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Help please! New job and I need to be way smarter than in current role, no idea where to start??

(30 Posts)
Used2bthin Wed 05-Feb-14 10:24:36

I don't even know what is normal to wear and have a meeting next week (London ) at headquarters, will be in a semi management role. Currently I work with children so wear skinny jeans, blouse, cardigan or jumper with long vest under. Which I don't think will cut it!

I have a couple of pencil skirts, some thick jersey tube skirts, nice button back jumper and a black jersey dress or a navy flowery one but neither is quite right I don't think. Also have grey trousers but they show their age as they are slightly boot cut. Quite a few blouses and cardigans. Footwear I am probably ok for as I have black ankle boots x two and ballet pumps (don't usually wear heels)

I can go shopping but where to start? Blazer maybe to go over the jumper and pencil skirt? I am wary of looking overly formal in case it looks too try hard!

Used2bthin Wed 05-Feb-14 11:18:39

Bump! So far looking at boden ponte skirt but no joy on blazers, do people wear blazers and skirts which aren't part of a suit iyswim? Maybe that would make sure i don't look too formal?

Stokey Wed 05-Feb-14 12:23:10

You can get skinny trousers in black or grey which will be like skinny jeans and you can wear them with your blouses and jumpers/cardigans.

I agree about looking too formal - not many women in my office (city) wear suit jackets or suits, although some wear blazers in teh summer instead of coats. In fact i bought a lovely Reiss suit last year before going back to work and have worn it twice just for conferences - would have been better buying another dress.

Dresses are a great way to look smart as well as skirts. I have quite a few knee-length and above skirts that i wear with a blouse and jumper or long-sleeved top.

Zara and Mango have some good work stuff as do Reiss and Banana republic at a higher price point. Check out their websites for ideas.

Drquin Wed 05-Feb-14 12:43:44

Is it a one-off meeting, or an interview with the aim of working there?

If it's a one-off, then you could probably match one of the blouses with the pencil skirt, maybe with heels? You'd get away with a coat (given the weather) and not worry about a blazer / suit jacket.

Or jacket over the black dress, with jewellery / scarf?

If you can spend money, and particular if it's a long-term thing, have a look in a magazine for your age / style / outlook and skim the fashion pages for ideas of things to buy - even just a couple of things would update you, and they don't have to be stupidly expensive.

Used2bthin Wed 05-Feb-14 16:00:59

It's a one off/occasional thing but I will be meeting the senior management for the first time and need to make a good impression whilst not standing out too much I think.

I like the idea of a dress with blazer though don't think any of my dresses would work with one so would need to buy both. A blazer I am willing to spend a bit on as I think I would wear it a lot but am also thinking you could be right that I could avoid buying blazer for now by wearing a blouse with pencil skirt. But only thing is my blouses are all short sleeved, any nice long sleeved ones around that you think could work? What footwear would work with a pencil skirt do you think?

Thanks for ideas will check out Zara, reiss and mango too.

Deathwatchbeetle Wed 05-Feb-14 21:51:55

Well I am no help. I went out today meaning to try to find a work wear jacket in a 20 or 22. Not many sensible jackets around. Mainly bikers or gilets. I gave up. It would be nice (if hell freezes over, pink elephants start flying) when i get an interview or (gosh!) a job, that I am actually able to wear something smart (though I really don't want to work where I have to be suited and booted all day).

dizhin79 Thu 06-Feb-14 01:06:38

is there anyway to find out the dress code for the senior management team? I would aim to wear what they will be wearing esp as it's a one off to occasional meeting.

KeatsiePie Thu 06-Feb-14 02:16:20

My perspective may not be great as I'm American, so there might be subtle differences re: how formal the industry is, etc. But I love to talk about work clothes and I'm waiting on the oven timer grin so:

Unless it is banking or a corporate law firm (in which case, full suit), I would suggest a sheath/fitted dress with a short or very long jacket, one black and the other a deep or neutral color (charcoal, merlot, navy, oatmeal, gray, or black & white stripes or pattern). Alternately, pencil-leg black suit pants, an elegant blouse in stripes or neutral or deep color, and a short textured or patterned (just not plain black) suit jacket.

E.g., pants style is easy, this kind of thing - www.express.com/clothing/studio+stretch+slim+leg+columnist+pant/pro/7247339/cat320072

Dress styles - https://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/suiting/dresses/PRDOVR~07450/07450.jsp or bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=1005910&vid=1&pid=932986002 or www.whitehouseblackmarket.com/store/browse/product.jsp?maxRec=62&pageId=1&productId=570101831&viewAll=true&prd=Stripe+Instantly+Slimming+Dress&subCatId=&color=&fromSearch=&inSeam=&posId=3&catId=cat210002&cat=Dresses++Skirts&onSale=&colorFamily=&maxPg=1&size= or bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=1005910&vid=1&pid=633071002# or www.anntaylor.com/graphic-sweater-dress/320115?colorExplode=false&skuId=15568557&catid=cata000012&productPageType=fullPriceProducts&defaultColor=1605

Jacket styles - bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=87056&vid=1&pid=932547002 or bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=87056&vid=1&pid=949996002 or www.anntaylor.com/graphic-jacquard-topper/324956?colorExplode=false&skuId=15360175&catid=cata000017&productPageType=fullPriceProducts&defaultColor=6600 or maybe www.whitehouseblackmarket.com/store/browse/product.jsp?maxRec=9&pageId=1&productId=570103507&viewAll=&prd=Tweed+Jacket&subCatId=cat7259300&color=&fromSearch=&inSeam=&posId=8&catId=cat6219285&cat=WorkKit+Jackets&onSale=&colorFamily=&maxPg=1&size=

Blouse styles are harder I think; I feel like it's really hard to pick a blouse for someone else. But I would stay away from button-downs as I think it looks dated with a blazer; instead I would go for something interesting but dressy enough a la - www.anntaylor.com/micro-stripe-wrap-top/308928?colorExplode=false&skuId=15304490&catid=cata000010&productPageType=fullPriceProducts&defaultColor=1878 or www.anntaylor.com/sheer-yoke-pleat-front-shell/323353?colorExplode=false&skuId=15198587&catid=cata000010&productPageType=fullPriceProducts&defaultColor=1498 or www.anntaylor.com/lace-panel-short-sleeve-top/320580?colorExplode=false&skuId=15424518&catid=cata000010&productPageType=fullPriceProducts&defaultColor=1878 or even www.anntaylor.com/striped-chiffon-sleeve-top/320315?colorExplode=false&skuId=15427717&catid=cata000010&productPageType=fullPriceProducts&defaultColor=1878 or even bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=35356&vid=1&pid=950035002

Have fun shopping!

Floisme Thu 06-Feb-14 07:26:54

Unless you're going into a very corporate environment I would spend as little as possible until you've started the job. Office dress codes vary so much now and that includes managers. One of your tube skirts with a top and ankle boots really does sound fine to me. I understand wanting to make a good impression at the meeting but they have appointed you to the post so I don't think you need to treat it like a second interview. Also is it some kind of away-day? If it is then everyone may 'dress down' anyway! Go shopping once you've been in the job for a couple of days and have sussed it out. Congratulations and good luck.

DrNick Thu 06-Feb-14 07:38:45

what shape are you? I like the Gap really skinny matt black trousers with ankle boots and then a knitted style biker looks smart but not suited

Floisme Thu 06-Feb-14 07:39:23

PS I'm assuming the tube skirt is in a heavy duty fabric? If not then I'd go for one of your pencil skirts instead with a buttoned-up cardigan and ankle boots. It'll be fine!

DrNick Thu 06-Feb-14 07:39:57

i fricken love it when Americans talk dress codes. All pant suits and stuff

H and I went to an American corporate thing where there were endless dos, the dress code notes had us in stitches.

Pant suits AND dressy blouse.. etcetc

Back2Two Thu 06-Feb-14 07:43:30

You will probably really enjoy the opportunity to wear different stuff.
I do. I wear much smarter clothes to work than I do in real life (that still doesn't bring me anywhere near heels or blazers) but I really enjoy having a whole new world of clothes to get into. (Skirts on a regular basis etc)

Used2bthin Thu 06-Feb-14 09:27:58

Ooh just checked in here and thank you everyone this is ideal as am about to go shopping. Will look through those links now.

Smart but not suited sounds what I am aiming for.

Tube skirts are thick jersey and too casual I think although I may well wear the, to work for normal stuff. Good idea to check out the policies if I can find them. At interview one was in a suit, the other in a smart jumper and chinos. Come to think of it I am not sure i was smart enough really in the interview as it was a last minute decision but they employed me at least! It is temporary though and I am moving from public sector to private so I think am aware of needing to seem competent etc (bit nervous!)

I am pear shaped I think, will check out the gap trousers today.

I am enjoying the whole shopping for smarter clothes thing and looking forward to having reason to smarten up a bit and get different stuff, its great excuse for shopping!

Sorry my replies are all over the place will look at links now, thanks again everyone.

Used2bthin Thu 06-Feb-14 09:29:39

Oh sorry missed a replay no its not an away day as such but several new posts are starting as a new project is beginning , I am one of the new posts so we are meeting to discuss the project and meet the team at headquarters. Lots of people to be introduced to apparently.

Used2bthin Thu 06-Feb-14 09:38:19

Lovely links thank you, it has reminded me I have a chiffon long sleeved blouse in navy that may work with a skirt if I then wore smarter shoes rather than ankle boots. But then I may be cold, hmm.

Love the banana republic stuff, that first jacket is particularly nice.

Used2bthin Fri 07-Feb-14 12:26:19

www.dorothyperkins.com/en/dpuk/product/clothing-203535/workwear-203568/navyivory-contrast-placket-2621901?bi=1&ps=200

I am thinking this with a navy ponte (think that means very thick , stretch cotton?) pencil skirt or grey if the navy is the wrong navy. Going to have a look at it later. Think it looks ok? Not sure about shoes though as have ballet pumps in black, two pairs black ankle boots but one has a heel and the other pair are suede with a pattern on maybe that would look weird? Do I need heels (lots of tube stops and bit of a walk so hoping not but will if needs be)

HelloBoys Fri 07-Feb-14 15:54:44

If you are going from public sector to private I've noticed (spent 2 years temping in central Gov) that even in management they can dress very casually and not in the way certain private sectors work.

It all depends if your sector (private) has a dress code and what you do for meetings. Your blouse is ok (Dorothy Perkins) but I think you'd get much more use out of shift dresses. Tons of places do those. Banana Republic are good too.

Used2bthin Fri 07-Feb-14 18:23:04

Thanks. Yes I think you are right about public sector being less formal think that's why I feel so out of my depth as nothing to compare to! I am probably running out of time for Monday now but will have a look at shift dresses for other stuff. The shape of them puts me off slightly as I have a big tummy and hips so tend to stick to separates but am sure somewhere will have the right shape one.

Used2bthin Sat 08-Feb-14 11:02:24

So I ordered the boden ponte skirt then found two similar in Dorothy Perkins for £16 each (got navy and black) boden one arrived today and is properly lined and is worth the extra, had thought I would be returning it but think I may keep all three as pencil skirts suit me. Only thing is the boden one is slightly tight as I have gained a lot of weight over Christmas but its only slightly so will be ok in a week once my pmt is gone iyswim.

Anyway my blouse from the dp link above will arrive today too and it looks good on me (tried it in wrong size yesterday but ordered my size for today) but I am worried if I wear it with a navy skirt I will look like I am in uniform? The shop assistant said wear it with black instead what do you think? She said black with navy is fashionable now. I am clueless!

HelloBoys Sat 08-Feb-14 13:19:59

Black with navy would look good.

I'd keep blouse and skirts.

No point rushing to buy a shift dress, I think they're useful but you would need a good one, well made. So I'd try a few on. You could get by with cheaper but being honest my H&M one is nice and passes for interview but I think it wouldn't last for everyday!

PeterAndresSprayTanner Sat 08-Feb-14 15:18:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Used2bthin Sat 08-Feb-14 16:02:39

I will only be doing 17 hours so may be over doing it but then have nothing so was starting from scratch, I think I will keep all the skirts and the blouse. Interesting about navy and black as it used to be such a no no then a few years back was fashionable, didnt know if it still was but obviously it'll do which is good.

Hmm so black ankle boots/shoe boots are as you describe PeterAndres... Maybe I shouldn't go with them as there is a slight walk involved as well as several tube stops. Black ballet pumps or flat suede ankle boots with patterns on?(slightly bonkers but I think in a good way)or maybe I need more shoes ?!

KeatsiePie Sat 08-Feb-14 16:13:28

Sorry, I couldn't find the thread, had wondered how you were doing with the shopping! Agree black and navy are still great together. I like that navy and white blouse you bought.

Agree you don't want new heels if you're walking at all -- what are the flat boots like?. I went back to work after a couple of years out last August. Bought a stunning pair of heels for the first interview. Walked a total of 5 blocks and had blisters the size of quarters. I had to get them back on a few days later for the second interview as I couldn't afford another new pair of shoes and it was painfulllll.

KeatsiePie Sat 08-Feb-14 16:14:06

I mean, what is the pattern like? I have the impression that they're gray but I might have just imagined that?

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