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Work clothes - how do you organise your working wardrobe and how much do you spend?

(23 Posts)
Movingtimes Sun 28-Apr-13 18:21:54

Do you have a separate work set of clothes and if so what does it consist of and how often do you update it?
I've been trying to sort out my work wardrobe this weekend in preparation for starting a new job. I work in a fairly formal environment and mostly tend to wear dresses with cardigans or jackets and at the moment I have about six to eight workable outfits. I usually add two or three new dresses in the January sales and retire older stuff. Would be interested to know if this is average or whether most people buy wildly more or less.

Trill Sun 28-Apr-13 18:23:07


That sounds very, er, organised.

I work in a casual-ish office, I do find my work clothes and home clothes tend to overlap a bit.

trinity0097 Sun 28-Apr-13 18:33:35

Apart from my dresses I wear to work much of my wardrobe overlaps. I have a few plain coloured v neck jumpers that do equally for work and with jeans at home.

I throw out every once in a while or ally, but recently had to get rid of everything in my wardrobe as I lost weight and nothing fitted!

Movingtimes Sun 28-Apr-13 18:38:20

When I say organise, I mean make sure I have five clean outfits for the week ahead. Then I worry that I should have a slightly different five outfits the following week so people don't think that I wear the same things every week. Possibly overthinking a bit perhaps?

MrsPresley Sun 28-Apr-13 18:39:09

Apart from a couple of pairs of black trousers, what I wear to work is what I wear at home, usually jeans and tops/t-shirts.

I have a couple of tops that I wouldn't wear to work but that's because I think the necklines are a bit too low and the trousers I wouldn't wear at home because I tend to live in jeans.

Drywhiteplease Sun 28-Apr-13 18:39:40

Quite smart/casual, no suits at my work. I have " work" bottoms that I wouldn't be seen dead in out of work, decent quality that last , the rest over work look is similar to home just without the jeans.

mrspaddy Sun 28-Apr-13 18:39:41

ah well done trinity.. nice problem to have wink

My work wardrobe is very boring but I do try to separate it from home. It is really a uniform I have for myself. Five pairs of tailored trousers, several work shirts, some scarves, long cardigans in various colours.

Skirts are not practical for me though lot of the girls wear opaque tights and floral dresses/bird prints etc. with cardi though a blazer could make it more formal. They look really well -and less regimented than me-

dashoflime Sun 28-Apr-13 18:47:18

I've just gone back to work after maternity leave and I am fat a different shape to when I was last at work.

I have three dresses
one Cardigan
one pair of trousers
one smart top
two pairs of tights
one pair of shoes

it's a bit sparce. I'm hoping to buy some more when I get my first pay.
It is seperate to out of work wear (except for one of the dresses which I sometimes dress up for parties).

It gets put in the wash as soon as I get in from work and (because I follow the advice on mumsnet!) laid out ready to wear the night before

higgle Sun 28-Apr-13 18:48:37

I run a care service. Most of my team are in uniform and I feel I should dress one notch up to the admin staff so that I look smartish but approachable. As we are a charity I also feel I should look not too formal. I have a number of dresses that start out life as "best" for lunches out and theatre etc. that end transfer over to my work wardrobe. A couple of tweed skirts, incl a boden kilt. Also just 2 pairs of trousers - wool but not standard black work trousers, one pair tweeedy and one pair dark brown. I team these up with cardis and boiled wool jackets, a cord jacket and a linen blazer in the summer. I work on the basis of having about six week in week out dresses/outfits and then some separates to mix in with them. I wear boots in the winter, clarks shoes and heels for meetings ( Duo) when the weather is warmer.

Some of my stuff is full price new, most of it I get in sales and some of it is from ebay.

Trill Sun 28-Apr-13 18:51:09

I do very often get my clothes out the night before, and make sure I can find the correct tights etc smile

KatyS36 Sun 28-Apr-13 19:21:10

I think I am similar to you op. I work at a senior grade and try to dress in a manor that is professional but approachable - no scary suits, lots of nice separates. I know I look young for my age, so this helps me in formal environments.

I know it is a career help - it has been noted at top level that OK can be sent off to media stuff and look the part.

Much as I love dd, work is the only place I get to wear smart stuff, so I make the most of it and don't mind investing in (mainly sale) stuff.


Movingtimes Sun 28-Apr-13 20:19:52

I wish I looked young for my age, Katy! But I am a role model of sorts at work (secondary teacher) and it is important to me that pupils see me looking smart and professional - although the full on suit is reserved for interviews and Ofsted inspections.

paintyourbox Sun 28-Apr-13 20:37:04

I have a totally separate work wardrobe, we are expected to be in professional dress everyday so I have:

One skirt and waistcoat suit
Two shift dresses with matching suit jackets
One wide legged pair of wool trousers
One white wrap blouse
Two wrap dresses

Shoes must be black and no more than 2 inch heel. I'd love to have more freedom in what I can wear at work. I love colour in my non-work wardrobe.

I do organise my outfits the night before, tights, belt, shoes etc mainly because it saves time in the morning!

cafecito Sun 28-Apr-13 20:59:31

I have a completely separate wardrobe. an actual separate physical wardrobe. shock and I have far too many 'work' clothes. But I had them all intermingled with casual clothes and it was mayhem. I find it's much better to keep them separate, if I use a cardigan or whatever it's fine, but it makes everything clearer in my brain of an early morning start, and keeps it neater rather than shoving it with casual dresses, jeans and an inordinate volume of jersey

cafecito Sun 28-Apr-13 21:03:49

I have a shirt obsession, I have a pencil skirt that is well fitting and a couple of pairs of long trousers and a couple pairs of cropped smart trousers, and some smart dresses that fit. Most of my clothes are the wrong size, so I have about 8 pencil skirts that are too small and a huge number of dresses that are too small, and some lovely trousers. I like navy, charcoal and black, and have mainly blue shirts probably with some white and pink and black and navy too. I also have silk tops, and smart jersey fabric tops, and little cardigans in different colours. I also like the knitted tank tops that can go over shirts, and elbow/short sleeve sleeve jumpers on their own. I figure, I spend most of my life in these clothes professionally (I used to work full time in an office, so that's 5 days out of 7 ... and now I need smart clothes in a different setting) so I don't feel bad about having nice things for that. I have separate shoes and bags too which rarely get mixed with my other things

cafecito Sun 28-Apr-13 21:06:03

I think it sounds like you have a nice capsule wardrobe idea going on OP, dress in what suits you and looks right and smart enough. I love jackets or cardigans with smarter dresses. sounds good.

Movingtimes Sun 28-Apr-13 21:15:25

I find separates really difficult, am hourglass and blouses tend to gape so the dress solution works for me. Also it's only one thing to think about and if you have plain navy or black you can change accessories and make them look a bit different. Summer is a bit of a trial though as open toed shoes and bare legs are not on.

cafecito Sun 28-Apr-13 22:14:02

how about some smart plain jersey tops? I just got some from banana republic, they were £10 each I got 1 navy and 1 light blue (think they were reduced) but lovely silky jersey, looks very smart and no gaping.
In summer I like dresses or cropped trousers vaguely ankle length black with a smarter top and something like ballet pumps. you can make summer clothes look really smart.
well done on new job smile !

blueshoes Sun 28-Apr-13 22:30:35

I am quite similar to OP. I work in a formal environment (solicitor) as well but do not have to wear suits, though I own one if the occasion requires.

I wear almost exclusively dresses with skinny cardigans. The predominant colour is black but I have dresses in navy, red, brown, grey and blue print, which I accessorise with pearls, neck pieces or scarves. The dresses are mostly fitted in good quality fabric and I wear them with high heels. I must have about 8 winter outfits and 8 summer outfits. I keep my heels at work and so they are exclusively work shoes, as the heels are too high to commute in!

One of my few pleasures is dressing up for work, so spend relatively more per dress, but try to buy only in sales and if I absolutely love the dress. My dresses last me ages.

KatyS36 Mon 29-Apr-13 18:32:19

Moving smartly - should have maybe been clearer its dressing smartly because I look young that helps. Looking young itself is actually a bit of s professional hindrance, as on first impressions folk think I have less experience than I have.

Lovely in other ways though - luckily good genes on the aging front (not on the thigh front though :-) )


higgle Tue 30-Apr-13 11:52:25

blueshoes - I enjoy getting dressed for work too. I used to be a solicitor and the week in week out of dark suits for court ( I did advocacy) was very tedious. Now I can wear more of what I want and vintage pieces that go backwrds and forwards between office and out of work wardrobes are my favourites.

tomatoplantproject Tue 30-Apr-13 12:28:06

Totally separate from my home stuff - I work in a formal office and my uniform is dresses from mostly Hobbs and whistles. I keep heels under my desk so always look smart, and generally wear a cardie on top but keep a couple of smart jackets in the cupboard in case I have meetings/interviews where I need to be smart. I do a big dry clean run every now and again. Am currently on maternity leave and realised how space my home wardrobe was in comparison!

PasswordProtected Tue 30-Apr-13 13:05:15

I wear suits to work. Mostly trouser suits, some trouser suits also have a matching skirt. Colours are fairly "conservative", navy, grey, black. In winter I usually wear a cashmere polo neck and in summer a t-shirt or top, colours vary between grey, navy, white, beige, blue etc.
My "play" clothes are generally cords and jumpers or cotton/silk tops and in summer linen cropped trousers.
I do have a couple of dresses and sometimes wear them to work, but I prefer trousers.
It is all fairly capsule, so most things go with most others. I hate, hate, hate having to decide what to wear, so generally stick to a "uniform" that is both smart and practical. I do generally wear jewellery to work as it breaks up the monotony of an outfit.
What do I spend? Whatever it costs for good quality, cut and fit. In the past I have had suits made.
Recently spent around €600 on casual stuff and a couple of pairs of suede ballet pump style shoes.

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