Work Wear Capsule Wardrobe – Part 2

Hi! For all of you that didn’t get a chance to see part 1 of this series, no worries! You can check it out HERE

If you don’t have time to look at it now, that’s ok too! Part 1 was about purging all the pieces you have that don’t fit, look loved over too much, or that you don’t really wear/like any longer.

I purged over 100 pieces!! AHHH!!

To recap, let’s define what a capsule wardrobe is. Traditionally, it is defined as a collection of clothes and accessories that include only items considered essential. My definition of a capsule wardrobe is, a wardrobe of pieces you love & feel your best in.

For this part of the #acarriedaffaircapsule series I will be discussing how to find your own style and build a work wear capsule wardrobe with the colors you love! I’ll go ahead and forewarn you that there might be a little more purging that has to be done. Don’t worry though, you’ll feel so great knowing you only have functional and versatile pieces that you love hanging in your closet. To help you, I created a free printable guide!

Click Here to Download the Guide

The guide will help you establish your style that fits your work place dress code. Yay!  Initially, I scoured the internet for guides that were already in existence, but I couldn’t find one that was tailored to work wear specifically, so I made one. I also included photos of some of the pages filled out for a reference point to provide more clarity. Please note, this is specific for work wear. This doesn’t pertain to non-work wear attire.

So first, we need to establish your work place dress code. To help you, I listed the three main dress codes and their definition.

Professional Dress – this is the most conservative work wear category. Pant suits, business suit & jacket.

Business Casual – this is a more relaxed look, but still semi-conservative. This would include a collared shirt, khakis, dress pants, knee length dress or skirt.

Campus Casual – this is more for what you wear at home when you’re not at work. Jeans, tee shirts, sweaters, etc.

As stated in the guide you’ll want to take into account casual dress days, if offered at your work place. For instance, my work place has casual Friday’s, so I make sure to wear jeans on Friday’s.

After identifying your dress code, you’ll want to find a style that truly represents you. Think about the style icons that speak to your soul. I used Pinterest to help me identify my style. You’ll want to think what works best for your body type as well. Not what you think you would look best in 10 pounds less. What you look like right now. You are you and nobody else can be. Own it!

I also created a board on Pinterest specifically for work wear ideas. If you want to check mine out for some inspiration, my handle is @acarriedaffair and the board is named A Carrie’d Affair Work Wear Capsule. I initially searched work wear outfit ideas and started pinning all the outfits I loved. Based on my pins I realized the classic look with a splash of girly was my style. I also learned my love runs deep for ruffles & pleats!

Once you figure out what your style is, you’ll want to identify a color pallet. You don’t have to stay within the number of colors/textures I specified in the guide, but I found doing that for myself helped me easily narrow it down to colors that I think actually look good on me and that I consistently wear. I took my eye color, complexion, hair color into account. Knowing my color pallet, I steered clear of other colors. Mainly because I know I don’t truly like them on me. I like them on the person in the photo.

So, the first step to narrowing down your color pallet is identifying a base color or colors. What base color(s) do you wear to work daily? For me it’s black and navy. What’s funny is, I learned a lot about myself when filling this out. I realized I had a lot more navy pieces than I thought. I guess I really like navy blue.

After identifying a base color, you’ll choose 2-3 neutral colors (that compliment your base color), 1-2 accent colors, and 1-2 textures that you just can’t live without. That make you feel your best in! I put a number on it to keep things simple. I mean, being all over the place is what got me here in the first place.

When I filled this out I took into account that I have olive skin, dark hair, and hazel eyes. What may look good on someone with blonde hair, a fair complexion, and blue eyes may not look as good on me. I also took into account the colors I get the most compliments on.

After you narrow down your color pallet, it’s time to do a clothes audit. Do you have work wear pieces that don’t fall into your work wear color pallet? If you find that you have pieces that won’t compliment your color pallet, think about letting them go. I know it’s hard. Believe me! I let go a few other items after identifying my color pallet. With a glass of wine in hand of course. Well actually, a pint of Cherry Garcia Ben & Jerry’s, but wine sounds so much more sophisticated. Either way, think of it as a good excuse to go shopping for pieces that you really love. That made you happy didn’t it?? Yeah, it did…

Now give yourself a big hug! You have identified your work wear style & color pallet! The colors you feel and look your best in. Yay!! Now take a look at your capsule-in-progress. How excited does it make you to see only pieces you love in the colors that make you look your best??

After the clothes audit, you’ll want to write down all the {work wear} pieces you have remaining. I know it seems super tedious, but you’ll want to reference this page when identifying outfits later on in the guide. It will also help you keep track of what you have and plan outfits out in advance. The point of a capsule is to keep your wardrobe manageable, and to do that we need to take inventory of what you have.

You’ll also want to take inventory of your shoes. If you are like me, then you probably have too many pairs of work wear shoes. I realized there were only a select few pairs that I actually wore consistently. My rule of thumb was if I wore them less than 5 times over the course of the past year then I donated them. Buh-bye tan perforated open-toed heels. I will miss you sitting on my shoe rack covered in dust, because I never wore you. #theshoestruggleisreal

After going through my shoes, I do think I am good on black heels for now.

Ok, so do you remember when I told you writing down your clothing inventory would come in handy? Well guess what, you’re going to need it to help you identify 1 weeks worth of work wear outfits. I completed mine with the next work week in mind. Knowing I had a couple days of client meetings, casual Friday, and a couple days at my desk, I planned accordingly.

If you are struggling with this, know that Pinterest is your friend! I have actually made Pinterest a part of my nightly routine to help me pick out work outfits for the following week. For instance, if I know I want to wear a specific white blouse on Monday, I’ll type “white blouse outfit ideas” in the search bar and scroll through until I find something that I could pull off, with what I have. Doing this also helped me figure out what laundry I would need cleaned and if my outfit would require me to shave my legs the night before. Bahaha! JK…but really. I know I am not the only one that does that. Am I?

Moving along…

Because I share a closet with my husband, closet space is limited. So, I purchased an inexpensive clothing rack that I call my inspiration rack. I use my Inspiration rack to layout my work outfit for the next day. It definitely has made my mornings more manageable. Plus, I sleep in for an extra 20 minutes in the morning, knowing I don’t have to stare at my closet trying to find an outfit. All I can say, picking out my outfits in advance has been life changing!! I also think to myself, what did I do before Pinterest!?!?

Now for the fun part!! Writing out a shopping list! First, write down your budget. Then identify pieces you want to buy that will become part of your work wear capsule. When doing this think quality over quantity. You want to invest in quality pieces that you’ll get a lot of wear out of. Also think of places that give you consistent quality. If you have a specific item in mind write out the cost of the item as well. If you are not sure of the cost, write out an approximate amount. After you have your shopping list complete, total the cost for everything. If all of your pieces together are more than what you budgeted for, buy the items you want most now and put the others in reserve for when you can spare more money. Curating the perfect work wear wardrobe will not happen overnight, so give yourself a little slack and congratulate yourself on making it this far!

Well friends, that’s it for part 2 of the #acarriedaffaircapsule series! I hope you enjoy my free printable guide. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or message me on Instagram. My handle is @acarriedaffairdesigns Thanks so much for stopping by! For part 3 we will be discussing accessories. See you then!

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