Can anyone find me a dress for a smart casual afternoon thing?

(45 Posts)
BlameItOnTheBogey Mon 06-May-13 00:29:29

Hi all,

I just started a new job and one of my colleagues is having an afternoon event next Sunday - drinks and some food outside. Lots of my new work colleagues (internal and external) will be there and it is my chance to really make an impression. I have to look smart for work and manage this well. But I am rubbish at casual and I suspect that for this event I need an outfit which is professional and smart casual. It needs to make me look like a competent and well put together person without being 'work' smart.

I don't even know where to start. Could prob spend up to 200 for the right thing. I think I am thinking dress - but open to any ideas.

I'd be really grateful for any help!

FlatsInDagenham Mon 06-May-13 00:36:31
FlatsInDagenham Mon 06-May-13 00:43:51

Or this?

AtiaoftheJulii Mon 06-May-13 00:47:54

Saw several nice dresses in Oasis yesterday.

BlameItOnTheBogey Mon 06-May-13 00:48:01

Thanks Flats. Quirky definitely isn't the look I am going for though. I need to feel totally confident about this outfit because I need to make a top impression and I don't want to be worrying about what I am wearing. The second one is definitely better but I wonder if it isn't a bit boring?

But I really appreciate the help!

FlatsInDagenham Mon 06-May-13 00:49:23

This is lovely. Could strike the right note?

BlameItOnTheBogey Mon 06-May-13 00:50:54

Yes that's better. But (realize I am sounding awkward) I don't want a bow over my bum. Or anything that will cling to my bum as it is seriously not my best asset. I'm quite slim (6-8) but my the older I get, the worse my bum looks...

FlatsInDagenham Mon 06-May-13 00:53:16

Maybe some stripes?

BlameItOnTheBogey Mon 06-May-13 00:56:53

So I love that one. A lot. But it's going to be problematic on my bum. Can't to fitted style in jersey material - it's no good on me at all...

FlatsInDagenham Mon 06-May-13 00:59:20
BlameItOnTheBogey Mon 06-May-13 01:04:21

Yep that one has a better fit but, erm, I don't like it. Sorry...

FlatsInDagenham Mon 06-May-13 01:23:54

Ok this is my last shot ... red.

Snog Mon 06-May-13 07:49:31

Round of applause for the red dress

HappyAsASandboy Mon 06-May-13 08:04:22

Yes, the red one. It's bright but simple. Flattering on the bum, and can be dressed up or down. I like it smile

polyhymnia Mon 06-May-13 13:33:38

The red is definitely the best suggested so far - though I don't personally like red. Most of the others didn't really look very classy to me ( by which I meant quality-wise, not that they're it 'dressy' enough). You want to look stylish but relaxed.

If it were me I'd go into Hobbs L K Bennett Whistles Phase EIght and Jaeger and have a good browse.

Also saw some nice summer dresses in Comproit DES Cotonniers yesterday.

Selks Mon 06-May-13 13:47:44

The red one is great. Red is a fantastic colour for projecting confidence and presence smile

MrsLettuce Mon 06-May-13 13:49:07

How tall are you? These look very short on the models but they'll be at least 5'8" if not 5'11"

Allthingspretty Mon 06-May-13 13:51:15
Allthingspretty Mon 06-May-13 13:54:24
MrsLettuce Mon 06-May-13 13:55:34
Allthingspretty Mon 06-May-13 13:55:43
noddyholder Mon 06-May-13 14:00:17
Allthingspretty Mon 06-May-13 14:00:58
StrangeGlue Mon 06-May-13 14:05:41

Do you definitely want a dress? I often see women who look really stylish but not too done (iyswim) wearing chinos/jeans with sandals, blazer and cami top.

Or is the vibe more 'wedding without hats'?

AphraBehn Mon 06-May-13 14:11:09

Love that green Zara dress. Wear it with the Zara sandals linked on another thread!

Although if it were me, I would buy a few different things from a mid price range rather than one expensive item. That way you have a bit of choice if the weather is changeable. A pretty dress is lovely for a warm, sunny afternoon but you might feel a bit out if place if it's cool, cloudy and

AphraBehn Mon 06-May-13 14:11:38


BranchingOut Mon 06-May-13 15:03:35

I would beware of looking too wedding like or formal. I think that we need to know a bit more about the host, the people attending and their age group before we can give you a steer.

I think you need to ask other people what they are wearing. It would be easy to be far too dressed up and 'worky' looking or weddingy looking. How about some 7/8ths cigarette trousers, a silk top, sandals and a casual-ish blazer? The weather will make a big difference to what is okay too.

MrsLettuce Mon 06-May-13 18:42:07

Remus is right, as usual.


BlameItOnTheBogey Mon 06-May-13 23:30:23

Thanks for all the replies everyone and sorry for going awol. A crucial bit of info is that I am not in the UK and so time zones are different. This also means that I can't go in a browse in places but I can get super quick delivery from the UK.

So more info: I don't want a wedding look. I want to female equivalent to chinos and open neck shirt. I could go for trousers but that seems more complicated (more things to buy, more chance they won't fit) plus I am short and so trousers are difficult and I don't have time to get things taken up. Weather wise, I think I can be fairly confident that it will be sunny where we are so I in a nutshell, I am aiming for smart casual summer dress.

Of the dresses here none of them quite hit the mark. I don't want black. Or wedding. Or work. And masses of material will drown me as I am short and daily slim. I like the Zara dress best but it still isn't perfect.

I really really appreciate all the suggestions though; please keep them coming....

BlameItOnTheBogey Mon 06-May-13 23:59:47

Does anyone have any views on this ? I'm not wowed by it at all. But I wonder if it isn't an inoffensive dress that does the job of making me look professionally in a relaxed way. And since my main goal is to get an outfit that I won't have to think about at all then would this work? Or is it crazy to buy something that I think is perfectly meh?

BlameItOnTheBogey Tue 07-May-13 00:01:01

Thanks Tapse. First is too casual and I'm afraid I don't like the second. i really want something that will make me look like the smart professional that I pretend to be - on work days at least....

MrsLettuce Tue 07-May-13 07:43:37

sleeveless shirt dress? wanted to link to this before but I thought it'd be too short, should be just fine on you if your not so tall though.

THe phase8 dress is maybe still a bit weddingy and the print is very, erm, yesh, not sure it'd be appreciated outside the UK.

MrsLettuce Tue 07-May-13 07:46:15

this maybe

Phase Eight dresses often come up long. It's viscose too, so may be a bit sweat-inducing. smile

Too worky or could it be okay with bright wedges and a cropped blazer or cardigan?

nilbyname Tue 07-May-13 19:28:52
nilbyname Tue 07-May-13 19:33:14

That green Reiss one is gorgeous.

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Tue 07-May-13 20:40:19

The Warehouse 'tile' dress and the splashy green Reiss one are lovely - if that 'natural' style suits you.
If you like a more tailored, 'classic but slightly girly' style, this is a really flattering, fitted shape (comes in navy as well but white shows the shape better in the picture). You could add a blazer/cardi/denim and flat sandals to make it more bbq-apt and less worky.
This sheath dress comes in a few colours as well.

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Tue 07-May-13 20:41:54

Doesn't really show in the pic, but the first one is broderie anglaise.

BranchingOut Thu 09-May-13 07:19:31

The only one that really stands out to me is the Reiss dress.

NotAQueef Thu 09-May-13 16:23:08

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