Casual office dress code - how do I still look smart & professional?

(12 Posts)
firefli Sun 06-Sep-15 16:22:19

My office dress code is now going to be casual. I'm a bit gutted, as not long out of a rut of wearing black trousers and cardi every day. I'd got some nice dresses and heels and was actually feeling good about the way I look. My casual clothes are a bit scruffy, more suited to playing with the kids.

Looking for any advice or tips on what to wear or where to shop? Thinking about dressing down some of the dresses with thicker tights and boots. Not sure if that's fashionable though, or if it only works with short rather than tea length dresses? Have just bought new smarter jeans, but don't know what to wear on top or on my feet? Am size 8 to 10, but short and hourglass. Thanks in advance for any help!

Millymollymama Sun 06-Sep-15 16:38:22

Heeled ankle boots will go with everything. Kurt Geiger has some great ones. You cannot go wrong with a nice set of shirts, white, check, gingham and T shirt style tops, the Ravello from Boden springs to mind and very wearable with jeans. Try knitted roll necks - m and s have some nice ribbed ones. Mint Velvet does boho chic pretty well and their new flared jeans are brilliant. Lots of good tops too. I do think casual for work is more of a problem than standard suits and shirts. You seem to need more clothes!

Floisme Sun 06-Sep-15 16:48:40

You have just described my working life. I need to look reasonbably smart but not corporate, otherwise they'd think I was a lawyer and set the dogs on me.

The 3 outfits I've found will take me pretty much anywhere are:
Smartish jeans with a tailored jacket.
A pencil skirt with a sweatshirt.
A good quality tube skirt, double thickness and below the knee e.g. Whistles (if they still do them) or Pure Collection. When these go out of fashion (if they haven't already) I will have to retire; they dress up or down brilliantly.
On my feet, I mostly wear flat ankle boots

I think thick tights and boots with your dresses sound fine. A denim, leather or biker style jacket would work too.

maybemyrtle Sun 06-Sep-15 16:50:50

Why can you not carry on wearing the stuff you have and like? I'm sure others will, at least for the foreseeable. It doesn't sound as though you really want to deal with a whole new wardrobe and rightly so.

I prefer having smarter clothes for work anyway as it makes getting ready so much easier and I feel the part.

stripytees Sun 06-Sep-15 17:17:31

I'm the same size and shape as you and we also have a casual dress code unless we have important meetings.

Wear your dresses! Pair with cardigans rather than jackets, flats rather than heels. Thick tights sound good too.

I like velvet and tweed A-line or straight knee length skirts with cashmere or merino jumpers in the colder months. Boden Bistro crops with cotton tops or more casual shirts in the summer.

Ifiwasabadger Sun 06-Sep-15 17:38:12

jeans and blazers are your friend! add heels and statement jewellery and it's just the right mix of smart casual.

lavendersun Sun 06-Sep-15 17:44:43

Lots of great advice here - I am smart casual most of the time, dresses, cardis, cords (gasp) with shirts and nice cardis. Skirts and boots.

I like White Stuff, odd thing in East, buy a fair bit from Jaegar Outlet (good for knits and cords, oh and wool skirts). I bought a few Kew knitted dresses in TK Maxx last year.

I wear loafers, ballet flats or boots generally. I work more from home than I have ever done but try not to be a complete scruff as it makes me feel more work like.

I bought these today - they are quite nice:

www.johnlewis.com/store/dune-gwyneth-block-heeled-loafers/p2131374?colour=Black+Nubuck&isClicked=true

IdentityRequest1 Sun 06-Sep-15 20:13:10

I'd start with a denim or biker jacket and use it to dress down your dresses, along with thick tights and chunky ankle boots.

Carlywurly Sun 06-Sep-15 20:13:40

Ooh I'm envious. I look smarter casual than I do smart (if that makes a scrap of sense)
Mint velvet have some gorgeous things in. I'd wear with ash ankle boots or converse.
On top of jeans I'd wear a slouchy jumper or cardigan over cami vest top.

I also have white company jersey dresses which I wear with sandals or sling back heels and a cardigan, scarf or light jacket. They bridge the smart casual gap and are so so comfy to wear (usually good value in their sales I find)

firefli Sun 06-Sep-15 21:09:45

Lots of ideas to think about. I think getting some better quality shirts and knitwear will be the way to go (I have some pretty cheap & cheerful things for casual just now). I'll defiantly get some ankle boots too as they will go with dresses or jeans. I'll look at getting some things from I'm now feeling quite excited about the change!

BikeRunSki Sun 06-Sep-15 21:12:45

11 years on I am still struggling with this dress code, with the added complication that I often spend a few hours on a building site.

lavendersun Sun 06-Sep-15 21:16:06

I have bought a few bits from woolovers this year OP - really cheap compared to White Stuff for knitwear.

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