouldn’t be a day-to-day need but having a pair of go-to heels on hand for a kids-free invite to lunch or dinner is a great idea for transforming a casual outfit.

15-piece work from home summer capsule wardrobe

1. Bird Keepers dress $69.95 @ Birdsnest 

2. Trenery dress $179

3. Sportscraft top $79 (on sale)

4. Seed top $119.95

5. Katies tee $13.97 (on sale)

6. Sportscraft shorts $99.99 

7. Katies skirt $27.97 (on sale)

8. Country Road pants $119

9. FRANKiE4 Footwear sneakers $229.95 

10. FRANKiE4 Footwear sandals $199.95

11. FRANKiE4 Footwear heels $220

12. Manzoni bag $165 @ Birdsnest

13. Trenery necklace $129

14. Oroton tote $148.50 (on sale)

15. Witchery earrings $39.95

So over to you? Have you got any work from home wardrobe suggestions to add? 

* This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something via one of these links I may receive a small commission. Full disclosure policy here.

  • Gina

    Nikki, wondering if you would consider a Winter work from home capsule please? Or even a stay at home Mum Winter capsule? <3
    Gina

    • I will look at this after our Ultimate Capsule Wardrobe online style program has finished – this is where we’ve been working on the main seasonal wardrobe.

  • Nikki, I need a little additional shoe inspiration please. I’m starting a new job in two weeks (yay!) and my shoedrobe is pathetically under-repped in this department. There may be a little sidewalk schlepping involved, and I think I’m somewhere between home office casual and corporate. Heck, I’d wear my uggs if I could!
    Maybe I need a brogue? Or a loafer? It will be mostly black or patterned pants and light/bright separates on top… I’ve been toying with the idea of a shoe in light grey/petrol/tan/blush. Would love any tips from you or your readers. Thanks.

    • Congrats on the job! I’d definitely go a loafer or brogue, Annette. They look great/smart with pants but still comfortable on your feet. You could move into a low ankle boot in winter too.

  • Perfect timing with this post Nikki, we are coming to the end of school holidays & I had decided to do a mid season wardrobe cull to give me some back to the blogging motivation. I think its time to lift my casual look up a notch to help me have more of a work mode while working from home. Reading this post has given me the push I needed to get going. The cull is now complete, now for the fun of planning new outfits.

    • Hi Jenni … it’s something that really helps for me and hope it works for you!! x

  • PrincessEatsPeaSoup

    I am always inspired by your capsule wardrobe posts. When my style gets stale I can look at these posts and think about things differently again. Thank you Nikki.

  • Aimb4

    Love this..would be great for work – dressy casual – just not allowed to wear jeans. Now to go check my wardrobe to see if I can create similar looks with what I already have!!

  • I love the new Frankie4 Emma heels. I’ve not been a fan of many of their shoes as they’re a bit homy-ped-like and many have one strap (or two) across the top of the foot, which I hate as my foot’s wide and my little toe sometimes pops out!

    I also love the Manzoni bag!

    PS. Am at home and kinda working (well blogging) and am wearing a singlet and PJ shorts (bra-less etc…). #SpoilerAlert: It’s not pretty!

  • merilyn

    thanks nikki!
    great pieces in your home capsule! … or for anytime!
    If i’m painting I need to be in painting gear or else it restricts my creativity!
    I improve my look when I go upstairs and am in rest mode!
    enjoy you day hun! much love m:)X

    • Yes, creative work is very different. You need to be in what works for you! x

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    Great post Nikki. I mostly wear dresses in summer and have edited my wardrobe again! Getting rid of all the unloved items in there that I didn’t wear because I didn’t love them,now I will be looking at my clothes with new eyes… if I’d buy it again it can stay but if not bye bye.I love the capsule wardrobe idea,thank you for the tips Xx

    • I’m glad you’re taking this philosophy with your wardrobe – it really does make life less stressful! x

  • Love this post Nikki. That shirt dress is gorgeous. I know that dressing well helps with my motivation at home when I work. Will be sharing this post in a post on The Plumbette for those women who work with their husbands, from home, in the trades.

    • Oh thanks so much Bec for sharing … and glad you feel the same way as I do re dressing and motivation! x

  • Working from home/semi-retired is my life and yes taking care of how I dress is a really important part of my motivation – mental health indeed.
    And that Manzoni bag is a beauty, I had one in black which travelled many places with me. I have just upgraded to a bigger Manzoni crosd body bag.
    Great capsule Nikki x

    • Glad that you find motivation in getting up and getting dressed too Jan! x