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Returning to work and to new and more senior job - capsule wardrobe required... please help!

(10 Posts)
MissMarjoribanks Mon 13-Dec-10 21:53:28

I go back to work on January 4th after a year's mat leave and none of my old work clothes fit me as I've gone up a size.

The only thing I have bought are these boots and I am absolutely despairing.

I used to wear smart wool trousers and a V-neck fitted jumper with a vest top underneath / smart top and cardi, with either boots or shoes depending on the weather. I would wear my suit or swap the jumper for a blouse and cardi if I needed to be smarter (about once a month).

I have one pair of black trousers which still fit but I need to keep them smart as they are for orchestra as well. My suit still fits, just, as do my coats.

Things need to be:

- natural materials. I hate hate hate man made materials and this is what is really getting me down, everything is polyester, rayon or viscose. Wool mix is OK, but has to be mainly wool. Jersey stuff is absolutely out as it is also completely unflattering on me.
- hard wearing and washable. I'll be trekking round building sites.
- warm. When I'm not trekking around building sites, I'll be sat at my desk and I get cold after sitting still for a while.

I have highlighted blonde hair, i'm a size 10 and 31. I have fair skin. I have a saggy tummy post baby which has ruled out the fitted jumpers but the rest of me is in pretty good shape. Boobs are non-existent though. Oh, and anything too prissy or girly makes me look like a vicar's wife, which is not a look I'm going for.

I'm happy to consider dresses now, not sure about skirts as they tend to whizz round my waist and I can look very frumpy in them.

Please please please help. smile

gingermama Mon 13-Dec-10 23:01:28

The boots are great - excellent purchase.

My starting advice is that a pair of slimming knickers (the unattractive cycling shorts up to ribcage sort) made by Spanx or M&S are invaluable to my post baby dressing. I was and am a very similar size and shape to you, and have found streamlining the midsection makes work clothes look and feel a hundred times better. Although be aware I am now a bit addicted and wear the magic knickers with everything - but I am sure you will be more moderate I also always wear a padded push up type bra. Thus, you can trick your body into looking kind of like it did pre-baby - and you might find your wool trouser/vest/smart cardy outfits look as good as before. This theory I think seems to be working for me. I am a size up from pre baby but the styles etc that I have always thought suited me still seem to look ok with the assistance of the undergarments.

New item wise I would think a semi fitted shift/tunic dress which you can team with a cardy and/or jacket would be a good purchase. Hobbs have lovely wool ones but depends on your budget - Zara has great suit type dresses and they do some stuff in wool too. You can put wool tops or shirts underneath this sort of dress aswell for extra warmth - Maybe try Zara or TM Lewin for wool and cotton tops. And then trusty opaque tights to finish it all off. I am not very good with attaching links or I would have a look for you and find a good example!

Hope this is vaguely useful and congratulations on the new role!

MissMarjoribanks Tue 14-Dec-10 17:48:19

Thanks gingermama. I am concerned about my tummy because my boobs are now so small, so anything that isn't fitted just makes me look shapeless, whereas anything that is, defines my stomach. It's not helping that I'm still wearing my nursing bras which are several sizes too big in back and cup. I always wore underwired balcony bras before so I will go back to those (although I suspect my previous size will now be too big).

I will look at Hobbs - I'm willing to spend a bit more to get something longer lasting. I haven't been in Zara for ages, but I think that's because their casual clothes aren't really me, but I have bought lots of work stuff from there before.

jaffacakeaddict Tue 14-Dec-10 19:29:03

If I were you I'd look for something washable. I have always found that my two DSs want to give me a goodbye cuddle in the morning and another cuddle in the evening as soon as they see me. The amount of snot they can get on a suit is quite impressive.

Skimummy Tue 14-Dec-10 21:55:52

Do you have a budget? I had a similar problem returning to work - not so much that my old clothes didn't fit me but that they were quite outdated and just made me feel frumpy. Anyway, I had a personal stylist session at Banana Republic which revamped my wardrobe and gave me lots of ideas for styling etc that I can apply to other clothes. You may not have a BR near you as I think they are only in London but lots of other stores (e.g. John Lewis) offer the same service.

Otherwise...try Gap for lots of trouser styles? I am sure I have lots of other ideas but have gone blank for the moment!

SickOnMyShoulder Wed 15-Dec-10 11:35:36

I had the some problem (small boobs, bulgy tummy)after DS1 was born, but found that a padded gel bra and spanx sorted it out! I've heard the new M&S 2cups bigger are good, and will be trying them when I finish nursing this time round. I'm planning on wearing my work wardrobe of black trousers, white shirt, black shirt, 2 coloured knitted tank tops and a leather pencil skirt, and I'm also looking for a round neck dress with sleeves. I'll wear these with black shoe boots or red pumps.

MissMarjoribanks Wed 15-Dec-10 22:32:34

Thanks all. My budget isn't fixed really, I'm willing to spend £100 or so each on good quality, long lasting items, going cheap and cheerful for other bits. JL do style advisor and there is one right by me so I might try that.

I found a gorgeous dress at Hobbs but they are sold out in my size. sad

Thanks for tip on M&S bra - the reviews all say they are fab.

Looking for this stuff at least breaks the monotony of wondering what the hell to get my family for Christmas...

tethersjinglebellend Wed 15-Dec-10 23:31:09

Some trousers like this or this with a silk blouse like this or this

or wide leg trousers like this or this with a polo neck

Or a dress like this

Or a skirt like this or this with a round neck long sleeved top.

llareggub Wed 15-Dec-10 23:35:11

Best thing I did before going back to work from maternity leave is to see a personal shopper. I had a wonderful few hours in John Lewis and walked away with a great capsule wardrobe and a new-found confidence.

llareggub Wed 15-Dec-10 23:35:52

Ditch the nursing bras, btw. Get thee to a decent shop and get fitted for some new underwires!

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