A No-Frills Guide To Upgrading Your Work Wardrobe

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Apr. 10 2024, Published 8:10 a.m. ET

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Decluttering your closet can feel a bit daunting, especially if you haven’t had a good clean-out in a longtime. There’s hanging pieces that still have the tags on them, articles that may no longer fit, and a growing pile you haven’t touched in years. Take it from us, this is your sign to get rid of the pieces no longer serving and upgrade to a quality collection.  

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Source: Unsplash

According to Capsule Wardrobe Data, people on average own 148 pieces in their wardrobe.  However, if you build a new, quality capsule collection, you’ll actually only need a few staple items to look forward to when getting dressed in the morning. Plus, you may even have more outfit options because it will incorporate a selection meant to all go together. To help build this, we’ve put together a guide that will have you investing in the right pieces in no time — no additional accessories required.

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1. Analyze what you normally wear.

If you’re drawing a blank on where to start, begin by asking yourself what silhouettes work you like to enjoy wearing everyday.  Are you someone that prefers dresses or trousers? Flats or heels?  When creating a capsule collection, comfort is key because you don’t want to purchase pieces that don’t make you feel like the best version of you. Otherwise, they’ll end up joining the section of your closet where price tags still reside and money will be wasted.

Then ask yourself if it’s appropriate for your current profession. For instance, if you love your flare jeans but your work attire is more formal, then look at similar alternatives. Instead of a skinny pant, opt for a wider leg to suit both your personal style and the dress code. If you’re not sure which styles and cuts suit your body type best, take a look at this guide to help point you in the right direction.

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2. Accessorize in color.   

Source: TikTok @whatemwore

To maximize your outfit options and have more pieces to pair well together, it’s best to begin investing in core items in neutral colors like navy, black, white, tan, gray, and brown. Tiktoker @whatemwore, provides outfit inspiration with her weekly outfit videos. The items themselves could range from trousers, button-down blouses, blazers etc. If you want to mix up the outfit, then playing around with color in small increments will come in handy. You can either add a pink lipstick or top the look with a fun belt or scarf. If you want to invest in a statement piece, selecting a handbag in a bold color such as cobalt blue or burnt orange can finish off the outfit in a unique way. 

Some of the best stores to shop both neutral pieces and colorful accessories are J. Crew, & Other Stories, Banana Republic, Quince, Everlane and Eileen Fisher. There are also women-owned brands to check out for staple pieces and accessories.

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Source: TikTok @biancasoutfits

3. Create a work style formula.

Tiktoker @biancasoutfits teaches her followers how to craft your perfect work outfit without you having to even think about it in the mornings by creating your own unique work uniform. Plus, she doesn’t compromise style. 

For instance, when you choose an outfit base as a go-to, all you have to decide the next day is what different color T-shirt or cardigan you’ll add for completion. When the recipe is the same, you can also play around with different materials to change its overall look and feel. 

4. Be mindful of fabric choice.

Materials can make all the difference when investing in new pieces. Keep both climate and durability level in mind when shopping. Linen, for instance, works great in keeping you cool in warmer weather. However, the fabric is prone to wrinkle easier than other choices. On the other hand, wool used in a trouser or blazer will be much warmer and more suitable in the Winter months of the year. 

Be sure to think about this when updating footwear as well. For example, if you live in an area with a higher probability of rain showers each week, then suede boots or heels may not serve as the best fit. 

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By: Taylor Bushey

A New Yorker turned Londoner, Taylor Bushey is a motivated business professional who has worn several career hats over the last few years. After leaving her most recent employment journey in the financial industry, she has re-engaged with her roots of writing, marketing, and content creation. She’s now a full-time freelance writer and content creator. Taylor covers lifestyle, careers, fashion, beauty, home, and wellness. Her work has been featured on CNN Underscored, Cosmopolitan, FinanceBuzz, Apartment Therapy, The Kitchn, and more. If she's not sipping an iced latte and writing away in a local coffee shop, she's most likely thrift shopping for a cool, rare find or planning out her next travel itinerary.

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