Working 9-5 – part 1

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Although I love shopping, there’s one area that I’ve always disliked. I know, but don’t desert me just yet dear friends! The bit of shopping I don’t really enjoy is buying work clothes. I’m sure I can’t be alone in that.

I’ve always thought it a bit odd that I hate shopping for the clothes that I probably wear the most. You’d think one would put more effort into them than anything else. Unfortunately I find two things:

  1. Clothes that I used to wear outside of work that I no longer like end up being relegated to my work wardrobe. I know – this feels like blasphemy to a dedicated fashion nerdette, but it’s true.
  2. In a bid to spend not much money on work clothes, I usually end up buying basic tops – resulting in an endless black-trouser-coloured-top combo. How unimaginative.

So how do we sort out this sorry state of affairs?

When it comes to jazzing up the workwear wardrobe, contrary to what a lot of shops try and tell us (I’m looking at you, Warehouse) unless you work in fashion or design, or are a professional tennis player, shorts are NOT acceptable for the workplace! If I turned up in a pair of shorts to my office, I would give at least two members of staff a heart attack, and those who didn’t go into cardiac arrest would have asked me if I’d been drinking! So I need to find suitable alternatives to snazz myself up a bit.

It has therefore become my mission to banish grey trousers, pinstripes and those dreaded basic tops and funk up my work wardrobe.

Colour me beautiful: Imagine my delight when I discovered that coloured trousers are coming in. Obviously I’m not suggesting that I’m going to leap into a pair of neon breeches and skip into the office, but there are some colours that I think would be acceptable for the workplace, like navy, plum and burgundy. I feel the darker colours are better, personally.

Look at these! The first are from Topshop at £35 – they are available in three different lengths. I don’t know how well you can tell from the photo, but this second pair is purple, priced £24.99 from New Look. I can find their sizes a bit iffy, so I can recommend some trying-before-you-is-buying. I also have to admit to being a fan of these copper palazzos from Zara, but appreciate they wouldn’t be everyone’s first choice (also bottle green, black and blue.)

Pan-dering to our needs: Peter pan collars are all up in fashion’s face at the moment too – I think they add a cuter edge to an outfit, and I will definitely be buying one for my new work wardrobe. I love this classic shirt from ASOS – there are so many ways to style up this simple piece, and it will transcend the seasons, so it’s reasonable at £30. Then there’s this two-in-one dress by E1 London from newly discovered Fashion Union – top value for money at £30. I’d pop a tight fitting basic long sleeved vest in a similar colour underneath to combat the cold so I could wear through the winter. Finally I’ve found this slight variation in this scalloped number by Louche at Joy. It’s £35 and the colours are bang on. I’d probably tuck it into the Toppers trousers above actually!

Needles-s to say: When it comes to feeling good at work, I don’t think you can beat a nice knit dress. I bought a stripey one from Zara for about £9 three years ago and it’s still going strong. Add a pair of opaque tights, and Bob’s your mother’s brother. Rock this Mango boat neck with those tights to make this day-wearable – it’s £39.90 and available in about 6 different colours. Nail a beatnik look with this Kenneth Cole dress (in the sale on the House of Fraser website) It’s slightly pricier at £51, but it’s a silk mix and monochrome never goes out of fashion. That subtle wider black band in the middle will give definition to your waist too. Finally I found this cute little chappy from Dorothy Perkins for £35: wear with pearl stud earrings and some courts and nail the ladylike look.

I feel we’ve worked from 9-1, not 9-5 on this one, so we’ll have a lunchbreak and commence working the 2-5 soon. x

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