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Work clothes - Help!

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cheekymonkeythe5th Wed 24-Feb-16 12:41:51

I have been offered a new job, to start in a week.

It's the first job since my pregnancy, I just tried on all my work clothes and they look AWFUL - I'm about a stone bigger, and the tummy especially is round and sticks out so that I look like still quite pregnant. The clothes look ridiculous (I'm not exaggerating, there is no way I can wear them).

Can anyone help with recommendations for where to go for new ones?

I don't have a huge budget for this either. I need at least 4/5 different things to wear. The dress code is smart casual, office attire, not a full suit but maybe a jacket.

To give an indication of my sizing, I'm 5' 3'', and have an hourglass figure - an added complication is I have big H cup boobs with a 28" torso as well as short legs. I like dresses/skirts to come to my knee and be a bit conservative, and I'd rather look smart than draw attention. Some shops (Zara for example) seem to make things for taller/thinner people, and some others (Next) tend to look a bit old and frumpy on me (I'm mid-30s but look younger).

I hate shopping too.

Any ideas? - apart from crash dieting... blush

AuntieStella Wed 24-Feb-16 12:51:34

Could you start by looking at Pepperberry, especially for jackets and tops?

They're cut for bigger boobs, and although I find some of their stuff comes up a bit skimpy on me, I'm rather taller so I think they would work for you.

flowery Wed 24-Feb-16 13:18:27

I'd get this moved to Style and Beauty if I were you. Loads of ladies on there with brilliant fashion advice, unlike us employment law gurus who are not to be relied upon in this regard...!

HelenF35 Wed 24-Feb-16 13:23:25

I'm busty and used to love Pepperberry but the quality has deteriorated and it's expensive. Asda, Sainsburys and Dorothy Perkins clothes tend to be bigger in the bust than most. Sainsburys in particular usually have some good stuff.

PebbleTTC Wed 24-Feb-16 13:26:32

I was in similar situation to you and I booked free personal stylist in my local shopping center and got loads of new clothes that look really good

cheekymonkeythe5th Wed 24-Feb-16 13:28:18

Ha ha thank you and flowery I had no idea there were style gurus on here! Definitely what I need smile

I have used Bravissimo for years but never tried the PB clothes.. hmm.. shame if the quality isn't great as they do look quite expensive.. will try the supermarkets thank you

PresidentOliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 24-Feb-16 13:34:28

We've moved this one for you

cheekymonkeythe5th Wed 24-Feb-16 13:36:29

Thank you Mumsnet!

vitaminC Wed 24-Feb-16 13:47:50

Pepperberry is expensive tat, IME!
I would start by investing in some spanx. I have an underskirt thing that gives a great shape under skirts and dresses. It was from Amazon I think. I can't see the same on on there now, but there are quite a few to choose from here.

Then I would probably buy a couple of simple dresses you can wear in lots of different ways. I have a few, mainly from Esprit. Simple shift dresses. I wear a polo neck underneath in winter, or a blouse in Spring/Autumn. Sometimes just the dress with a light cardigan or a blazer for a smarter look.

I bought one in the sale the other day. Burgundy, fully lined, for €32 from Esprit. This one.
In fact, there is lots of choice at Esprit. I buy almost all my work clothes from there! More dresses and even a few on sale

AuntieStella Wed 24-Feb-16 14:06:42

Note I linked the sale page for Pepperberry. The jackets at £75 (original price) wouldn't add up for me, but at £25-29 they do (for comparison, the only jacket on the Asda website which looks remotely like something to wear to work is £18).

Especially, OP, if you try the crash diet and so will want to upgrade when you're both settled into the new job (and see what people actually wear), into a new body smile , and of course into a new income.

Shift dresses btw are not easy to find that don't strain across large boobs whilst gaping elsewhere. If you can find a long line jacket you could wear it with neutral tunic type tops (look for fabric that drapes well, not too thin) and a basic skirt.

I'd go for navy as a basic colour because it is so versatile.

cheekymonkeythe5th Wed 24-Feb-16 14:20:11

Thank you

vitamin can I ask what you paid for your Spanx? Because on that link there are bits for £6 and also £27, is there a big difference in the quality?

vitaminC Wed 24-Feb-16 14:25:21

I haven't tried the cheaper ones and I didn't want to pay €60+ for Spanx, so I chose a mid-range one, around the €30-something mark I think. I'm very happy with it. It's comfortable and does the job. I'll look at my past orders and see what brand it was...
Found it. It was this one

vitaminC Wed 24-Feb-16 14:27:00

AuntieStella my gripe with PB is not so much the price as the appalling quality. I've had a few items from there over the past few years (including some off e-bay) and all have been in really shiny synthetic fabrics, and looked dreadful after a couple of washes! sad

cheekymonkeythe5th Wed 24-Feb-16 14:36:21

Thank you vitamin

Auntie that is definitely the problem I tend to face with the shift dresses, the boob room, and also now the ones I tried on today that I have are knee length shifts, in a size 10 and I look like I have a football on my front. Not sure whether going up a size to a 12 would work or just be baggy everywhere else

Yes I will definitely want to lose weight so I want to look professional but not spend too much now and then need more clothes in a month or two. Looking for cheap but not clothes that look too cheap

The Esprit ones look nice, do the sizes tend to come up average or smaller/bigger? I know the Next ones tend to be really roomy so it can vary a lot.

AuntieStella Wed 24-Feb-16 14:44:56

I wonder if the difference is that I visited a Pepperberry shop, and so could look at and feel the fabric? (Also, thinking about it, it is probably 2 years since I've bought anything there)

I find that shift dresses gape at the armpit (invariably) and the neckline and shoulders sit wrong (usually) if they're not squashing down the boobs.

The only one I've found that didn't was from East, but it was a while ago (4+ years) and there's nothing remotely similar on their website.

It might be worth a trip to a department store, so you can try on lots of stuff in one place. You don't have to buy all your stuff there, but it might give you an idea of shapes that work together on your current shape.

vitaminC Wed 24-Feb-16 15:17:13

Esprit are generall pretty true to size, IME. There are some on the page I linked to that are not as straight in shape, and which would disguise the tummy a bit. Especially if you wear shapewear underneath.

I am also very hourglass and often size up then take things in at the waist. I haven't had to do that with the Esprit dresses as they seem generally to be cut to fit my shape, which is why it has become my go-to brand for most clothes these days!

FlorenceandMary Wed 24-Feb-16 16:05:06

I'm 36, size 14 - 16 and work in an office with a similar dress code. I wear a dress daily as find it suits me best and most are from either Next or Marks and Spencers (mostly from their Limited Collection). New Look can have some gems for more affordable prices but I often find the lengths too short.

I would try the likes of Next & M&S for some ideas, just try a few things on. If you can find a nice black skirt and/or black dress for starters and a nice fitting jacket you can mix things up. Wallis is also ideal for separates.

Whilst I know these brands are often deemed frumpy if you style them the right way, a decent pair of heels/jewellery etc you can make it work

HelenF35 Wed 24-Feb-16 16:13:47

I forgot about Wallis, also a good place to try:

cheekymonkeythe5th Wed 24-Feb-16 19:23:11

Sorry had to go away for a few hours just read these last posts, thank you so much for the suggestions.

Looks like I will have to venture into a city and actual shop then, and ideally without my toddler she's never going to enjoy that (kicks off if we go in the door of a clothes shop)

cheekymonkeythe5th Wed 24-Feb-16 19:56:49

Shame about Pepperberry, because Bravissimo are so good, I've been using their bras/sports bras/swimwear and more recently nursing bras, for nearly 20 years. Don't know what I would have done without them. Seems to me Pepperberry have a market niche but at their prices the clothes would have to be really good quality to make it worth it.

KP86 Wed 24-Feb-16 20:06:27

(Blatantly stealing someone else's hint from a thread a few weeks ago)

As it says, everything is five pounds. Most is high street stuff from last season, with tags cut out. They have smart clothes, casual clothes, coats, accessories, shoes, the lot. For everyone.

You do pay postage on top and it works out to about £1/item.

I spent £48 for 8 things, and all except one was great (defective). The eighth item was returned without any hassle. One of the skirts was M&S.

cheekymonkeythe5th Wed 24-Feb-16 20:30:46

Wow THANK YOU KP! - didn't see that former thread, will be keeping an eye on the style board from this day forward grin

cheekymonkeythe5th Wed 24-Feb-16 21:01:34

It's a bit like going through the sale rack on that site isn't it

I assume bodycon means tight figure hugging

KP86 Wed 24-Feb-16 21:07:04

Yes - it's leftovers from last season for a reason!!

Body con is tight and fitted.

KanyesVest Wed 24-Feb-16 21:29:26

I'm a similar size, shape, age and dress code to you. I find separates best. I have a grey/tweedy blazer from h+m (logg I think) and a coral one from HoF. Trousers from mango and gap. Tops from uniqlo, DP and red herring (shirts with vest underneath, no buttons fit my boobs, a couple of silky t-shirts, light knit jumpers and cardigans - all of which layer up). I find dresses can be difficult but I have 2 from h+m that are ok.

Good luck with the new job, and the shopping!

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