10 Pieces Later, You've Got a Perfect Business Capsule Wardrobe

Updated 11/20/18

When I overhear conversations about workwear, I mostly hear people talk about all the fabulous clothes they can't wear to the office. But office-appropriate attire doesn't need to feel safe or boring, in my opinion. Workwear has changed drastically over the past decade, and there is a growing number of role models to guide the dress code.

The modern working woman has proven to be an endless source of inspiration for fashion brands who constantly rethink old classics resulting in a more varied offer of office-appropriate pieces to choose from. Many online retailers are creating workwear-specific shopping sections, and we're even seeing brands that specialize in creating pieces for people who work 9-to-5 jobs.

"Women's clothes are much more varied than men's, so there is far more scope to stand out. For better or worse, this means that clothes can become a talking point, even when it's relating to a woman in a position or role that has nothing to do with fashion," says Polly McMaster, founder, and CEO of The Fold, a London-based platform specializing in workwear.

"Dressing in a way that can reflect the importance of their professional role but still allows for individuality and personality is key. The common theme is more around confidence, being smart and groomed and looking like you are showing up to achieve something great," says McMaster.

It's all about rethinking the way we interpret workwear and playing with it in a way that feels right for the job. We have lined up a selection of 10 items to help you build an appropriate yet fashion-forward workwear wardrobe. Scroll down for the 10 pillar pieces for a modern working woman's wardrobe.

Business capsule wardrobe: a blazer is essential to your workwear look
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A Special Blazer

A blazer is the kind of item that makes any woman feel like she can rule the world. A simple black blazer always does the job, but if you want something slightly more special, look for one with a twist, such as an interesting fabric, color, or button detail.

Jacquemus Saad Gathered Wool-Blend Blazer
Jacquemus Saad Gathered Wool-Blend Blazer $669
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Mango Structured Wool Blazer
Mango Structured Wool Blazer $150
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Business capsule wardrobe: classic shirting is a perfect option for work and the office
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A Classic Shirt

A classic shirt is the perfect layering piece for any type of wardrobe. Layer underneath a blazer or add a turtleneck for an outfit that's not only winter-proof but also office-appropriate. Not that into layering? Pair a slightly oversize shirt with suit trousers. The key is to look for a style with expensive-looking details such as a slightly longer cuff or beautiful buttons.

Theory Sunaya Stretch-silk Shirt $245
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Business capsule wardrobe: simple midi skirts are essential for work
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A Midi Skirt

You can't go wrong with a midi skirt, but how to make it look modern? Go for a simple style with a strong cut. Pair back with crisp shirting or a longline blazer and heels.

Max Mara Dalmine Wool Midi Skirt
Max Mara Dalmine Wool Midi Skirt $280
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Business capsule wardrobe: simple handbags and totes are perfect for the office
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A Modern Bag

What do we look for in a work bag? Something that looks modern and office appropriate but also fits all the things you need to get the job done. We love a mock crocodile leather bag, as it adds texture to simple outfits and feels chic. Opting for something simple? We recommend going for a large plain tote bag that fits everything.

Trademark Small Croc-effect Leather Bucket Bag $380
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Business capsule wardrobe: long-line winter coats are perfect for wearing to work
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A Long-Line Coat

The most mature outerwear option out there has to be the longline coat. The hemline works with every possible outfit worn underneath.

Toteme Short Sleeve Single-Breasted Coat
Toteme Short Sleeve Single-Breasted Coat $425
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Business capsule wardrobe: tailored trousers are always smart for the office
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Timeless Trousers

Wide-leg trousers are one of those items that will elevate anything you wear it with. Monochromatic looks have been all over the streets and work very well for corporate environments.

Mango Cotton Trousers
Mango Cotton Trousers $80
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Business capsule wardrobe: a modest dress will always be office-appropriate
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A Modest Dress

If I could only wear one thing forever more it would be a demure dress. I love how versatile they can be, but it's also a one-piece solution to looking the part. We strongly approve of the layering in the picture above.

Rejina Pyo Miller Pocket Shirtdress
Rejina Pyo Miller Pocket Shirtdress $552
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Business capsule wardrobe: comfortable mid-height pumps are the best workwear shoe
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Comfy Pumps

A woman who rules the world needs a pair of heels she can actually walk in. We love the below comfortable yet stylish options.

Rejina Pyo Conie Croc-Effect Leather Slingback Pumps $650
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Business capsule wardrobe: a two-piece suit will always look good in the office
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A Perfect-Fit Suit

A perfect-fit suit is the ultimate power combo. Pick one you feel comfortable in—whether you go for an oversize style or something more tailored. Wear with shirting to be classic or with a turtleneck for a modern update.

& Other Stories Wool Blend Tailored Blazer
& Other Stories Wool Blend Tailored Blazer $150
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& Other Stories Wool Blend Trousers
& Other Stories Wool Blend Trousers $119
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Business capsule wardrobe: a classic watch is a workwear essential
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A Watch to Match

To finish off your boss look, add a watch and layer with additional personal jewelry. The key lesson here is to not overaccessorize.

Larsson & Jennings Lugano Suede and Gold-Plated Watch $245 $49
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Maria Black Carlo Medium Gold-Plated Bracelet
Maria Black Carlo Medium Gold-Plated Bracelet $115
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This post originally appeared on Who What Wear UK.

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