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Top-to-toe, back-to-work overhaul recommendations needed...

(14 Posts)
Terraviva Sat 25-Jun-11 15:11:13

I have been out of 'proper' work for 2 & 1/2 years and am on the brink of starting back with a full time job in central London. I need a full image overhaul and would love to know what you'd recommend. Not even sure exactly what I'm asking for, I just feel very scruffy and know I need to update everything... Wardrobe, skin care, hair products, make up, beauty treatments... It all seems so overwhelming! Having lived on a very limited budget for a long time, all my 'beauty products' have been reduced down to the absolute minimum. My last hair cut was about 6 months ago.

I'm prepared to max out my overdraft to update my image, as I view it as an investment that I'll get back once I've started work... I want to walk into the office the first day feeling polished and confident. Right now though I walk into Boots, get dizzy, feel confused, become overwhelmed, start to panic and then bolt out the shop having bought nothing!! I keep meaning to book a hair appt somewhere but don't know what I want done.

Argh!! Am being ridiculous I know! This should be fun and exciting, but I just keep putting everything off. Any ideas on where I should start?

(I don't have children by the way, but have been TTC which is how I found MN. Figured there must be a wealth of advice on here from women who've returned to work after ML and so been in the same situation)

tak1ngchances Sat 25-Jun-11 15:41:43

TV congrats on your new job! So exciting.
I will try to help...what sort of office is it, and is there a dress code?

Regarding beauty, depending on how long your commute is you might not have heaps of time to get ready in the mornings. I find the following things a godsend:
- Eyebrow tinting & waxing/threading. Your face will always look "done" if your eyebrows are ok. Same goes for eyebrow tinting, just get them done at the same time.
- Keep your nails short and put a pale-coloured nail varnish on them. Essie ballet slipper is v good. You will always look like you have well-groomed hands but if it chips no-one will really know.
- Get a haircut before you go back and do a semi-permanent/glossing treatment to make sure it is smooth and easier to manage. My hair is shoulder-length. I wash it every other day and on the in between days I use Batiste dry shampoo. I just tip my head upside down and whack the Batiste in and it looks clean & volumised. A feckin miracle if you ask me.

For make up, I wear a bit of Estee Lauder double wear light foundation, Maybelline cream blusher, Benefit highlighter and a neutral pinky lipstick. I pop a bit of powder over the top and it all lasts all day.

I can generally get dressed and out the door in 30 mins which is not too bad.

Give us a few more details on the kind of place you're going to work and we can help with outfits.

Congrats again

TC x

Terraviva Sat 25-Jun-11 16:37:05

Ra!! I just wrote a long reply, hit 'post' and it vanished for some reason angry

Thank you so much TC! You understand exactly the type of info I'm after.

I hadn't thought about my brows but you're right, will definitely get them neatened up.

It's a very male-dominated industry. My role is a management position and is client-facing, so I have to look very smart. I also regularly visit building sites, so don't want to look too girly or sexy. The other women in the office tend to look very polished and dress like they're on The Apprentice, but very few of them are actually in a mangement position unfortunately. So, I want to look smart and attractive, but I also don't want to look like I'm trying too hard to impress with my 'feminine charms'... iyswim. It's a tough line to walk!

I tried on the suits in Next but the trouser suits didn't fit right and the skirt suits looked too 'sexy'. Think I need something with a bit more classic tailoring. Any ideas where?

That Baptiste hair product does indeed sound miraculous! Will get some.

tak1ngchances Sat 25-Jun-11 16:55:09

Reiss have some v lovely suits. They look poxacious on their website for some reason, but lovely in the store. What kind of size and shape are you?
Also Joseph is always a winner for tailoring, very classic.
However, you might think I'm being crazy here but I tend to find that women who wear trouser suits all the time look like they wish they were men.
I work with a lot of high-profile women who have to dress formally for their roles, and the ones who look best are the ones who are dressing as women (but not girls. I totally get what you mean about the girly thing.)
Would you consider a wrap dress? Or if that's too much, then a non-traditional suit jacket and trousers like this and these? I know they are $$$ but you could either see them as investment items or look for something similar elsewhere.
I also think you can't go wrong with good shoes and a very very nice bag. Then you'll always look smart and you'll feel more confident.

tak1ngchances Sat 25-Jun-11 16:55:58

PS I have often written long posts to have them disappear, tis very frustrating. But you persevered! smile

Terraviva Sat 25-Jun-11 17:23:06

I don't think you're crazy about women who wear trouser-suits thing... I know what you mean. It's important to mix it up and not be scared to look like a woman. (God men don't have ANY of these worries do they?! Shirt, tie, suit. Buy more expensive shirt, tie, suit the more money you earn...)

I'm about a size 12 -14 at the moment and 5'5"- quite nicely curvy but a big tummy and skinny hips. Pencil skirts really suit me. Nightmare finding trousers that fit round the waist without being massively baggy in the bum. I think I'm a fairly standard boob size (note to self- get bust measured as I've no idea what size I am!!) but I find it almost impossible to buy shirts that don't gape open across the chest flashing glimpses of my bra to whoever's sat next to me.

I like that LK suit! It's a little out of my price range right now, but I'd definitely invest in a suit like that after a couple of month's pay.

Over the past year of so I've put about 2 stone on, am 'normally' a size 10. Am hoping to loose weight once I get back into the swing of work so don't want spend a fortune on clothes until my weight's stabilised.

When I looked the other day shoes at the moment all seem to have sky-high heels!!! Do you know where does good flats?

Soups Sat 25-Jun-11 17:35:03

I'd certainly recommend getting your eyebrows threaded, it only takes 5 mins and makes such a difference.

I nearly got a Next suit last week for an interview, but the trousers just didn't hang right on me plus there were a bit shiny! In the end I got one from M&S tailoring section for around the same price. The material and cut is much nicer.

Panzee Sat 25-Jun-11 17:37:35

Try a Bravissimo shirt to avoid gaping. And get your boobs measured! A good bra is a godsend.

tak1ngchances Sat 25-Jun-11 17:55:42

Nice flats - I would go to LK Bennett or Russell & Bromley. Lots of people on here seem to be getting good ballet flats at TK Maxx (Bloch which are normally 100 + but are 30 quid or so in TK).
Also good is Blue Velvet on the King's Road, they have an online store too.

TimeForMeIsFree Sat 25-Jun-11 18:20:28

I can't help with the style side of things but I can point you in the direction of this excellent thread for bra sizing www.mumsnet.com/Talk/style_and_beauty/1240096-Can-anyone-who-understands-bra-fittings-come-and-tell-me-where-Im-going-wrong?msgid=26102998

Good luck in the new job smile

Mumelie Sat 25-Jun-11 18:52:10

Good luck with the new job. I'm in a similar situation, looking for interview suits!
Try Hobbs (sale on now) or what about Debenhams personal shopper - might just come uo with the look you are after at a low price (sale on there too). Agree that skirt suits look so much nicer, as do smart jersey dresses with the right jackets. Dont rate Next at all for suiting, but M&S actually quite ok, shoes wise as well.

lollipoppet Sat 25-Jun-11 19:05:00

You could try pepperberry (bravissimo clothing range for shirts that don't gape?
Do you think shift dresses with jackets is too sexy? I've seen them all wearing those in the apprentice!
Oh and I too would very much recommend the dry shampoo- absolute god send!

brookeslay Sat 25-Jun-11 19:11:22

here 40% off until Sunday very good quality excellent price.

MistyB Sat 25-Jun-11 19:43:18

Liz Earle for skin routine and have a makeover at Space NK for make up.

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