Spring Easy Wear Weekend Dressing For Real Women

17 February 2017
I do love a bit of Pinteresting (is that even a word?). You know, sit down with a cup of coffee and search to your hearts content. You can throw in any old random search:

S/S17 streetwear or
How to wear ruffles or
Looking chic on holiday

And that's before we even start looking at interiors, recipe ideas, seasonal gardening and knitting (errrr 15,600 pins on a knitted animal themed coffee cup sleeve, I kid you not). When did we become a world of nosey parkers?

But the fashion-y ones can make us mere mortals (me) feel somewhat inadequate. Young stunning girls sitting outside trendy coffee shops wearing vertigo inducing heels, spray-on skinnies, sheer bo-ho blouses (that obviously took hours to iron) full make up and not a coat, hat or scarf to be seen. And the caption...

"15 Winter Looks Everyone Is Obsessed With Right Now"


So far from real life, I could weep. Well my real life, I don't know about yours! I want easy pieces that I can put on and forget about for the rest of the day. I don't want scruffy but I do want comfort. I want outfits that work on lots of different levels. I want to feel good, kinda smart and confident in the clothes I wear.

Never more so than at weekends with the family so I thought I'd put a few looks together that fulfil these needs because I am that real woman. With a family and a dog, I do Saturday morning school drop offs, late night party pick ups and food shopping. I run errands and vac the hallway 3 times a day because someone has left the front door open and all the leaves have blown in. I chuck laundry into the washing machine and watch for the rain to stop so that the dog can have his walk. I visit family and friends, drink wine and eat cheeky roasts at the local pub, cook, clean and everything else that a million + other women do too. That's my weekend.

Winser London have very kindly let me borrow some pieces to show you what I'd really like to pin on Pinterest, my take on spring easy wear weekend dressing. Nothing too fashiony, but there are easy wear pieces that have a relative amount of smartness because I don't do sloppy (even my porridge has substance). Basically I want to be a City Chic wearing simple, classic pieces that are timeless and require minimal effort.

Let's do this....

1. The Boyfriend Jumper & Jeans


First up, a simple boyfriend jumper and white jeans. Pale pink is 'the' colour of the season so while the rest of the outfit is not at all high fashion, the colour is. And, it will keep on giving far longer than say the 1970 Bella Freud jumper that is oh-so popular (I do love the BF jumper by the way but I want something that will stand the test of fashion time).

And the jeans are just glorious, they fit like a dream. Ok, I know white jeans aren't everyone's cup of tea especially if you have children of waist height proportions that take great delight in hanging off your knees with grubby fingers. I clean the wood burner in mine, bleach the loo, take the dog out. I'm more likely to spill spag bol down my front than dirty my bottom half. And there's something about white jeans that has an instant smartening effect don't you think?


Boyfriend Jumper - Winser London
White Jeans - Winser london
Wanderlust Pumps - Holster Australia
Coat - Zara (similar)

Clothes deets: I'm wearing a medium in the boyfriend jumper which is over sized but without being sloppy. It's Merino wool, a perfect spring weight and is available in many colours. The jeans are size 10, my usual size with a decent stretch. Really comfortable and my first experience of trying Winser London jeans. The pumps are by Holster Australia in silver, the comfiest shoes I own. There are some sizes left over on the website but new spring colours are due in soon according to Instagram




2. Striped Jumper & Capri Pants

Don't we love our stripes? You know, you could be wearing a raggy old pair of jeans but add a freshly ironed striped top and it transforms the whole outfit. It's a given that every woman should have stripes in her wardrobe! And of course they never, ever date so it's worth investing in quality. This one is 100% cotton and if you're doing a UK beach holiday this summer, GET THIS. It's perfect for layering over a vest top and shorts when the weather takes a turn. The slightly wider neckline is very flattering and the dipped hem at the back covers our little bottoms.

Now, let's talk about trousers. They're like bloomin buses, you spend weeks searching for them and then three pairs come along at once (check out this post for the Next cropped flares and Gap real straight jeans). But these ones, they've set the bar at the very top. They are the queen of trousers. Double knit Ponte pull on Capris. Deep concealed elastic waistband that sits neatly across the tummy and holds everything in. I wasn't sure whether I'd like them from the photo online. I don't like them. I love 'em. Don't let the fact that they look like a thick legging put you off. They totally look like a proper pair of tailored Capris on. I'm wearing the midnight which is a dark navy.

Teamed with an old pair of Converse and with hindsight I wish I hadn't worn them. You know when there's something in your wardrobe that you don't like but don't know why. That! I think it's because they're just too casual and cool for me. Maybe it's because Converse look better when they're battered and dirty. Mine are still as pristine as when they came out of the box many years ago! There's no hope really is there 🙈

Cotton Casual Jumper - Winser London
Emma Miracle Pintuck Capri Trousers - Winser London
All Star Low White Converse -  Office

Clothes deets: I'm wearing a medium jumper. I would probably size down in this if you're between sizes because it's quite swingy. The trousers are size 10, my usual size. They're available in black (a great work wear option) and camel.




3. The Audrey Jumper & Capri Pants

I've always had a soft spot for cricket jumpers (which are due for a comeback this season by the way) and yacht wear. God knows where that throw-back has come from. But this next jumper seems to be a modern combination of both which makes me very happy. I mean, it is so darn English isn't it? 100% cotton so very breathable for when you need a sweater but don't want to roast-in-a-bag. It's over-sized but cut straight which is an important point. Sweaters that are cut wide can look really sloppy and are difficult to obtain a sleek city chic look.

Trousers are as before and I'm wearing sling back loafers from last year (much easier to walk in than backless ones).

Audrey Cotton Jumper - Winser London
Emma Miracle Pintuck Capri Trousers - Winser London
Sling Black Loafers - Next (similar)
Pippa Grab Bag - Modalu


Clothes deets: I'm wearing a medium jumper. If you're in between sizes, go down as it's roomy. Capri trousers are size 10, my usual size.





And in keeping with the simple theme, I'm wearing minimal jewellery, just a tiny necklace and a couple of small bracelets. Even my hair is low maintenance. That means not washed and blow dried by the way. A quick back comb behind the crown and then a piece of hair taken from each side above the ear, twisted and pinned with bobby pins at the back. It takes a whole 3 minutes to do.

So let's have a quick recap about pulling off casual wear (in a kinda City Chic way) for the real woman.

1. Choose classic pieces such as stripes
2. Avoid fuss and detail
3. Straight cut tops and sweaters are smarter than wider, slouchy cuts
4. Controversial I know, but a dark wash denim is better than a lighter wash
5. Keep accessories to a minimum
6. Trainers should be clean and possibly of the plain leather variety rather than sporty

Ok so now I need to fess up, I loved these pieces so much that I bought three of them, the Ponte trousers, the Audrey jumper and boyfriend jumper. I'm building up quite a little collection of Winser London.

We've only just broken up for half term and I believe temperatures are predicted to hit 17 degrees next week. Sod's Law, I'm out of the country. Happens every time. If you want great weather, put me on an aeroplane. Question is, am I doing a hot or cold weather hol? Family vote resulted in a 3-1landslide victory so one of us is very disappointed!!!!!!

Have a lovely weekend.















Nice Crepes Mum

14 February 2017
(Crepes as in trainers, not pancakes - down with the kids, this mum is)

As well as searching for a new cut of trouser, I've also been on the look out for new trainers. I'd originally set my heart on the khaki suede Stan Smiths. They're more beige than green in real life. However it wasn't to be as I couldn't find a 5.5 anywhere, my perfect Adidas size.

And then hurrah, I found these in Marks & Spencer which I liked rather a lot. Except they're not leather so I walked away. Right back to the car park in fact. And then I thought sod it, if they fit and they're comfortable, I'm getting them. So I went back. Smelly feet is a small price to pay (I don't have smelly feet really, well not yet).

Marks & Spencer Punch Hole Trainers £19.50



And do you know what, they're really rather comfy, trying them out today and so far so darn good.

Of course a seal of approval from the son was required and as I walked in to his bedroom to open his blinds (at 12.30pm but we'll skip over that point), he lifted his head from the pillow and said 'nice crepes Mum'. Bingo, they're keepers. We won't tell him that they're not leather and they're from good ol' Marks & Sparks. Sometimes mums have to be economical with the truth.

Now the question is, could I get away with the other colourways too? The gold are lush but I already have a pair of platform trainers from last year that are very similar.

Marks & Spencer Punch Hole Trainers in Metallic Gold, Navy & White £19.50


By the way, the pink I'm wearing are much less pinky-pink in real life, more of a nude colour, just the way I like them 👍


Ruffled Blouse - River Island (similar)
Coat - Zara (similar)
Fulmer Bag - Village England
Coated Leggings - Next (black/navy here)
Trainers - Marks & Spencer

Catch up soon.



The One Where I Find A Replacement For The Next Pull On Coated Leggings

13 February 2017
Hello, long time no speak. Yes I'm still here, still getting dressed every morning but what with the lurgy, housey stuff and a holiday to organise, time has kinda passed me by.

I've also been on the hunt for something other than skinny fit jeans/trousers.

Long time readers of the blog will know that for the last couple of years, I've championed the Next Pull On Coated Leggings.  I have 5 pairs and wear them daily. They are my surrogate denims.


Honestly I can't rate them enough and I know that many of you have them too.

- They're a great fit
- They're high waisted and pull you in but still feel comfortable
- They don't bag around the knee or indeed lose their shape anywhere
- They stay up all day

And providing that you wash them on a gentle wash (20 degrees with a 1000 spin speed seems to be ok), they'll last and last. In fact the only downside is that they have zero thermal properties. Do not, I repeat do not go sledging in them.

Can you see my reluctance to stop wearing them? Can you? Do you feel my pain? But hey, skinnies are on their way out aren't they? Not quite sure that the High Street has got that memo because they're still in plentiful supply. From the more expensive end, Paige denim to the more reasonably priced Levis. And more importantly, still championed by us, the shoppers. Oasis are running a little competition at the moment (featuring gorgeous Alex from The Frugality) and as I write, 85% of entries have voted for skinnies over and above a more relaxed side stripe jogger. It's definitely worth entering (here) as you have a chance of winning the entire edit. Gotta be in it to win it.

I've been driving myself (and the family) demented trying to find a suitable replacement to the skinny. Don't want to be left behind and all that. A case of FOMO if ever there was one. Anyway, after weeks and weeks of searching and, trying on dozens and dozens of different shapes, I think I've finally found a fab pair that fit and flatter. And guess where from.....Next, again!

Hadn't even clocked these online as while this photo isn't awful, I don't think it shows how fab they really are either.

Next Black Ponte Flare Trousers £24


Ok, we're not going to win any awards for originality here, I mean, you'll probably find them in every shop but OMG the fit is amazing. A little dissection is required me thinks:

- They're pull ons so no bulky zips and waistbands to deal with
- Ponte fabric is not only comfortable but holds you in as well
- They're neat around the top of the leg which doesn't overwhelm your frame and gives shape
- They're described as a flare but it's more of a kick flare and this shaping is great for hourglasses and pears for balancing everything out
- The crop will be great for wearing in the warmer months and suits lots of shoe styles
- Easily dressed up or down, totally versatile

I'll wear with a sock boot for now although apparently temperatures are supposed to reach the giddy highs of double figures come Wednesday, I may well try a pair of trainers. Don't hold me to that!

So I bought a size 10 and 12 as I couldn't decide which I preferred in the shop. I think I'm going to keep the 12 for a slightly more relaxed fit. Sorry no photo yet as it was far too windy and cold to go outside today.

By the way, if you're looking for another alternative, these Gap High Rise Real Straight Jeans are excellent. A straight leg without being overly baggy so a good transition from a more fitted style. Love the high waist which holds everything in.

If you try either the trousers or jeans, let me know what you think.

No half term for us yet in Cheshire although we have a poorly boy off school and with GCSEs looming, I'm counting how many teaching hours he's missing. I'm stressed, he's as laid back as ever 😱  Boys!!!!!

And, totally off topic, why hasn't anyone ever told me about spiral hairpins before? They are a total revelation. Literally, twist all your hair into a bun shape (you don't need a bobble), twist one in from the bottom and another from the top and you end up with a kind of messy up-do. I am impressed! Do feel free to pass on any little hair tips for short crappy fine hair. I'm all ears.

Amazon Spiral Hairpins (pack of 10) £3.79


Back soon.






P.S. This is not a sponsored post. I am in no way affiliated to Next although I do feature their stuff lots. I paid full price for all trousers and leggings featured. There, glad I got that off my chest xx

Still Planning Forward With A Few More Spring Updates

03 February 2017


I popped over to Homebase earlier for varnish (don't ask, it's boring) and couldn't resist nipping in to Next for a mooch. Actually that's a lie, I wanted to check out the red tweed jacket - the varnish was an excuse.

I feel the need to justify another jacket to my family who already despair that my obsession is akin to growing mushrooms. Now spilling over into 3 bedrooms. But but but, many are old and all are worn. OK not right now, jumpers and coats are on repeat but give it a few weeks and they'll come into their own. So no, I'm not going to justify anything to anyone. The family can roll their eyes as much as they want.

Anyway, the jacket. It's a classic wardrobe piece that will I'm sure, be pulled out year after year. It's an orangey-red colour so brilliant for warm skin tones (me). I'm normally a size 10 everything in Next but had to size up in this one. It actually looks and feels more expensive than the £60 price tag.

Next Tweed Edge To Edge Jacket


I find collarless jackets easy to wear as you can literally put any style underneath. I'm thinking a plain white t-shirt and cropped jeans for a really simple crisp daytime outfit.



The shirt (£24) is also new season from Next (link here) which I picked up to try on just because it looked so vibrant and fresh. So much nicer in real life although I left it behind for now. And the black pull on coated leggings (£24) that I'm wearing are still available - phew (link here).

Now I understand that jackets aren't for everyone even though this is a lovely soft option with a bit of stretch so this next one would still give you a similar look but is more of a cardi option. I'm asked all the time how Natural style personalities can look smarter but still feel comfortable. This is your answer ladies. They didn't have it in my local shop so it's on back order online. If you want to give it a try, I'd recommend that you pop an order over ASAP.

Red Military Jacket £32



Still on a mission to rediscover my love of denim. I think I've decided that non-skinny, distressed jeans are just too sloppy for me. Happy to do a little distressing on a skinny because they're more of a structured shape than say a boyfriend. But I'm totally freaked out that I need to find another shape of denim for fear that skinnies are well and truly on their way out (please no). So I've ordered the high rise real straight jeans from Gap. Haven't received them yet and by all accounts I won't get them until well into next week so heads up now as there is 35% off full price styles quoting code BONUSGAP. It ends on the 5th so get your skates on.

Gap High Rise Real Straight Jeans £44.95 (pre-discount)




And if you're looking for a decent plain white t-shirt to go under the red jacket above, look no further than Hush. These are fantastic quality, I much prefer them to the Boden and Baukjen ones if I'm honest. The shape, length and fabric are bob-on.

Hush Cotton Slub V-Tee £27



A couple of bits from Boden that I have my eye on, this dress needs a little explaining because quite honestly it looks a bit, well boring shall we say.

So the picture first of all.

Boden Margot Jersey Dress £55


I could do a lot with it though. It's an easy wear which suits me down to the ground. I'm far too lazy to have to think about changing clothes throughout the day for different activities. Chuck this on in a morning and it's easily dressed up with a jacket and heels or down with flip flops for pottering around the house. I'm talking summer wear obviously.

I'm still explaining...

So last year I stuck to simple silhouettes and accessorised, accessorised, accessorised. And it kind of worked. These were dresses that I could wear on a daily basis, easy care, easy wear and comfortable. So I aim to repeat again this year starting with the Margot dress above.

And finally shoes, my favourite subject EVER. Navy blue suede no less which are a perfect transitional footwear for spring. And would look great with the red jacket and jeans. Just saying.

Boden Catherine Mid Heel Shoes £98



By the way, a reader has got in touch to tell me that she ordered the backless loafer that I featured last time. Apparently they are almost impossible to keep on your feet so if you love them as much as me I've devised a plan of action:

1. Wait for a discount code, you won't mind so much that you can't walk in them

2. Only wear them when you're standing still. Obviously this means that the family will have to do all daily chores

3. I do think that there is a way of keeping them on your feet by walking like a duck. This will take practice but basically turn your feet outwards, bend the knees and stick out your bum. Shuffle forward. I'm positive this will work.

Good luck.

It's a stressful old time in this house as I'm sure anyone with 15 year old boys doing GCSEs will agree. How we're going to get through to June, I do not know. I'm not allowed to help, scratch that, I'm not allowed to even speak and god help me if I attempt to tidy up his room. Oh a fun weekend in store for sure. I hope you have a better one.


Freshening Up Your Forever Wardrobe With A Few New Spring Pieces

30 January 2017
Anyone else feeling it? That dreary January feeling. Rubbish isn't it. I feel as if I'm rotating the same old silhouette of skinny jeans and jumpers on a weekly basis which makes for very boring Instagram fodder so I'm not actually bothering.

I look at the London based bloggers who are already showing their spring ensembles. Bare ankles, minimal layers and I think how lucky they are and how easy they've got it!  I mean it's always a couple of degrees warmer down there and it hardly rains (does it?). They can tube everywhere and we all know how warm it is on the underground even in the depths of winter. Yep they have it easy. Well that was until I spent a few days at my daughters over the Christmas period and woke up to a hard frost. The 5 minute walk to the tube station was brutal and traipsing from one shop to another on Oxford Street wasn't much better. Up here in the North West, I drive everywhere and even get the 15 year old to switch on the engine to warm the car up before we do the school run. So I've come to the conclusion that London bloggers are well 'ard and have my complete admiration. You go girls!

Personally I'm not ready to shed the layers but it doesn't stop me from salivating over the new stuff that's hitting the High Street at the moment. I'm determined not to fall into the trap of buying fast fashion. I want my money to work harder than just one season. So with that in mind, let's have a look at a few bits to freshen up your wardrobe.

Shoes


For me, shoes are probably the best way of injecting fresh life in to the wardrobe. You know, a basic outfit of jeans and a blazer will be instantly updated by a new pair of shoes. And 2017 doesn't disappoint.

Let's take a few moments to admire these things of beauty.

Sigh.

The red stripe is very Gucci inspired and as we know, Gucci is mahoosive at the moment. Of course they're far more purse friendly than said designer. Also available in leopard print and black.

Boden Backless Loafer currently £88.20



Pair with your favourite fit jeans or trousers. Of course mine would be skinnies but I'd also try them with a crop later in the season (ie. when it warms up). And there's still mileage in those pleated skirts when worn with these.

Love this simplicity of this look. Basic wardrobe staples totally updated by adding loafers.

Image courtesy of Pinterest: Fashion Landscape Blog

And doing the column of colour for a slim silhouette (because she needs it - not).

Image courtesy of Pinterest



Let's talk about trainers. As much as I'm drawn to a smarter look, I'm also partial to a good trainer. The way I make them work is to keep everything else smart. I can't do the whole casual thing - not cool enough and all that. Anyway, I'm loving the gum soled trainers that we're seeing at the moment especially the creeper sneaker. These in fact...

Puma Basket Platforms £75


Yeah, yeah, yeah, don't all fall about laughing as indeed did the son (who believes he's the King Of Trainers), I'm thinking styled more like Jessica Alba.




Although, I'm VERY drawn to these Woden metallic ones. Totally different and would probably sit better in my wardrobe.


Woden Ydun Metallic Trainer Gunmetal £85


Other colours available at less than half price, around £39 here and here

And grown up outfit inspiration courtesy of Pinterest (there's a long coat theme going on here!!).

Image courtesy of Pinterest 

As you know, I'm a sucker for adding colour to an outfit through shoes and bags.



These caught my eye on Instagram the other day. And let's face it, since Lady Di, the ballet pump queen put them on the map 30 odd years ago, they've never really gone away have they?

Taylor Blake Red Tokara Shoes £85



Enough talk about shoes, let's do tops.

Tops

So, we're all going beserk about wide sleeves. frills and ruffles which are all carry overs from last season meaning you could still snag a bargain the sales. Case in point, this from ASOS. It's the sort of top that can still be worn way after we've calmed down and got over our sleeve obsession. It's merely a denim shirt with a twist and that twist so happens to be hot right now. Do you see what I mean? 




That M&S jumper. Have you seen it? You know, the funnel sleeve one. I'm sure you have, it's everywhere and as much as I love seeing it all over Instagram, I'm a bit fed up with it now. It feels like I actually own it myself and have worn it every day for the last month. That's how much it's out there!! And it's got to be said that the people I've seen in it actually look much better than the models online (standard M&S). 

People have commented that they worry about the sleeves dipping into their soup (don't eat soup) or snagging on the dishwasher drawers (get the kids to empty it). Sorry, practicality is alien to me. Drapey sleeves are up there with high heels, did your mother not teach you that beauty is pain? But here's a bit of a compromise (again in the sale). Not quite as dramatic as others out there but easier to get on with. I think a little vision is required for this top. First of all, it's an ideal length to wear with pleated skirts ie it sits on the waist band. I think it will also work really well with a pair of black cigarette pants and jacket (the neat fit will enable it to be layered). Or over a white shirt and jeans. 




Other than the first shirt, I've tried to find practical pieces that will work for us normal people. This next one fits the bill. The 3/4 length sleeve is so much easier to get on with, at the end of the day, it's a plain grey jumper with a few pleats.

Mango Pleated Sleeves Sweater £39.99




I'm always on the lookout for easy wear pieces that look as if I've made the effort and the next top fits the bill. It's something that I'd wear with a pair of skinny jeans (if I ever find my love for denim again) and be perfectly happy to stay in it all day regardless of whether I'm at home, running errands or meeting friends. The ruffle is a nod to the trend but I think it will stand the test of time too. Also available in navy. 




Love this whole look, it's a smart take on casual and looks so fresh. You'll be able to pick up the cigarette pants from the same link. By the way, this is a great take on nude pink for any one with a warm skin tone or red heads who often struggle with pink. 




I've featured this next one before and I have it myself. The red stripe again is Gucci inspired. I was slightly concerned that the stripe would broaden my frame - look how the eye is drawn upwards and outwards. It's actually ok on though (I have no explanation for that, let me think about it).  By the way, don't bother trying to iron the ruffles, steam them, much quicker. 




And I think we'll leave it there for now. We'll look at trousers, bags and jackets later this week and I still need to finish off writing the post I promised last time about colour. 

Well, I've basically lived in a pair of old trousers over the last few days having decided in my wisdom to decorate one of the spare rooms. Forget the gym, I feel as if I've had a full workout. Every muscle in my body aches. It seemed such a good idea last week. Should have waited for the decorator. Impatience is a very bad trait indeed. 

Have a lovely week.


What To Wear To The Office

22 January 2017
I was asked back in the autumn to do a blog post about office wear and more specifically suitable attire for a Natural (find your style personality here) so it seems as good a time as any to tackle this subject. That said, my office days are long gone and I don't class myself as any form of expert in this field. In fact, I've been putting this post off for ages because I'm so out of touch but I promised so shall deliver. Let's see how we get on shall we?

Back in the day when I was required to dress for the office it was very much suits and heels. In fact thinking about it, trousers really didn't feature at all. I know my kids think I lived with the dinosaurs but trousers were perfectly acceptable back then. I guess it was just a personal choice. We certainly didn't have dress down Fridays though, gosh perish the thought! Even the husband's office attire has changed. He no longer feels the need to do the double cuff thingy, tie and formal day suit. These days he'll quite happily wear a shirt and jumper for day to day meetings. I'm thinking progress - yes?

Here are my tips for office wear.


1. Split your suits


You'll find that your wardrobe becomes much more versatile if all of you separate your suits into separates.  A suit jacket may work with a dress. And a favourite pair of trousers may take on a whole new lease of life with a different jacket. I'm almost certain that you'll find new combinations if you sort your wardrobe in this way


2. Don't buy suits!

Buy separates. I would have a selection of jackets in my wardrobe along side a few skirts and pairs of trousers. Suits can be a little bit 'bank uniform' don't you think? Pencil skirts and fitted blazers in matching fabrics. Boooooring! Well it is if that's all you wear day in, day out.



3. Work out your body shape

Look, we've all got different figures haven't we so why would we all wear the same suit? That's another reason for not buying them. Far better to work out what shape you are and dress accordingly. Take a look at a very old blog post here for dress advice. I think I need to do a general update on body shapes. You might find the more recent 'putting the X-factor into your wardrobe' post useful as this helps you to identify a blueprint wardrobe for the future. 

4. Comfort is key

Let's face it, you're going to be spending hours and hours in work wear so it's important that you feel comfy. This is of particular importance to Natural style personalities as comfort is right up there at the top of the wish list. Ponte is a brilliant fabric as it stretches with you as you move.  Case in point: Boden's Emilia Blazer is amazing. I wear this casually which suits my lifestyle but it's a great little office number too. 


Emilia Ponte Blazer - BodenBoden
Stripe Jumper - ASOS (similar)(similar)
Blue Lift & Shape Slim Leg Jeans - M&CoM&Co
Burgundy Boots - Local Boutique (similar)(similar)

Honestly, I can wear this all day and forget it's a blazer. Good quality Ponte will love you forever. Look for it in skirts, trousers and dresses as well. It holds you in, an added bonus.

The Winser London Miracle dress range is fantastic. For ladies who need a bit of power dressing, I'd recommend these every time. Lots of stretch but having the added bonus of clever paneling to hold in the wobbly bits. They look pretty sharp don't they? But honestly, they are still totally comfortable. 

Miracle Dress (also available in black, Winser blue, midnight navy and moonlight - Winser London


Miracle Fitted Dress in Rich Burgundy (also available in black and moonlight) - Winser London


Throw on a jacket and you're ready to face the Monday morning board meeting, chuck on a cardi for a slightly less formal look. Let's talk about cardis shall we because they're a great alternatives to the more formal jacket. I favoured Chanel style cardis in the colder months because they're warmer and easier to layer under a coat. You'd be hard pressed to find one at the moment as they're not deemed 'on trend' but the shorter style can be really rather smart. Take this one...

House Of Fraser Stripe Cardigan Was £79 Now £39)


Teamed with a black dress such as this one, you've got yourself a pretty easy wear outfit.



Dress - Marks & Spencer
Cardigan - House of Fraser
Bag - John Lewis
Shoes - Top Shop


This is the nearest I can find to a Chanel style cardigan.

Boden Cara Trim Detail Cardigan £80


And a very comfortable outfit, no one can say this isn't smart!

Cardigan - Boden
Trousers - Marks & Spencer
Shirt - Me&Em
Shoes - Top Shop
Bag - Mango

You could swap the pussy bow shirt for something a little more simple if this is too fancy. Although it's a lovely soft fabric. Check out those Ponte trousers from M&S at just £15.

Elasticated waist bands aren't just for pregnant women and those over the age of 75. They're comfortable and often very flattering. I'm thinking more of the pull up trousers and tube skirts variety rather than full on ruching around the belly. They tend to lie flat against your figure so don't add unnecessary bulk in areas that most of us don't want to 'bulk' out. The Milano wool skirts from Winser London are fantastic. Available in other colours too (this is the blush).

Frill Blouse - Local Boutique (similar)
Blush Milano Pure Wool Skirt - Winser London
Shoes - ASOS (similar)
Bag - Marks & Spencer (similar)
This might be worth a spin.

Marks & Spencer Pull On Bodycon Skirt £17.50





Adore this little peplum skirt from Next. Get me an office job quick!!!!!

Next Black Peplum Skirt £28



These trousers are fabulous. Yes to day-to-evening styling, the belt is removable so perfect to wear with a jacket and shirt during the day. They're soft, stretchy and actually described as a sophisticated track pant. That'll be a yes then?

Me&Em Day To Evening Tux Trouser £135



Don't be put off with the M&S styling (I've chosen the flat image for obvious reasons) but I think these could do the job. I'd go shorter so if you're a long, try a regular length.


Marks & Spencer Ponte Straight Leg Trousers £19.50




5. Be practical 

a) Choose easy care fabrics

Let's face it, the last thing any working woman needs is a whole bunch of hand wash or dry clean items. I'd love to wear silk shirts every day but that is never going to happen because I throw everything into the washing machine. I know a lot of people don't like polyester for it's inherent spontaneous combustion properties but you can't beat it for minimal laundry care. No poncey wash cycle required, hang on a coat hanger to dry and you'll probably get away without ironing. This is one of my very easy care polyester tops which is probably why I wear it lots! Old from good old Dorothy Perkins.


Another reason to buy Ponte - it's great for the working woman - most of it is machine washable including jackets.

b) Ponchos are super useful!

Great for popping over your blazer and a much more practical option than trying to shoe horn your body plus jacket into an overcoat.

This one is from Kettlewell Colours and has been so useful. Chuck it in your bag if the weather looks a bit iffy (90% of the time).

Kettlewell Colours City Poncho Currently £48.30



And even better, the cashmere blend wraps from Mimi & Thomas. You can unbutton one side to create all sorts of different looks.

Mimi & Thomas Cashmere Wrap With Buttons £80



So, if it gets a bit chilly in the office, you can fashion it into a cardi style (now that's clever!). I'm wearing it as a wrap here but button up the front and voila, it's a stripy cardigan.



Lots of colour choices too (here) so you can either choose an understated neutral such as navy or add a statement colour to an outfit (love the cornflower blue).

c) Culottes rule ✌

Back in the day it was always ME that the photocopier packed up on or the fax machine decided not to play ball with. Oh yes a very regular occurrence indeed. Which necessitated clambering over several desks and reaching down to unplug the darn things. Not easy in an already over the knee pencil skirt I can tell you. Culottes would have saved many a blush.

I bought these tailored pinstripe pair back in November and completely forgot about them until today. They would be a perfect addition to a working wardrobe.  Ok, lose the biker and white boots! They're sold out online now but I noticed quite a few pairs in different colourways on Oxford Street last week (in the sale as well). They're the pull up ones if you happen to be near a Zara soon.



For a polished office look stick to suiting or heavier fabrics.

Zara Culottes £29.99



Maybe not such a versatile colour but regardless, they're lush...

Next Burgundy Wide Crop Trousers £42



Pleats anyone?

Warehouse at John Lewis Pleated Culottes £45



Something for the depths of winter, Milano wool. The drape is beautiful.

Jaegar at John Lewis Wool Milano Knit Culottes Currently £60




6. And a few other bits to finish off this topic because it's turning into a mega post

*mega as in long, not mega as in fantastic

a) Update your look with shoes

Let's face it, kitting out your working wardrobe can cost an arm and a leg so it's not practical to start again at the beginning of every season. But, a pair of shoes can really update your look. Top Shop are brilliant at producing shoes inspired by the couture catwalks. Next are also a very affordable option. And, I have a big soft spot for Boden's footwear, there's always a statement shoe lurking in every collection.

b) But not all shoes work with all trousers

I'm thinking wide leg trousers here. Look, if you buy wide legs that are only just long enough, it's going to be flats all the way. And, conversely if you buy them overly long, it will always be heels. Worth bearing in mind because they ain't going to work with both flats and heels are they?

c) Statement tops will take an outfit up a few notches

Work wear doesn't have to be boring. A pussy bow blouse will sharpen up any old suit. Pleated cuffs peeping out from a jacket provide a bit of interest. I love a good cuff so this season, let's just say I'm like a pig in mud!

Get yourselves some cuff goals ladies...





c) Column of colour 

Yes that old chestnut again. Sorry. But it works. So to recap, dressing in one solid colour top to toe will give you a streamlined look. You can add any colour jacket over this.

Navy/Black Mix Jacket - old (similar and an absolute bargain!)
Black Top - Me&Em (reduced)  
Black coated pull up leggings - Next (maybe not suitable for office wear!)
Shark Pippa Grab Bag - Modalu (currently reduced)
Black Boots - Boden (reduced)

d) Coatigans are useful little things

I mean you won't look a pillock sat in the sub-zero office in one. Unlike your anorak. This is mine which I love (doing the column of colour thingy too).

Cashmere Blend Chunky Coat - Winser London (now reduced)
Black Button Down Back Crepe Top - Ichi (similar here - great wardrobe staples)

Black Pull On Coated Leggings - Next
Black Ankle Boots - Marks & Spencer (old)
Metallic Bronze Clutch - Mimi & Thomas

I could go on and on and on but I won't torture you anymore. I'll do a summer office wear post when we've stopped wearing our thermals (that'll be July then). Next time, I'm going to talk about the psychology of colour and what it says about you. You can apply this to your workwear wardrobe too. 


Well, I hope you've found this just a little bit useful. I do understand that there's a varying degree of what's acceptable dress from one office to another so you may need to adapt this to suit your own environment. Me? I'd be in full on power dressing mode every day because I love a good pinstripe. But life is very different these days and just to prove it, I'll leave you with a faux fur selfie from last weekend in London (I seem to have kopped for the Big Bird one). Yep, things are very different 😌





 
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