Smart-casual work clothes - help!

(23 Posts)
Toffeewhirl Sat 10-Oct-15 10:04:11

Starting a new job in publishing in a few weeks (first full-time job for 16 years <takes deep breath>) and the dress code is apparently 'smart casual (no jeans)'.

I live in jeans.

Am not sure if the dress code means no denim jeans or no coloured jeans either.

Had my colours done last year and I am an 'autumn leaf'. I avoid black, white and grey, in particular, as they make me look washed out. The new colours I've embraced (which I really like) are teal, khaki, olive, mustard yellow and all shades of green. I'd like brown as a base for trousers and skirts, but navy would also be a good base. However, I haven't really got to grips with the autumn leaf navy - I think it's meant to be 'bright navy', whatever that means.

Any ideas on a capsule wardrobe to start me off would be gratefully received. Oh, I'm 5' 10", size 10/12 (more 12 than 10 these days, to be honest).

Kennington Sat 10-Oct-15 10:58:16

Uniqlo is great for simple basics, particularly olive khaki colours. Likewise teals and navy.
They have smart casual slim fit cropped trousers too that are v cheap.
The quality is fantastic and they generally have natural fibres for tops, less so for trousers or a mix anyway.
I wear a smart casual work wardrobe from there mixed with COS. Congratulations on the new job.

LikeASoulWithoutAMind Sat 10-Oct-15 11:05:09

The Workwear edit has some great advice on building a work capsule wardrobe. She uses black as her main neutral but I think you could easily look for navy or brown instead.

LikeASoulWithoutAMind Sat 10-Oct-15 11:14:53

Better link here

RaisinGirls Sat 10-Oct-15 12:37:58

Someone on here recommended the Vivienne files website - it's fantastic! It's full of different capsule wardrobe ideas - many suited to work wear and each uses different colours to build on - including your Autumn colours. Google it (sorry on phone do can't get website). It will inspire you!

Floisme Sat 10-Oct-15 12:50:42

I'd spend as little as possible until you've been there a few weeks there and have had time to assess what other people wear. 'Smart-casual' is really hard to define and to my eye there's very little that's casual in that workwear edit! I'm not sure what dress codes are like in publishing but other creative industries I know are pretty relaxed. Enjoy the new job!

museumum Sat 10-Oct-15 12:54:37

I kike the workwear edit on Pinterest but only the "dress down Friday" board is suitable for my work.

I wear day dresses, chinos, skinny cords etc.

LikeASoulWithoutAMind Sat 10-Oct-15 18:03:39

I know what you mean about the Workwear edit - the pieces she chooses are definitely the smarter end of business casual but I mentioned it as I think the theory of what pieces you need is useful.

eg a skirt, trousers and dress in your main neutral are good foundations to your capsule - you could pick smarter or more casual ones to suit though.

Toffeewhirl Sat 10-Oct-15 23:53:42

Thanks for the advice everyone. I hadn't thought of Uniqlo, so will have a browse at their stuff. The links suggested are great too and really useful.

Floisme - yeah, that's good advice. Hard to rein myself in, though, as I want to rush out and buy a whole new wardrobe. Am in danger of spending my first month's salary on clothes blush.

pdxs Sun 11-Oct-15 07:41:36

Agree to wait if you can... have 1 weeks clothes only

Gap and uniqlo. .. my friends in publishing wear leggings tunics and h+m cardis to work, but I would do something like: gap trouser + cardi or blazer on day 1 (a casual blazer - unlined - from uniqlo or zara maybe) - that would be your smartest look, then have 1 other bottom that week (trouser or skirt.. plain colour) and 1 diff coloured cardi - try gap merino £25 can dress up/down. Then you just need 5 tops to fill in the gaps - hopefully you have some that would work

Also day dress (jersey or similar) + cardI and boots?

Trousers- gap have so many styles. Try stovepipe maybe?

And if you buy new outfits, do it with a week or 2 of starting and leave the tags in... its hard to judge the office look and you will know more after you start

I do suggest dressing on your personal level of the nicer side in week 1-2, that's when you will meet people for first time and it creates a good impression (I had a new starter last week, so she's been trying to suss out our office code)

pdxs Sun 11-Oct-15 07:44:20

Ie so you can return things if you've got it wrong! Work Wear edit has a good article on business casual capsule (at top of her page, sorry cannot link) - which gives you the pieces. I'd choose your colour way and also take it 1 notch more casual than hers for publishing...

RoganJosh Sun 11-Oct-15 07:51:59

There is so little brown around that you'll find you just have to go for navy as a neutral. The best navy for you is a slightly dirty greeny petrolly one but just normal navy is totally fine if you have a bit of colour by your face. A faded, greyed navy is the worst navy for you.
I would be thinking cardigans, patterned stretchy tops and navy trousers.

IrenetheQuaint Sun 11-Oct-15 07:56:22

When I was in publishing I lived in jersey dresses and cardigans. Smart trousers also fine. You can go quite colourful if you want, and statement jewellery is fine.

If you're in trade publishing meeting agents/authors/buyers/literary editors regularly then you should make an extra effort with styling and consider some make up. If you're doing royalty statements in the back office you can get away with pretty much anything as long as you look clean and tidy.

Toffeewhirl Sun 11-Oct-15 09:19:30

That's really useful advice, pdxs. I definitely want to look smart for the first week and agree with you about making a good first impression. I dressed up quite smartly for both my interviews, including wearing incredibly uncomfortable heels. Will have a look at that WorkWear link about business casual wear, thanks.

Rogan - that's the problem - I can't find any brown trousers, apart from coloured jeans, which is no good. That's helpful advice about the shade of navy I need to look for. I'm going shopping next week, so will have a chance to look at all the different navy shades before buying (wouldn't trust myself to do it online). A pair of navy trousers would be a useful basis for several outfits, I think, although I would have preferred a warm brown.

Irene - I like colour in my outfits these days (used to be all-black when I was a student, but those days are long gone). No danger of me not wearing make up - I wouldn't go out without it anyway.

Am having my hair cut and coloured the week before I start (so no grey roots) and might even treat myself to a facial, as there's a special offer on. I will be the oldest employee in the office by many years, so I want to look my best.

Any idea about shoes? Are flat shoes best? I live in boots in the winter, but assume those are going to have to be relegated to the weekends now.

sneepy Sun 11-Oct-15 10:35:12

Jigsaw has these in a lovely green and navy and these in brown. Could easily be casual or formal depending on shoes and shirt.

Toffeewhirl Sun 11-Oct-15 11:48:03

Ooh, I like both of those sneepy, though not so keen on the price tag, sadly. Will maybe pop into Jigsaw and try them on tomorrow.

Kennington Sun 11-Oct-15 18:14:47

Keep you boots if you want - they go excellently with cropped 7/8 trpusers and some dressses
Loafers and brougues for the cools kids too! Clarkes and m and s do good ones

Doobigetta Sun 11-Oct-15 19:31:53

I'd go for Jersey dresses and cardigans, and I think boots will be fine once it's cold enough for them. I wouldn't be surprised if you find that people do wear dark and coloured denim. Wool trousers would also work if that's more you.

tomatoplantproject Sun 11-Oct-15 20:30:06

I have recently started a job where the dress code is more casual than I am used to. I wear dresses with long sleeve layers underneath, kilt type skirts with a jumper or black jeans/trousers with a nice too, with either flat boots, brogues or loafers. I have been there a couple of months and have now built up 2 weeks worth of outfits.

Jigsaw and Whistles seem to have lots of nice stuff at the moment and I've got a couple of bits from mint velvet with basics from hush.

I'm also 5'10 and struggle to get pieces that are long enough in the body.

I've noticed that even though the dress code is casual it doesn't stop people dressing nicely. A lot less people wear heels than I am used to, and I'm actually going to take my smarter shoes home.

pdxs Sun 11-Oct-15 21:04:35

if you are the oldest, I think you should try to be better & smarter dressed - I'm sorry if it sounds ageist but its not intended that way (its advice i now turn on myself as I remember being a young thing and looking 'up' at what older employees were wearing, and usually they were a lot smarter...)

great on the grooming! what about nail polish, jewellery... ?

re staying current - look at marie claire, instyle etc to keep up to date - or simply shop windows

as far as shopping - remember gap etc will have big sales on black friday - nov 28 so you may want to take advantage of that

applesareredandgreen Sun 11-Oct-15 21:17:14

Next have some brown trousers in atm - no idea if the style is what you are looking for but I noticed the colour.

amarmai Sun 11-Oct-15 23:01:10

jaeger warehouse sale has lovely jersey dresses and great deals on now not sure about colours tho,

Toffeewhirl Sun 11-Oct-15 23:10:24

pdxs - funnily enough, that's just what I was thinking. I used to dress so casually when I was younger, but have become much smarter over the past few years anyway, as I felt I had to distract from the signs of ageing somehow. I haven't worn nail polish since my 50th birthday (yes, THAT old, not that I will be telling my colleagues) earlier this year. Wasn't sure whether I should tart up my nails before my first day.

I don't usually wear jewellery unless I'm going out somewhere special, so only have a few cheap necklaces (Accessorise stuff).

kennington - have been browsing loafers, thanks to your post. Not so keen on brogues, but loafers would make good everyday shoes. It would be good if it turns out boots are acceptable wear too, but I'll have to wait and see.

Doob - I have a couple of jersey dresses already and have just invested in a new cardigan from White Stuff, so am ahead on that. Will have to suss out the dark denim situation once I'm there. I almost bought some smart denim trousers the other day because they didn't look like jeans, but thought I'd better play safe.

tomato - thank you - that's really useful to know about the heels. I wish I'd looked at people's feet more when I went for my interviews! Will add Jigsaw and Whistles to my list.

Off to google Next brown trousers - thanks for the tip, apples (and their jeans fit me perfectly, so could be a good fit).

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