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Plus size workwear

(16 Posts)
mumincov Sat 28-May-11 16:47:32

I'm starting a new job in a few weeks and everyone seems to be quite formal, so I need to improve my work wardrobe. Currently I can get away with dark trousers and semi-casual blouses, but no more.

I have an interview suit (from Ann Harvey) but it's pinstripe and I got it in the sales so only managed one pair of trousers. I haven't managed to get another pair that match. I also have an Evans suit jacket, but their workwear is a bit shiny/polyester-y and it'd be nice to get something a bit posher.

I really do like Ann Harvey - it tends to fit ok - but they often don't have what I want in stock online. I've had some really bad experiences shopping online with Elvi and their stuff is cut completely wrong for me anyway.

I'm a size 18-ish with a broad back and small bust. I need tops and jackets cut long to cover my hips, and I have big arms as well. So can anyone suggest anywhere else I could get shirts/tops and suits from? As a stop gap I've managed to snag a couple of very formal grey cardie jackets so I can probably get away with wearing my current selection of random black and grey work trousers for a bit, but ideally I need to be in suits..

duvetheaven Sat 28-May-11 18:50:05

Wallis ?

Gillybobs Sat 28-May-11 19:00:47

I have a few nice workwear shift dresses from M&S, I feel very smart and quite formal in them, they go up to size 22, and quite a few styles have matching jackets

mumincov Sat 28-May-11 19:31:20

wallis -thanks I'd not thought of them - they don't have any suit jackets but some of the tops look good

m&s jackets in the bigger sizes all seem really short, but maybe I need to go to a store as I'm sure they'll have a bigger selection there

I can't do shift dresses at all sad I look like a sack of potatos

Selks Sat 28-May-11 20:47:40

Check out the Next plus range - not a big range but some nice things.

Dorothy perkins might be worth a look too.

nancy75 Sat 28-May-11 20:49:38

monsoon go up to a 20/22, their stuff tends to be less shiny than evans

Selks Sat 28-May-11 20:50:17

Agree about Evans workwear - hideous.

nancy75 Sat 28-May-11 20:55:33

Debenhams have some suits in plus size too.
Are you sure weraing a long jacket doesn't make you look bigger? Maybe try on some shorter, fitted styles of jacket over a dress - you might be suprised

emsyj Sat 28-May-11 21:25:51

Have you looked at Planet? Their sizes are very generous so you would need to size down - which IMO is an excellent reason to buy their clothes :-)

They have good sales and if the shapes of their suits are good for you and once you find your size I think their cuts and fit are quite uniform, so you could buy online with a very good chance of getting a good fit.

mumincov Sat 28-May-11 21:34:09

Thanks for the other suggestions. smile

I'm not talking about a very long jacket - I'd agree that a proport longline one is very fattening. But I can't have a waist length jacket as the bit that needs hiding is then either on full show or I have several inches of blouse hanging out underneath it, which looks rubbish. Plus I just can't do dresses at all, I'm the wrong shape (big hips/stomach, small bust)

mumincov Sun 29-May-11 21:04:11

Has anyone tried lucyalice.co.uk? - they seem to do some really nice suits, but for some reason there are no size charts :/

MrsSchadenfreude Sun 29-May-11 21:22:22

I get my work suits from Windsmoor. Dull, but well cut and can be tarted up with good accessories. Also Chesca, which can be quite nice, but seems to have lost its way a bit at the moment. Both in John Lewis. Monsoon is a bit hit and miss, IMO. I do have some stuff from Ann Harvey, but find their over reliance on polyester a bit ick and the stuff can look very middle aged. If you're a size 18, I would avoid the plus size shops and go for "normal" shops. I hate the fact that plus size people have to have "special" shops, personally.

I usually go to New York for a long weekend every year or so and stock up there. Much better quality and choice, if you can do it. I have some nice stuff from Nine West and Jones New York from there, and a Ralph Lauren jacket which really should be chucked out, but I do love it.

mumincov Sun 29-May-11 22:45:36

Thanks for the recommendations - I'm off to have a look.

When I said size 18, I'm a size 18 in the specialist plus size places (usually). On the high street I'm more like a 20-22 because the hips and/or waists are cut a lot smaller. Plus trouser waists are a lot lower, top/jacket hems a lot shorter. I need high waist, lower hem. It's extremely difficult to get that outside of the plus size shops (unless you want to count Bon Marche!)

emsyj Sun 29-May-11 22:48:58

Windsmoor and Planet are the same company I think. Their cuts are really good and worth a look. Agree with MrsSchadenfreude that the styles are a bit dull, but they have lots of different shape jackets and their trousers actually have thigh space (very important - I have thunder thighs) and the waists sit at your waist, not halfway down your arse.

MrsSchadenfreude Sun 29-May-11 23:03:37

I'd also have a look at M & S - not their fat range, or Classic or Pruner, but some of the Limited Collection (I think it is called that?) or Autograph can be good for work. I got some good, well cut trousers there. You often have to try on a lot of stuff as the sizing varies wildly (as does the leg length), but you should be able to find something that works for you (even if it's just a pair of black trousers).

Do you really need to be in suits? I wear formal workwear, but not always a suit. M & S also good for longer length tops - I have some which just sort of skim over my gut stomach, without looking like Hattie Jacques. BHS can be worth a look occasionally too.

polyhymnia Sun 29-May-11 23:41:03

Just to say the same as otherrs have said - I'd really, really avoid the 'specialist' shops like Ann Harvey and Evans as much as possible and go for 'normal' ranges. That's what I do and I'm a 22. Other posters have all made good suggestions - In M and S, I'd particularly look at Autograph and Limited Collection.

Another suggestion is Boden. They go up to 22 and have a few work-wear pieces in their S/S range and also in the autumn preview, now online (see separate thread). In addition to these, they have qute a good range of plain/ plainish dresses, trousers, jackets, smart cardis, etc. Just avoid the 'funky' big prints!

Hobbs go up to 18 now - some of their stuff is very suitable for work - but I don't know if it will be cut right for you.

Jaeger also go up to an 18, which I know is generous.

Good hunting.

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