Drumroll please, I have a new job. Huzzah. How exciting. How scary. And now I need a whole new wardrobe. Which is a little exaggeration, but not huge. You see, when you work from home a lot, there’s an alarming lack of need for proper grown up clothes, or indeed clothes indeed. No. I am not a nudist. I refer to the practice of all day pyjamas. Of course. When I am in the office, I’m not client facing very often, so a pair of jeans and a nice top will do the job. When I do need to see any clients, I throw on a blazer and make sure I have some punchy shoes. Job done (clothing wise at least). There’s also a lot to be said for accessories – scarves and necklaces can really elevate a more casual look into something office appropriate – thank God.
So now on to my new job, which is client facing. Not every day, but nevertheless, I need to purchase some new outfits. And even if I didn’t, I’d still want to as it’s both fun and mentally helpful to start a new job with a fresh look. I think it helps you embrace your new role. At least, this is my line, and I’m sticking to it…
It can be a minefield starting a new job – seriously, why aren’t company dress code guides, complete with brands and pictures compulsory? Without a guide to consult, I did the next best thing (or probably the actual best thing) and I emailed one of my new colleagues. Fortunately she’s in agreement with me on the whole scarf thing (no surprise there – I turned up to the interview and we were both wearing leopard print ones), and she’s also noted that they’re not a corporate company so boring black traditional suits aren’t the way forward either. Hurray! That being said, I do feel that an investment in a suit might be a wise move; after all, who says I have to wear both parts at the same time?
If you don’t fancy emailing a new colleague with such a ‘trivial’ question, then take a good hard look at the company itself. Is it creative or corporate? What did you wear to your interview? What were your interviewers wearing? In my case, with a company that’s non-corporate and pretty darn creative, black jeans with a blazer, a smart t-shirt underneath, lovely shoes on your feet, and a jazzy scarf around your neck is a great way to go. However, creative it may be, but slobby it is not, so it’s time to relegate the hoodies, and it’s also probably not the right place for my leather leggings either (although we’ll see about that!).
I’m not made of money so I have a limited budget to stick to so I’ve had to whittle down the wish list to a manageable few pieces. How have I done this? By searching for workwear inspiration online and taking note. By being ruthless about what I will actually wear. By remembering my own personal style (so 6 inch stilettos are out). And by remembering that I can always buy things after a month when I’ve adjusted.
First of all, I’ve treated myself to a new handbag. Of course! Now I know this sounds like a trivial purchase, but this was a congratulations present to myself from myself. I worked hard to get this new job, so I decided to treat myself. I can’t wait for it to arrive. It’s a beauty from Kate Spade, snatched up in the sale. I’m not usually a feminine kind of girl, but for some reason, the washed out pink patent colour was calling to me. So here it is, the Cedar Street Patent Reena, reduced from £330 to £198 – bargain.
Next up, a non-corporate suit, with the versatility to wear the jacket and the trousers individually as well. I plumped for this French Connection Pepper Suit (also in the sale). The grey tweed makes it less formal than some suits. I also think the jacket is hugely useful – it can be paired with all of my jeans – and I know I’ll wear it in and out of the office. As for the trousers, I’m ashamed to say I didn’t really own a pair of non-denim ones before this, so it was high time I invested anyway. These will look fabulous whether paired with tan brogues or shiny black slip ons, and worn without the jacket, and with a crisp white shirt and a great jumper over the top, you have a smart casual look that I’d wear on the weekends too.
And then there’s this Topshop Premium Suit (also on sale!). Yes, yes, I know it’s black, and therefore more formal, but it’s a very modern shape, which makes it less stuffy. To be honest, I think it’ll be a great inclusion to my wardrobe as the trousers can be worn on night’s out (ditto the blazer), and if I wear the whole suit with a sexy lace came underneath then you get a very sophisticated evening outfit.
Then this little Zara blazer is also calling to me (sale!). Another jacket you cry! Yes! And for good reason. I wear blazers a lot, and they suit my pear shape. Plus it’s lazy dressing – throw a blazer over almost any outfit and it instantly looks smarter. Easy peasy. Plus, I scored a similar black one from Zara earlier in the year and I love it.
Jeans. Not for every office nor for every day, but still a great thing to have in your clothing arsenal. I love these Topshop Jamie jeans as they’re high waisted (no embarrassing bum crack incidents), made from reasonably thick material (no embarrassing VPLs), ankle cropped (great for my stumpy legs), affordable, and come in a variety of shades including this – a blue black hybrid that is definitely smart enough for any creative office.
Shoes. I love shoes. I fully intend to become known as ‘the girl with the awesome collection of flats’. You’ve been warned. Everyone needs a good pair of black shoes, and the navy ones are from Office and they are RIDICULOUSLY comfy (which is a rare thing on my feet). And as for the gold lace ups, they’re just fab and will make sure my outfits inject both my personality and avoid looking boring.
A classic white shirt. Gap always comes up with the goods. This will work on some many occasions and with so many outfits.
Another classic – the black shift dress. This one’s from Boden. Now, I’m not a dress person. Not really. And who knows, I might decide this one isn’t for me, but I’ve still ordered it. I personally like to think it ticks lots of boxes – it can be dressed up with jewellery or dressed down with some Adidas Gazelles. It’s a decent length, it’s got sleeves, it’s not shapeless, it’s got a lovely exposed zip at the back and it’s got that great boatneck AND it’s got POCKETS! So, I’m going to give it a go. Who knows? Maybe I’ll become a dress convert (never going to happen).
And finally, this gorgeous watch from Daniel Wellington. This is most definitely on my wish list, but sadly not within my price range at the moment. I’m promising myself at when I’ve earned it properly, then, and only then, I might treat myself to it.
So there you have it – the workwear wish (and already bought in some cases) list!