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Back to work after 5 year gap .... nothing to wear?

(9 Posts)
AlaskaHQ Tue 21-Jun-11 16:16:35

I've just heard that I've got a job I applied for, starting August. Really excited.

With the exception of a couple of months post-maternity leave, I haven't worked since 2006. My old work clothes (a lot date back to 2002) look so dated, and are mainly skirt-suits, a lot of which don't do up around my waist any more (post two pregnancies). They are good quality, but out of date.

What should I be buying as a basic work wardrobe? I've got a couple of pairs of black trousers, and one suit (pin-striped - is that really bad?) that still looks nice and fits, plus various tops/shirts.

What else do I need? Someone said people are wearing dresses a lot more now? What about shoes? Can you wear strappy sandles, or are they seen as too informal?

The job is office based, but with quite a few external meetings. The role is mid+ management level.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Tue 21-Jun-11 16:21:06

i think sandals are ok unless it's a very formal environment (like court). this is with the proviso that you keep up with your pedicures.
i would try and made do with your black trousers, a couple of nice fitted shirts, and good shoes until you have worked out the vibe of your particular office.
i changed roles a year ago, keeping the same role, yet my new office is miles smarter than my old one.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Tue 21-Jun-11 16:21:36

sorry - changed offices a year ago.

AlaskaHQ Tue 21-Jun-11 17:33:38

Thank you for the thoughts. Yes - keeping what I've got, but making sure I've got good shoes might be really key. Maybe if I work on that (my shoes are wrecked from before - I've worn them with jeans for the last few years), say 2 nice pairs of shoes, then the rest can wait until I see what everyone else wears.

And love the idea of needing an excuse to keep up with pedicures. DH thinks they are a luxury, but no - they can now be a work essential!

Mumelie Tue 21-Jun-11 19:17:00

In the same situation as you but worse - I have no work clothes at all!!! Been out of office work for 8 years as a SAHM and literally have 1 pair of shoes that would just about do. Have an interview on Thursday so have been out and panic bought today this dress and this jacket. I quite dislike formal office wear as dont really feel its me. I think dresses are the way to go - its one easy outfit in the morning - just change the cardi, jewellery or footwear.
Whats your style - are you leaning towards trousers and a smart top or back to the skirt suits? Sales are on at the moment (or about to start) so is a good time to stock up on basics grin.

hattyyellow Mon 04-Jul-11 15:25:42

Congrats on the new job! It's really hard isn't it - I've been working since 2006, but mainly from home in jeans and a hoodie and suddenly in the last year I've had to attend loads of meetings.

I have a basic black suit from Warehouse, fitted jacket with matching skirt and trousers. I also have a cream and black suit from Mango and a grey blazer from Gap. I have just bought a whole load of long/three quarter sleeved tops from Gap, some plain, some more funky colours or striped and that livens up the suits a big.

Do look also at shose/bags/accessories - that can spice plain suits up a lot and make the same clothes work much harder.

It depends a lot on the culture/type of office you are working in. My work ranges (i work in the arts) from very formal and traditional (classic shirt and suit) to a lot more funky (more colourful tops and accessories).

Getting straightleg trousers might liven up your wardrobe a bit? And I agree with dresses - although I am yet to find one that really suits as I have lost the baby weight everywhere but my tummy - so I tend to look pregnant in anything remotely clingy!

Try Zara too.. Good luck!

hattyyellow Mon 04-Jul-11 15:27:28

sorry for atrocious spellings - have lively toddler on knee
drawing on my work notes in front of laptop!

PumpkinBones Mon 04-Jul-11 21:30:58

I never wear suits or anything like tailored trousers / shirts as I feel uncomfortable, and this affects my confidence. I go for dresses and nice shoes - Vintage style tea dresses from Primark / Zara / New Look are my work wardrobe staple. I go to lots of external meetings. Nice shoes and accessories too. It does depend on what business you are in though, I work in the charitable sector, and although I have a very senior role, there is not the same expectation of a particular style of dress as there is in other areas.

anniemac Thu 07-Jul-11 01:17:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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