By Katie Cook
Building a wardrobe for work that’s functional, versatile, and stylish isn’t as hard as you think. I think there’s often a misconception in fashion that planning good outfits take a lot of time and effort. For hardworking professionals, time is a luxury that you don’t have much of.
You can save yourself the daily effort of outfit planning by taking a little bit of time to build a wardrobe that’s versatile and interchangeable. A little bit of functional planning goes a long way in the mornings.
A good wardrobe should be like a family: every piece is unique, but they share similar traits that make them a cohesive unit.
There are several different approaches to rebuilding your wardrobe so it functions well together. One way to do this is to create a capsule wardrobe. Check out this video from StitchFix to learn more about what a capsule wardrobe is and how to create one.
But starting from scratch isn’t really an option for most people. So here are my top 3 tips for creating a work wardrobe that is versatile and interchangeable.
1. Start building with neutral bottoms
Pick up some basic workwear bottoms in colors that you can pair with different colors and patterns of shirts. Think colors like black, white, tan, brown, or grey and find a fit that you love. It could be trousers, a pencil skirt, a dress, or formal dress pants. Avoid patterns that will make it difficult to mix and match. The key here is to select pieces that will work with many different styles and looks. Bonus: if you want to make sure your work wardrobe will stand the test of time, look for some classic cuts and fits rather than gravitating towards the latest trends.
2. Play with pattern & color in your tops
Make sure you stock up on some neutral tops you can mix and match with the pants. Neutral tones tend to work well with one another in just about any combination, so it’s good to have some basic button downs or dress shirts that you can reach for. Tops are where you can play with pattern and texture a little bit more, so feel free to add a few tops in different colors and patterns that will pair well with your neutral bottoms.
3. Make sure your accessories will work with your whole wardrobe
Invest in some basic accessories that will match with your whole wardrobe. For example, buy jewelry in silver and gold rather than lots of colors. Most silvers and golds will match each other. Or perhaps invest in some belts in colors that will match the rest of your clothes. When in doubt, go neutral. Make sure you have a basic purse or handbag that matches well with your outfits. You can’t go wrong with a simple black purse or messenger bag. Especially make sure your shoes match most of your wardrobe. Having several pairs in neutral colors will go a long way in helping you save time and make quick decisions on the go in the mornings.
Looking for ways to make your outfits versatile for beyond the office? Check out our article “5 Outfits for the Office and Out-And-About That You Will Look Great In” for ispiration on how to dress for work and beyond!