I have just found your blog and would really love your advice. I am 42, 5'7" and a size x and I'm really struggling with my work wardrobe. I need to be smart-ish for work - not suits - but smart separates or dresses.
I recently had a wardrobe clear out and am basically left with two pairs of black trousers, a black skirt and various tops. I need to build up a versatile work wardrobe that will let me mix and match items and accessories to produce a number of different outfits.
I would love to be good with scarves, jewellery etc to ring the changes but am never very sure what works well. My budget is High Street I suppose - Next, M&S etc.
Any advice would be most welcome.
We had a few email exchanges so that I could get some more information before I set to work this morning in hope of producing a small capsule collection that would see Kirsty through spring and summer in the office with ease, but I also wanted to include pieces that could be worn at weekends or mix and matched with existing pieces as well. Most people are on some sort of budget so I wanted pieces that would work hard for their money.
It sounded as though Kirsty was a bit sick of her black separates as so many women are and sometimes you just have to ring the changes, so I decided to include some navy into her wardrobe as it is often a far more flattering colour to wear. I am loving orange this season and it looks great with a tan as well as the tan accessories I have chosen to complete her looks. I have included some gold costume jewellery as Kirsty struggles with accessorising her outfits, I decided to stick with gold tones as they work well with orange and are easy to wear until she gains more confidence. I have also included a lightweight summer scarf, a great way to bring her looks together. When faced with a capsule wardrobe challenge I always try to choose everything from a department store to cut delivery costs, so all the clothes featured are available from John Lewis who stock a large range of brands as well as their own quality collections and offer free standard delivery if you spend over £30.
The tangerine dress will be invaluable in the office come summer and as Kirsty has a good waistline, the drawstring will emphasis this. You can also conceal the drawstring and add the plaited belt to pull the look together when wearing the tan sandals. From LK Bennett its not cheap but will be a worthy investment and can be worn at weekends with flat sandals, the perfect hot sunny day dress and because Kirsty only needs to do smart/casual she doesn't need or want anything too structured.
The navy jacket not only dresses up these outfits, it will look fab teamed with jeans and ballet pumps at weekends.
The bag is classic in both style and colour and is perfect for both the office and weekends and will age beautifully.
The ballet pumps and the aviator sunglasses are also classic in style and easy to wear.
The trousers are smart enough for work wear but will look great with a loose oversized denim shirt and the ballet pumps at weekends.
Ted Baker oversized t-shirt in dark orange £39. Gold Aviator sunglasses £20. Pretty Ballerinas navy pumps £129. John Lewis navy/orange scarf £30. John Lewis Gold spiked necklace £17. Thick gold bangle £15. Warehouse cropped trousers at John Lewis £35. Dune Cork Sandals £75. Plaited Belt £18. Phase Eight white cowl neck top at John Lewis £28. LK Bennett Tangerine shift dress from John Lewis £135. Collection by John Lewis navy sateen jacket £79. Phase Eight navy stripe top was £39 now £27.30. John Lewis leather tote bag £85.
How to wear
The weather is warming up slightly so the navy blazer will be invaluable until things really hot up and can be worn over all the tops and the dress.
All the items mix and match but to give you an idea of how I envisage them being worn here goes:-
Orange top: Now - Trousers, oversized orange top, navy blazer, scarf, bangle, navy pumps and bag.
When its warmer - Trousers, oversized orange top, gold necklace, tan sandals, sunglasses and bag.
Dress: Now - Dress, jacket, scarf, bangle, ballet pumps and bag.
When its warmer - Dress, necklace, belt, sandals, bag and sunglasses.
Once you have the basics it is so easy to add to this capsule collection with navy chino's, a pair of nude court shoes, a selection of cardigans and knitwear in different styles in navy, orange and beige and some printed blouses.
I hope she likes it, I've fallen in love with all these pieces so want to get a job in her office!