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Help me find a work style

(24 Posts)
Kittenunderbed Sat 22-Oct-11 13:59:22

I'm 28 and I've just been made deputy headteacher of a primary school. My previous school has always been relaxed clothes wise (ok I'm scruffy) and I was quite happy in pretty casual stuff. Having been there for a while no one noticed my dress anymore as I moved up in the school. The new place however is in a smarter area and there's certainly no jeans. The staff are older and dress smartly (head in a suit). I don't know HOW to pitch my style, most the women are late 40's/ early 50's and I can't see their style (think Hobbs dresses style or M&S classic/ per una) suiting me. It has to be suitable for working with kids/ flopping on the carpet plus 'me'. I normally like bright colours, layers, scarves, long skirts etc. I can't see myself being comfortable in anything too suit-like or dull. Plus I'd feel like I was trying to hard to dress older and might look a little silly (baby face!).

Help pleeeease with suggestions/ links. I never shop, just not into it, but I need to start somewhere. I have few suitable pieces to work with, mainly I have a cheap wardrobe with a lot of primark etc. Ideally I don't want to spend too much.

sassyTHEFIRST Sat 22-Oct-11 14:03:03

Leggings and tunic dresses are your friend. Can be smart enough while still being youngish and comfy. Or a primary teacher friend of mine wears only black trousers every single day with a selection of bright tops - easy.

Kittenunderbed Sat 22-Oct-11 14:03:24

Oh, I should probably mention:

5'9/ 5'10, long legs (so dresses can look WAY too short when they're not actually)
About size 10
Long dark hair, (very) white.
Not a fan of heels.

Kittenunderbed Sat 22-Oct-11 14:04:20

I was thinking this Sassy, but are tunic dresses right for being deputy?

I am cursed with black trousers. They never fit.

sassyTHEFIRST Sat 22-Oct-11 14:10:45

I wear them - am "just" a teacher but secondary so smarter than primary on the whole. On other days I do a Miss Moneypenny look but wouldn't work in your job.

Better to go for mid-thigh or longer but that would be fine, I'm sure.

this sort of thing is ideal I reckon, with a little cardi

Kittenunderbed Sat 22-Oct-11 14:13:50

I think you're on the right track, though I'd look still pregnant in that!

Secondary teacher level is about right. I've been happily in the primary world of yellow coats and purple tights!

Bonsoir Sat 22-Oct-11 14:19:08

Congratulations on your new job! And congratulations on realising that you need a new look that is commensurate with your new responsibilities and that that look is different to that of your older colleagues.

My DD's class teacher last year (first year of primary) was one of the most glamorous women I have ever known and living, walking proof that glamour and classroom style are reconcilable. She wore jeans a lot, but not blue jeans - slim fit (not skinny) white jeans or black jeans, with a soft blouse and a cardigan or soft jacket.

SootySweepandSue Sat 22-Oct-11 14:28:38

- Wide leg trousers in quality fabrics with nice thin belts
- Fitted tops
- a versatile blazer to instantly smarten when required
- maybe wrap dresses aka Dianne VF?

TethHearseEnd Sat 22-Oct-11 20:15:49

Congratulations smile

DO NOT wear leggings and tunics shock

What's your budget?

I would invest in a couple of tailored dresses with sleeves; avoid cardis as they soften a smart look and will age you.

Hobbs

Boden

LK Bennett

If you want a softer style, knitted dresses can work but choose carefully- something like this is perfect.

sassyTHEFIRST Sat 22-Oct-11 21:11:02

<humph> at tethers <tongue out emoticon>
When I said tunics, should have said dresses (above knee natch)

Gotta be practical - bonsoir's white jeans? shock - (a) not acceptable in Uk schools (b) PAINT!!!

And YY to keeping a blazer with you at all times ( I favour a velvet one) for instant smarts.

Am Sulking.

TethHearseEnd Sat 22-Oct-11 21:32:41

sassy, I'm sorry.

But I'm not.

I cannot bear tunics and leggings at the best of times, but for a deputy head when the head wears suits, the very thought makes me feel faint grin

Plus, the OP is quite young to have the position, so will need to go the extra mile with smartness.

Am with you on the white jeans, though wink

sassyTHEFIRST Sat 22-Oct-11 21:44:27

(semi)apology accepted, Tethers. smile

Just a thought - I don't know what age group the OP teaches (and she clearly has a teaching commitment from the OP), but if it is in Years R-2, she will need stuff what BENDS. So she can get down to kids' levels when they are sat at teeny-weeny chairs.Unlike the (beautiful, smart and lucious) dresses you've linked to. I could wear those in my job (sec English teacher)- but for me, it just doesn't make sense to invest that amount of cash when you work in a school. They are grubby places - chewing gum, cheap plastic chairs which rip clothyes - oh and whiteboard markers. I save my ££ clothes for play and shop at Matalan for work.

(LOVE those frocks though- much nicer than dress and leggings)

TethHearseEnd Sat 22-Oct-11 21:52:13

Fair point.

You see, this is why I teach secondary grin

TethHearseEnd Sat 22-Oct-11 21:54:03

Those knitted dresses with riding boots would work though...

sproooOOoogger Sun 23-Oct-11 10:52:35

How about slim-fitting trousers with blouses and waistcoasts, or jackets or cardigans? (I disagree cardigans are instantly ageing. I think that really depends on the cardi and the wearer.)

Banana Republic and Gap have a good range of trousers in different cuts (and lengths!) and practical colours for very reasonable prices. (I can testify they are very hardwearing and wash well - even the wool blend trousers haven't reacted badly to being washed and tumble dried.)

OP, like you I am tall and I've had the experience of being promoted young and into and older peer group. In my case it happened immediately after I'd had a baby, so I had very little time to shop & care for clothes! I found smart trousers great for giving me freedom of movement, and they were easy to dress up with elegant tops. Also, how comfortable are you in heels? I used to swap between comfy low flats for commuting (which would be great for you in the classroom) to heels for when I needed to feel authoritative.

MaggieMcS Sun 23-Oct-11 13:49:38

Hi. I went through exact same issue as teacher also! You need to stay true to your style but stay practical. I had a terrible Hobbs/ PVA glue related incident once sobs. I think loose is better for daily activities in the classroom but stay with your bold prints if you like. I have this dress which does the job nicely. I team with knitted tights and quilted ballet pumps and it looks top and allows me to move freely.

www.zara.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product/uk/en/zara-W2011/122017/488028/PRINTED%2BDRESS%2BWITH%2BFRINGES

Alternatively, if you need to go for a more professional look then a peplum dress is fab as it is smart but still has a bit of kooky detail with the skirt fringing. This brown dotty one is on my christmas list!

www.rockmyvintage.co.uk/fever-dotty-peplum-dress.htm

Lots of luck - and remember it is you not your clothes that have got you the job!

ninah Sun 23-Oct-11 14:08:51

I like the practicality of dark trousers (get mine from TkMaxx and ebay) and white shirts. Boring but practical. Primary school tables are a height which rips tights mid thigh on me (5'8). From looking around in the staffroom I'd say it is fairly common to express individuality in the matter of shoes..... I think smart haircut and overall presentation (no crumples) are more important than the clothes per se (unless obviously outlandish) ...

Kittenunderbed Sun 23-Oct-11 19:10:26

ninah, haircut? Oh dear. I have long (wild) hair. I pretend it's a look! To be fair it's not scraggy, thick and elbow length and generally out in waves.

Tethers I like the LK Bennett dress-I got this in black and red. What do you think? Thought it could be smartened with jackets and accessories etc. A good base? On it doesn't look so girly as in the picture and comes up a little longer, the model must be tall. Gives me a great figure! Plus cheap enough to get stuff on! Thought with very thick tights or leggings and boots?

I'm not a huge trouser fan, though they are practical. I'm hip-less and they tend to flash when I bend. I seem to be the wrong shape for 90% of shops. Also my weight yo-yos a bit and even I get the perfect fit it soon isn't. Dresses and skirts forgive fluctuations more (I have ranged from a size 14 to 8 this year).

Maggie-I love the dotty dress but I'm way to lazy with armpit shaving (I have a 16 month old so it's a rush to get ready).

I'm not that flush with cash, plus as I said my weight isn't stable so I don't want to spend much.

ninah Sun 23-Oct-11 20:35:41

smart hair, then smile
sounds like you have a good style already
you can layer the primark long sleeve tops under sleeveless work dresses, might be a good way of keeping it colourful

ninah Sun 23-Oct-11 20:36:27

and cuts out the armpit issue

TethHearseEnd Sun 23-Oct-11 21:34:33

I can't get your link to work, kitten; what's it called?

Kittenunderbed Tue 25-Oct-11 14:57:15

Tethes it's a Tesco dress. Does this work? Dress in main pic at the top and in first row on right. Red and black go tit in.

Kittenunderbed Tue 25-Oct-11 14:58:52

'got it in', quite a different meaning to 'go tit in'...

darkness Tue 25-Oct-11 15:16:59

I appreciate the challenge here as I'm a similar height and work in a similar environment
some comfy but flat or really low boots are a really good investment - ? london fly have some that might suit
and waistcoats thrown over cheaper blouses / long sleeved t's are frighteningly smart and stop the bra showing - and dont have the resrictions of a jacket - might not be fashionable at the mo - but can be very stylish..and worth buying second hand
but i do think the black trousers are a bit of a "must" and just because you dont have any that suit you yet dosnt mean they're not out there - you just need to widen the shops you have tried - they all make different fits - good luck

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