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Massimo Dutti? Or other good shops for smart office dressing?
I am about to start a new, professional job after some years out of a formal workplace. I'm looking forward to dressing smartly again, but somewhat at a loss as to what exactly to wear. I'm shortish (5'4) and a size 10, but am definitely more on the curvy side and, e.g. fitted shirts or dresses in a 10, are often on the tight side. Lots of clothes at the moment seem to be designed for taller, more straight up and down people and are very unflattering on me! I have a sticky out bottom and so look much better in a fitted pencil skirt or dress than loose fitting ones in floaty fabrics. After two c-sections, my stomach is decidedly wobbly and untoned and so waistbands often dig in, even where the skirt or trousers are otherwise a good fit.
Anyway, that's a very long pre-amble to ask what people's thoughts on Massimo Dutti are? It's not a shop I've ever been in really, but I saw a cropped jacket online that looks like it would suit me much better than a lot of the longerline jackets currently around and I wondered if it might be a good place to look for work clothes more generally.
I'm reluctant to order online as I have spent so much time buying things and sending them back already and would like to get a feel for the shop before I do that. I can get there before I start work, but it will be a stretch so I don't want to make a wasted journey. Would it be worth it?!
Any other suggestions for places to look would also be welcome. I used to dress for work in LK Bennett and Jigsaw, but I no longer have the budget for the former and whilst I can stretch to Jigsaw (and bought my interview suit there) it is a stretch and it hasn't been particularly inspiring this season.
I don't know about MD in partic but could you go to a department store and spend an hour or two just trying lots of things on to see what feels comfortable ? I'd suggest a skirt suit with a loose top (no buttons, not tucked in) if you prefer skirts to trousers but want to cover your stomach.
I like MD a lot although i think a lot in there is more casual...i also get some office wear from Boden (ankle grazer trousers and silk mix tops), cropped trousers from uniqlo, blouses from banana republic, blazers from Hush
I was going to suggest L K Bennett as I'm similar shape and it works v well until I saw your comment on budget - if you know what size/shapes of their dresses/jackets suit you then I would keep an eye on eBay. I often get some good deals there.
Boden is probably worth a look as jeaux and gilly said. There's always lots of on line reviews which can be helpful in deciding if something is going to work for you. I know it's not an actual shop but get a code for free p&p and returns and just order loads to try!
Zara for their Chanel inspired jackets. Smaller/fitted Cos dresses (few and far between at Cos admitedly but they do pop up and are great). Banana Republic for pencil skirts. Whistles do some good dresses. Boden for heels. Bits and pieces from Reiss.
MD clothes look far better on the website. At best, the quality is questionable. I'm a curvy 10-12 and am too fat for a lot of their clothes e.g. their trousers make my legs look like fat sausages. As I really like the autumnal colours they generally have, I fell in love with a pair of mustard coloured trousers last season. Thankfully the shop assistant was truthful enough to tell me that a darker colour might flatter my legs more. I'm so grateful she said it because in hindsight I was completely the wrong shape for them.
I think Massimo Dutti might suit you, OP. I had high hopes for it as a workwear shop, because it's part of the same brand as Zara and Zara clothes fit me better than anywhere else on the high street (but are sometimes too high fashion and sometimes too low quality for my rather traditional job). But in fact the clothes are cut completely differently and every single pair of trousers I have tried on (I'm just under 5'10'') is too short and gives me a camel toe! Nothing else suits me either and I have the opposite body type from you at the same dress size -- flat bum, flat chest, flat stomach... So from a fit perspective I would give it a go!
Can't comment on current stock because I have stopped going in...
Sorry - we've been away so not checked the thread. This is all really helpful - thank you! It looks like I need to stop randomly buying online and returning it and instead a trip to the shops is called for....
I've never really shopped in Hobbs (not sure why), but sounds like it's worth a go. I'll also check out Reiss - I used to have a lot from there in my late 20s/early 30s, but sort of felt they weren't really me any more. Will also have a trying on session in LK Bennett and work out what to look for in the sale/eBay.
Finally - thank you for the Boden suggestion. I buy quite a lot of the DCs clothes there but for some reason hadn't thought to look for work wear for me. Currently have a few things in my basket waiting for the next discount code to fall into my inbox....
I feel stuck between ages a bit at the moment (40!) where a lot of things I see seem to be the type of things people older than me would wear and I worry about appearing "mumsy", but equally I feel too old for the styles I used to wear when I was working in a formal office last (and, arguably more importantly, I can no longer wear heels). Having spent the last five years in jeans, I'm not quite sure how to dress formally anymore and feel like a stranger to myself when I smarten up (not necessarily in a bad way - looking forward to rediscovering my professional style in every sense!).