How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe for Work

I recently received this request from Natalie, who’s about to head back to work after having bub number two…

“Hi Sonia, just wondering if you have any helpful hints. I’m a mum of two about to return to work after maternity leave. When I went back after my son I had a ‘work’ wardrobe and then a ‘home’ wardrobe. I’d love to just have one and be able to pick things out without having to think too much about it each morning. Any ideas or suggestions would be awesome!”

While I may not have any children (apart from the furry kind), I do know what it’s like to not want to have to think too much when putting an outfit together each morning before work!

The first thing that springs to mind is: capsule wardrobe.

Having a small but mighty wardrobe of classic items that can be mixed and matched with one another is key. This will reduce the time spent trying to plan outfits and keep things nice and simple when getting ready.

Bear in mind that this is a guide to getting your capsule wardrobe started. Once you’ve covered these basics, you can then add showpony (trendy) pieces here and there as you please.

To kick start your capsule wardrobe, there are 7 key items:

  1. Classic trench coat
  2. Knit top in your favourite colour
  3. Tailored white shirt
  4. A dress you feel great in
  5. Slim leg black pants
  6. A skirt that suits your body shape
  7. Black pump with a comfortable heel height

Here are 7 shopping suggestions under $70…

How to build a capsule wardrobe for work | #fashion #style | SONIASTYLING.COM

1. Best & Less LDR Trench Coat $50
2. Dannii Minogue for Target Silk Cashmere Top (in Dazzling Blue) $69
3. Portmans New Tailored Elbow Shirt $59.95
4. Target Fit & Flare Dress (in Blue Check) $69
5. Forever New Audrey Pull On Skinny Pant $69.99
6. Dannii Minogue for Target Jacquard Skirt $69
7. Therapy Shoes Grace Pump from Styletread^ $49.95

And now for some styling ideas.

Here are just a few ways to work your capsule wardrobe items together to create different outfits…

Mix & Match: For Work
  • Trench + Top + Pants + Pumps
  • Top + Shirt + Pants + Pumps
  • Dress + Top + Pumps
  • Shirt + Skirt + Pumps
  • Trench + Dress + Pumps
  • Top + Skirt + Pumps
  • Trench + Shirt + Pants + Pumps

When it comes to the weekend, pair casual pieces with the items from your capsule work wardrobe to create relaxed yet stylish outfits…

{Note: items in italic are not included in the capsule wardrobe.}

Mix & Match: For Weekend
  • Dress + Pumps + Tights + Coat
  • Trench + T-shirt + Jeans
  • Shirt + Top + Jeans + Loafers
  • Tunic + Pants + Ankle Boots + Trench
  • Scoop Neck Top + Skirt + Coat + Ballet Flats
  • Top + JeansConverse
  • Stripe Top + Pants + Loafers + Trench

I hope this has given you a bit of a shopping list to work with, Natalie. All the best for your first day – and beyond!

What items would you include in your capsule wardrobe?

What showpony pieces would you add to the mix?

^ Affiliate link (if you click to buy the item, I earn a little commission but you don’t pay any extra)


  1. says

    Love everything you’ve chosen (although would have to find non-petite versions of the Danni Minogue items!). That blue is gorgeous.

    • Sonia says

      You might be surprised with the Dannii Minogue range, particularly in tops, dresses and skirts. I’ve gone up a size in a pair of her shorts, but have maintained my usual size in a dress and jeans. Worth trying on to see!

  2. says

    Excellent work – great choices for a capsule wardrobe – I am loving what Danii Minogue is doing at Target. Maybe add a roomy tote bag to complete the work-ready ensemble.

  3. says

    Great picks Sonia! My job is slightly less corporate now so happily the lines between ‘work’ and ‘home’ wardrobe are relaxing a little.
    I love using accessories (jewellery and scarves) to make the same outfit look different. It’s definitely helping with my maternity wardrobe which is getting smaller and smaller!
    One of my must have items for work is a black pencil skirt – so versatile and you can wear the same black skirt or pants almost everyday and just change your top and no one is the wiser!

    • Sonia says

      Jewellery and scarves make all the difference, that’s for sure. A black pencil skirt is a great suggestion!

      • Mish Young says

        I purchased the culottes from her collection; they look great, are comfortable and suit my vintage style perfectly!

    • Sonia says

      Thanks Dee! Yes, I think Target should run with both a “petite” and a “regular” range of Dannii’s collection. They’d be sure to sell out of both!


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