Tag Archives: work

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

Pencil me in

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So, pencil skirts are a bit of a classic and a wardrobe staple, especially in black. After the swishiness of pleats and chiffon over the summer, they are having a bit of a moment as we come into autumn winter collections, which are a bit more about structure.

Also, a colleague asked me to find her a plum/purple skirt, but whilst we’re on it and there are so many beauties to choose from in so many great colours, I can’t help but add in a few of the others that I am loving.

Purple passion: Finding purple was a lot more difficult than I had anticipated! I found these two in New Look at £19.99 each, and this tube skirt from River Island at £20 (also in tres AW11 ochre.) For something a bit different (and if my friend is feeling a bit more flush) I also found this layered lovely from Coast for £78.

I have to say that my favourite is the second New Look skirt – you can’t see that well from the photo, but it has a slit on one side (v sexual), and is also availabe in black, red and jade. And it’s a bargain!

Best of the rest: There are squillions of pencil skirts teeming in all of the shops! Buy me, they shout, BUY ME! ASOS alone has over 30 styles to choose from. Phew! I’ve chosen the few that are making my eyes fat because they are so eye-candy-ful!

These are my faves from ASOS – the first two are the same style in different colours. I particularly love the cherry red – both a reasonably priced at £35. Be warned, this is a midi: it will shorten the legs of more petite girls. Avoid ankle straps, dolly bars or t-bars on your tootsies: it will shorten the leg further, no matter how tall you are. The third is a classic dogstooth, super chic, priced at £35. Although I loves a dogstooth, I’d be happier with parting with cash for this baby if it was a properly woven check, rather than a check print like it is.

I’ve also had my eye on this first Topshop number for a while – I particularly like the PU trim at the top. It gives waist definition without a belt. Nice. It comes in at £30 and is available in this turquoise colour, plus black, burgundy and mid-blue. I also spied this sweet lace number at £40 – go ladylike chic with a pussy-bow blouse and courts and you’re ready to rock and roll.

I am a big fan of independent labels, and I couldn’t possibly do a post about pencil skirts without a nod to the fabulous Vivien of Hollway, who specialise in retro 1950s style pieces. The Wiggle pencil skirt comes in classic black, navy and black satin, plus six, read it, SIX different tartan/checks. That happily ticks the heritage box! It’s priced at £35: you won’t see any of these babies in Primark, so you can stand out from the crowd for a reasonable price!

Enjoy the structured look…! x