My Winter Work Capsule Wardrobe

Winter is here! And with that, the challenge of dressing for freezing temperatures while looking put together for work. It’s hard enough getting out of bed when it’s dark and cold outside. Choosing an outfit needs to be simple and easy. Enter my winter work capsule wardrobe. Similar to my fall capsule wardrobe, it includes only the essential items. Consider it your inspiration for building a minimalist wardrobe.

I started organizing my closet into seasonal capsule wardrobes because I wanted to maximize what I already own and purchase fewer, higher-quality pieces.

What is a seasonal capsule wardrobe?

A seasonal capsule wardrobe is a small collection of your favorite clothing and shoes for a particular season. It doesn’t have to contain a set number of pieces, just the items you love to wear. Versatility is key. Everything you choose should be able to be mixed and matched. Therefore, it’s best to have a color scheme in mind. That’s why my capsule wardrobe only includes workwear. It’s easier to edit a small subset of my closet. And it’s the category of clothing I wear most often, so making it feel effortless is worthwhile.

The nice thing about this approach is that you don’t need to buy a completely new wardrobe. You just need to identify the pieces you wear most and go well together and start wearing them.

What should be in a winter capsule wardrobe?

Whatever you like. My winter capsule wardrobe is divided into tops and sweaters, layers and outerwear, bottoms and dresses — including skirts and jeans — and boots and shoes. I did not include accessories in my capsule wardrobe because I like to keep my options open. Part of the fun of having a capsule wardrobe is figuring out new and fun ways to accessorize it! 

Here’s everything in my winter work capsule wardrobe this year organized by category:

Tops & Sweaters

Denim Shirt / Black Turtleneck / Cable-Knit Sweater / Crew Neck Cashmere Sweater / V-Neck Cashmere Sweater / Turtleneck Cashmere Sweater / Colorful Cashmere Sweater

Denim Shirt

I’ve had the same denim shirt for years. I love how versatile it is. It can easily be layered under a sweater during the winter months and adds a nice weight and interesting texture to any outfit.

Black Turtleneck

My black turtleneck is another wardrobe staple I wear season after season. There is just something about it that looks good no matter what. It can easily be layered under anything from a cardigan to a dress. It’s both comfortable and chic.

Cable-Knit Sweater

I bought my cable-knit sweater at H&M years ago, and it has lasted winter after winter. It’s one of the warmest sweaters I own, and the knitting is beautiful.

Crew Neck Cashmere Sweater

I love a good crewneck cashmere sweater when I want to show off a pretty scarf or chunky necklace. It’s perfect layered under a jacket and adds a luxe layer of warmth.

V-Neck Cashmere Sweater

A good v-neck cashmere sweater is a must-have. The v-neck is a great way to accentuate your neck and collarbone, especially in winter. It also looks great with a long strand necklace. Layer a shirt underneath to show off a cute print and add even more warmth.

Turtleneck Cashmere Sweater

Why not just cover every bare inch with cashmere? That’s what the turtleneck cashmere sweater does best! It looks so chic layered under a blazer and is always cozy and warm.

Colorful Cashmere Sweater

colorful cashmere sweater is a great complement to all of the winter neutrals. The deep maroon is such a pretty color that goes with everything. I wear this when I want to add a little pop of color.

Layers & Outerwear

Sweater Blazer / Cashmere Cardigan / Puffer Coat / Dressy Coat

Sweater Blazer

Nothing says winter layering like a sweater blazer. Layering this over another sweater is a power move. But seriously, I wear this sweater blazer all year, and it only gets better as the temps drop.

Cashmere Cardigan

I throw this cashmere cardigan over everything! It has a professional silhouette but is super warm and cozy. The cool gray is a nice contrast to black but also works well with jewel tones and other neutrals.

Puffer Coat

There is nothing better to traverse the icy landscape when temperatures drop than a puffer coat. A long one is even better. I have two — one that hits mid-thigh and one that hits mid-calf. The longer one is purely for going from my car to buildings. The shorter one is better for more vigorous winter walks.

Dressy Coat

For a special occasion, I love this wool cocoon coat. It’s such a pretty camel color that goes with everything and always looks so polished with its standing collar and silk lining. I always receive so many compliments on this coat.

Bottoms & Dresses

Black Jeans / Dark Blue Jeans / Black Skirt / Black and White Skirt / Sweater Dress

Black Jeans

Black jeans are my ride-or-die capsule wardrobe item. They look good with nearly everything and are always flattering. They can be worn dressed up or down and in practically any setting. I wear them all year, but they look especially stunning with winter neutrals.

Dark Blue Jeans

Now that we’re allowed to wear jeans in the office, I gravitate to dark wash jeans for a slightly dressier vibe. This pair from Madewell is flattering and comfortable. They can easily be tucked into boots for extra warmth, like any pair of skinny jeans (Gen Z be damned). 

Black Skirt

I bought my black flounce skirt from Loft a few years ago, and they haven’t carried it since, but it is such a classic in my book. It’s flattering yet professional and looks cute with tights and ankle boots or over-the-knee boots. I definitely wear my long puffer coat with this one.

Black and White Skirt

I have a similar flounce skirt from Loft that’s black with white specks. I couldn’t find anything similar but thought this black and white plaid skirt was a cute alternative. It would look great with a classic black turtleneck and black booties.

Sweater Dress

I recently bought this sweater dress and can’t wait to wear it with tights and ankle booties or layered under my cashmere cardigan. I had a tough time finding a flattering sweater dress. They were either shapeless or accentuated the wrong spots. This dress is flattering and not too form-fitting, but not too baggy.

Shoes & Boots

Loafers / Brown Ankle Boots / Over-the-Knee Boots / Black Ankle Boots / Snow Boots / Duck Boots

Loafers

I first bought my loafers when we went to Italy over four years ago. Since then, these have become one of my most worn pairs of shoes. I love a menswear-inspired item and how easily they elevate any look. In the winter, I wear my trusty snow boots into the office then slip these on.

Brown Ankle Boots  

With all of the black and neutrals I wear in the winter, it’s nice to work in a few warmer pieces to break it all up. I wear my brown ankle boots from fall onward. 

Over-the-Knee Boots

These waterproof over-the-knee boots have quickly become one of my favorites. They add such a lovely extra layer of warmth over tights and pants, and their suede material makes them feel luxe. Their texture and height add an interesting element to any outfit.

Black Ankle Boots  

Everything looks good with black ankle boots. They make jeans look elevated, and skirts look edgier. A waterproof pair is clutch. These remind me of the lug sole boot trend, but dressier.

Snow Boots

Maybe it’s because I grew up during the height of the popularity of Ugg boots, but I love a pair of tan suede snow boots. This pair is super comfy with its fur lining and chunky sole. These are great for walking from your warm car into the office.

Duck Boots

I love my duck boots. With their rubber soles, they’re great when it’s salty and slushy outside and I don’t want to get my snow boots dirty. They have a fleece lining so they can handle the colder temperatures. They’re a timeless classic.  

Still Looking For

Of course, no capsule wardrobe is ever complete. Here are a few of the items on my wish list. I’m not actively shopping for any of these things, but it’s good to have this list on hand to limit any new purchases to the items I really want. And because there’s no pressure to buy any of these items right now, I can just wait until I find a good deal. I often find what I’m looking for in the off-season. It’s beneficial to have a list like this when I shop secondhand. Then I can focus my search on certain store sections instead of being overwhelmed.

  • Ivory pants, preferably straight leg and cropped, to be worn with tall ankle boots
  • Midi skirt in a heavier fabric, like wool or suede
  • Longer dress coat, maybe in a plaid or emerald green
  • Taller ankle boots, sort of like a glove boot, that can be worn with cropped pants 

My Fall Wear-to-Work Capsule Wardrobe

Tops
Polka Dot Blouse / Green Blouse / Black Turtleneck / White Shirt
Sweaters
Camel Turtleneck / Cream Cable Knit Sweater / Maroon Crew Neck Sweater / Gray V-Neck
Jackets & Cardigans
Plaid Blazer / Gray Cardigan / Camel Blazer / Jean Jacket
Bottoms & Dresses
Black Skinny Jeans / Dark Wash Skinny Jeans / Black Skirt / Floral Print Dress
Shoes
Burgundy Loafers / Leopard Print Flats / Tan Ankle Boots / Black Heels

Getting dressed the last few months has been weird. For a while, I was working from home half the week and going into the office the other half. Life is back to normal in some ways, but in others, not so much. There are definitely fewer occasions to “get dressed up.” Now that I’m going back into the office full time, I’m starting to find my footing, and I like the idea of using a capsule wardrobe for my work week.

This is my fall wear-to-work capsule wardrobe. It consists mostly of items I already own or items inspired by something I own. There are still some pieces I’d like to add. For example, I would love to find a pair of bone straight leg jeans or a great floral print midi skirt, but for now, this feels complete.

I’ve tried a lot of capsule wardrobe approaches over the years, but focusing on one season at a time has always been something I’ve preferred. I tend to go for tan, black, cream, and jewel tones in the fall and winter and pastels, navy, and white in the spring and summer. It’s a lot easier to keep things cohesive if I don’t try to mix those two color palettes. Although there is some overlap.

My company lets us wear jeans, so you’ll notice that this wardrobe is not super dressy. If you are using this as a framework and need something dressier, you could easily swap out the jeans for nice pants or more skirts and dresses and the jean jacket for a fancier blazer.

I hope this helps you feel inspired if you’re heading back into the office or starting to get dressed again!

Welcome, It’s Time to Get Dressed Again

It’s springtime, the weather’s getting warmer, birds are chirping, and I’m beginning to feel a cautious sense of optimism. Although we’re not out of the woods yet, a post-pandemic world is coming into focus. 

With both doses of the vaccine done, I’m starting to make plans. I have birthday parties, weddings, and other rescheduled events to look forward to. My social calendar is filling up. 

I’m starting to dust the cobwebs off the frilly dresses and fussy tops reserved for such occasions. I’m looking forward to wearing shoes with a heel again. In between fantasizing about my post-pandemic social life and daydreaming about what I’ll wear, I’m taking time to reassess life before the pandemic. What aspects do I want to leave behind, and what do I want to take with me?

If you’ve been following me for a long time, you know I love fashion and the creative outlet it provides. Sharing my outfits has long been a hobby of mine. I love mixing and matching different pieces to create a look. 

At the same time, I know fashion takes a substantial toll on the environment. Everything is made for the moment and made to be disposable. And it seems like it’s getting harder and harder to find quality clothing designed to last.

As I slowly return to pre-pandemic activities, I want to continue to be very thoughtful about my purchases by using a capsule wardrobe. For those who don’t know, a capsule wardrobe is a small collection of pieces that can easily be mixed and matched to create different outfits. The idea is to limit your closet to only the pieces that work well together and that you wear often.

What I like about a capsule wardrobe is it has forced me to take account of and appreciate what I already own and better understand my style preferences. Inspired by that idea, I wanted to create a place where I could share my minimalist approach to style and anything else that strikes my fancy — great food, good books, and life in Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

Hence, Christina’s Capsule was born. I hope you enjoy it!