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Can anyone find me a dress for a smart casual afternoon thing?

(45 Posts)
BlameItOnTheBogey Mon 06-May-13 00:29:29

Hi all,

I just started a new job and one of my colleagues is having an afternoon event next Sunday - drinks and some food outside. Lots of my new work colleagues (internal and external) will be there and it is my chance to really make an impression. I have to look smart for work and manage this well. But I am rubbish at casual and I suspect that for this event I need an outfit which is professional and smart casual. It needs to make me look like a competent and well put together person without being 'work' smart.

I don't even know where to start. Could prob spend up to 200 for the right thing. I think I am thinking dress - but open to any ideas.

I'd be really grateful for any help!

NotAQueef Thu 09-May-13 16:23:08

this is pretty
sensing a theme?

BranchingOut Thu 09-May-13 07:19:31

The only one that really stands out to me is the Reiss dress.

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Tue 07-May-13 20:41:54

Doesn't really show in the pic, but the first one is broderie anglaise.

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Tue 07-May-13 20:40:19

The Warehouse 'tile' dress and the splashy green Reiss one are lovely - if that 'natural' style suits you.
If you like a more tailored, 'classic but slightly girly' style, this is a really flattering, fitted shape (comes in navy as well but white shows the shape better in the picture). You could add a blazer/cardi/denim and flat sandals to make it more bbq-apt and less worky.
This sheath dress comes in a few colours as well.

That green Reiss one is gorgeous.

nilbyname Tue 07-May-13 19:33:14

like how this is styled, this is what I would go for. Unfussy, can accessorise the shit out of it will look great with heels, flats, converse

nilbyname Tue 07-May-13 19:28:52

this will look great with flatforms or swedish has-beens and a little leather or denim jacket

I have this and it is realy comfy and really great on I wear with wedges, little levis jacket and a navy raffia bag]]

this with a white linen shirt over, flatforms and a natural coloured bag...too casual?

Love this but you will probably think it's too casual. It is silk though and a bargain

Phase Eight dresses often come up long. It's viscose too, so may be a bit sweat-inducing. smile

Too worky or could it be okay with bright wedges and a cropped blazer or cardigan?

MrsLettuce Tue 07-May-13 07:46:15

this maybe

MrsLettuce Tue 07-May-13 07:43:37

sleeveless shirt dress? wanted to link to this before but I thought it'd be too short, should be just fine on you if your not so tall though.

THe phase8 dress is maybe still a bit weddingy and the print is very, erm, yesh, not sure it'd be appreciated outside the UK.

BlameItOnTheBogey Tue 07-May-13 00:01:01

Thanks Tapse. First is too casual and I'm afraid I don't like the second. i really want something that will make me look like the smart professional that I pretend to be - on work days at least....

BlameItOnTheBogey Mon 06-May-13 23:59:47

Does anyone have any views on this ? I'm not wowed by it at all. But I wonder if it isn't an inoffensive dress that does the job of making me look professionally in a relaxed way. And since my main goal is to get an outfit that I won't have to think about at all then would this work? Or is it crazy to buy something that I think is perfectly meh?

TapselteerieO Mon 06-May-13 23:58:45

Too casual?

Tunic dress

BlameItOnTheBogey Mon 06-May-13 23:30:23

Thanks for all the replies everyone and sorry for going awol. A crucial bit of info is that I am not in the UK and so time zones are different. This also means that I can't go in a browse in places but I can get super quick delivery from the UK.

So more info: I don't want a wedding look. I want to female equivalent to chinos and open neck shirt. I could go for trousers but that seems more complicated (more things to buy, more chance they won't fit) plus I am short and so trousers are difficult and I don't have time to get things taken up. Weather wise, I think I can be fairly confident that it will be sunny where we are so I in a nutshell, I am aiming for smart casual summer dress.

Of the dresses here none of them quite hit the mark. I don't want black. Or wedding. Or work. And masses of material will drown me as I am short and daily slim. I like the Zara dress best but it still isn't perfect.

I really really appreciate all the suggestions though; please keep them coming....


MrsLettuce Mon 06-May-13 18:42:07

Remus is right, as usual.

I think you need to ask other people what they are wearing. It would be easy to be far too dressed up and 'worky' looking or weddingy looking. How about some 7/8ths cigarette trousers, a silk top, sandals and a casual-ish blazer? The weather will make a big difference to what is okay too.

BranchingOut Mon 06-May-13 15:03:35

I would beware of looking too wedding like or formal. I think that we need to know a bit more about the host, the people attending and their age group before we can give you a steer.

AphraBehn Mon 06-May-13 14:11:38


AphraBehn Mon 06-May-13 14:11:09

Love that green Zara dress. Wear it with the Zara sandals linked on another thread!

Although if it were me, I would buy a few different things from a mid price range rather than one expensive item. That way you have a bit of choice if the weather is changeable. A pretty dress is lovely for a warm, sunny afternoon but you might feel a bit out if place if it's cool, cloudy and

StrangeGlue Mon 06-May-13 14:05:41

Do you definitely want a dress? I often see women who look really stylish but not too done (iyswim) wearing chinos/jeans with sandals, blazer and cami top.

Or is the vibe more 'wedding without hats'?

Allthingspretty Mon 06-May-13 14:00:58

noddyholder Mon 06-May-13 14:00:17

love this

Allthingspretty Mon 06-May-13 13:55:43

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