What I Wore Wednesday – Working Wardrobe

Hello all,

I’ve been participating in a Autumn (Fall) fashion challenge throughout October over on Instagram. Organised by my favourite blogger Molly of Still Being Molly it has been a fun way to get me thinking about my wardrobe and the choices I have. As I mentioned in my last post I’m not entirely happy about my weight, I have so many beautiful clothes that I currently don’t fit. This challenge whilst making me think in new ways about the clothes that do fit is also helping me to focus on my eventual aim to fit into all my lovely clothes (especially my frocks) again.

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My weekday wardrobe is a mixture of smart-casual skirts, dresses and trousers. I tend to buy most of my clothes from Next (Tall selection online and very good delivery service), M&S, Monsoon, La Redoute, BHS and White Stuff. I am tall (5ft9 with long legs) and not skinny (top heavy) so shopping can be difficult.

I’m the librarian at an Further Education College library so I have to look smart as I’m managing the library but I also want to look approachable to the students. I tend to wear a bit of colour and although I have suits and more formal clothes I tend to keep them for more formal meetings rather than my day to day job.

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Day 21 of the #SBMFallFashionChallenge called for some animal print… I’m not really an animal print sort of girl.. but I do make an exception for wee owls… (all part of the looking approachable to students aim, I mean someone wearing colourful owls can’t be scary, can they?)

image3I tend to wear a low heel or flats for work. I have dodgy knees and a condition in my feet called plantar fasciitis which means I have to wear special insoles in my shoes so my requirement for work shoes is that I can get my insoles into them and that they look smart. I’m really sad that my favourite pair of teal heels are going to have to go to shoe heaven soon as the patent is all scratched and white scuff marks are showing – not so good for work! My shoes below come from New Look and are several years old. Most of shoes come from M&S (good old Marks & Sparks!) and Clarks.  I have 3 pairs of heels from Monsoon that have been excellent work shoes back when I was teaching as well. I recently bought a pair of shoes from Hotter and they are very comfortable and don’t look like Granny shoes so I’m keeping an eye out for sales with them. image1

Layers are really vital in my place of work. The building dates from the early 1960s and can either be freezing or boiling hot. The windows are double height, floor to ceiling, leak and let the wind in.. but they also act like a greenhouse on sunny days. To combat this I’ll usually have a top and a cardigan or blazer and a scarf which I can put on or take off according to the climate during the day. I also keep a fleece in the office for extremely cold days (luckily only about 3 days a year). image2 (1)

So my tweaks for something super smart like this dress below (Next Tall) which is part of a suit would be, cardigan, coloured shoes, scarf and pretty jewellery.

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My wardrobe is much the same as my teaching days and most of the same rules apply.

* Be comfortable, clothes which are not comfy or you feel unhappy in will just distract you from work.

* Keep covered up. Flesh on show with skirts that are too short or cleavage are not appropriate.

* Dress in a way that suits your personality but also suits the job and how you want to be perceived. Ie. I love colourful things but some of my wacky clothes are just not suited for work. I want to be perceived as friendly but also in control so hence the smart but a little bit casual apparel.

* Accessorize (if you want to). I love my scarves and jewellery and to me they finish off my wardrobe so I am very happy to purchase little bits and bobs (a scarf wherever I go) to complement lots of my existing clothes. They allow me to put my own stamp on my smart clothes.

* Don’t wear scuffed, broken, tired clothes. Yes you have had those shoes for years, yes they did the job well, yes they go with a million things in your wardrobe but if they are a bit past it then they have to be excused from you work wardrobe because people won’t know your connection and history with that item, they will just see a scruffy person who doesn’t care.

Anyway that is just some of my own thoughts. I spend 36+ hours of my week at work so I do have a large ‘workdrobe’ and I enjoy my clothes (although I am definitely not fashionable). For more working wardrobe inspiration I suggest you look at Fashionably Employed blog.

Merry

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What I wore Wednesday

What I wore Wednesday

This week has been all about nice bright colours. I admit I am not very fashionable, I do think I have my own sense of what suits me and I try to just stay on the right side of the crazy-rainbow-lady line. I have certainly calmed down from my earlier years. My idea of a great outfit to wear on my first year of university Christmas meal out was a long denim skirt (but as I am tall it only went to mid calf), a bright pink t-shirt, stripy pink knee high socks and original Kickers boots. I LOVED those boots. I have a black patent pair now that I don’t wear very often but they are good in the winter. I also had quite long hair (my hair stayed long until early 2008 when it got chopped and has remained short-ish ever since!) and my idea of styling my long hair was to wear it in pigtails. I had just turned 18, I loved colour, stripes and frogs. I still love all of those things but in a more toned down way.

Anyway this week my pink floral Kath Kidston bag was out and about, well to my work and back, it is a lovely spring like bag with useful large pockets that was a present a few years ago. I wore it with a floral Ness skirt from last summer (I got it with a good bit of money off thanks to a promotion they ran when Andy Murray won Wimbledon, thanks to him for that!) a navy t-shirt and heels and a blue cardigan. The rest of the week has been dominated by the colour orange, and variations of the colour orange!

Ness and kath Florals Orange Blog

Today I have on black trousers and t-shirt and black heels– why all the black? Because my cardigan is a bright orange patterned affair. It is from La Redoute about 8 years ago now, I save it for the first signs of summer then I bring it out. I really like it, but it is bright and bold! Hence the rest of the outfit being boring black.

Cardigan Orange Blog

Two simple strings of orange seed beads and little hoops are all I need with this outfit. I certainly won’t be missed in a crowd!

Seed neckalce Orange Blog

I tend to use this bag when I am wearing orange or coral. It is about 8 years old as well from an Accessorize sale. The only problem I have with it is that the zip opening at the top is quite narrow. Not ideal for work diary, notepad etc., but I usually have another bag with my lunch and other bits and bobs in it on work days which solves that problem.

Bag Orange Blog

My selection of orange scarves, these are from many varied places, a Hong Kong market, M&Co, with a t-shirt from Next and a couple were gifts from my Mum who shares my little weakness for scarves.

Scarves Orange Blog

I bought this coral top in Next 2 weeks ago. I mean to keep it for my holiday but I have worn it at least half a dozen times already. For work I’ve been wearing it with a navy vest and blue trousers but on holiday I’ll likely wear it with a white vest and shorts. (32C in Hong Kong just now!) I can’t find this exact top on the Next website but they definitely have it in the shops. I’m sure it was £16 and their vest tops are two for £12 just now.

Coral Top Orange Blog

I have a few pretty bits of orange and coral jewellery. The first is this blue necklace. It really is quite ‘chunky’ for me but very nice and I have never seen anyone else wear it even though I’m sure it was from Accessorize 5-6 years ago. It was a gift from my Mum. Pictured with it is a lovely coral necklace I remember buying in a sale about 3 years ago but I just can’t remember where. I like wearing this one with a t-shirt and my pale grey blazer, it jazzes up the outfit. I don’t wear it for work really as a) it can be ab bit heavy for my neck which gets a bit ache-y anyway sitting at a computer all day, and, b) it gets in my way by sitting on my desk and swishing when I am typing, but when out for summer evening drinks, perfect!

Blue chunky and long coral Orange Blog

This coral and gold necklace came from Ollie and Nic in 2009. I used to have earring to match (little gold hearts) and a bracelet but both have gone wandering. I’m sure they will turn up eventually. I wear this necklace a lot, I like the double chain the wee touch of gold. I usually wear silver but I like the wee splash of gold for a change.

Ollie and Nic Orange Blog

Today I am wearing black heels but usually with my orange/coral outfits I wear the following selection of shoes, I am afraid that they are all old though, I do buy new things but I like to wear most of my things until they fall apart:

Shoes Orange Blog

Stripy pumps: New Look

Cream pumps: possibly Brantano

Coral Pumps: Dorothy Perkins (I used to have them in black as well but they fell to bits after a lot of wear)
Coral wedges: Monsoon

So that is my week so far. I plan to wear a bright green dress tomorrow so things aren’t getting any less bright as the week goes on! I’m off to Glasgow for the day with my Mum on Saturday, a trip to the theatre and a nice restaurant will be involved, not sure what the weather forecast is at the moment. Hopefully nice so I can wear a nice blazer instead of a waterproof coat! Maybe it will be an outfit that will incorporate this lovely bright necklace that was actually bought on the ferry over to Belfast a few years ago.

Bright Necklace

Is everyone else feeling the pull towards bright clothes now we are starting to get (almost) summery weather? Even on the rainy May days I still feel the tug, maybe I’ll tempt the sun to come out with my all the orange?

 

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Wanderings & Would Likes

    Wanderings and Would Likes

Dearie me, it has been so long sine I did a post. I have lots of ideas but I’ve had a rough few days and not much energy for work or anything. I have a history of chronic headaches and migraines that I am working on improving, but some dental treatment last week has led to a week of headaches.

The first week in the new house was great. All the unpacking is done and everything seems to be working out really well. We’ve had issues with our internet provider and are switching in the next couple of weeks and I have seen a couple more spiders than I would like (resulting in some scary dreams!) but overall the move has gone very smoothly and the Boyo and I are very happy with our new location.

Wanderings
Our wanderings over the weekend involved a wander around Beveridge Park in Kirkcaldy and then getting lost in the woods above Raith Loch behind the park. http://www.fifedirect.org.uk/atoz/index.cfm?fuseaction=facility.display&facid=ACD495D9-2942-423E-A89B2874D1E99F3A
It was fun and thankfully the weather was pleasant, getting lost and having to navigate bushes, bogs and burns in the rain would not have been so much fun. I was quite impressed with the park – looked like there was a lot to do so we’ll be back at some point. Kirkcaldy is only 20 minutes from our new house so it is a convenient place to go if I need to nip to some bigger shops (eg boots, M&S) that our new rural locality doesn’t offer.

I also got my hair chopped (very expensive getting colour re-done but now back to natural hair colour with highlghts, hooray) and a very quick (5 minutes!) wander around Fife Farmers Market – enough time to get some Isle of Arran Cracked Black Peppercorn Cheese (so good) and some lavender syrup and lavender sugar for experimentation in the kitchen. An update on these experiments will follow shortly.

Would LikesI thought I’d have a little look online at some of the shops I often buy from to see if there was anything I’d like. I am going on holiday next month to Hong Kong and throughout the summer months my workwear policy is relaxed but I usually try to stick to smart casual. I am unlikely to actually go and buy any of these things before the holiday as I’d like to save my pennies for Hong Kong. I bought a pair of navy chino shorts, a new white vest top and another coral top and that will have to do in next. I am wearing the coral top for a fourth time today so it is already a success. I have a lot of wonderful clothes but I don’t fit into many of them at the moment so finding a complete selection of holiday clothes without buying anything else will be a challenge but if I keep buying clothes that are bigger I’ll never lose the pesky weight that I need to lose in order to fit into my pretty dresses again and improve my health.

Marks & Spencers – M&S dresses can sometimes be great, sometimes not, this is mostly due to my size. Slightly on the bigger up top and tall means that dresses often are not quite proportioned right for my body but the following are definitely ones that I would like to try on!

I thought this dress was very pretty. It would be nice on my holiday but also for work throughout the summer months and it would be a nice one to dress up for a summer party. http://www.marksandspencer.com/floral-prom-dress/p/p22293911

I really like this dress, it is a real classic that could be worn throughout the year for various things.
http://www.marksandspencer.com/pure-cotton-cut-out-prom-dress/p/p22293806

This may be one that I’ll end up trying on after holiday time. I can just see it being very useful.
A very simple summer dress that would have been perfect for wandering around Hong Kong. http://www.marksandspencer.com/tile-print-chrochet-trim-fit-and-flare-dress/p/p22295610

Oooh and a very unusual multi-way dress, I’d definitely like to try this on but no doubt it will just not work with my shape at all. Still nice though. A bit fancier, good for a night out or an evening do at a wedding. http://www.marksandspencer.com/multiway-lace-print-ombre-skater-dress/p/p22288132

And finally, this is one I am going to have to try on. It would be perfect for work jazzed up with jewellery and scarves. http://www.marksandspencer.com/broderie-striped-skater-dress/p/p22274073

BHS – I hadn’t been in a BHS in years but over the last year I’ve managed to pick up a few dresses for work in there. A black dress with cobalt blue and white polka dots has been my most frequently worn item of clothing over the last few months (http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/product/women-1020590/dresses-1020593/chiffon-belted-dress-2522736?bi=201&ps=200 ). I also think BHS do fantastic tights. Marks & Spencers used to be the best but then they seemed to adjust their sizes and in order to find tights long enough for my lanky legs I have to get them way too big and they just seemed to ladder so easily. BHS are cheaper, their tights are long enough (hooray) and I think that they are fairly good quality. My winter black ones have lasted 3 years and I wear skirts and dresses and therefore tights nearly everyday for work.

I love this dress. I think it would be lovely for a summer wedding. I can just see myself wearing it with lovely dark blue accessories (or cream/white having found the shoes mentioned below). I have one wedding to go to this summer but I already have so many really lovely dresses. The wedding isn’t until August so I do hope I manage to fit back into my dresses before then, otherwise I may have to investigate this one further. http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/product/women-1020590/dresses-1020593/organza-check-prom-dress-2831857?bi=1&ps=200

This dress makes me think of the 50s and pretty ladies out enjoying the sunshine… however it is linen and as much as I think it will be so cool and comfortable I know that linen and I just don’t seem to get along too well. Example: I buy lovely linen trousers, think oh these are so smart and comfortable, great, and put them on in morning, all happy with outfit then by lunchtime feel like I am wearing extremely crumpled pyjamas and feel a bit of a mess. Alas. However I do see that this dress is a linen mix so perhaps it would hold its shape a little better. http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/product/women-1020590/dresses-1020593/blue-linen-fit-n-flare-dress-2763828?bi=1&ps=200

I actually have a dress that is basically the same shape and material as tis from BHS except my one is blue and is covered by butterflies. Extremely comfy. Again one that I can see me thinking about until I actually do go and try it on. Luckily I do not live close to these shops. http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/product/women-1020590/dresses-1020593/spot-tea-dress-2885567?bi=1&ps=200

Now onto Debenhams and some skirts. Generally I prefer my skirts to be sort of A-line and on or just above the knee. I have a couple of longer and midi skirts which I am experimenting with as although I’ve got the height my librarian-y fashion tendencies (I am actually a librarian not just stereotyping) mean that if I am not careful I can look a bit frumpy. Or mad. Or both.

How lovely is this skirt? I even have a lovely daisy necklace that would be perfect with it, and oooh it is reduced! I am on dangerous territory here! http://www.debenhams.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/prod_10701_10001_028020234460_-1

A long skirt, something I rarely wear. The Boyo is not a fan of long dresses or skirts on me, no idea why he is just odd. He actually thinks I look best in my knee length a-line dresses and skirts, which is my natural comfort zone so I am not complaining. It would be annoying if he was the type of boy who liked me all dressed up in short skirts and nails and hair all perfect because that really isn’t me! Anyway this skirt just looks comfy and easy-breezy for a hot day. Probably not one I’ll actually buy though. http://www.debenhams.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/prod_10701_10001_038010221343_-1

This is actually a Joe Browns Skirt I found through the Debenhams website, I keep meaning to get something from Joes Browns. I basically love 98% of everything they have but I’ve never actually bought anything. Maybe this year.. http://www.debenhams.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/prod_10701_10001_61068+LS258A_-1

Ok Shoes…. I have shoes from all sorts of places. My feet have been the same size since I was 16 so I have some fairly old pairs of shoes as well as some new. I have skinny feet whereas the rest of me is not skinny and I also have dodgy knees. This means I tend to go for shoes with straps and low heels. I already have my sandals looked out for the summer – a black low wedge pair from Clarks – no idea how old, a gold strappy pair of flats from New Look and another green pair I got for a wedding couple of years ago that are nearly but not quite flat. I also have several pairs of pumps that fit my special insoles for those dodgy knees, these have been bought over the years in M&S, Clarks, New Look, and just wherever I find them, very rarely do I ever find shoes in TK Maxx or H&M – they just do not really go big enough. The low heels I wear for work mostly come from M&S and Monsoon. And I have 3 pairs of espadrilles in sunny coral, useful black and green because I like green things. I like most colours really. I’m not picky where I get my shoes from, just that they are comfy and practical and usually are colourful – shoes are a great way to finish off an outfit. My sister says that they don’t finish an outfit, that they start an outfit. So when choosing what she will wear she always thinks about the shoes that she would like to wear that day first.

I just bought these Cobalt Blue pumps in BHS, £10 = bargain and I will get lots of wear out of them this summer! http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/product/women-1020590/flat-shoes-2841030/cobalt-ballerina-shoe-2652278?bi=1&ps=40

I can’t wear sandals with the toe post thingy – just makes me feel squeamish! (The thought of toe socks positively give me the heebie-jeebies so I must just be odd about toes!) I like these ones from Accessorize. The colours mean they would go with a lot of outfits and would be great with shorts, dresses, skirts or jeans. I’m unlikely to actually get these as they really don’t offer much support, I did have a pair of Acessorize sandals that I wore to death when I lived in China, they were really super so if you don’t have knee issues like me I’d suggest having a look at these. http://uk.accessorize.com/view/product/uk_catalog/acc_3/5950689939

I love these heels from Monsoon, they much more expensive than my normal shoe budget so it would have to be for a very special occasion. They actually would be nice with that pinky-coral dress from BHS I mentioned above. Or be lovely for a bride who was going for a more 50s tea length style dress (I am not getting married, this is not a hint or a clue!) Anyway they are pretty and play to my love of vintage style things. http://uk.monsoon.co.uk/view/product/uk_catalog/mon_4,mon_4.22/5430134642

I think these shoes are FAB! I’ve not bought anything from Schuh in a while, but I’m so tempted by these. I’d actually wear them for work (tiny bit quirky/mad I know), they are also available in a floral colourway. http://www.schuh.co.uk/womens-navy-and-white-schuh-tap-dance/1223575970/

Okay I think that is probably quite enough. I’m now very tempted and everyone reading this is probably bored! What do you plan on wearing this summer? Any fabulous holiday plans?

Hoping I’m now getting back into the swing of things, a thought for Thursday post and Foodie Friday should be on the way over the next few days! We haven’t yet planned our weekend wanderings for next weekend. I’m working on the Sunday but Perthshire is definitely beckoning on the Saturday… and my favourite tearoom – Spill The Beans in Dunkeld is long overdue a visit! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Spill-The-Beans-At-MacPhails-of-Dunkeld/285674418153297

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