Hi to all you budding stylists out there, please help me! I'm looking for new work wear. I've been in my job a few months and realised that as we move into winter, my previous winter wardrobe is wildly unsuitable. My job is in a largely male orientated office and I have to go to lots of board meetings so I need to feel comfortable and smart. Please help me find things! I would be grateful for any help or advice.
My must haves for new winter workwear are.....
I'm really short and petite. This means that suits drown me or make me look like I'm wearing my mother's clothes.....not the look I'm after. I want an outfit that makes me look professional but I don't want an 80's power dressing outfit
I get cold very easily and although I have a few cardi's they don't.look great when I'm sitting in a board room with 10 men in suits and ties, so if anyone can find smart work clothes with long (rather that 3/4 sleeves) then that would be brilliant.
I would prefer to wear trousers and top rather than dresses but open to ideas.
I have a limited budget but I want things to be good quality.
I think you've cracked the code with trousers and jackets. I'd avoid picking matching trousers and jackets to avoid the 80s power dressing problem. It also means you can mix and match different jackets and blouses with some neutral trousers.
I'd pick 3 colours that work together (perhaps graphite, mink and red) and build a capsule wardrobe. Or even better, two neutral base colours (say dark chocolate and aubergine) and then throw contrasting colours (white, nude, chatreuse) in blouses and accessories to make things work further. I'd tend to focus money on a few quality pairs of neutral trousers that fit well and then spend less on more noticeable jackets that you can change after a season or two.
Zara is brilliant for reasonably priced jackets at great quality for the price. Dorothy Perkins can also have some nice jackets, as sometimes can Miss Selfridge. I like Banana Republic jackets when on sale too. LK Bennett and Hobbs have some great outlet sales for jackets if you can get to them.
PS I get cold too. I often wear a lycra camisole under my top to keep me warm. I sometimes also put on a shrug (from Phase Eight usually as they are fitted and not bulky) over a dress (which is what I tend to wear) and under the jackets I wear. The extra layer that no one sees keeps me much more comfortable.
Have you tried petit ranges - principle, précis petit. I know the latter so a bit mother of the bride Ish but it can do excellent jackets too. Work out what shape of jacket suits you best. I spend a lot of time at meetings and know I need to concentrate on having a stylish top half.
Good necklaces help too. I have got some excellent ones from phase eight.
Structured dresses work too but watch out for any cleavage if you tend to lean forward
I'm wearing a lot of shorter ankle length smart trousers with long sleeved silk tops at the moment, and layer vest tops underneath for warmth. Nice heeled shoes and statement jewellery to complete. If you're looking for a change from dresses or suits, maybe worth a try?