Oh god need 'business wear'

(22 Posts)
phillipp Sat 08-Oct-16 07:38:01

So I have been working in my own company based in the fitness industry for the last 4 years.

I have decided that, as the company runs well with DH and the staff, that I want to go back to my old career. I miss my old career and having something that's just 'mine'.

I have a meeting with my old employer, who is more than Happy to have me back. I am meeting to discuss a job which is a couple of steps higher than the one I did when I worked for them.

So I looked in my wardrobe and realised I have nothing to wear. Literally nothing. I have some going out dresses that are not appropriate. The rest is all leggings and sportswear, which is what I live in.

I have one pair of black heels and picked up a knee length pencil type skirt.

When I worked there before, the dress code was 'smart' but fairly relaxed. Although all senior managers wore business wear. The women were all so stylish. They looked like business wear, but a bit more exciting than just a suit and blouse.

The office itself is a call centre but that's not where I will be working. I will be a senior manager running things behind the scenes.

I am now panicking. Do I wear tights? What type of top should I wear? Do I wear a suit jacket/blazer? Do I pick a top that's not just a blouse or something more 'out there'?

I am a size 14 on the bottom and a 12 on the top. My bum is quite big and oddly shaped. I have no idea what suits me or what people wear in office environments anymore.

Please help, I think there thought of putting myself out there again is adding to my fashion related panic! grinThanks.

wowfudge Sat 08-Oct-16 07:50:03

How about an appointment with a personal shopper in somewhere like Debenhams, John Lewis or House of Fraser? If you give them your brief they should be able to help.

wowfudge Sat 08-Oct-16 07:58:51

I meant to add that office wear has become more relaxed over the past few years ime. Where I work (head office of large company) it's rare that anyone wears a full suit and formal shirt, hardly any of the men wear ties. Skirt suits are a rarity but dresses and skirts with a jacket pretty common.

phillipp Sat 08-Oct-16 08:04:41

Thank you. I didn't even have a clue where to start shopping or that they did personal shopping. I will take a look into it.

Thanks again. Will keep my eye out for dresses.

SweetPeaPods Sat 08-Oct-16 08:12:43

Sounds similar to my work.
I've just bought some lovely dresses from m&s of all places.
Next and Sainsburys are normally good bets too for basics.
Depending on your budget try Hobbs.
Tops I struggle with, and I have finally found a very good fitting pair of black trousers and struggling to find a perfect black blazer for them

Fletcherl Sat 08-Oct-16 08:15:52

These people know you already and so you don't need to worry about first impressions. However they also know you have been away and will be thinking about how you will fit in again.
Obviously you will do your research for the interview. What I look for is clean and neat and tidy when I am interviewing. I know that people may not have had a time or money for a new outfit but I expect them to be groomed in clean ironed clothes and clean shoes, looking alert and motivated.
The pencil skirt and black skirt are fine if they are in good nick. How about a chiffon blouse with a false wrap over for a top. Can you borrow a jacket it doesn't need to be structured. Then hair, subtle make up and I am sure you will be excellent.

Felascloak Sat 08-Oct-16 08:22:56

H&M, get a jacket and a top to match you skirt.
I have this (and have since found loads of other women in my office do too grin)
m2.hm.com/m/en_gb/productpage.0402007003.html

H&M is great for well priced smart work wear and it lasts ages

BeautifulMaudOHara Sat 08-Oct-16 08:23:21

Go for

Conservative - nothing flashy or too fashion-y
Comfortable, you don't want to be fretting about eg walking in heels if you don't usually wear them
Fitting in - can you find out what most people wear? Eg if everyone is in a suit then you need to be too, but smart casual is the way often these days

A shift dress with a jacket would be smart enough I think.

phillipp Sat 08-Oct-16 08:26:07

Thank you. My budget isn't really fixed. I have a few hundred I could afford to spend. So will check Hobbs. I will also check the supermarkets as I am going to have start building a whole new wardrobe of clothes and can't afford it all to be expensive. So yay to shopping.

I can probably get hold of a borrowed jacket. My auntie is very stylish, not that much older. She will have something.

Not sure what to do about my hair. It used to be fairly short in one side and longer on the other. Like The photo attached. I have been growing it, it's kind of in between this and a bob. I was contemplating going back to that style as I felt it really suited me. I already had a hair appointment booked for Monday, not sure wether to go for it. I find it really difficult to style at the moment, but when it was short it always looked polished.

BeautifulMaudOHara Sat 08-Oct-16 08:27:15

If your budget is that high go to a John Lewis personal shopper. It's free and they will find you something great. Or several things.

phillipp Sat 08-Oct-16 08:29:50

That H&M top is lovely. That's the kind of thing everyone was wearing when I left. Or knee length we dresses with the top part looking like that.

I could find out what people are wearing as I am friends with people who still work there, but I haven't told them I am planning on coming back. I feel nervous. People think I am mad going back to being employed.

MaybeDoctor Sat 08-Oct-16 08:41:31

Go with the haircut.

Dresses - put it on and go, no worries about matching top to bottom.

Look at M&S lingerie dept for lightweight vests to wear under dresses, if they are too low or too chilly.

You will be fine!

phillipp Sat 08-Oct-16 08:51:17

Thank you. My hairdresser will be happy. He loved my hair like that. grin

Right I am looking at dresses now.

What do people think of pencil dresses? Sorry, I feel so out of my depth.

Felascloak Sat 08-Oct-16 09:48:36

Love them! I wear a lot. Stretch so don't need ironed grin

OneEpisode Sat 08-Oct-16 10:59:09

JL personal shopper worked for me when I needed it. Mine wasn't free but what I paid could be offset to purchases. Wear/take things you like so they can understand your taste.
Otherwise I would be thinking of what you have. So not too short going out dress with wrap or jacket. I would wear tights in October for a office job interview. You want clothes that don't encumber you so you can talk to your future colleagues. You are not applying for a job in fashion I take it?
I hire qualified people for office jobs, and I wouldn't be judging their taste, just if it was offensive/impractical for the vacant job.

phillipp Sat 08-Oct-16 13:17:29

The only dresses I wear are what o wear on holiday. So halter neck fifties type in bright colours.

I literally own those and fitness wear. My grandad died this year and I realised that I didn't own a pair of 'best' shoes. I had to buy some black heels. I have about 15 pairs of trainers. Since I left the office environment I have slowly got rid of it all. Now I regret it.

No it's not in fashion so I won't be judged to harshly. Just so worried I am going to come across as old fashioned and make them think I am the businesses past and not it's future. I don't want to look out of touch.

Thank you all so much for your help. I am spending Tuesday shopping and can wait! Will definitely use a personal shopping service .

OneEpisode Sat 08-Oct-16 14:06:20

You can definitely wear a bright couloured fifties style halter neck in the office! But in October scale back the visible skin. So maybe tights/boots.
Have fun looking though.

ShutUpLegs Sat 08-Oct-16 14:14:30

I have just done the same thing. I bought a few core basics along these lines:

[https://www.oliverbonas.com/fashion/tapered-leg-trouser-41896#selection=size:8__166 Tapered trousers]

[http://www.boden.co.uk/en-gb/womens-dresses/smart-day-dresses/ww155/womens-melanie-jersey-dress Dress]

A midi pleated skirt.

A navy blazer - can't find the link

Hankered after some smart culottes but couldn't find any that I liked.

Then topped up with different tops/fine knits from TKMaxx.
One pair black shoe boots, one pair of brown. Already had serviceable brogues.

Job done.

I looked at FInery and liked their stuff although I did return it all this time, I will keep my eye on them.

phillipp Sat 08-Oct-16 15:39:45

oneepisode really? That's actually quite exciting! I am going to be having a nosey at what everyone else is wearing while I am there.

Thank you for the links shutuplegs that's really helpful.

I am starting to get excited now.

OneEpisode Sat 08-Oct-16 20:37:08

Yes, dress codes have definitely changed. A larger company will have a dress code guide.. for a smaller one you will have to people watch...

MontyPythonsFlyingFuck Sat 08-Oct-16 23:25:44

I work in a seriously corporate client-facing environment. I am at the flamboyant end of what people wear, but my current favourite work dress is a 50s cut one with flamingos on it from LadyV London. I wear it with either a cropped pink or black cashmere cardi from Pure (in the sale!) or a pink bolero jacket from Damsel in a Dress (£7 off the TK Maxx clearance rail).

It probably helps that I am comparatively ancient and don't have any problems getting myself taken seriously. When i was younger, slimmer and prettier I wouldn't have dreamed of dressing like this, but I love it now.

phillipp Sun 09-Oct-16 06:40:03

I would love to wear that sort of thing in the office.

I can't wait to see what every one else is wearing.

I just want to get it over with, get settled in and have all this nervousness over. Being able to dress like me, will really help! When dh gets up I am going to re-review my existing dress collection.

At least I have a wardrobe of clothes for dress down Friday as the ready! grin

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