Building a Capsule Wardrobe for Today’s Business Professional

Building a Capsule Wardrobe for Today’s Business Professional

For those of us with overflowing wardrobes containing at least three different sizes and clothes for a dozen different weather conditions, the thoughts of a capsule wardrobe can feel overwhelming. But when it comes to a work wardrobe, getting together a capsule collection of essential pieces can save a lot of time and anxiety when getting dressed on weekday mornings – so it really makes sense.

But what exactly is a capsule wardrobe? Made famous by Donna Karan in the 80s, a capsule collection of workwear consists of a set of mix ‘n’ match essentials that can be combined to make a number of different outfits, or worn in conjunction with seasonal and/or fashionable pieces.

When choosing pieces for your capsule wardrobe, keep three words in mind: versatility, simplicity and longevity. Each piece should be versatile enough to wear with many pieces in your wardrobe, but simple enough to style quickly in the morning. Items in your capsule wardrobe should also be seen as investment pieces, items of clothing that are classic and timeless, and can last for years.

Another consideration is colour. Generally, capsule pieces are in neutral colours – think black, navy, grey, beige, cream and white. These can then be easily accessorised with on-trend items or given a pop of colour with a fashionable fast-fashion piece.

So what items are generally found in a workwear capsule wardrobe? Try these five essentials on to get your started.


Like it or not, in the Western Europe climate, you need a coat or at least a jacket for a fair proportion of the year. A great coat is a good investment too, as it can last you for many years. Look for a good, durable and high-quality fabric that will launder well and look good year after year.

Woman in a business professional jacket on catwalk


A suit is still an essential piece in many office wardrobes, but these days it’s generally not a daily requirement. Good-quality, well-fitting suits can be expensive, but choose one in a timeless colour and style and it will last for years. A great option is to go for suit separates, from a range in which you can mix and match jackets, waistcoats, skirts, trousers and dresses. At Buttercups, we stock a number of collections based on fit and style, so you can put together the suit of your choice or simply just opt for a great tailored single piece. See our website for more.

Woman in a business suit with colour shirt on the catwalk


Forget the baggy shirts from your schooldays – workwear shirts are now available in a wide range of fits and styles, to suit every body type and preference. While shirts are available to suit every budget, before buying, check two very important factors first: fabric and seam finishes. The fabric should be durable and high-quality, preferably cotton or a cotton mix so it’s cool and comfortable to wear. Make sure the seams are strong and well finished, so each shirt will last through multiple washes – remember that shirts generally go through a lot more washing than any other piece in your wardrobe (with the exception of underwear, of course).

Man in a professional shirt on the catwalk

Tailored dress

An excellent option for women, and a welcome change from a suit, is a tailored dress. Elegant and easy to wear, a great tailored dress in grey, navy or black will last you season after season. Look for a classic, timeless style that skims the body, rather than clinging, made from strong, durable fabric that’s preferably lined for a sleek, professional look. If you need a more formal look, go for a dress from the same collection as your suit, so your dress can be twinned with your suit jacket.

Woman business casual tailored dress on the catwalk


For chillier days, it’s always a good idea to incorporate some sort of knitwear. A cardigan in a neutral colour is a great option – consider even keeping one in the office for draping over your shoulders if it gets a little brisk. Our Henbury V-Button Cardigan is ideal for layering over your work shirt.

Woman in business casual knitwear carigan on the catwalk

Ready to start your workwear capsule wardrobe? Check out our fantastic Corporate & Hospitality collection for both men and women – or contact us for even more great collections.

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