How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe – Business Wear

Since writing this post on how to build a capsule wardrobe back in May it has consistently been the most read post not just every week but every day! Proving to me that as busy women we are in need of a capsule wardrobe(s) that suits our lifestyle. Below I have included the tips from that original post and have put together a new capsule wardrobe for business wear, bringing in one of this season’s hot colours – berry, and slim leg trousers another must have for Autumn/Winter 2012. I hope this will give you inspiration to build your own capsule wardrobe. All of the pieces are available online from the links below.

If you have any questions or would like help in building a capsule wardrobe for your lifestyle I have a new service being launched very soon. Get in contact or sign up for the Friday Bulletin (over on the left of the page) to be kept informed of the launch date.

From my blog post in May:

The easiest and most economical way to build a wardrobe that works for you is by creating multiple capsule wardrobes; work, casual, winter, summer etc. Pieces can work within more than one capsule collection for example finer knits from your summer capsule could be layered in the winter. Here are my top tips for creating a capsule wardrobe with examples for a business collection.

Top tips for capsule wardrobes:

  1. Start with a neutral colour as a base – black, brown, grey or navy would be good options.
  2. Build your wardrobe in 3’s. For example if you have 3 skirts make one a neutral, the second a pattern which incorporates your neutral colour and the third a complementary colour. Then add 3 tops, again neutral pattern and colour that mix and match with the skirts.
  3. Spend the most money on the neutrals you will wear most often.
  4. Once you have the basics add in other colours that mix with your existing capsule – maybe a colour of the season if you love it and it suits you.
  5. Just because you are creating a capsule collection of clothes it doesn’t have to be boring. When you buy a new piece for your wardrobe ask yourself, “does it suit me, does it work with what I already have, and will I love wearing it and feel great in it?” If you can’t say yes to all of these move on and save your money for something that does.
  6. If you find something perfect consider buying it in two colours.
  7. Look after your investment. When you have spent hard earned money on your wardrobe make sure you follow the cleaning instructions, hang things on decent hangers (have you noticed how one wire hanger multiplies in your wardrobe?) get shoes re-heeled when needed, fold knitwear so it doesn’t pull out of shape and give everything enough room in your wardrobe.

So another example for you – a business capsule, the pieces in 3’s:

The Dresses

business wear capsule wardrobe

The Jackets and Knits

business wear capsule wardrobe

The Skirts

business wear capsule wardrobe

The Trousers

business wear capsule wardrobe

The Tops and Blouses

business wear capsule wardrobe

The Shoes and Bags

business wear capsule wardrobe

And finally some accessories

business wear capsule wardrobe


Using these pieces here are just some of the possible combinations giving a month’s worth of work wear with formal and smart casual outfits:

The Dresses

business wear Capsule wardrobe dresses

The skirts and trousers mixed with tops and jackets

business wear capsule wardrobe

business wear capsule wardrobe

business wear capsule wardrobe

business wear capsule wardrobe

business wear capsule wardrobe

business wear capsule wardrobe

The Pieces:

Navy dress and Winter White Dress from The Fold London*
Blue patterned dress by Baukjen

Navy Suit Jacket by Hobbs from House of Fraser
Blue & White tweed jacket by L.K. Bennett
Burgundy jacket by Alexon at House of Fraser

Navy shawl collar cardigan by Pure Collection
Stone ruffle cashmere cardigan by Pure Collection
Cashmere Burgundy V Neck cardigan by Pure Collection

Navy pencil skirt by Hobbs at House of Fraser
Grey skirt from The Fold London*
Full silk skirt by Pure Collection

Navy trousers by Hobbs at House of Fraser
Charcoal Trousers by Jaegar at House of Fraser
Grey Trousers by The Fold London*

Tops and Blouses
Printed jersey top by Pure Collection
Grey Tunic top by The Fold London*
Silk and cashmere burgundy rib top by Pure Collection
Cream silk top by The Fold London*
Silk and Jersye top by Pure Collection
Print Blouse by Baukjen

Shoes and Bags
All shoes from L.K. Bennett
Navy Tote by Mulberry from John Lewis
Burgundy Croc bag by Aspinall at John Lewis
Suede clutch by L.K. Bennett

Scarves and Jewellery
All scarves by Pure Collection
Bobble and Blue Necklace by Stella & Dot
3 strand pearl nacklace by John Lewis

* If you would like a private viewing of The Fold London collection for yourself or a group of business colleagues please get in contact with us


  1. September 5, 2012 / 10:06 pm

    I’ve been looking to move my working capsule wardrobe from being completely corporate to more on trend. I really like some of the options you have highlighted. I think I need to start reviewing using this method. I can then see what is missing and what I have too many of.

    • admin
      September 5, 2012 / 10:16 pm

      Hi Lisa thank you for taking the time to comment. Glad you liked the post. Start with the pieces you want to keep and then work out what you need on the basis of 3 of each which you can add to each season to expand what you’ve got. The method of a neutral, a colour and a pattern incorporating either the neutral or the colour works really well, then next season you could add in another colour. The basics never really date, jackets, trousers, etc but you can update each season with a print, a colour or a shape – for example a peplum top, animal print or berry if it suits you.

      I’m in the process of designing a new website dedicated to capsule wardrobes and offering an online and in person service – will be launched early October. Thanks again x

  2. September 5, 2012 / 10:26 pm

    Thank you. It’s the time of year when I need to have a fresh look at what I have for A/W. I already have my eye on a pair of leopard print kitten heel ankle boots and black patent loafers. It’s the non corporate dresses I find hardest as instinctively I go for these. My other big problem is trousers for work that are on trend and aren’t too corporate or too casual.

  3. 100thmonkey
    December 19, 2012 / 10:28 am

    What has worked really well for me, rather than starting over, is picking the things I already have and love and adding pieces that go with at least 3 of those – it hasn’t taken long to go from lots of individual outfits to lots of options that include favourites but also make them more versatile. Great article, thank you!

    • admin
      December 20, 2012 / 8:25 am

      Thank you for your comment and you are absolutely right – start with what you have that’s right and build on that. I’m glad you said pieces you love because that is one of my rules on what stays in the wardrobe, along with perfect fit and suiting body shape, colouring, lifestyle and personality.

  4. Sharlene
    October 14, 2013 / 8:30 pm

    What a lovely wardrobe. Love these colours and am working through my accumulation of clothes in these colours and putting the various unfavourite, non fitting stuff on eBay

    • Maria
      October 17, 2013 / 7:14 pm

      Thank you for your comments Sharlene. Good idea to get some money back via Ebay to update your wardrobe.