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Return to work - new wardrobe needed!

(19 Posts)
WhoahThereCrazyHorse Tue 30-Jul-13 06:39:11

Have also posted in return to work ....

I need a whole new wardrobe for going back to work after my second maternity leave!! Have managed to lose some weight so none of my old clothes fit, and luckily I have managed to set aside some money.

So those of you that are smart and well-dressed for work (my office is smart-casual but I want to power dress a bit while I try and start to get my career back on track) - how many outfits do you have, what are your staples and where do you shop? I have always tended in the past to only have one pair of work shoes - how many do you have?

I'm in the office 4 days but one of these is dress down so need office wear for 3 days.


MelanieCheeks Tue 30-Jul-13 07:36:46

pinterest boards are great for ideas.

Start with a basic colour scheme.

ArabellaBeaumaris Tue 30-Jul-13 07:38:10

In a similar position! Have started pinning as I plan on creating a perfectly coordinated capsule wardrobe... hmm

LadyIsabellaWrotham Tue 30-Jul-13 07:40:13

Regards shoes, I have black, nude and grey heels at my desk and come into work in commuting shoes. It means the heels last forever, and presumably you've already got some shoes you could use for the commute. The problem lies with afterwork events, but presumably with a new baby you won't be doing much of that.

WhoahThereCrazyHorse Tue 30-Jul-13 09:25:56

I dream of a capsule wardrobe! My colour scheme has always been black and grey, really need to introduce some colour....

WhoahThereCrazyHorse Tue 30-Jul-13 09:30:24

Thanks Isabella, good tip on the shoes.

WhoahThereCrazyHorse Tue 30-Jul-13 09:52:39

Have just made my first purchases - pencil skirt (could be horrendous, have never been slim enough to wear one before) and a dress, both from Baukjen. Both black/grey. Grrrr!

LadyMilfordHaven Tue 30-Jul-13 09:54:35

Meh to capsule. What does that actually mean? IMO the hardest thing to get right is shoes. Start from there up

carrie74 Tue 30-Jul-13 10:07:22

My staples are dresses (Me&Em and Phase Eight good for these, especially as they both have good sales), cigarette pants (Banana Republic good), ballet slippers (again Banana Republic do good ones, but of course, they're everywhere), a good shirt (my favourite is Thomas Pink, and must be almost 10 years old, and only now starting to look like it may need replacing soon), silk shirts as well (Massimo Dutti good bet), and good quality cardies. I'm terrible with heels so generally don't wear them - ballet flats or good sandals in summer and boots in winter.

MelanieCheeks Tue 30-Jul-13 10:07:56

A capsule wardrobe is 10-12 pieces which work together to create 30+ different outfits.

My mother had a sort of anti-capsule wardrobe - each top only went with one other item. I still shudder at the memory.

vitaminC Tue 30-Jul-13 10:43:08

My last job was managerial-level in a corporate environment, but casual-smart was often enough, unless meeting customers or important visitors.

My capsule wardrobe consisted of:
1 fairly dressy grey suit
1 pair of straight black trousers
1 black pencil skirt
1 cream/charcoal patterned floaty skirt
4 knee-length dresses:
- one red/black/grey paisley skater-style,
- one grey/cream silk mao-collar shift,
- one grey silk/cotton mix wrap dress,
- one black wool shift
1 long red jacket
8-10 fairly dressy vest/cami/short-sleeved tops in various co-ordinating colours
5-6 long-sleeved t-shirts/roll-necks in winter

turquoise suede kitten heels
black patent stilettos
grey patent stilettos
cream patent slingbacks in summer
Black knee-high boots in winter

And of course accessories to dress up the various outfits differently - brightly-coloured scarves, necklaces etc.

All the outfits worked together with all the shoes.
I rarely wore the suit as a suit, but the jacket worked with all the dresses and skirts, and the trousers worked with all the tops.

I generally wore coloured outfits with neutral shoes/accessories or neutral outfits with coloured shoes/accessories. Oh and I drove to work and would change into my office shoes on arrival, like another poster suggested.

WhoahThereCrazyHorse Tue 30-Jul-13 11:13:42

Wowsers vitamin - can you shop for me please?! Accessories is one of the many bits I'm really crap at actually, not sure how I'll get on there. Where do you get your vest tops and cardis from please?

WhoahThereCrazyHorse Tue 30-Jul-13 11:16:48

Sorry, cardis question was to carrie

vitaminC Tue 30-Jul-13 15:55:41

Only the shoes were expensive, as I prefer to buy all-leather and take good care of them. I actually bought all this capsule in 2007 when I went back to work after DD3 started school, so I didn't have a huge budget. I broke the heel on the black shoes, but the other pairs are still like new, 6 years later smile

Most of the clothes were bought in the sales from mid- to high-end high street stores (Hobbs, LK Bennett in the UK, Caroll, Esprit and Sinequanone in France). I try to buy decent quality when it's cheap and then take good care of it to make sure it lasts.

Vests are the exception, as I have a few from H&M etc, as well as other high-street places. I always look for natural fibres and make sure the item is well-cut, so it doesn't twist up the first time it's washed, however.

Accessories I tend to pick up all over the place. Usually because I notice the colour (and it helps to know which colours suit you).

Cheap necklaces will quickly lose their silver or gold plating and make your neck go black or green. Invest in one plain solid silver or gold chain (or one of each if you wear both), in a length that suits you, and throw away the cheap metal chains. Then just choose the pendant to match your outfit each day, using the same chain for each!

LadyMilfordHaven Tue 30-Jul-13 17:14:16

But how dull. Capsule. Like youre stuck in a hotel in phong yang and your suitcase has gone missing. Why this straightened capsule thing?
Gah. Have fun. Mix and match . IMO creating this dreaded capsule causes more angst on threads than just "go and buy some clothes that go"

I don't have a 'capsule' as such, as I'll happily use things like a casual skirt and then whack a blazer with it etc. However, I'd say that my most useful items are:

black pencil skirt
black jersey dress
black cigarette trousers
black cropped jacket
black blazer
grey skirt
black and white tweedy skirt
black and white silk 50s-esque skirt
black silk t-shirt
black and white silk top
snakeprint chiffon shirt
white silk top
black heels
leopard pencil skirt
cowl necked tops

I realise that this is very black-centred, but I like black!

Wearytiger Tue 30-Jul-13 20:57:52

Facing the same dilemma myself so checking in for inspiration. OP I have booked a (free) session with the John Lewis personal shopper...

WhoahThereCrazyHorse Tue 30-Jul-13 22:30:51

Ooooh, interesting Wearytiger - not sure I'm brave enough for that, I'm so pear shaped that I always think they'll be horrified and pronounce me beyond help!!! When are you going, would you let me know what it's like?!

Wearytiger Tue 30-Jul-13 22:55:48

Yes will definitely let you know, hopefully next Tuesday!

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