Corporate Capsule Wardrobe on a Budget: A Stylist's Insights

Written by Rosie McKay | Founder of My Virtual Stylist

Edited by Stefani Janson


You’ve landed the job of your dreams and the realisation that you will need to pull yourself together into the semblance of the corporate style queen that fronted for the initial job interview hits home quickly. A corporate environment demands your style looks polished and professional. And while it’s important to stick to classic cuts, you can add some flair with colour, sophisticated prints (for example pinstripe and check) and a subtle accessory that highlights your personal style.

Now, before you break into a sweat about maxing out your credit card, take note of my top tops for creating the ultimate work wardrobe on a budget.

 Me, Rosie, rocking a playful corporate style.

Me, Rosie, rocking a playful corporate style.

1. Do A Stock take Of Your Wardrobe

Before you set off on a shopping spree to rival Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, now is a good time to assess what you have in your wardrobe: cull any items that you don’t wear or no longer fit; group together all the items in good condition and that can be worked into your corporate capsule.


2. Make A Shopping List

Now that you know what tops/bottoms/jackets/shoes you already own it’s time to start making your shopping list! Add the pieces that are missing to make complete outfits with what you already own first, then next add any of the items I’ve listed below.


3. Shop Smart

If you know a particular store you love is running spend and save promotion or having a great sale, check them out first to maximise your money. A great way to keep up to date with sales is to subscribe to your favorite stores. Also, be sure to spend a little extra cash where it matters. For example, allocate more money towards finding a well-fitting black suit in the best possible quality you can afford. Same goes for a white shirt and comfortable leather shoes.


4. Needing To Start your capsule wardrobe From Scratch?

Here is my 12-piece Corporate Capsule List:

1. Black suit;

2. White shirt;

3. Classic points pump/court shoe – stick to classic neutrals that won’t date easily and will work with your wardrobe. Black and/or nude are your safest bet;

4. Leather tote – either stick to classic neutrals that won’t date easily and will work with your wardrobe. Tan, black, grey, navy, burgundy and red are all great choices;

5. Fitted knit – choose the colour which will work best with all your other pieces;

6. Midi skirt – choose a style that best suits your shape. Fitted, A-line and pleated styles all work;

7. Smart trousers – grey, navy, check or pinstripe are all classics. Again, choose a cut that best suits your shape. Both wide-leg and tapered styles both work for the office;

8. Form-flattering dress – you can never go wrong with black, blush, burgundy, navy, marle grey and cream;

9. Simple earrings – stud or small drop;

10. Structured blazer – another neutral colour like cream, grey, navy or khaki that can work back with your other separates; 

11. Silk blouse or shirt; and

12. Leather loafer.

 A recent styling shoot!

A recent styling shoot!

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5. 12 pieces, 12 Foul-Proof Corporate Combos

Unsure of how to co-ordinate your new capsule wardrobe? Here are a bunch of options to get you through an entire fortnight!

1. Black suit + White shirt + Classic Points Pump/Court shoe + Simple earrings + Neutral Tote

2. Black suit + Fitted knit + Classic Points Pump/Court shoe + Simple earrings + Neutral Tote

3. Black suit + Silk shirt/blouse + Classic Points Pump/Court shoe + Simple earrings + Neutral Tote

4. Structured blazer + Fitted knit + Smart Trousers + Classic Points Pump/Court shoe or Loafer + Simple earrings + Neutral Tote

5. Structured blazer + White shirt + Smart Trousers + Classic Points Pump/Court shoe or Loafer + Simple earrings + Neutral Tote

6. Structured blazer + Silk shirt/blouse + Smart Trousers + Classic Points Pump/Court shoe or Loafer + Simple earrings + Neutral Tote

7. Structured blazer + Fitted knit + Midi skirt + Classic Points Pump/Court shoe or Loafer + Simple earrings + Neutral Tote

8. Structured blazer + White shirt + Midi skirt + Classic Points Pump/Court shoe or Loafer + Simple Earrings + Neutral Tote

9. Structured blazer + Silk shirt/blouse + Midi skirt + Classic Points Pump/Court shoe or Loafer + Simple Earrings + Neutral Tote

10. Black suit jacket + Form-Flattering dress + Classic Points Pump/Court shoe + Simple Earrings + Neutral Tote

11. Structured blazer + Form-Flattering dress + Classic Points Pump/Court shoe + Simple Earrings + Neutral Tote

12. Silk blouse + Black suit pants + Classic Points Pump/Court shoe or Loafer + Simple Earrings + Neutral Tote

 A classic corporate combo with a twist of emerald.

A classic corporate combo with a twist of emerald.

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6. EXCLUSIVE NAVIGATOR OFFER

To help you create the perfect corporate capsule tailored to your shape, style and budget, Rosie is offering 20% off all My Virtual Stylist services to Navigator faithfuls including digital packages and one-on-one in person style consults*: simply enter MVSLAUNCH at checkout.

*Additional travel fees apply for bookings outside of Sydney metro, interstate and international.


About the Author

Rosie McKay is a Sydney-based stylist and founder of My Virtual Stylist, a personal styling platform that offers a range of digital styling and personal shopping services so you can have a personal stylist at your fingertips. Good shoes and a good strong long black are a non-negotiable. When she’s not curating the perfect style edits for her clients, you will find her freelancing for a range of well-known brands and blogging for My Virtual Stylist. You can get more of her expert style advice and check out what she’s wearing, buying and loving on Instagram and Facebook.