Ever since traveling to Europe with just a backpack, I’ve gained a growing appreciation for lightness and a minimal lifestyle. It was as if, once I realized I could traverse three new countries with just a few articles of clothing, I began to apply this same mindset to other aspects of my life. I made it a point to only pack weekender bags whenever I traveled domestically… when I was in a big life transition, I relied on this capsule wardrobe to keep things simple. And, most relevant; I began adopting a “uniform” for work, especially after reading about it’s trendiness with successful people.
A couple of weeks ago, my minimalist attempts culminated in reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. While some aspects of the KonMari method are drastic even for me, I embraced the idea of eliminating anything from my wardrobe that didn’t bring me joy, and promptly dumped my closet and drawers on the floor one Friday night. Armed with a (few) glass(es) of wine and a Spotify playlist, I eliminated nearly half of my clothing. It felt refreshing, and in the weeks since, I’ve streamlined my morning routine before work so much that I’ve gained back precious minutes to sleep in or make coffee.
Which leads me to my very tiny, very curated office wardrobe. I’m lucky enough to work in a relatively casual office environment, but my uniform would work back in my old conservative DC office, as well. Because I have less, I can invest in better-quality pieces, and there’s so much less decision making in my morning.
- Pants: Nothing helps an outfit look polished and professional better than a pair of slacks that fit perfectly. I am a huge fan of the Loft straight-cut pants, which are slightly cropped with a slightly tapered leg. They hold their fit and don’t stretch out throughout the day. I also regularly wear a pair of black ponte pants, which are much more casual but help “dress down” some of my nicer tops. Of course, both in black since it’s simple and sleek.
- Dresses: I realized I was continuously reaching for one of two dresses for work, so when I cleaned out my closet those are the only “work” dresses I kept. One is a relaxed jersey knit dress from American Eagle (of all places) that has a subtle back cut-out and an A-line shape. It’s simple and comfy, and the back cut out is easily hidden with a blazer until happy hour. The other is a silky sleeved shirt dress that buttons up the front and has a tie waist.
- Blouses/Tops: I keep my tops simple, and most of them fall in a white or grey color palate. I do have two sleeveless blue blouses that I continue to mix in for the extra hot Florida summer days. Otherwise, it’s silk shell tanks and button-ups, and scoop-neck tees tucked into those slacks.
- Blazer: I’m lucky enough to work in a pretty casual office, but I keep a boyfriend blazer with me to instantly pull together any of my outfits. It adds extra warmth when I’m chilly, or elevates the tee-shirt-and-slacks combo from casual to business-ish.
- Shoes: I wear the same pair of shoes literally every day to work. I don’t do much walking, so I can get away with this, but part of the key is investing in a high-quality pair. I am in love with these M.Gemi pointy-toe Italian leather loafers that instantly class up any outfit without the uncomfortable elevation of heels.
- Extra: And, finally, the one bonus that I keep at my desk – a hunter green quarter zip from my graduate school, because even when it’s pushing 100 degrees outside, the AC in our office makes me forget I am in Florida. It’s absolutely more casual that a blazer, but when I’m about to settle into a big Excel workbook, comfort trumps style.
Of course, sometimes I wear jeans on Fridays or a company tee-shirt, but ultimately this small chunk of clothing is all I wear on a regular basis to the office – and thus, nearly all I kept from my previous hoards of office attire from The District.