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Can you help me re: what's appropriate to wear to work (and elsewhere?)

(18 Posts)
MeadowHay Sat 11-Feb-17 20:15:54

I have Asperger's Syndrome and I think this affects my ability to decide if clothes are "appropriate" for the occasion or not. I get DH to help me but sometimes he doesn't know himself when it comes to women's clothes. His mam never worked either so he doesn't have a role model to base it off in that regard, and my mam hasn't worked since I was a lot younger and she dresses a lot more conservatively than me. So if i ask her questions now her answers will be strongly influenced by what she thinks is proper, not neccesarily appropriate to the situation.

I work doing admin in an office for a charity. It's quite a chilled atmosphere and the dress code is "smart casual". This is like, the worst thing to tell someone with Asperger's because I have no idea what that means. I tried to get clarification and my line manager told me blue jeans were not ok, but black ones were, and that he would show me a powerpoint on dresscode, but he never did and I was too embarrassed to ask again. That was months ago when I started.

Anyway my questions...please don't laugh blush.

Is it ok to wear bobbly tights/leggings? When does bobbly become too bobbly and therefore unprofessional? And when does it become too bobbly nonstop and need to be binned?? My dad told me one of my jumpers was too bobbly and I needed to bin it but I hadn't realised blush and it was one I used to wear to work as well.

Is it ok to wear coloured tights/patterned tights? I only wear black tights and black leggings at the moment but I was wondering if it would be ok to wear red tights or is that too far?

Is it ok to wear black knitted Ugg boots? I've been wearing brogues the whole time I've worked there but the other day I was already out before I went in (I work part-time) and I was wearing my Uggs and I was going to change out of them but nobody said anything so I left them on...does that mean it's ok?

Is it ok to wear tops that show my shoulders as long as I wear a strapless bra?

I appreciate you don't know my work place exactly so just wondering general thoughts.

PatriciaHolm Sat 11-Feb-17 20:19:04

I would say no to bobbles, yes to coloured tights assuming they go with the rest of your outfit, no to Uggs and no to bare shoulders!

Flisstizzy Sat 11-Feb-17 20:22:36

Smart casual can be hard to get right!! I would say, nothing very bobbly as it could look too worn, yes to binning when it's bobbly all over, dont show shoulders (unless everyone else does), coloured tights sound ok, if others wear Uggs then that should be ok.
Could you copy someone else to get an idea of what is acceptable i.e.: just go with black jeans (smartish / no rips) and a similar top (not exactly the same) to someone else unless you feel more comfortable?

sailawaywithme Sat 11-Feb-17 20:25:46

You might want to take a look on Pinterest too, literally search for "smart casual work outfits" or similar, and you will get some ideas there. I agree that "smart casual" can be a minefield! Also, is there a kind, trustworthy colleague who might be able to give you some advice? As you said, without knowing the specific environment you're in, it can be hard to give advice.

Judydreamsofhorses Sat 11-Feb-17 20:27:08

Definitely no bobbles - can you ask your DH to tell you if something looks scruffy even if he's not great at women's fashion? What do the other women who work there wear?

Specialagentblond Sat 11-Feb-17 20:27:34

I would watch others very carefully to get an idea of what is acceptable, and for ideas. I'd say smart black skinnies with a shirt or a dress with tights and boots, any trousers with a jumper if you like things like that.

I would say no to strapless, too much cleavage or too short a skirt without tights. No to trainers too.

You can make casual clothes look smarter with a loose blazer, or a conservative outfit can be relaxed by a few scarfs and some accessories

The key is to experiment if you can afford it, and pay attention to mannequins in shops for ideas to put together a look and ask the shop assistant if you're not sure..

Good luck x

CleopatraCominAtcha Sat 11-Feb-17 20:28:12

Hi OP
I work in a similar environment and it can be confusing. I hope that your boss would cut you a bit of slack, but unhelpfully the fact that no-one has said anything doesn’t mean something is a good idea.

I think a good rule is that if you are dressing in casual-ish clothes, they should be clean and in good repair - so no bobbles, loose threads, mucky patches (speaking as someone who spills a lot of coffee), missing buttons etc.

Specifically: no to bobbles on tights and leggings and possibly no to leggings full stop.

Red tights : yes if the rest of the outfit was smarter, eg neat and tidy black dress and brogues.

No to knitted Uggs. I have leather Ugg ankle boots which are fine so it's about the slouchy suede or knitted style rather than the brand.

No to bare shoulders.

Basically if you wouldn't wear it to church...it's a no.

There will be a range of opinions but I hope this is useful.

AliciaMayEmory Sat 11-Feb-17 20:33:47

I have a smart casual dress code too and wear outfits such as:
Black skinny jeans, floaty shirt, knee boots
Black skinny jeans, smart jumper, ankle boots
Denim dress, thick tights, boots and scarf
Knitted dress, thick tights and boots

I buy new tights regularly to make sure no bobbles or holes, make sure my clothes are ironed and clean, polish my boots and make sure my hair is tidy. This make me feel like I'm ready for work even if my outfit is pretty casual.

I'd take the lead from what others are wearing. I used to dress more formally until I got the gist of what was acceptable.

Petalbird Sat 11-Feb-17 20:33:58

Yay someone else who doesn't understand the minefield of clothing (I is a goth/punk). With work I stick to plain black trousers (though I need to get new ones my dp shrunk mine not looking forward to it) with a long sleave primark top in winter and a think strap cameo in summer with a cardigan, simple and less hassle. Oh and plain new rocks no one is taking them off me. Though I did make the wonderful error of wearing shorts and leggings to a 'non uniform' day apparently this is not appropriate???

arsenalwatford Sat 11-Feb-17 20:51:07

I don't think colours of clothes will matter. But as people said, nothing scruffy or bobbly. Don't show shoulders or cleavage. Or too much feet (no flip flops in summer).
The thing about smart casual, is that if you are a bit too casual one day, no-one will probably notice and it won't matter. Just as long as you have a few outfits you know are 'smarter' as well.

NapQueen Sat 11-Feb-17 20:54:24

I'm about to start somewhere with a "smart casual" dress code and have the following

*black jersey material skirt, knee length
*black dress trousers
*spotty cream loose top with 3/4 sleeves
*couple of dark cardigans
*couple of cami style loose tops (won't take Cardi off shoulders (
*couple of dark dresses with tights
*couple of pair of flat shoes

MoonlightMojitos Sat 11-Feb-17 21:51:13

Hmm my manager lives in flip-flops on the summer in our smart-casual office. It's is tricky. We have a new girl who wears leggings all the time with a top or jumper which I think is a no go, and a few others have commented on it too behind her back, but it's not our place to say so maybe the manager thinks it's fine! I personally think short skirts are unsuitable too but quite a few women wear them in the winter with thick willy rights and seem to think that's ok when I really don't think it is if it's barely skimming your bum! Doesn't matter how thick the tights are IMO.

Last summer when we had a heatwave week they said we could wear our own clothes that week. Our manager turned up the next day in tiny hot pants and everyone was talking about it and how inappropriate it was. But I suppose to her it's her own clothes whereas to me I'd still wear smart clothes.

Good luck op, it's a tricky one!

MoonlightMojitos Sat 11-Feb-17 21:52:14

*wooly tights, not willy rights 😂

sailawaywithme Sat 11-Feb-17 23:06:52

I'd love to work in your office, Moonlight 😄

MeadowHay Sun 12-Feb-17 11:08:03

Wow, I really didn't think anyone would answer, thanks so much!

I don't think DH is much help with bobbly clothes either because he grew up er poor and wearing bobbly/holey clothes a lot of the time so I think his perception is kinda skewed on that too. sad But I will deffo ask and take more notice of the bobbles. I will bin some of my bobbley tights and leggings and buy anew!

I think it's ok to wear black leggings as I've noticed other people at work do so a lot.

You're right I really need to look at what other people are wearing. I don't know how I've worked there for months and still can't really tell you what people wear! I think I really don't notice people's clothes unless they really stand out (maybe linked to my Asperger's, I don't know?)! I will try and take more notice.

I've taken note of no knitted Uggs and no bare shoulders!

I really thought if I wore something inappropriate that my line manager would tell me but a few of you are indicating that doesn't always happen so I'm a bit worried now! To be fair mostly I do just wear like black jeans and an (ironed wink ) shirt, or smart-ish dress with thick black tights and brogues, with a plain cardie or jumper.

I'm fairly confident even if I wore something wrong that people wouldn't be mean about it behind my back, I get on well with all my colleagues and they are all aware that I have Asperger's and mental health problems and have been very friendly and supportive. I just wish if I did wear something wrong somebody would just tell me so I could know but you lot are saying that doesn't always happen.

Floisme Sun 12-Feb-17 11:40:49

I work for a charity but I'm still not sure what to say as I've found it really depends which section you're in e.g. some teams in my workplace wouldn't turn a hair at any of the things you've listed but the Finance and Fundraising staff look quite corporate.

If you've told people you have Aspergers then I think I would ask for advice - in fact I think I think it might go in your favour, especially if you have supportive workmates. Good luck.

Love51 Tue 14-Feb-17 22:06:56

Would having a kind of 'uniform' for work help? Like a pair of black trousers and a top, a pair of black jeans and a top, a skirt or dress with black tights and a top if needed. You could mix and match which top half with which bottom half.
If you aren't sure about off the shoulder, then its a no. If you are worried about getting it 'wrong', better to be a bit too conservative than the other way for work, I think.

Judydreamsofhorses Tue 14-Feb-17 22:24:50

I think the stuff you usual,y wear sounds great - and I also think having a kind of "uniform" is a good suggestion. One of my friends at work wears either wide black or grey trousers every day, and has a selection of plain coloured jersey tops, plus cardigans in grey/black/navy and basically wears a variation of the same outfit. I would find that quite boring, personally, but it would definitely make dressing for work easier.

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