Key Workwear Essentials: Business Casual Capsule Wardrobe

This post is all about business casual capsule wardrobe and what to include. This post contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you.

business casual capsule wardrobe

In the years I spent working in a corporate setting, I learned that you can definitely look professional while maintaining a certain level of comfort.

The dress code at work was business casual. Although, some took that to mean “wear whatever you want.” But while there was a relaxed work environment — we worked in cubicles away from customers’ eyes — I still made an effort to dress appropriately.

Most days I’d pair a blouse with either black trousers or dark-wash denim on Fridays. I’m also a shoe girl, so cute low heels were definitely on rotation.

WHAT IS BUSINESS CASUAL?

A business casual dress code is a step down from your normal business attire. For example, men can swap suit and tie for slacks and a collared shirt.

For women, business casual attire includes sleek trousers, blouses (usually covering the shoulders), skirts (at or below the knee), and heels or loafers. Some offices may allow open-toed shoes, but you’d have to check your employee manual for a definite dress code outline.


LOOKING FOR MORE CAPSULE WARDROBE IDEAS?


CASUAL WORK CAPSULE

business casual capsule wardrobe

HOW TO BUILD A CAPSULE WARDROBE FOR WORK

To begin, you’ll want to take inventory of your current closet situation. Take a look at the outlined items above or download this work capsule wardrobe checklist to see what you already own.

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing items that can work interchangeably to create multiple outfit combinations. Most times capsule wardrobes contain neutral clothing — think black, white, beige, navy, and grey.

There are also a few other things to consider when building a business casual capsule wardrobe.

Things to consider when creating a workwear capsule wardrobe:

CLIMATE

Where you live will make a big difference in what you should include in your workwear capsule wardrobe. If you live somewhere that is predominately warm, a heavy wool coat or tall boots may not be a priority to have.

If you live somewhere that is predominately cold most of the year, you may have to consider additional outerwear to your closet collection.

One of the benefits of curating your workwear capsule wardrobe is that you will include items that you can wear multiple times year-round. You want your dollar to go far, especially if you are going to be investing in key pieces.

DRESS CODE

Whether you are starting a new job or deciding to spruce up your daily workwear, taking a look at your company’s employee guide will help guide your purchasing decisions.

For example, at my past corporate job, we could not wear spaghetti strapped or strapless tops, jeans with holes or frays, or workout clothes. Other examples may include:

  • Ripped, torn, or frayed clothing
  • Clothing with non-work-related logos
  • Low-cut or revealing clothing
  • Sandals or open-toed shoes
  • Cropped shirts
  • Shorts
  • Skirts or dresses with high hemlines (above the knee)
  • Leggings
  • Athletic clothing
  • Sweatshirts or sweatpants
  • Off-the-shoulder shirts or dresses
  • Excessive or noisy jewelry
  • Athletic shoes
  • Hats

PERSONAL STYLE

Another thing to consider when curating a work capsule wardrobe is your personal style. Again, you want to get the most wear from your wardrobe.

That doesn’t mean you can’t wear your work button-down on the weekend with some shorts and sandals. We want you to get the most out of your style choices.

Also consider that just because your work capsule wardrobe consists of predominate neutrals, you can definitely add in some color or prints if you prefer it.

I love a leopard-print blouse paired with black trousers or a pink top and navy pants. Your business casual capsule wardrobe is just a base to start and build from there.

BUDGET

Finally, you want to set a budget if you are in need of additional items that you don’t already own. Setting a budget will help guide you to the brands and retailers that won’t break the bank.

You will also have to consider that because these items may get a lot of wear, you’ll want to invest in pieces that will last. A pair of Amazon pants for $20 may look nice in the beginning, but how will they hold up after numerous washes?

PRO TIP: List the items that you want to purchase and rank them from most needed to least needed.  If a pair of black trousers is high on your list, budget and save to buy a pair that you know will last.  Once you have purchased the item, budget and save for the next item.  You do not have to buy everything at once.  Work with what you have. 

WORK CAPSULE WARDROBE ESSENTIALS LIST

  • Tops + Blouses – collard shirt, flowy blouse, knit sweater
  • Dresses – sheath dress, wrap dress, midi dress
  • Outerwear – cardigan, trench coat, blazer
  • Pants and Skirts – pencil skirt, trousers, denim
  • Shoes – loafers, pumps, mules
  • Accessories – tote bag, laptop bag, jewelry, scarf

TOPS

BOTTOMS + DRESSES

OUTERWEAR

SHOES

ACCESSORIES

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE WORK CAPSULE WARDROBE CHECKLIST HERE

WHERE TO SHOP FOR WORK CAPSULE WARDROBE ITEMS

This goes back to budgeting. I don’t think that just because you pay $200 for an item means it’s better than a $50 item. For instance, I received a dress from Revolve for about $200. When it arrived, the material was so cheaply made and just not something you would expect for $200.

I’ve also purchased items for about $50 and the material is so luxe and you can just tell it will last. That being said, I have listed below retailers with great workwear selections depending on price points.

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WORK WARDROBE OUTFIT IDEAS 2023

This post was all about business casual capsule wardrobe and what to include.

Hi there! So happy you're here. My name is Maria -- content creator, blogger, wife, mother of 2 and lover of all things fashion, beauty, and home. Take a look around...I think you'll like it here.

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