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Unusual work wardrobe: help needed!

(48 Posts)
GinTotingCaterpillar Fri 08-Jan-16 15:33:14

I have a dilemma: I am hoping for a stylish work wardrobe, as I am stuck in a rut. This is not so unusual, as S&B requests go.

I need black or grey.

This is the unusual part, the bit of my wardrobe that cannot be changed, everything needs to go with the attached.

You see my problem. Especially as I am 5'4 with a pronounced hourglass figure and G cups. Nice.

Frankly, my role often makes me seem stuffy enough (I'm not, honest), I really don't need my wardrobe to underline this impression.

I would like to move on from the 'whatever is clean and black' look and embrace a more stylish 2016. Can you help me?!

For added information, I'm 35, size ten, blonde-ish shoulder-length hair with cool colouring. Happy to spend a bit on quality, prefer that to crappy throwaway clothes, but we're not exactly rolling in money (funny, that).

What should I wear?!

MrsLeighHalfpenny Fri 08-Jan-16 16:00:22

Well, you've only got a choice of skirt or trousers, haven't you.
Are you able to jazz it up with nice accessories?

RaisingSteam Fri 08-Jan-16 16:10:14

Do you have to wear top to toe black and grey, or can you just wear the shirt or a version of it with normal clothes? how about the shirt here (scroll down)

Can you do slim trousers/heels/above knee skirts etc to get a more stylish silhoette? Or add a bit of colour?

RaisingSteam Fri 08-Jan-16 16:14:13

Would a dress be more comfortable, can you do pinafore - ie. something from Hobbs?

FauxFox Fri 08-Jan-16 16:15:32

Have you seen this website casual priest?

GinTotingCaterpillar Fri 08-Jan-16 16:35:00

Ooh, thanks for the replies.

Accessories are not really 'me', if you know what I mean. As in, I wear the occasional big scarf, but no necklaces and just small stud earrings.

That DM link is very interesting! I'lol stick with black, but different shapes are good to think about.

Mainly black and grey would be my first choice, mainly because I think black and colour can be tricky to pull off...

I like a fair bit of Casual Priest stuff and friends of mine say it's good quality. I'm considering it... But it would be good to have some high-street / stuff I can try on, options too.

I can do above the knee.

Really like the Hobbs dress, so thanks for that link!

GinTotingCaterpillar Fri 08-Jan-16 16:36:43

Apologies for typos and missing names out, I only just realised that!

niminypiminy Fri 08-Jan-16 16:52:43

Gin I am buying exactly the same wardrobe as you. Casual Priest are good but very pricey! But there are other solutions.

Butler and Butler bib stocks go under black tops and dresses (round neck is best in my experience.

Turtle neck tops (like this one from American Apparel can be customised by cutting two slits an in ch apart in one layer of the neck fabric so that the collar can be slipped in).

Cross designs also do stretch tops.

Once you have got the top sorted out then the bottom half is easier to tackle.

GinTotingCaterpillar Fri 08-Jan-16 16:59:19

Ah! Another one!

Sorted for bib-stocks to go under dresses.

I have genuinely never though of customising a turtle/polo neck - good tip.

I quite like the stretchy tops, so maybe that's one way to go.

I think it's shapes that I'm after, if you see what I mean. It's so easy to look dumpy and a bit dull. Well, I'd imagine if one is built like a model that's less of an issue, but for me it is a pressing concern!

niminypiminy Fri 08-Jan-16 17:00:15

For a dress I think Me + Em are extremely good quality and washable - this dress for example would go really well with a bit stock under it.

Winser London is also v good quality - something like this would work very well as a clergy dress.

Finally have you come across House of Ilona?

All these options are quite spends but they are all really good quality and washable.

GinTotingCaterpillar Fri 08-Jan-16 17:00:27

Thank you all!

Meant to put that in the last post.

GinTotingCaterpillar Fri 08-Jan-16 17:02:32

Love the Windser dress. That's very good.

Also like Me & Em. I have occasionally browsed their website and liked it, but I've never bought anything.

GinTotingCaterpillar Fri 08-Jan-16 17:02:59

Winser. Not Windser.

niminypiminy Fri 08-Jan-16 17:04:03

I know what you mean about looking dumpy and dull. I so don't want to look like another frumpy lady vicar - I still need to be me, and clothes are important to me (frivolous I know but there we are).

niminypiminy Fri 08-Jan-16 17:05:27

I've got a pair of Me+em trousers and really like them; also a pair of Winser miracle trousers which are also fab.

Helenluvsrob Fri 08-Jan-16 17:11:25

Does your clerical shirt have to be black? Our cathedral has female clergy that wear colours.

ifigoup Fri 08-Jan-16 17:15:21

Other women priests I know do things like wear a more fitted clerical shirt, or one of the Casual Priest-style jersey tops, underneath a sleeveless high-scoop-necked "suit" dress, with or without the suit jacket. They come in plenty of smart and muted colours that aren't black.

If you want to go more off-piste, Joanna Jepson, the former chaplain to the London College of Fashion, has sometimes worn stand-alone choker-style dog collars with tops or dresses with a normal neckline.

I also think long-line tie-front cardigans worn over a clerical shirt and more fitted cropped trousers is a young, modern but appropriate look.

Basically, anything that breaks up the unbroken expanse of neck-down black-swathed bosom is good!

quirkychick Fri 08-Jan-16 17:20:03

My friend who is a priest regularly wears fuschia!

GinTotingCaterpillar Fri 08-Jan-16 17:27:05

Yes to breaking up the bosom!

I don't really 'do' coloured clerical shirts, though I acknowledge that they might work well for others.

I will look at trousers too. I don't usually wear them (other than casual cords etc) because my hip to waist ratio is typically hourglass and so my hips (and thighs) are larger than clothes manufacturers think they should be.

I do like the idea of slim, cigarette-style trousers.

Thanks for the great ideas everyone.

GinTotingCaterpillar Fri 08-Jan-16 17:31:07

Forgot to add: I understand where you're coming from niminy , I don't want to look frumpy either.

Not sure if I'd go down the Jepson route, though it does work on her.

MrsLeighHalfpenny Fri 08-Jan-16 23:52:03

Would the world come to an end if you didn't wear the collar? Genuine question. Is there a different way of marking yourself out as a priest?

niminypiminy Sat 09-Jan-16 08:47:05

No, the world wouldn't come to an end, but wearing a collar is a universally-recognised way of signalling that you are a priest. How else would you do it - have a t shirt with 'I'm a priest' on it?

Not all clergy do wear clericals - Giles Fraser is a reasonably priest who never wears a collar - but for most of us going about our lives in the places where we live it's important to be recognised as a priest. (And important, conversely, to be able to take the role off sometimes, like when we are on our (one) day off per week.)

MrsLeighHalfpenny Sat 09-Jan-16 10:35:06

I was thinking about priestly accessories, such as a crucifix necklce or brooch, instead of the collar.

niminypiminy Sat 09-Jan-16 10:48:31

The thing is though that anyone can wear a cross - you'd need a symbol that would say 'priest' rather than simply 'Christian'. A collar is only worn by clergy - and for many priests it is an important aspect of your role that you are a 'representative person', not just you as a private individual. Wearing clericals is one important way of expressing that. I guess it's a bit like being a uniformed police officer - by wearing the clothes you take on a role.

MrsLeighHalfpenny Sat 09-Jan-16 22:01:01

Lots of men and women of the cloth DON'T wear collars though, unless on duty. And if on duty I wouldn't expect them to want to jazz up the uniform, in the same way that a policeman can't accessorise his uniform either.

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