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Help! I need to look professional and I own no suits.

(60 Posts)
LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 15-Oct-13 19:16:59

Next Friday I am going to go into a room with a copy of my thesis and let two professors tear it apart while I gibber and shake. And then hopefully they're going to tell me I have not totally failed my PhD.

Customarily I believe people wear suits to do this. Or at least something very smart.

I hate trouser suits. I look an idiot in trousers.

I would love to find something that looked a bit 1940s/vintagy - something I would actually want to wear, as opposed to 'corporate uniform' style. Like, if Vivienne Westwood made skirt suits. Which she doesn't, AFAIK. It's allowed to be a bit quirky. At this stage, desperation and the large credit card I've just been sent mean you could probably push my budget quite a long way if you show me the pretties.

I am 5'4ish, size 12/14 with about D/DD bust and a bit of tummy. Dark hair and eyes.

Any help? I am counting on your awesome wisdom.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 16-Oct-13 12:13:59

Thank you!

And it isn't future reference - I am definitely still looking. So please, do keep coming with suggestions, I really need them.

And thanks very much. I am already started on my new project, which I think it's fair to say is inspired by MN, so that's what I'm doing in my free time! smile

MotherOfDragon Wed 16-Oct-13 17:13:24

There was a lot of suit wearing going on in the 40's but if you hate suits then I would suggest a tea dress which is any dress with a nipped in waist that flares out with toning tights and high Mary Jane courts or bare legs in summer. Smart and elegant and still appropriate for work without the need to wear a suit. Can be worn with a cropped cardy in winter. Patterned or plain with buttons down the front or not, long or short sleeved...all variations on a theme of fit and flare dresses.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 16-Oct-13 18:31:01

Oh, I don't hate suits - I just can't do trouser suits. Or trousers at all. I own two pairs of jeans but other than that I have not worn trousers for about five years and probably owned all of two pairs in this millenium. They really, really do not work on me.

I love tea dresses, but I would quite like a suit just to feel grown up, I think. I know it is more formal than I strictly need, but hopefully I can find something I will wear and keep.

tethersend Wed 16-Oct-13 19:27:23

Why not give Bicester a ring and find out if they have any VW skirt suits in?

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 16-Oct-13 19:31:04

Will do - didn't know if that was cheeky. I live nearby so not hard.

tethersend Wed 16-Oct-13 19:35:45

Ooh, that must be tempting!

Have rung the DVF shop a few times to see if they have any dresses I want in (they never do!)- can't hurt to give them a call.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 16-Oct-13 19:39:03

Thanks, that's really good to know. And yes, it is tempting! grin Mostly I go there to get Karen Millen stuff for 20 quid, but I have done a lot of window shopping too.

BOF Wed 16-Oct-13 19:39:42

Something like this?. Bit pricey, mind. They have a London store so you could go and have a look.

BOF Wed 16-Oct-13 19:44:12

I also really like this, which looks suit-ish and professional.

Reality Wed 16-Oct-13 19:49:37

No, no, from that site you need the LRD! Can't paste on my phone for some reason but search vintage for the Red figure hugging dress, it's called the LRD.

It's made for you.

Reality Wed 16-Oct-13 19:50:41

The first site BOF linked, I mean.

Reality Wed 16-Oct-13 20:04:45

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 16-Oct-13 20:14:18

Ohhhh. You lot are amazing.

BOF, I love that pinstripy dress.

I love the LRD too, but possibly not for the viva! grin

ShreddedHoops Wed 16-Oct-13 20:21:20

I had a similar situation recently - first interview in about ten years and am currently a SAHM!

I went for a dress (cheap-ish but I love it and will wear again) and a really good suit jacket that will be forever useful.

Maybe that's an option? Get a VW jacket you love from the website, then take it with you shopping and try on lots of lovely dresses. Maybe a bright shift, or a DVF type wrap or drapey thing, whatever floats your boat. I'd personally avoid floral prints - big flowers or 'ditsy prints' <shudder> as I think they look a bit chaotic, but most day dresses with a good jacket, opaques and good shoes (maybe Mary-Jane or a small chunky platform, or a basic court if you'll wear it again?) will be a better investment. Plus if you start sweating during your viva you can remove the jacket and be wearing a fab dress! Just a watch, or a statement necklace if a plain dress, and you'll rock it. Good luck wink

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 16-Oct-13 20:45:40

Oh, bollocks. Pinstripe dress is made to order in 2 weeks. Lesson to me to be organzied.

shredded - that's a great thought, I might very well do that.

And thanks for the good luck. smile

tethersend Wed 16-Oct-13 20:56:23

Oh, Fuck the budget.


Trills Wed 16-Oct-13 20:57:55

I didn't wear a suit.

I got the piece of paper that said "do some small writing stuff and show it to us and then we'll give you the better piece of paper that says you're allowed to graduate"

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 16-Oct-13 20:58:14

Erm ... DH's response was not repeatable! grin

(Gorgeous, though ... but that's about twice what I paid for my wedding dress!)

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 16-Oct-13 20:58:41

trills - I would like that piece of paper too! smile

tethersend Wed 16-Oct-13 21:00:50


Trills Wed 16-Oct-13 21:01:25

Have I recommended Dressipi to you?

Put in your measurements and it'll compare them to all the different brands' size guides and tell you what size you need (and give you advice about what shapes suit you, etc).

Almostfifty Wed 16-Oct-13 21:01:31 has some good businesses on it, that might just have a lovely, lovely dress.

tethersend Wed 16-Oct-13 21:03:10


Trills Wed 16-Oct-13 21:03:29

My viva was a bit shit actually, but it was only 3 hrs 20 minutes of shitness and then I got the bit of paper that I wanted and then I went and got really rather drunk.

LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 16-Oct-13 21:06:52

Not so keen on those, tethers - the cut on the Armani and the colour/fabric on the VW. Sorry, I am massively picky!

trills - you have no recommended, thank you! Sorry to hear yours was shit. I imagine they're never exactly relaxing fun. I am kind of using this to distract me a bit.

almost - thank you! Looks like my sort of site.

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