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Smart but cool clothes for work

(49 Posts)
knowler Wed 25-Jan-17 19:47:51

I'm a solicitor but our dress code is very flexible and not at all stuffy or traditional. I don't want or need suits and I am not a fan of the tight or ruched ponte or jersey dresses that baukjen or LkBennett do.

What do you suggest? I'm keen to look smart (going for promotion and think I look a bit childish if I'm casually dressed) but want something with a bit of an edge.

To complicate things slightly I'm a size 18. Hopefully soon to be 16 but I'm not putting my wardrobe on hold while I lose the weight. Thanks!!

BikeRunSki Wed 25-Jan-17 19:55:00

I am not a solicitor, but a professional with a very similar work dress code. I have just bought these trousers. I'm a curvy 16, they fit well and feel great. They sit on my waist so hold my tummy in! I will wear them with flat ankle boots, but need to find something to wear on top that is not a black too short or too waitressey. Oh, and they don't have polyester in, so not sweaty.

MissBeehiving Wed 25-Jan-17 20:05:30

I am a solicitor and don't need to do suits or smart dresses everyday. I wear a lot of separates and buy good quality things that have an edge to them in their fabric or detailing. I buy from Cos (trousers/tops) Jaeger, (cashmere bags and coats) Uniqlo (basics) and Meandem mostly and have a restricted colour palette of navy, grey, Ivory, camel and pale pink which lets me swap things around easily.

PinPon Wed 25-Jan-17 20:21:17

I've recently bought a nice, textured green jumper from COS which I wear with a white collared shirt and smart black trousers with ankle boots. It's my favourite comfy but smart work look at the moment.

Would definitely agree with MissBeehiving that a restricted colour palette is the way to go. Work out which colours suit you and then get things you love in those colours only. Makes getting dressed in the morning much easier.

knowler Wed 25-Jan-17 20:21:57

Me and em looks like what I'm thinking of, but I will have to park them until I've shifted some weight. Something to work towards smile

I love a lot of jaeger and their sizes are generous. Might revisit them.

I've never looked at Closet before. Probably one for the future again given sizes but some nice stuff.

Thanks smile

knowler Wed 25-Jan-17 20:23:37

And also agree re colours. I know generally what colours suit me but I might try to limit my work wardrobe to a certain palette.

fiorentina Wed 25-Jan-17 20:59:53

Cos or Other Stories? Jigsaw have some great smart casual dresses. Maybe look at online at some of the more contemporary brands in John Lewis, their own brand KIN is fairly like Cos I find.

onwego Wed 25-Jan-17 21:03:14

Cos! Go to the shop, try everything on, even the random stuff, job done.

PETRONELLAS Wed 25-Jan-17 22:53:08

Do shoes too. And glasses, if needed. And hair. All those grooming things that are mentioned on here. And clothes for your body shape. Phase eight do some plain decent work pieces that are flattering for pears which can be made more edgy with accessories.

knowler Thu 26-Jan-17 09:10:32

Phase 8 is a strange one I find - sometimes I find some really good slightly unusual things but then others all I can see is very frumpy.

I haven't looked at cos for a while due to an unfortunate experience with a boxy jumper that made me look about 25 stone. Have literally never worn anything so unflattering. However, they do have a definite 'edge' or difference so will revisit. Thanks

Ifonlyiweretaller Thu 26-Jan-17 09:38:57

I agree about Phase 8 - very hit and miss in my opinion. And as I'm short some of the lengths are total frumpsville on me.
A lot of the brands suggested do not go up to an 18 as I know from bitter experience. Decided to have a splurge and shop in places I dont normally venture into. I would say I'm a very curvy 16 and both Jigsaw and &otherstories were partiularly bad for the sizes. Staff said ooh you'll easily fit in them, sadly out of 15 items I had high hopes for not one fitted. I came out of both places feeling worse than when I went in!
Also tried in Selrfidges and was willing to try various brands, yet again most don't cater for me and I was made to feel outsized! Crazy...

JohnCheese Thu 26-Jan-17 10:08:47

My dress code is similar. Sometimes I think it's a fine line to walk - it would be easier to wear a suit and be done. I'm hourglass/pear, so anything too boxy is, well, Not Good. I often wear skirts and jumpers in the winter, skirts, top and jacket -often Zara, Mango for jackets.

So, for example today I'm wearing this black skirt, and a fine knit, not-too-in-your-face leopard print jumper (H&M), 60 denier tights and ankle boots. I love this skirt and may have bought the burgundy too
I'm smaller than you but J Crew have good sizes I think. Worth watching out for in sales.

Would love to hear others' outfits

knowler Thu 26-Jan-17 10:33:39

J.Crew could be an option as they do larger sizes. Ifonly - I find jigsaw a bit on the small side anyway and haven't shopped there for a while. I too find it irritating when designs don't go up to a size 18! It's not like it's an unusual size, these days.

I've ordered this from Cos to wear either with tights or slim cut trousers (I got the grey).

I've also gone for these trousers, although I'm not anticipating them to fit or to suit me. Am trying to think slightly differently to my usual boring style though so thought they were worth trying.

SimplyNigella Fri 27-Jan-17 17:49:03

Watching with inteterest as (with the exception of the occupation) I could have written the OP.

Namechangeinto2017 Fri 27-Jan-17 17:57:04

Watching as well I need a whole new work wardrobe when I return to work from maternity leave and I'm a bit lost with what to do.

ceeveebee Fri 27-Jan-17 18:08:36

I'm in finance at a media company which has a very casual dress code. At the moment I'm mostly wearing knitted dresses from banana republic or jaegar (the outlet is particularly bargainous). Or sometimes skinny trousers with a longline silk shirt and a cropped jumper over the top. And always flat ankle boots or loafers.

knowler Fri 27-Jan-17 20:09:00

I get quite a lot from Jaeger outlet - agree that it has some brilliant bargains. I have recently bought this from there but in a cornflower blue which is great with brogues or loafers.

itstheyearzero Fri 27-Jan-17 20:19:40

Have you looked at Finery? Some lovely work type clothes with a definite edge...I'm thinking of getting this for the office

knowler Fri 27-Jan-17 20:36:52

Finery don't do a size 18, else I'd be right there!

itstheyearzero Fri 27-Jan-17 20:47:21

Might be worth trying a 16 because in my experience they do come up on the large size. I ordered a 14 and it was hanging off me ( and at the time I was a definite 14-16).

SimplyNigella Fri 27-Jan-17 20:49:29

They do a size 18 in some styles and I have a couple of dresses in size 16 from there which fit really well, so some styles run large.

SimplyNigella Fri 27-Jan-17 20:52:02

Meant to add, you can filter at the top of the page for items available in an 18.

Oblomov17 Fri 27-Jan-17 20:56:04

Is that finery dress very low cut/ revealing?

stiffstink Fri 27-Jan-17 21:07:34

I'm in the same job and pretty much the same size. I only wear dresses and jackets, no separates. This way there is less thought but I (hopefully) still look put together.

None are matching dress/suits, that's boring. I wear black with a hint of colours so my black/monochrome jackets can co-ordinate.

Looking at the dress and trousers from Cos, it honestly wouldn't enter my mind to wear those for work. They look comfy but wouldn't be client-facing clothing. Also, I wouldn't want to give the impression of comfort if I was trying to get a promotion.

Surprisingly I get quite a bit from Asda. Today I wore Asda and Jaeger together.

I read a good tip on here - if you have 20 mins to get ready, spend 3 mins in the shower and 17 mins grooming. Its genuinely made a difference to how I perceive myself and how others perceive me, even if I put my makeup on in the car park 😊

knowler Fri 27-Jan-17 21:30:59

Stiffstink - that's interesting about the cos stuff looking too comfy. I'll try them on to see if they're too casual for my promotion aims!!

Can you give me an example of something you would wear? I do surreptitiously check out what the female partners at my firm wear but there aren't many of them (a whole other thread) and most seem to favour the lk Bennett look that I'm not so keen on. The only female partner who dresses even slightly originally is a size 8 and a totally different body shape to me.

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