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Back to work after mat leave - want a new 'look', but what?

(27 Posts)
Lorelai Tue 12-Jul-11 07:42:15

Ok, so I am going back to work in Sept and I need pretty much a whole new wardrobe - the stuff I had last time is worn out/doesn't fit. I was planning to have lost loads of weight and be going back as a skinny minnie, but that hasn't happened either (yes, entirely my own fault, I like food too much). I have always thought that I dress quite well; flattering to my body shape (as much as it possible) etc, but recently I have been starting to realise that maybe I have been deluding myself, both in terms of what clothes look good on me and how big I actually am.

So, wise ladies of mumsnet, what should I be wearing? I am 5'6'', size 18-20 on top, 24 round the hips and bum. F-G cup breasts, tree trunk legs. My office is casual - jeans etc are fine but I try to be at least a little dressy - if wearing jeans then I would want a nice top rather than a t-shirt. The only dress code is that we can't be scruffy or offensive, but most people (particularly women) are also fairly 'trendy' - they can go out to a nice bar after work without looking out of place. My staple before I got pg was leggings, long jumpers and knitted Uggs. All I have in my wardrobe now that would be suitable is a knee length denim skirt from M&S, one long jumper (blue, cable knit, almost down to the knee), a couple of gypsy tops from New Look and my Uggs (which I love so please don't be too harsh about them!). I can spend a bit of money but not loads (budget probably around £300, but this will need to include some decent bras).

Any thoughts?

FauxFox Tue 12-Jul-11 11:11:27

flared denim maxi skirt £32
white dshirt £29
two tunics £25
cropped jeans
maxi dress in black £35
poncho cardi £30
floral tunic £28.99
add some vest tops, a cropped jacket, some jewellery/scarves/handbag/wedge heels (please ditch the horrid uggs!!)

Anything there take your fancy?

Lorelai Tue 12-Jul-11 11:16:56

Anyone got any ideas for me? I've been thinking about it this morning and would probably be happiest in (smart) jeans and tops, but the issue is:

What style jeans and do I get ones that are quite fitted around the thighs or slightly bigger ones (then they are usually too big around the waist)?

What kind of tops - reasonably fitted and just covering my tummy or longer and floatier/sack-like?

And most importantly - what shoes? I hate heels but can't wear trainers to work (and have wide size 8 feet) - what kind of shoes look good with jeans but are also smart and comfortable???

Help me pleeeeaase!

Lorelai Tue 12-Jul-11 11:23:13

oooh, x-posted, sorry - taking a look now, will get back to you

Lorelai Tue 12-Jul-11 11:32:14

Ok, I like the long skirt -what shoes could I wear with it? And should I be wearing a t-shirt or one of those long tunics? Previously I would always wear the t-shirt but now I am thinking that I should be wearing longer tops to kind of 'hang' over my hips rather than stopping just below my tummy.

Cropped jeans would be good for summer but it is really my winter wardrobe I need to plan for now.

I like the idea of the maxi dress but not sure how it would look - I have a very wobbly tummy and would probably feel self-conscious without something holding it in - would tights be ok under that? And again, what shoes?

The Inspire dress - would I wear that with leggings and ballet pumps?

As you can see, I have a bit of an issue with shoes - I don't really do heels, need to be able to walk a fair distance from the station to my office, and I also don't really like to buy too many pairs as I would rather spend the money on clothes - two or three pairs to cover all eventualities would be best.

Lorelai Tue 12-Jul-11 11:35:24

I've just found this - if I wore that with jeans then what style jeans and shoes would be good?

jenniec79 Tue 12-Jul-11 11:35:32

I have a fab pair of fitflops which dress up or down nicely with jeans/summery dresses.

There's a lot of pretty pumps about at the moment too (but I find them a bit too flat iyswim)

Lorelai Tue 12-Jul-11 11:43:30

Yes, I like the idea of fitflops, but can't really wear them to work, esp not in winter. I love pumps, but have issues with them due to a) wide feet b) they aren't always comfy for walking in c)can't wear socks so feet get smelly.

Ideally I need a pretty, flat, padded (for comfort), wide fitting shoe that I can wear with socks (if I am wearing jeans) or with tights (with a skirt), but I don't think such a thing exists sad

aStarInStrangeways Tue 12-Jul-11 11:56:14

Re. shoes, I hear Fly stuff is comfortable and hardwearing (never been able to afford any yet myself) - something like red flats might work, or these wedge sandals are pretty without being impractical, and have only a very slight elevation.

Lorelai Tue 12-Jul-11 12:00:02

Oh, those are gorgeous, but a little out of my price range I'm afraid!

aStarInStrangeways Tue 12-Jul-11 12:16:25

Clarks are surprisingly good for smart-but-wearable shoes as well. I know you don't like heels but I've had a couple of low-heeled pairs of shoes from there that I've been able to walk happily in all day, and I am pretty rubbish in heels usually.

Since you like Uggs, you could always invest in a nice pair of ankle boots - the right ones will work equally well with jeans and a skirt, and will cover the sock option also.

whoneedssleepanyway Tue 12-Jul-11 14:44:12

I know you say you are most comfortable in jeans but I would say for work dresses are your friend.

you only ever have to worry about one thing being clean, no matching tops and bottoms and you can dress them up or down for whatever occassion (e.g. if you have to smarter for a meeting or something).

my work is smart dress code no jeans so wear dresses and heels most of the time but we have dress down in July and Aug so am currently wearing my dresses with flat shoes to go more casual.

Lorelai Tue 12-Jul-11 15:57:31

I know what you are saying, but on any given day half the women (and all the men) in my office are in jeans, and only the sales team (who are expected to be smart) will be in dresses. I like the idea of long skirts - as a larger lady with big hips would people suggest bias cut or straight? There are a few nice ones here -any suggestions on which style? I am trying to re-educate myself as to what would look good on me rather than always getting the same stuff.

mittenkitten Tue 12-Jul-11 16:31:08

Have you had your colours done? If not, go for it. It is such a shot in the arm!

Lorelai Tue 12-Jul-11 16:54:21

I hadn't thought about that - how would I go about it? Is it expensive?

I really need advice about shapes/styles though as well as colours - is there anywhere that does that? Like Trinny and Susannah only not on tv? smile

TheMitfordsMaid Tue 12-Jul-11 17:01:02

I agree with the point about dresses. So much easier for work, and they and they can be dressed up or down. You did say you wanted a new look!

Gillybobs Tue 12-Jul-11 17:17:44

A personal shopping session at John Lewis or similar would be the answer I reckon, a chance to try on loads of styles and they will suggest outfits you hadnt thought of.

Even though its a casual office there are loads of more casual dresses which can be worn with flat sandals in summer then a cardi/tights and comfy boots in winter. Once youve got your head round it you will never go back to trying to match up skirts/tops, get shapes and colours that go together etc. I cant believe I struggled with separates for nearly 20 years before discovering how easy dresses are.

I think the key is to go for a more casual fabric. I like heavy jersey fabrics or knitted fabrics in winter. Its not all about the shift dress you know!

Lorelai Tue 12-Jul-11 17:25:05

Ok, so if I go with dresses then what sort of length? Maxi? Or is that too tent like? Mid calf is just wrong wrong wrong. Below the knee? How easy are they to find? Knee length with leggings? I wouldn't feel comfortable in anything shorter than that. And what kind of shoes in winter? Gillbobs - you mention comfy boots - what kind of thing do you mean - can I keep my Uggs? smile

Sorry for all the questions - I have basically lived in jeans for 20 years so it is hard to get out of the habit.

Gillybobs Tue 12-Jul-11 17:39:52

I personally find on the knee or just below the most wearable. I like this or this sort of thing, wear with bare legs in summer, tights when colder. I like knee high boots either flat or with a small heel, either brown or black depending on what dresses you get. I think M&S have a good selection here

I have to be honest, would never in a million years suggest Uggs for work. Fine for slobbing around but def not if you want to look even remotely smart/stylish. Sorry : (

mittenkitten Tue 12-Jul-11 17:41:41

For fall it looks like a big trend is skirts just below the knee with knee boots. So dresses that same length would let you do the same thing. The boots could be flat like riding boots. You can layer dresses with long sleeved Ts or even lightweight polo necks underneath when it gets colder too. Add a long necklace and people will be giving you the side-eye for "dressing up." grin

As to colour your choice is basically between House of Colour and Color Me Beautiful -- plus I think both do style sessions as well? (Not sure about this as I haven't had one. I do know other people on here have and really liked it.) I got colours only done recently for £100 including the swatchbook and wow -- has it made shopping easier!

Lorelai Tue 12-Jul-11 17:43:11

Ok, some ideas here - can you let me know what you think?

too busy?
ok with a cardi in winter?
Like it but not sure the shape would suit big hips
I don't like the shoulders but think this could be the right shape
Not sure this is long enough

Lorelai Tue 12-Jul-11 17:47:23


Knee boots aren't really an option - I have massive calves and even the boots in Evans (obv intended for larger women) are too small.

Gillybobs - I do like those dresses but I would look really out of place in my office - I work in marketing, in Soho, with lots of 20 year old single girl about town types, think boho chic rather than your typical 'office' attire.

Lorelai Tue 12-Jul-11 17:52:24

this might work
with leggings?

mittenkitten Tue 12-Jul-11 18:10:12

Like the first one. Second one -- meh, plus I think spaghetti straps over another layer for winter is so "Friends" season two. Third one, LOVE. Fourth one, agree with your reservations about the shoulders. Fifth one -- yeah, you would need to try it on to see the length.

I couldn't live without knee boots in winter -- I googled "extended calf" and found this but maybe other posters have better ideas?

mittenkitten Tue 12-Jul-11 18:12:11

Just saw the other two dresses you posted. Love the pattern on the second one. First one with the smocked bandeau top . . . NO WAY. If you have any boobage at all you will look as though you are advertising your services as a wet nurse. And I have said this about myself in a similar dress . . . .

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