#103: Capsule Wardrobe Ideas for Working Mamas

#103: Capsule Wardrobe Ideas for Working Mamas
6 minutes to read

When I went back to work this time around, I had visions of making myself look effortlessly chic, day in, day out. Yeah, turns out it’s pretty hard. Notwithstanding that between getting dressed and getting to my desk, I’ve usually been pawed at and mauled by two pairs of sticky little child hands. 

I started strong, with a few key pieces in a sort of capsule wardrobe, that I mixed and matched and combined with different shoe and accessory combos. Then I lost my way a bit, and got lazy with my matching and knowing what actually suited me. There was a red floral dress with flappy sleeves, an elasticated band under my boobs, and a stretchy “petticoat” that climbed up my thighs every time I walked. That was a bad, bad day.

I have a friend called Patricia who always looks looks effortlessly good, and makes it seem easy. Although she does live in Portugal, and surely everything actually IS easy when you’re surrounded by beaches and blue skies. She blogs at White Camellias and her website is stunning, as is her Instagram feed.

Anyway, I asked her to give me some pointers about key pieces for work style, and happily I’ve kind of got a version of most of these…. culottes, here I come! Time to get back on board with the capsule confidence.

7 Key Pieces for the Perfect Working Mum Wardrobe

Deciding what to wear to work every morning can be quite stressful when you are sleep deprived and have the needs and wants of little ones to juggle. I remember when I went back to work after having my son, I would set my alarm way before he was due to wake up so that I could get myself ready before having to get him ready and fed. I also remember many days when all I wanted to do was wear my baggy jeans, t-shirt and trainers because I was so tired I just didn’t have the energy to get ready. Of course that wasn’t an option so the next best thing was to make getting dressed for work a really simple and straightforward task.

So, the key to being able to quickly and easily create a variety of looks is to choose a few key pieces to feature in your working wardrobe. Of course you could wear these whenever you want but you also know you can’t go wrong with them when it’s time to get dressed for work. The secret to doing this is to choose classic silhouettes in versatile colours (neutral) that can be easily mixed and matched.


It is definitely a must and it can be worn in an array of ways. I wear mine all the time, either with a pair of jeans or over a dress. The key to picking the perfect blazer is to make sure it fits your body well (shoulders, waist and length). It should be flattering and enhance your figure.


Look for a classic, flattering cut in a work appropriate-fabric (wool, tweed, cotton blend, etc.). A stylish wrap dress or a shirt dress are an instant way to throw together a chic look for work. Keep the colour neutral so that it’s easier to harmonise the look with accessories and shoes. You can totally transfer the way a dress looks just by changing the type of heel and jewellery you choose to wear with it.


A shirt is a must in any work wardrobe. A good white button-down shirt will add a crisp look to your outfit, but a nice striped or satin shirt will also look super stylish and sleek.


A pair of versatile trousers is a great staple for your working wardrobe. I personally like my trouser to be just slightly cropped because i find it more elegant and flattering on me but really any trousers that fit you well will work. Also you could try some culottes. They’re not the most common shape, but surprisingly flattering and chic.


I would stay away from anything above the knee for work, and I think that both a pencil skirt and a pleated skirt are good options. Pleated skirts in summery colours, such as peach or coral, work very well. Again this depends on your body type and personal taste.

Comfortable & Stylish Shoes

To complete your work look you need some stylish shoes. I would go for a pair of ballet flats and a pair of block heels. Ballet flats go with everything and are a great alternative to heels. You will literally be able to walk in these all day without any aches and pains. Alternatively go for a pair of block heels. Block heels provide better weight distribution than the classic stiletto, and will add height without being uncomfortable.


Thank you Patricia! How about you, is there anything you’d add?

-SJW April 2017


  1. April 19, 2017 / 9:12 pm

    Fab tips as I’m about to return from my second mat leave. I definitely haven’t mastered the capsule wardrobe and normally live in dresses. But since I’ve still carrying 5kg more weight than I was hoping, my usual styles don’t look that great. I’m going to book in at John Lewis for a bit of an overhaul with the personal shoppers as I’ve got no idea what suits me any more!

    • April 19, 2017 / 9:35 pm

      Oh regardless of weight gain or loss I think your body changes beyond all recognition after babies and it’s very daunting, especially if your confidence is a bit diminished too. The personal shopping service at JL is great and they never pressure you to buy either. Have fun and good luck with going back xxxx

  2. April 21, 2017 / 7:48 am

    I think it’s normal to loose your way sometimes. Sometimes is so hard to just get out of bed let alone care about what we wear but if we look look we will for sure feel better 🙂 thank you again for letting me guest post for you x

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