French capsule collection style guide

French Capsule Wardrobe Collection Style Guide

How to create your own French capsule collection with just 7 items

Once upon a time, when life was simpler, women didn’t own many clothes.  Before the era of mass manufacturing clothes were much more expensive than they are today (relative to salary and cost of living).

Now we live in a time where clothes are not only cheaper, but span all price ranges, fast fashion is part of the shopping landscape.  Our wardrobes are consequently bursting at the seams [pun intended!].  We have clothes that we don’t fit into, don’t like, have never worn, can’t find, and can’t see because our clothes are packed in like sardines and could potentially stand up on their own.

Is it any surprise then that interest in capsule wardrobes: that is a collection of clothes to wear with a restricted number of garments – seems to be at an all-tie high.  There is an appeal to simplifying our life, of accepting, quite consciously, a life of less.

Read moreFrench capsule collection style guide

Black relaxed dress

Some dresses are so unassuming and yet they become a core part of a woman’s wardrobe.  Our black relaxed dress is exactly that.  It has a relaxed shape, it’s not sleek and sophisticated but it is easy to wear and versatile.  Its relaxed vibe is the epitome of French chic.  Team it with trainers and an oversized bag or pair it with a gold pair of ballerina flatties, a scarf and an over-sized cardigan.  Pop a longsleeved black tee underneath on cooler days.  It’s lightweight enough to wear even into the early summer months.  We love black dresses with alight sun tan on the skin and a pair of sandals or wedge espadrilles. 

Read moreBlack relaxed dress

Black sheer top – French capsule wardrobe

Black sheer top - French capsule wardrobe

Something I’ve noticed about French women is that they will wear something unexpected.  And that “unexpected” item (to me, not to them of course!) brings their outfit alive.  French women “do” traditional really well, bu they also break the rules really well too.  When they do break the rules it reveals them as really women, as playful women, as women who are mature enough to know the value of play.  And so it is with this top.  It’s the unexpected black top.  It’s not the black tee shirt that you might expect to be peeking out from a work jacket, or a subtle blouse paired with a pencil skirt.  It’s a sheer, chiffon top.  And it’s great fun!

Our sheer black top is sewn with beautiful french seams.

The neck armholes and hem are edged with bias binding.

The bias binding hems are hand finished so no seams are visible from the outside.

The black sheer top stops your wardrobe from becoming too boring.  Work clothes, and clothes in general, can become boring, if we don’t pay enough attention to them.  Like anything really.  The black sheer top is the show stopper that’s easy to wear, doesn’t require any effort to wear and therefore you’ll want to wear it again and again.

Black sheer top - French capsule wardrobe

Wearing the unexpected is a great French style trait, and one that we are delighted to pass on to you.  Our top is beautifully made with great attention to detail.  Its uniqueness partly lies in the fact that is is available exclusively at Working Frocks and partly in the fact that you will know to wear it in an unexpected way: under a suit; with a skirt for work; during the day rather than saving it for evening wear.

We all need a few items in our wardrobe that lift our clothes above the pedestrian, mundane and every day.  However we don’t want those clothes to be too challenging to wear, too tight-fitting, too fiddly to put on, or we will never wear them.  The sheer black top is really easy to wear, simply pull it on over your head, it doesn’t have any fastenings.

This is the perfect day to evening garment.  Wear it to work and then straight out in the evening.  It can be worn in all seasons and the classic black colour means you can wear it for all events.

Our black sheer top is paired with out black pencil skirt.  However you can easily wear it with informal clothes: jeans; an informal skirt.  Or you can glam it up: wear it with sharp black trousers or silk palazzo pants.  Our black sheer top is a chameleon and will fit right in! Downplay it to work with a cardigan, swop the cardigan for a jacket or coat and your evening is waiting for you!  Busy working women, young professionals working long hours and going straight out in the evening, CEOs in meetings all day and then meeting up with the husband for date night at the theatre will all find space for a black sheer top in their wardrobe, so check ours out here!

Our black sheer top is edged with hand made bias binding, at the neck, armhole and hem edge.  Sewn with elegant French seams and unlined which gives it its sheer status our black sheer top is a beautifully designed and made garment.  A small piece of everyday luxury in your wardrobe.

Shop the collection here:

Black sheer top

Simple white top

Black jersey pencil skirt

Black mini shift dress

Black easy dress

Black jacket

Black mini shift dress – French capsule collection

Black mini shift dress image - Working Frocks


Our chic, black mini-sift dress is the epitome of French chic: simple, sexy, stylish and sophisticated.  If you only have one daring little black dress in your wardrobe, make it this one.  It’s super mini, so not for the faint of heart, but is has great versatility and we think you’re guaranteed to have fun when wearing it.

Our short, mini shift dress is created in black satin-backed crepe.

The dress is fully lined with a concealed zip to the back.

The black mini shift dress is a wardrobe staple that just won’t go out of fashion or style.  It will sit patiently in your closet waiting for the evening when you sigh, “I have nothing to wear”.  The black mini shift dress is your go-to item.  It’s not the most exciting item in your wardrobe but it is one of the most reliable.

Read moreBlack mini shift dress – French capsule collection

Black Pencil skirt – Why you need one

image of a black pencil skirt and a sheer black top - Working Frocks

The French capsule wardrobe has been in the planning stage for a while now.  There were some items which have been left out because they are not currently a priority for Workings to make, for example a trench coat, or a black leather jacket.  We wanted to limit the number of items, but  the pencil skirt is an obvious choice to include and definitely makes the top seven items which we want to include.  It is so simple, sexy and chic while at the same time extremely sophisticate and grown up.

Our black, on the knee, pencil skirt is cut in a spotted jersey fabric.

It’s machine washable, and easy to wear.

It has a hand finished hem and patch pocket detail.

The black pencil skirt should be a perennial item in your wardrobe.  If not black, then a classic weave like houndstooth, or a plain camel colour or a pencil skirt in a neutral colour such as bronze silk, would be great.  The pencil skirt’s superpower is it’s ability to blend seamlessly into many different outfit combinations.  Like the great friend who you can invite anywhere and will sit next to anyone, the black pencil skirt is a true, reliable piece of clothing friend.

Our pencil skirt is made in versatile black jersey with a stretch making it super-easy to wear and super-smart to wear.  Our pencil skirt is cut to the knee, making it easy to wear and to walk in.  It’s form-fitting, but you’re going to be able to run in it.  It has small details that give it a unique look a hand-finished hem and patch pockets.  In short, it’s a simple garment, beautifully made.

The black pencil skirt is designed to fit perfectly into your work wardrobe whether you are working from home or chairing boardroom meetings.  The flexibility and versatility of our black pencil skirt will keep you company and not let you down.

image of a black pencil skirt and a sheer black top - Working Frocks

The Working Frocks black pencil skirt is generously cut and guaranteed to fit most standard sizes.  It suits nearly all female body shapes, even pear shapes, who traditionally need a fluted a-line silhouette.  The reason it suits so many body shapes is its proportions.  From the total length of the skirt, to the width of the hem, to the waist size, all measurements are designed to make the black pencil skirt be as flattering as possible on your own body shape.

The black pencil skirt can be worn with a black jacket and black lace top and will take you out for a smart lunch.  Wear it with a casual tee shirt, boots and a gilet for a casual afternoon look.  Pair it with our simple white top for an effortlessly chic, soignée look that can take you from a brasserie lunch with girlfriends, to an afternoon business meeting and onto drinks and dinner à deux.

The black pencil skirt crosses all boundaries – from 18 to 80, women are going to look great in this skirt.  Part-time working mothers, or women who’s careers are in full flow and they are giving every moment of their day are both going to find this a welcome addition to their wardrobe.

Designed and made with a concealed zip at the back, no waist band (but an inner facing), patch pockets and a hand finished hem.

As part of the French capsule collection you might also be interested in:

Simple white top



Simple white top – French capsule wardrobe

Simple white top - French Capsule Collection

Our simple white top says chic in any language.  Perfect as part of your French capsule wardrobe but you’re going to want to wear it with everything else too!

Expertly cut to look clean and simple
Easy to wear
Hand finished hem – a trademark Working Frocks style detail

The simple white top is the epitome of French chic, it is simple, stylish and easy to wear.  It is designed to be worn with other garments that you would fin in our French capsule wardrobe, for example, the pencil skirt in this year’s capsule collection.  It also looks great with jeans and a black leather jacket.  The simple white top is a versatile addition to any wardrobe.

Our simple white top is expertly cut to feel comfortable and look super-stylish.  It has a minimum number of seams and sewing lines.  At Working Frocks we pay attention to detail even with the simplest garment.

The simple white top is a core piece in every woman’s French capsule wardrobe.  It can be paired with many different items from formal skirts to relaxed jeans.

Our simple white top is so much more than an ordinary white tee shirt.  It has a unique style of its own, it has an intentional design reflecting the French style that women want to copy.  It is made in a heavy white fabric, and the hem is hand finished.  It has all the design elements of a serious design piece but is incredibly easy to wear.  Our simple white top has intentional design which an ordinary white tee-shirt lacks.

Simple white top - French Capsule Collection

The beauty of the simple white top is its versatility.  It can be worn at the weekend with your weekend wardrobe, it can be worn at work with a pencil skirt or stylish trousers and you can wear it with jeans and pick the children up from the school gate.

Busy working women will love the simple white top.  Team it with a skirt or trousers suit for meetings.  Wear it with wide legged trousers for an at-home, Zoom meeting day, or wear it with (p)leather trousers and large ear-rings for drinks at the local wine bar.

The simple white top is a gently fluted a-line shape with a raglan sleeve.  It has a neck opening and ties at the back with two ties that are formed as an extension of the turtle-neckline.  The sleeves and hem of the simple white top are beautifully and cleanly edged with white bias binding.

The raglan sleeve was a favourite of couture designer Cristobal Balenciaga, whose simply designed, beautifully balanced clothes have always inspired our designer Sarah Banks

From the classic white shirt to the ubiquitous white tee-shirt, a white top is a great investment piece that will quickly repay its purchase price.


The pencil skirt

Pencil skirt how to wear it and how to wear it like French women do - Black leather pencil skirt, clutch bag

The pencil skirt has been a staple in women’s wardrobes for 70 years.  Christian Dior is often credited with introducing the pencil skirt to women in 1954 but some form of a straight skirt had been in circulation for a while before that.  From the beginning of the twentieth century women had been wearing some form of very straight skirt.  The hobble skirt, so called because of the wearer’s inability to take proper walking strides due to its restrictive, straight style, was popular in the early 1900s.  Flapper dresses were short and straight.  War-time rationing in the 1940s brought in clothing made with a minimal amount of fabric so narrow jackets and straight skirt were prevalent.  In one form or another, the pencil skirt has been with us for a while.

A sign of female emancipation in the work place, these straight skirts gradually morphed into the short, straight and practical pencil skirts that we wear today.  If a combination of women’s liberation and social necessity fuelled the rise in the straight skirt, or pencil skirt as it was termed, our modern pace of life adopted it for its own.  Teamed with a jacket to form a suit, it is a sign of professionalism and that a woman wants to be taken seriously at work.  It is very easy to wear, practical to travel in and can be teamed in endless combinations of clothes.

Read moreThe pencil skirt

Capsule Wardrobe Collection

What is a capsule wardrobe collection?

Hello everyone!  We are preparing a short series of blog posts for you, to show you how you can incorporate a capsule wardrobe collection into your life with minimum hassle and maximum benefit.  Here at Working Frocks we believe that a capsule wardrobe should help you look your best.  We see so many articles and images that are all about leggings and tee shirts.  While there is definitely a place in our lives for that  we think that a capsule wardrobe has a much more interesting role to play in your life.  One where you wear the distillation, the essence of who you are in a small collection of items.

We have prepared a contents section for you so you know what’s coming up…..

Read moreCapsule Wardrobe Collection

The six steps to wardrobe journalling

6 steps to wardrobe journalling working frocks picture of a woman in a cafe writing in her journal

Today’s blog post takes a dive into the six steps to wardrobe journalling.  As you may know we are spending time exploring the idea of wardrobe journalling here at Working Frocks.  Today’s post gives you the details on the order we use as part of the process.  We hope it gives you a good insight into how you can get started on this wonderful journey.

If you haven’t read any of our blogs on wardrobe journalling, what it is and how to get started with it, then you can read these: 

Read moreThe six steps to wardrobe journalling

7 ways to organize an overflowing closet

Do you know how to organize your overflowing closet quickly and efficiently?  Most women love the idea of a wardrobe which looks like a calm, peaceful oasis and may dream of an idyllic walk-in wardrobe which is beautifully organized and is a haven of luxurious organization.  However the reality is often that messy, disorganized, clutter of possessions that has an ability to make us feel despondent and disheartened.

How does it get like that? Or rather, isn’t it so easy for our clothes to get like that?  One day everything is beautifully organized and the next it has turned into a seething pile of clothing larva, ready to erupt, or sometimes looking like it has already erupted.

Read more7 ways to organize an overflowing closet

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