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39 year old working mum in need of advice. Recently took giant leap back into work place after several years. Taken me, six months to conquer blood curdling fear, raised blood pressure, daily bouts of total lack of self-confidence, child care problems etc.
Now realised new problem, new season apporaching and don't know what to wear. Out of touch with fashion. Can't afford to spend a lot - school fees! Where to look? What mags/website to give clues on what's coming up? Snooty neighbour always seems to be ahead of fashion? How does she do it?
Grazia is always good as is Marie-Claire. I buy Grazia most weeks and Marie-Claire monthly. (though Look magazine can be packed full of decent high-street buys too)
I also keep a scrapbook of the looks I like/outfits I want to buy/look for high street alternative.
It also depends whether you want to be high fashion or stylish, as the two don't always mean the same thing.
And perhaps if you get chance go to the high street and try some stuff on, perhaps stuff you usually wouldn't to see what looks good and what does not suit you at all.
If you're going to buy a fashion item that perhaps you're not sure about, buy it cheap. If you love the look after wearing it a few times, buy a quality version. When trying stuff on, be brave and have fun!
Would second a glance at Look magazine. I also like window shopping at this time of year to see how the dressers put otufits toegther and what colours work. The high street is great for this and even if you see an outfit/look that's too pricey in its current form, go to New Look, Dotty P, Tesco, Asda for the cheap versions of same look.
my top tip is get to know what shapes/colours suit you, and go with that, use accessories/prints or whatever for fashion, don't succumb to smock tops or whatever because they are trendy if they don't actually make you look fabulous, which you will want to do to improve your confidence.
If you work out what shape trousers etc suit you, it might mean grabbing them when you see them if they are not ultra trendy but you will feel more confident than worrying if you are pulling off your skinny wet-look jeans etc
Moomin is right with her suggestions of places to get a cheaper outfit but don't be sidetracked by the fact that something is cheap - we've all thought "oh it's only a tenner, the fabric is awful and the fit is not that great... but you can't go wrong for that price" and ended up with lots of awful cleap clothes with their tags still on, that you know you'll never ever wear.
Agree about quality of stuff sometimes but you have to weigh up the fashion vs long-lasting 'staples' I spose. I've got some more expensive things that don't go out of fashion as such (black trews, diff coloured cardies, long boots, good shoes) and then I buy cheap stuff from the aforementioned shops to out with them - tops mostly. I buy nice jewellery as well (well i think it's nice!) and try to colour co-ordinate.
Topshop, DP, New Look etc don't really do classic workwear as such, though are useful for short-lifespan items like tops and accessories, ditto Primark.
Try slightly more 'grown up' places like Zara, French Connection and Mango, also Reiss and Jigsaw as already suggested.
Gap for basics like shirts, jumpers and trousers, M&S (tread carefully) for jackets etc.
Next can be a bit, well, mainstream but I find their trousers a really good fit so often end up there - they're also good for cheapish catwalk-inspired bags in unusual colours which can really lift an outfit.
I would go to jigsaw and hobbs for classic/timeless/non frumpy, that should last and last... monsoon, though not sure if the clothes would suit the office, most clothes I get from monsoon I wear for years, hobbs clothes are expensive but really good quality, imo