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To be unable to find clothes to wear to work?

(34 Posts)
whosiwhatsit Sat 04-May-13 20:41:54

I work in a place where it's business attire. The men wear suits, and most of my colleagues are men. The women wear dresses mostly, or other smart clothes. I can't figure out what to wear without looking boring and/or overdone.

I tried to go shopping today and walked away with nothing. I went into Monsoon and the whole shop looked like a clown threw up. Austin Reed was shockingly expensive. Zara and Mango almost all the blouses were see-through, low cut and very bright. M&S had some things that looked okay on the hangers but like shit when I put them on. How am I supposed to dress decent for work without spending a fortune, or do I have to spend a fortune to look semi-decent. I'm short and pale and tight and size 12-14. Where do I shop?

freddiemisagreatshag Sat 04-May-13 20:42:48

I got a ton of work suits off Matalan, and Ebay. Also short and 12/14

Lj8893 Sat 04-May-13 20:47:07

Laura ashley have some gorgeous dresses, casual and smart, and although on the more pricey end of the high street they have promotions all the time. Think they have 30% this bank hol weekend!

Gossipmonster Sat 04-May-13 20:52:59

Next, Matalan, Zara?

MortifiedAdams Sat 04-May-13 20:54:42

Dorothy Perkins. blazer worn over a tunic dress or teamed with grey trousers and white shirt

Alternatively, they have a whole workwear section

ifancyashandy Sat 04-May-13 20:56:04

Look at Massimo Duti. Good quality, stylish and reasonable.

Lj8893 Sat 04-May-13 20:56:19

Next is always a good one too!!

Piemother Sat 04-May-13 20:57:48

Sad to say it but Next is where I buy work clothes.
I don't wear dresses or skirts though. Tailored trousers and a smart top with smart shoes. I usually buy 3 pairs if trousers from oasis and done tops from next. I also buy stretchy vests from primark to wear under blouses to smarten up low cut or see through stuff.

Anthracite Sat 04-May-13 20:58:21

I feel comfortable wearing suits to work, and I find a good range in Debenhams. I generally buy a new suit once a year, so have a decent collection now. Debenham's own brand (Collection?) usually does a jacket, dress, skirt and trousers, and I will buy the lot, although mostly wear the jacket and trousers.

I have also found some nice dresses in Debenhams, although it is hard to find any below the knee.

The hardest thing to find are blouses with proper collars. TKMaxx is good though.

Hobbs is good and their outlet section has some great bargains.

Arisbottle Sat 04-May-13 20:59:35

eBay outiet or eBay generally will be your friend . As well as bulk buying in the sales.

CMOTDibbler Sat 04-May-13 20:59:51

I confess that I buy quality on ebay. LK Bennett dress, Jaeger suit, Coast tops, etc. Loads on there and dead cheap

schoolgovernor Sat 04-May-13 20:59:59

How do you feel about charity shops? When I first went back to work I trawled charity shops in the better off areas and put together almost my complete working wardrobe. I even found pairs of shoes that still had price labels on. I think the only thing I purchased brand new were a really good pair of black trousers and some shoes from M & Co. I have a wide selection of Next blouses, dresses from Mexx and Designers at Debenhams, and jackets from all sorts of good brands.

javabean Sat 04-May-13 20:59:59

I like Banana Republic, they're on the expensive side but their clothes last well. They do have a petite section, but sadly not online. Great Plains sometimes has some nice workwear, and Dorothy Perkins or Next have boring but ok staples.

That said, I think it's the wrong time of year to be looking - most of the shops have a much better selection of work clothes in Sept-Oct.

Beckamaw Sat 04-May-13 21:00:52

Uniqlo vests and T-shirts are fab under a suit too. Very inexpensive and fab choice of colours.

Arisbottle Sat 04-May-13 21:00:54

I tend to buy my workwear from jaeger, Vivienne Westwood , phase eight , kaliko, damsel in a dress, Hobbs , laura ashley, planet and similar places using sales and eBay .

I am also short and pale and size 12. I wear lots of pencil skirts with mismatched jackets and plain scoop or cowl necked tops, or smart jersey dresses with mismatched jackets, or silk dresses and mismatched jackets, or cigarette or wide legged trousers with a little cropped jacket.

Skirts - mainly M&S and a few Vivienne Westwoods in sales
Jackets - Hobbs sales for good stuff and H&M for more throwaway
Tops - mostly Hobbs
Jersey dresses - White Company
Silk dresses - v occasional Warehouse and some ancient M&S, Oasis and Phase Eight ones from when you could still buy reasonably priced silk in such places
Cigarette trousers - current faves are from Cos

Nearly everything of mine is black or grey, with just a few coloured things.

whosiwhatsit Sat 04-May-13 21:11:08

Thanks, all. I like banana republic too, and debenhams is sometimes decent. I think I'm quite picky due to my colouring and also being shy and not liking to stand out, and also yes it's the wrong time to be looming plus the fashions this season are just so bright and 80s looking and not to my taste. I do like charity shops and I also have tried ebay. However I find ebay very hit or miss as I'm not a great judge of what something will actually be like from a photo, and I've made a lot of mistakes buying stuff that ended up not being what I expected. I'll try Next next and Mexx. I find Hobbs and Massimo Dutti quote expensive but maybe I'd be better off buying a few quality things each season instead of buying loads of crap like I usually do.

Hobbs jackets often come down to about £45 in the sale, and are a zillion times better than (for example) a full price one in Next would be for a similar price.

whosiwhatsit Sat 04-May-13 21:14:18

MA, thanks for the links. I like the jacket and blouse a lot. The trousers are a little casual and the tunic dress is too short for me (see, picky) but I'll look at the rest of their collection.

HollyBerryBush Sat 04-May-13 21:14:58

Op - you may laugh - but I have discovered..... TU @ Sainsburys, and rediscovered BHS.

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 04-May-13 21:19:29

Mix of M&S, Laura Ashley, Boden, Phase 8, and as someone said upthread Banana Republic. I also like odd bits and pieces from East but I'm old and the HR lady blush. I think one or two really good pieces help too - ie, one pair of really good black trousers (even if they cost £100), one really good jacket that goes with a lot of things, etc.

BodaciousTatas Sat 04-May-13 21:20:45

Wallis has some nice stuff at the moment. I brought a load of work clothes in there last week.

nextphase Sat 04-May-13 21:33:13

All my work shirts now come from here at discounted price (usually £20/shirt)
Never tried any of their other stuff tho.

See, I love the look of those T Lewin shirts, all folded up like that, but I look absolutely frightful in 'proper' shirts and blouses.

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