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Author Topic: I need to upgrade my work clothing - want to help me shop?  (Read 436 times)

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cicero

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BG: As I wrote in the "hugs" folder, I am starting a new job in a new country in a few weeks. I am gong to stay in the same non profit org, but will be working in NY and not in Israel. At the moment, it is a short term job which may or may not develop into something more permanent.

Currently, being both in Israel and in a non-profit, we don't have an official dress code but mostly dress somewhere between casual and business casual. I generally wear nice tops (something like this or this) or a button down shirt (like this) and slacks or a skirt. i wear shoes or sandals - flats, like ballerina type. I wear light makeup (eye shadow, mascara, lip gloss, sometimes nail polish). some people wear casual - jeans, sleeveless tops, etc.

I've visited this office a few times (located in mid town east), and from what i've seen the dress is more strictly business/business casual.

[/BG]
So here goes -
I am in mid 50s, overweight but hoping to get it down, about 5'2. I dont' like wearing heels. I prefer slacks over skirts or dresses but will wear whatever is necessary. I guess i could use some pointers on what to wear. Oh and I don't have a lot of money, so will probably do the actual shopping in places like burlington or sales in other stores, but could use ideas on *what* to buy.
Who wants to help me get dressed?

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EmmaJ.

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Re: I need to upgrade my work clothing - want to help me shop?
« Reply #1 on: Yesterday at 01:32:32 PM »
You could have been writing about me (except I am an inch taller).  I will be watching this thread for helpful hints and pointers.

I have been told do the "mix and match" technique but need help with that too.   :P

jmarvellous

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Re: I need to upgrade my work clothing - want to help me shop?
« Reply #2 on: Yesterday at 01:49:56 PM »
What you wear seems really appropriate for an East Coast nonprofit, generally speaking! My main advice would be to go to your actual office and check the 'temperature'/tone of the office before making a big wardrobe investment.

There are a lot of people in NY wearing suits, but that certainly doesn't mean that's how your office operates. Lots of people who wear suits are in finance (investments, banking or trading), high-dollar corporate business, or law. People in nonprofits, lower-level business, or other environments will dress less fancy most of the time.

I think adding a blazer or three to your wardrobe might be enough "dressing up," at least before you know exactly what your colleagues wear. This both addresses the climate difference (as in weather) between NYC and Israel, and adds a bit of polish. I have advised people a traditional black blazer, a lightweight one in a bolder color that's common in your wardrobe, and a navy, gray or even khaki/beige as an alternative neutral. If the place you're buying from has matching pants or skirts at a reasonable price, you've got a suit! Your tops of the sort you linked here are great for this look.

Sirius

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Re: I need to upgrade my work clothing - want to help me shop?
« Reply #3 on: Yesterday at 02:33:52 PM »
Check out this blog:

http://sewingfantaticdiary.blogspot.com/

This lady is plus sized, and she works in a field that sounds rather like yours.  While she sews her own clothes, you might find some ideas of things to wear in a similar environment.  Another plus:  She's in New York. 

CuriousParty

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Re: I need to upgrade my work clothing - want to help me shop?
« Reply #4 on: Yesterday at 03:59:47 PM »
Cicero - I love this site - Twice (liketwice.com/OPTMo) That is a referral link, using it gets each of us $10.00 credit, but if you'd rather not the direct site is www.liketwice.com. It's an online consignment store. I love that I can search by size and brand, though they do suggest some things you might like once they have a sense of brands you prefer. Prices are not Goodwill-steal but are very good, and given that it's hard for me to get out shopping I'm willing to pay a little more because of the ease (searching online instead of a rack, delivered to me instead of going out). If you order more than 50.00 the shipping is free, they have standing coupons for orders of 100.00 or more and 150 or more, and often have other coupons (though check the fine print, sometimes it's a no-returns offer). They accept returns within 30 days, and you can decide if you want to take store credit and get free return shipping, or get your money back and pay 4.99 per order to ship back. Often I have had a couple of orders, and have combined them for returning, getting free shipping on one and paying for one - perfectly fine. 

The clothes are in great shape, name brand, and I've had a couple of small problems here and there (mislabeled jeans I would not have ordered, a dress that the zipper got stuck and I damaged it) - and they were great with customer service. Really, a huge fan.

POF

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Re: I need to upgrade my work clothing - want to help me shop?
« Reply #5 on: Yesterday at 04:52:28 PM »
What you wear seems really appropriate for an East Coast nonprofit, generally speaking! My main advice would be to go to your actual office and check the 'temperature'/tone of the office before making a big wardrobe investment.

There are a lot of people in NY wearing suits, but that certainly doesn't mean that's how your office operates. Lots of people who wear suits are in finance (investments, banking or trading), high-dollar corporate business, or law. People in nonprofits, lower-level business, or other environments will dress less fancy most of the time.

I think adding a blazer or three to your wardrobe might be enough "dressing up," at least before you know exactly what your colleagues wear. This both addresses the climate difference (as in weather) between NYC and Israel, and adds a bit of polish. I have advised people a traditional black blazer, a lightweight one in a bolder color that's common in your wardrobe, and a navy, gray or even khaki/beige as an alternative neutral. If the place you're buying from has matching pants or skirts at a reasonable price, you've got a suit! Your tops of the sort you linked here are great for this look.


I agree with the blazer, but you could also add a structured sweater.  I find if I wear more casual type clothing - slacks and a sweater , that I team it up with more professional type shoes, scarf and jewelry.

I'd go with peep toe or closed toe shoes as opposed to sandals.

Twin sets or structured sweaters in either a bright or a neutral work well. 

camlan

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Re: I need to upgrade my work clothing - want to help me shop?
« Reply #6 on: Yesterday at 08:10:32 PM »
I find that a layered look on top helps to up the "business" part of "business casual." A blazer over a top. A cardigan over a top. A button down shirt over a tank top. Some vests will also work as that top layer.

Do a little Googling on "capsule wardrobe." The basic idea is to pick one main color, say black or navy, and then have a couple of accent colors, with everything working together.

So you might have a black jacket, skirt and pants that are made to go together. Then a gray or black cardigan, and a red one. Three button down shirts--white, a black and white stripe and a red-and-white print. Some knit tops--white, grey, black and red, with a print/stripe/check thrown in for interest. A pair of gray slacks. You can wear the jacket and both cardigans with all the tops, and with all the bottoms.

Then maybe a second capsule, based on navy or brown or khaki.

And then you can mix and match between the two. Red goes with navy, brown and khaki. Gray goes with navy. Black goes with khaki.

When you are shopping with a purpose, in this case to upgrade your wardrobe, as opposed to just shopping for fun, I think it helps to have a list of what you need: a white button down that looks good tucked in, a red top to go with the gray sweater and black pants, a print top to liven up the black suit.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Dazi

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Re: I need to upgrade my work clothing - want to help me shop?
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 08:42:52 PM »
Honestly, your wardrobe sounds reasonable to me for the type of field you're in.  I'd add some blazers or cardigans in basic colors if you want a more polished look.  You could try some shoes with a modest wedge or very low heels. Accessories can help polish a look as well,  some funky scarves, jewelry, earrings.

Look into consignment shops, thrift stores, yard sales, etc. I'd definitely wait until you get here and get started bfore you commit to any purchases.  You may need to adjust for the climate difference and the work space conditions  (ie, I freeze in the office I currently work in, but the previous one I melted in).

Meditate. Live purely. Quiet the mind. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine. ---Gautama Buddah





gmatoy

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Re: I need to upgrade my work clothing - want to help me shop?
« Reply #8 on: Yesterday at 08:44:25 PM »
I found, when living in NY, that most people use accessories to expand their wardrobe. So, scarves, necklaces, belts, sweaters. Start with basic colors and use a pop of color to liven up the look. Good luck!

If you sew, an infinity scarf is an easy thing to make, economical and pretty.

kittyhugger35

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Re: I need to upgrade my work clothing - want to help me shop?
« Reply #9 on: Yesterday at 09:55:01 PM »
When I had a job interview, I asked the people who worked at Macy's to help me and they brought out their personal shopper customer service person. She was great. Ask your local Macy's if you live near a store to help you. They want you to spend money and be happy to keep what you bought so having a personal shopper on staff if good business for them. I was very satisfied.
Knowledge is power. Power corrupts. Study hard. Be evil.

kittyhugger35

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Re: I need to upgrade my work clothing - want to help me shop?
« Reply #10 on: Yesterday at 09:56:28 PM »
Wear neutrals and Teal also goes with everything. Keep everything conservative with maybe one scarf or pair of earrings on with some pizazz.
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Jocelyn

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Re: I need to upgrade my work clothing - want to help me shop?
« Reply #11 on: Yesterday at 10:05:33 PM »
Go to Pantone.com and see the colors they've predicted for fall; buy accessories or a few tops in the colors that suit you most. No one ever notices your trousers, so if you find a pair that fits well, get them in every color. If you can find a discount shoe store, get some funky flats, in floral prints or accent colors. Go to the junior's department to see what's 'in' for the 20-somethings, then pick out something in your department that incorporates the styles you saw. Not so much as you look like mutton dressed up as lamb, but enough that you're showing that you know what's trendy- maybe the same fabrics in a more conservative cut, or the same cut in a more conservative fabric.

NFPwife

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Re: I need to upgrade my work clothing - want to help me shop?
« Reply #12 on: Yesterday at 11:44:35 PM »
I find that a layered look on top helps to up the "business" part of "business casual." A blazer over a top. A cardigan over a top. A button down shirt over a tank top. Some vests will also work as that top layer.

Do a little Googling on "capsule wardrobe." The basic idea is to pick one main color, say black or navy, and then have a couple of accent colors, with everything working together.

So you might have a black jacket, skirt and pants that are made to go together. Then a gray or black cardigan, and a red one. Three button down shirts--white, a black and white stripe and a red-and-white print. Some knit tops--white, grey, black and red, with a print/stripe/check thrown in for interest. A pair of gray slacks. You can wear the jacket and both cardigans with all the tops, and with all the bottoms.

Then maybe a second capsule, based on navy or brown or khaki.

And then you can mix and match between the two. Red goes with navy, brown and khaki. Gray goes with navy. Black goes with khaki.

When you are shopping with a purpose, in this case to upgrade your wardrobe, as opposed to just shopping for fun, I think it helps to have a list of what you need: a white button down that looks good tucked in, a red top to go with the gray sweater and black pants, a print top to liven up the black suit.

I love the capsule concept. This is the first I've heard of it, but I've naturally gravitated to it. I do red and black and fill in with some pops of color here and there.

I'll just add that you might look for a couple wrap dresses. I've gotten some great ones at Burlington, TJ Maxx, etc. and they were all under $20.

cicero

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Re: I need to upgrade my work clothing - want to help me shop?
« Reply #13 on: Today at 02:57:23 AM »
thanks everyone - this is really good advice.

I'm glad that i have enough to start with, without having to spend a lot of money on new suits.

I think i will need to jazz up my outfits - scarves, necklaces etc. I always feel like a little girl playing dressup with those plastic kits you buy in the drug store. I need to learn how to jazz things up a bit.

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