I’ve been feeling body conscious for a long time now. I’ve gone from being overweight, to underweight, back to overweight again. More importantly, I have lost my fitness and I haven’t been great about eating healthily for about a year.
BUT, now that I’m in a job I love and things are generally going well in life, I’ve turned my focus to making me feel good about myself. I’ve started to work out again (slow and steady), and I’m making a real effort to wear outfits that are fun, fashionable, and figure-flattering, rather than my go-to “black muumuu”.
Don’t get me wrong, some days I’ll throw on a pair of black trousers and with an oversized top and cardigan and be done with it. There’s nothing wrong with dressing comfortably. It does, however, make me feel pretty and confident when I put as much effort into my outfit as I do with my makeup… and with my career. Plus, my office is so open and liberal that I feel able to pull off a variety of creative outfits while remaining “work appropriate”.
Here are some of the work outfits I’ve been trying out the past few months. My inspiration comes from Pinterest (of course), but I also take style cues from YouTube, Instagram, and in public! Oxford is a great place for picking up on a spectrum of fashion styles. Where possible, I’ve added links to the items I’m wearing, but a lot of my clothes are fairly old so they aren’t available any more.
As a reference, I’m a UK size 12, but this varies wildly between shops (and in shops).
The first two looks are centred around my pink midi skirt. I bought this on clearance a year ago at H&M for £5. It is a heavier material than most midi pleated skirts (polyester), and I think I’d prefer a chiffon one, but the thing with chiffon is that it doesn’t always sit nicely if you have bigger hips and bum. Sometimes you end up looking like you’re wearing a circus tent. Also, the extra thickness means no risk of it blowing up and VPL. A safe work option!
The white cardigan is an old one from Gap. The sandals are new and from Next for £32. The t-shirt is from H&M – can’t find the exact one but this v-neck one is similar. I wear grey or black knee-length shorts underneath to prevent rubbing.
This is a new jersey dress I picked up from Next for £20. I’m wearing it with black leggings because the mornings are still chilly. The rust/orange cardi is a few years old and is from Fat Face, and the scarf I think was from Primark ages ago.
These button down dresses are everywhere! I wanted to get one in a brighter colour, but blue is more practical for work. Again, it was too cold to wear it bare-legged so I paired this dress from Amazon with tights and boots and a grey cardigan from Eddie Bauer. The quality of the dress isn’t great. It’s missing a button by the middle seam so it looks a bit odd, and there are quite a few loose threads. But, it was under £5, and I got a partial refund for missing button! I’m hoping to get another “summery” button down dress soon.
This is one of those “not quite” outfits. The lady in the Pinterest photo looks very chic and I look… broad. In any case, this white linen tunic from Monsoon is a good summer option.
These are my new cullotes from Asos. The material isn’t wearing very well (piling); however, they are light and floaty making them good for warm weather. I’m wearing them above with a striped Joules top, and below with a loose blouse from Primark. Not quite the look in the Pinterest photo below, but I’m getting there… When I bought these cullotes I demonstrated my lunging abilities to Lucy, reminding me of the “pants suit” gif.
I got this cotton-blend striped and embroidered midi skirt from Marks & Spencers last summer and it’s been great! I wear it a lot with a navy t-shirt but it also looks good with a white blouse. I think it could also look good with a long-sleeved top on cooler days, like the Pinterest photo.
That’s all from me for this week, and I hope I’ve inspired you to try out some new fashion styles. Please share your spring outfit ideas! I’ve got a number of “looks” to try out this summer, including rockabilly (to match my new red hair), and floaty maxi dresses with a denim jacket — stay tuned!