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How many items do I need to build a back to work wardrobe?

(15 Posts)
lizardqueenie Thu 11-Oct-12 20:08:05

Title sounds like I am buying & building something from ikea but in December I'll be returning to work PT, 3 days a week. Need to be smart but not suits so thinking dresses/ skirts/ cardigans/ blouse/ shirt.

I am very pear shaped so actually staying away from trousers and wearing skirts & dresses will be better.

I need to start from scratch really, i've got a few plain cardigans that would work well, but i really hate all my old work stuff and it all looks a bit old hat now anyway. How many items do I need and what is the best way to mix these around so I don't just wear (or look like i wear) the same outfits every week.

Grateful for any advice smile

Hopefully Thu 11-Oct-12 20:28:38

Skirts are slightly more versatile than dresses as they can change a lot with different tops, but a not-too-extrvagent dress could be altered a fair bit with accessories etc.

I would get:
- 1 dress (shift, wrap or whatever fairly classic style suits you - shift is good if it suits you because you can wear shirts and tops underneath or go bare armed with a blazer/cardigan)
- 1 skirt
- 5 tops (shirts/smart jersey tops)
- 2 cardigans (as different as possible, and preferably both going with the above tops)
- 1 blazer (if your work environment allows for it, otherwise a slightly different cardigan, maybe a more structured one)
- 1 pair nude/neutral low heels or other non-statement shoe
- 1 pair more interesting/dark shoes or boots, if appropriate (I would wear low heeled knee high boots to my last job, but some offices are more formal)
- tights
- some cheapo accessories that can change your look a fair bit - I would get 3 sets - one minimalist (simple bracelet, necklace, watch) one statement in a neutral that suits you and matches your clothes, and one bright coloured.

Mix and match to your heart's content!

lizardqueenie Thu 11-Oct-12 22:22:09

Thanks Hopefully thats really helpful.

Wrap suits me better than shift but if it the shift is cut right then its a good one, like you say for wearing things underneath as well as on top. Didnt think about putting a shirt under but thats a good idea.

Think a blazer would be a good buy, there might be occasions when i need to look smarter than usual so that would be good and I could probably use it to smarten up outfits on my at home days too.

I could probably wear long boots. Another good idea for A/W.

With the shoes, what kind of thing do you think it would be good to go for? Before I have had Mary Jayne style shoes, I think I bought a pair either from M&S or Clarks before but I actually hated in the end as I thought they looked a bit frumpy. Maybe I'll browse for a more up to date version of that style.

Also, and sorry to ask another question after you have been so helpful, do you have any examples of what you mean by the jewellery/ accessories? I think they really help to pull things together but not really sure what kind of things to go for. Dont want to spent a fortune but don't want to look like Pat Butcher either. Am sure there must be a happy medium! confused

Hopefully Fri 12-Oct-12 09:04:20

Out at the moment, but will link later. I tend to search Etsy or buy dirt cheap from New Look/Topshop etc.

Shoes wise, I think you can't go far wrong with plain courts. m&S do some fab ones at about £19 that look £££ and usually come in a few colours (think there is gold, plum, nude and black atm?)

notjustamummythankyou Fri 12-Oct-12 11:57:46


Also going back to work early next year!

Hopefully Fri 12-Oct-12 13:05:45

Linking one at a time as iPad has a tendency to reload page and lose my post if I click over to another site get the links, but anyway...

Bright/statement - this or this is quite statement, but would be good for adding brightness. Or this sort of thing if you need smaller accessories - depends what your style is. Just had a thought that a chic little neck scarf could be good too.

Hopefully Fri 12-Oct-12 13:11:23

I should probably point out that I always go for angular accessories, so there's hardly anything small scale or curvy here.

Neutral, maybe something like this or this, to liven up classic outfits/colour combos without being the main focus of the outfit.

Hopefully Fri 12-Oct-12 13:13:08

Oh, and these are the amazing M&S courts.

notjustamummythankyou Fri 12-Oct-12 13:33:31

Lovey stuff on the jewellery stop website, hopefully. Right up my street. I love this and this.

I had something similar years ago and was devastated when I dropped it and it smashed. I may have to purchayse . . .

lizardqueenie Fri 12-Oct-12 14:00:46

Hopefully you are an ANGEL! grin

thank you so so much! I really like those angular pieces, exactly the kind of thing i would admire on someone else but not pick out for myself.

I like the heels too! Will have to go in store & try them on, I am not great with high heels but, will be driving to work, short walk from car & then mainly sitting down all day so if that cant train my feet back into heels I don't know what will.

notjustamummythankyou (great name btw and so bloody true!) welcome aboard the back to work shopping express!How is your back to work wardrobe coming along?

issimma Fri 12-Oct-12 14:09:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

notjustamummythankyou Fri 12-Oct-12 14:26:38

Hi lizard. Why, thank you! Isn't it funny how your identity somehow morphs into simply being your children's keeper sometimes?! Well, I'm fighting back! grin.

Haven't got much for work yet, as I'm not due back until the end of February, although I do have a couple of bits I can just about get into, so hoping they will be fine come February.

I work in higher education, so can get away with a wardrobe that's a little less formal. I'm quite tall with longish legs and good shoulders but no waist to speak of, unfortunately. Anything remotely empire line or tunic-y makes me look about 4 months pregnant.

I quite like fairly wide-cut trousers with low scoop tops and fitted cardigans, perked up with a scarf or statement necklace. I'm yet to find a tunic dress I feel comfortable in, but I too like wrap dresses. I wore the Isabella Oliver ones all the time while pregnant, and have just bought this one in the sale from the non-maternity Baukjen range. Very flattering, and it will probably be my staple with boots in winter, with a black turtleneck underneath it when it gets really cold.

Other than that, am watching for inspiration!

(So, does this express have a buffet car then? Coffee and cake on me!)

lizardqueenie Fri 12-Oct-12 14:56:29

Issimma agree with you, i am quite looking forward to getting a bit dressed up and not having to slop around in jeans.

Yes definitely njamty (for short!) You just end up not ever knowing anyone adults names at playgroups etc, just lizardbaby's mum or whatever.

I do really like that wrap dress though, what are their sizes like?

And of course coffee and cake! Though i am trying to go easy on the cake these days. Being at home has done nothing for my figure!

notjustamummythankyou Fri 12-Oct-12 17:18:56

The Baukjen (previously known as Isabella Oliver) wrap dresses run a little large I think. I am somewhere between a 12 and 14 depending on cut and the shop, and I'm definitely a 12 with this dress.

It's free fitting around the hips and close fitting but flattering around the norkage area. The neckline isn't as low cut as some wrap dresses I've tried, and I can easily cover my breastfeeding-enhanced F cup. There's enough room for a camisole underneath if necessary but, as I say, the neckline isn't that low cut.

Oh, and there are pintucks which flare out from the ties so you can get flattering folds the waist.

Very happy with it.

And could just scoff a bit of carrot cake right now. OOOoooooo.

lizardqueenie Fri 12-Oct-12 18:09:43

Ah Lovely! Thanks for that. Not too much in the boob department here, adequate I would say but my (bra) cup does not runneth over. I might give some of their bits a try then, I can see they have got quite a lot of sale stock too but a lot of it does look like summer stuff though.

You've made me think of carrot cake now! Hmmmmm

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