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November is classed as ‘silly season’ for me as I’m just so manically busy with work.  I have my main client’s annual conference coming up at the ICC in Birmingham in the middle of the month which, this year, sees me helping to put together a week-long study programme of the UK vocational education system for 100+ international delegates from 25 plus countries.  This is on top of the already massive 700+ UK delegates.  It’s going to be a busy month. In fact I’ve been busy since before the summer planning the details of the programme. However, there is one thing I’m going to have to put my mind to which is what clothes I’m taking with me. I have to be really organised as I basically de-camp to Birmingham for the week, so I can’t leave anything behind that I might need.

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I love this Jasper Conran for Debenhams dress. In a slightly stretchy fabric which drapes and lumps and bumps! For similar look here.

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Another Jasper Conran for Debenhams number. This collection always produces a similar design and they are so easy to wear. Just add a shrug (this one is by Planet!).  Find similar here.

 

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My new Hotter Shoes bag will be just the ticket with my work wear outfits for the conference!

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I find slingback heeled shoes easier to wear as they don’t ‘slop’ off my feet so much.

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I usually wear simple pearl or diamond jewellery, but this necklace goes great with this outfit!

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If I’m wanting to hide my arms or just keep a bit warmer then a shrug is ideal!

For me work wear has evolved over the course of my career.  It used to be all about trouser suits when I first started out in my 20s and into my 30s.  I’m not sure if that was me trying to look more professional that I felt – giving me a bit of additional self-confidence.  However, going into my 40s I’ve felt more comfortable in my ‘professional’ skin which, I think, went hand in hand in starting my own consultancy business and my work look now is all about dresses for more formal work meetings and events and separates for a less formal work engagement.

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A boucle jacket always looks stylish.  This one is from Phase Eight and I’ve paired it with some Prince of Wales check trousers from Per Una at Marks and Spencer.

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Brogues look great with this outfit.  I do love brogues! These ones, from Hobbs, are a few years old now and still going strong!

 

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Again, Prince of Wales check trousers (past season: Boden) but jazzed up with funky leopard print block heel pumps from Moda in Pelle.  The chocolate brown leather clutch is from Fenn Wright Manson.

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I think the dresses I opt for are all pretty similar in that they have to be fairly fitted, but not tight.  They are all generally knee-length and all have some kind of draping at the tummy and sometimes at the shoulder falling across the chest area.  Some dresses are tailored and lined like my L.K. Bennett ‘Davina’ dresses whilst others still have an element of tailoring whilst giving flexibility in jersey like the recent Jaeger dresses I’ve purchased.  Funky jewellery is definitely kept for when I’m off duty (although I do sometimes break the rules when I wear less formal work separates), so I tend to opt for something classic and simple like a strand of pearls and pearl studs or diamond studs and a single diamond pendant.

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I love my two ‘Davina’ dresses from L.K. Bennett.  I don’t think they’ve done a style as successful since.  The one above I especially like as it’s in a pinstripe suiting fabric which would not be out of place on a man’s suit, but is feminised by making such a fantastic shaped dress.  Find similar here.

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The purple ‘Davina’ dress I tend to wear with nude accessories.

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My mother actually saw this one in a Kaleidoscope catalogue and said it was very like the ones that Carol Kirkwood wears to present the weather on BBC.  It’s a stretchy fabric with draping and really holds you in and flatters your shape.  I love it!  Again, nude accessories are great with this!

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Phase Eight also do some great dresses and this one, from a few years ago, caught my eye on two fronts: styling and pattern!  Who can resist a dotty dress?!

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I bought this jersey dress from Jaeger over the summer.  I liked the teal colour, which suits my skin tone, but I love, love, love the draped detailing at the shoulder, across the bust and at the waist.  I loved it so much that I went back and bought……

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….. it in red!  This one is currently in the Jaeger sale. Find it here!!!

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Shoes are generally classic heeled pumps – I try to go for one with a bit of a built in platform to make wearing a heel a bit easier or I often wear leather brogues with trousers. Bags are always leather and in good condition.  There’s nothing worse than a smart work look ruined by a shabby bag…..

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They look so good, but cost so little!  Marks and Spencer’s ‘Collection’ patent nude slingbacks. Find similar here.

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Leather clutch from Jones the Bootmaker. Find similar here.

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Black leather slingbacks from Clarks. Find similar here.

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New black leather ‘Chelsea’ bag from Hotter Shoes.

 

So, I’ll spend a bit of time making sure I have everything ready for conference week and I’ll also dig out some evening wear for the networking events – separate post on that to follow!

What are your ‘go to’ work wear staples?

Marguerite xxx

 

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