How to create a winter workwear 15-piece capsule

How to create a winter workwear 15-piece capsule wardrobe

Nikki Parkinson Fashion, How to 3 Comments

I know when I start to feel winter in the air here in Queensland that my southern style sisters are very much in the throes of chilly days.

Getting up and getting out the door to work is made all the more challenging. It’s possibly still dark and did we mention very, very cold?

These conditions can work very much against any style motivation you might be wishing to summons up. 

The below tips and suggested winter workwear capsule wardrobe might help with the motivational factor you need to feel and look your best (while staying warm) for the office.

10 tips for dressing for the office in winter

1. Get all your current work clothes (remembering that you might have some cross-over pieces with weekend wear) out of the cupboard and spread them all out on your bed. Examine each piece – do they need repairing? Drycleaning? Throwing? Consider this a micro-edit of your whole wardrobe. You want to know exactly what clothes options you’re dealing with before you think about buying new pieces.

2. You don’t need a whole new work wardrobe. Pick up one or two key new pieces to work back with your existing winter work wardrobe. It could be that a new bag, shoes, a couple of pieces in new-season colours are all that is needed to keep things fresh for you.

3. Use the Styling You weekly outfit planner to plan a week’s outfits in advance. Spending a little time each Sunday doing this will take the stress out of the daily rush. Download HERE.

4. Spend more on buying good quality basics in neutral colours (pants, skirts, dresses, tops) that will serve you this winter and for many more to come. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend a lot of money; it means taking the time to look and feel the fabric, check washing instructions and try on the basics to make sure they fit well for you. These pieces are the anchors of your whole outfit so they have to fit and flatter. 

5. Spend less on fashion-y colours and items. These show-pony pieces are fun to have around but they date more easily and don’t work so well in creating a capsule wardrobe situation. Instead of show-pony clothing pieces, make your accessories the show ponies. That way you can wear similar basic, neutral combinations each day and just add a fun accessory to change the look.

6. Invest in a coat that works with most of your winter work wardrobe. The coldest part of your work day will be travelling to and from the office so you want to make sure you have this essential locked in. Check out this post for inspiration

7. Commuting on public transport or doing the school drop off on the way to or from work? Wear flats and carry your heels in your bag. Having a combination of a tote bag and small cross-body handbag works in this situation. The tote can carry your lunch, laptop and shoes and in your handbag, keys, phone, sunglasses and lipgloss. The small bag will fit in your tote but be a lighter option if leaving the office at lunch time and not wanting to cart everything with you.

8. Don’t forget that you have a personality. Just because you work in an office where people generally dress the same, doesn’t mean you have to become a cookie cutter of the next person. Find ways to show your personality through your style – within the confines of the office dress code/policy. Accessories are ideal for this.

9. You can also create interest in your work outfit by contrasting structure and flow within the same outfit. Generally one piece in an office outfit will always have some kind of structure to it but you can soften this with a piece that is softer in texture or more fluid in its design. For example a structured jacket will pull together a more fluid dress into a work outfit. A more fluid top would contrast with the structure of a pencil skirt.

10. Help another woman get back into the workforce by donating your work clothes. Organisations like Dress for Success (the SY charity of choice), Wear for Success and Fitted for Work take donations of preloved workwear in good condition – right down to shoes and accessories.

15-piece winter workwear 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 spring-summer in September)

At a base level, I start with 15 pieces: two dresses; three tops; three bottoms; two outerwear pieces; two pairs of shoes; three 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.

What you might also need for extra warmth: tights/hosiery; hats; thermals (I swear by the UNIQLO Heattech range) and boots.

How to create a winter workwear 15-piece capsule wardrobe
 1. Belle Bird dress $129 @ Birdsnest | 2. Country Road dress $159 | 3. Katies top $39.95 | 4. Witchery blouse $179.95 | 5. Bird Keepers by Design knit $109.95 | 6. Katies ponte pant $39.95 (on sale) | 7. Witchery pant $149.95 | 8. Katies skirt $69.95 | 9. Decjuba coat $169.95 | 10. Country Road jacket $199 (on sale) | 11. Vigorella scarf $49.95 @ Birdsnest | 12. Oroton tote $208.50 (on sale) | 13. Nicole Fendel earrings $79 @ Birdsnest | 14. FRANKiE4 Footwear brogues $244.95 | 15. Carvela Kurt Gieger heels $130 @ David Jones 

So over to you? Have you got any winter workwear suggestions or tips 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.


PS. I was interviewed by the ABC about capsule wardrobe. You can read it HERE.

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