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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A 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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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