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Capsule workwear wardrobe

(36 Posts)
LoopyLoopsPussInBoots Mon 17-Oct-11 11:19:15

Could you help me please? I am torn between two (very different) jobs, and will need new clothes for either (babies since working). I know I should wait until I've made my decision but am getting carried away...

I am now a size 12, 5'6". Naturally a 10, so might go back down. Fairly wide hips.
I don't like anything above the knee, and like to wear heels (have lots, no more needed). Both jobs are teaching, so nothing revealing or tricky to wear.

Job 1 - in a hot, Muslim country. Air con inside

Job 2 - UK, more senior role (so smarter)

Any thoughts? smile

LoopyLoopsPussInBoots Mon 17-Oct-11 11:19:44

Oh, £500 budget.

blackcurrants Fri 21-Oct-11 13:06:00

I should preface this post with: I am not chic really, I have a particular style (DH calls it 'sexy librarian chic'... bless him but I tend to play it safe and perhaps sometimes wobbly towards frumpitude. That said, I have a friend-of-a-friend who's a real-to-damnit personal stylist and at a dinner party we grilled her about capsule wardrobes, and I took her advice pretty verbatim. That said, my (post-baby, new body) work capsule wardrobe goes like this:

(1) pair smart trousers
(2) pencil skirt to the knee
(2) A line skirt to the knee

These are all in black or charcoal grey, (I am a Bright Winter and tend to pair bright strong colours with black or dark grey/navy) THEN in bright colours/ more cheap and cheerful or possibly just a bit trendier:

(3) lots of cardigans and jersey tops, worn as twinset-style really - and -
(4) 2-3 well fitting button-down shirts (I have some from Pink in the sale and some from Bravissimo/pepperbery, cos I'm quite hard to fit, due to being INCREDIBLY well endowed. And not a bit chubby. Honest.)

I also have a couple of blazers which I sometimes pair with with a fitted shirt and pencil skirt if I need to look more formal than usual, and I have a couple of jersey dresses which I wear with (relatively staid)knee-high boots in the cooler months. In the summer I swap in brighter colours and flippier, cheapier printed skirts, and I have lots of bangles, scarves and jewelry, just having accumulated them over the years. Shoes-wise I have a couple of pairs of 'court shoes' (pumps) and some mary-janes as well as the boots.

If you're in a hot muslim country would you be able to wear a Shalwar Kameez? I wore them when teacing in North India and find them the perfect combination of glam and comfy for hot/aircon situations. Failing that, I love these cotton cardis
I have no idea what you can get for 500 quid cos I havent been shopping in England for ages, but spend the money on tailored items IMHO (the trousers, the pencil skirt) and get some reasonably good cardigans, and shoes, then cheap it out on tops and accessories.

blackcurrants Fri 21-Oct-11 13:08:50

(ps I'm a teacher too. It is a bit of a chore getting the right level of cleavage coverage and things on-the-knee and not shorter, isn't it? I like trousers for roaming the classroom but right now am having a bit of a love-affair with skirts, I think they make me a bit less dumpy.

Jymjamjen Fri 21-Oct-11 22:05:01

I'm with blackcurrants. Good tailore trousers/skirts are where to start. I like layers as I tend to get hot quickly so I choose vest tops under carrdigans. I have a wide selection of light and medium weight cardies, some short sleeved and other long. Tend to buy cheap vest tops and cardies from H&M and New Look. Normally buy the same style in multiple colours.

TethHearseEnd Fri 21-Oct-11 22:43:14

Ooooh, Loopy, are you still not sure which one to go for?

Even I'm stressed out by it grin

if you go for the HoF, I would invest in some smart suit/dresses.



This with blouse underneath


TethHearseEnd Fri 21-Oct-11 22:44:08

Actually I REALLY want that pinstripe dress now...

LoopyLoopsPussInBoots Fri 21-Oct-11 22:49:17

I've taken the HoF!

Thank you all, some great advice. (Was wondering where you were Tethers, thanks for your advice on both threads!

That pinstripe dress is beautiful, but FAR too expensive. I can't spend that amount on one item, I'd never have clean clothes!

TethHearseEnd Fri 21-Oct-11 22:57:14

Hooray! Congratulations smile

I'd sponge that pinstripe dress down every day if I had to grin

Shift dresses and blazers I reckon, although it really depends on your school...

LoopyLoopsPussInBoots Fri 21-Oct-11 23:01:14

Seems that all the teachers are quite smart, more so than my last school.

Any idea what shop might be good for mid-range stuff?

You've got me looking at Hobbs stuff on Ebay now...

TethHearseEnd Fri 21-Oct-11 23:05:54

Hobbs very good, Jaeger sale...

Asos have some good stuff; Cos, Uniqlo, French Connection.

Debehams is surprisingly good for suiting.

LoopyLoopsPussInBoots Fri 21-Oct-11 23:15:17

Thank you. smile

How about stuff that might be worth searching for used on Ebay?

TethHearseEnd Fri 21-Oct-11 23:20:22

Definitely Hobbs and Jaeger

Isabella Oliver. LK Bennett.

Oooh, almost forgot Tesco. Tesco has some amazingly good stuff from time to time.

LoopyLoopsPussInBoots Fri 21-Oct-11 23:22:31

Tesco on Ebay?!! grin

TethHearseEnd Fri 21-Oct-11 23:25:42


Times are hard, lots of cutbacks wink

LoopyLoopsPussInBoots Fri 21-Oct-11 23:44:39

Oh God.

I've only just realised.

I quite like Boden. blush

TethHearseEnd Fri 21-Oct-11 23:45:23

<leaves thread>

<slams door>


LoopyLoopsPussInBoots Fri 21-Oct-11 23:52:57

Just a couple of wrap dresses, keep your (probably very tasteful and expensive) knickers on!

TethHearseEnd Fri 21-Oct-11 23:54:41

Wrap dresses?


TethHearseEnd Fri 21-Oct-11 23:54:56

<Tesco knickers BTW>

LoopyLoopsPussInBoots Sat 22-Oct-11 00:03:17

Oh no. Is that wrong? Are wrap dresses a sin?

TethHearseEnd Sat 22-Oct-11 00:05:54

No, no, don't listen to me. I'm just grumpy because I'm ten weeks pg and already can't fit into my normal clothes or that pinstripe dress.

I even own a wrap dress somewhere grin

LoopyLoopsPussInBoots Sat 22-Oct-11 00:12:00

Oooh congratulations! Wow!

TethHearseEnd Sat 22-Oct-11 00:12:41

Aw, thanks smile

LoopyLoopsPussInBoots Sat 22-Oct-11 00:14:57

I have a challenge for you. £500 and you find me the lot. I do nothing. Does that sound like a fair trade-off?

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