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Monday 10 July 2017

Chic dresses for the office

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton? in red skater dress and red Golf car in an article on chic, quirky dresses for the workplace
Office dressing is a hard thing to get right. Depending on the culture and style of the office in question, you might feel like a round peg in a square hole. Or you might wear clothes that don't suit you in order to feel part of the tribe, or give yourself more gravitas.

I recently shared a photo of me for Nancy and Shelbee's Bad Buys Book, where they feature outfits that just didn't work.  For me it was a plain navy blue dress , the type that many of us wear in the office when we need to impress. Everything about that dreary dress makes me despair. I knew I could have added bright pink accessories, but I also knew it would still look like that boring navy blue dress. View that post here.

For me, office wear needs to be a little quirky and "me." In the hi-tech multinational world I'm used to, men are still the majority and they have adopted a uniform of sorts by mostly wearing unfashionable jeans and t-shirts or polo shirts with logos - and not fashionable logos, usually logos of suppliers or their own company.

The women either wear what they like or adopt a similar uniform.

I like to wear knee-length print skirts (usually from Boden) with tops that have some interest - a Peter Pan collar or fancy buttons - and a jacket for customer meetings or a cropped cashmere cardi for normal work days, with some interesting jewellery and wedge or block heeled shoes.

Sometimes, if it's a very early start, I might pull on a plain black outfit - trousers or jeans and a top - and add some accessories: a statement necklace, metallic belt or boots.  And occasionally, a dress is called for: particularly when I am going to an agency meeting in central London,  and most of the women at the ad or PR agency are millennials.

A dress like "the dreary" would not be at all appropriate:  I want a quirky dress, something with little details that made it a bit fun:  buttons, collar, a splash of colour.
Red skater dress with gold buttons from Marks and Spencer, summer 2017: ideal workplace outfit when you want to feel confident. Worn by Gail Hanlon, over 40s blogger from Is This Mutton.com
This contrasting edge button skater dress from Marks and Spencer ticks all the boxes. It looks a little quirky, it's a flattering shape and it's red, a colour that instantly gives you confidence. It goes nicely with my red car for an extra touch of "wham!" I like the gold buttons on the shoulder and the "pocket" detail on the waist. I don't feel I need to add much in the way of accessories.
Image featuring a red skater dress from Is This Mutton's article on finding dresses with a litttle quirkiness for the office.
Meanwhile this dress from Next appeals because of the coloured panels in the skirt. These give the dress a little uniqueness and present several opportunities for different colours of accessories. I opted for a yellow felt flower corsage and yellow and white bag to pick out the yellow stripes, but there are also red , white and blue.

The dress is the wrong shape for me unless I cinch the waist. Shapeless shift shapes do nothing for me and tend to make me look wider unless I add a belt. It's perhaps a little shorter than I like, but lately I've been thinking that slightly above the knee is hardly a felony is it?
Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton? in a black panel pleat dress from Next in an article on how over-40s women can look individualistic in the office
Gail Hanlon, blogger from Is This Mutton.com, adds yellow and silver accessories to a black panel pleat dress from Next to add some individuality for a cool workplace outfit.

Over 40s women looking for chic dresses to wear in the office can find a dress like this from Next and add accessories that echo one of the colours in the panel pleats. Article from Is This Mutton? featuring a dress from Next

Details of the Outfits 

Red dress, Marks and Spencer, £39.50. Also in blue and black. Crystal block heeled sandals, Dune, last year
Black pleat panel dress, Next, £50 (sold out). Yellow flower felt brooch, Crafty Jo Designs at Etsy. Bag, Marks and Spencer, last year. Silver belt, Madeleine (old).

Disclosure: no items were gifted.

For more office wear, visit my posts here here and here.

This Week on Is This Mutton?

Wednesday: Mutton's Choice Cuts

Friday: Lose weight with the Diet Plate

Monday (17 July): Styling a floral skirt

For More Mutton

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  1. I think the Red is gorgeous on you Gail. Red is a great colour for you and I love a classic dress.

  2. Fab on you Gail, love a bit of red and this is perfect for the office - love the piping detail. x Jacqui

  3. Gail, both of these office looks are so stylish and make a striking statement. The red dress is gorgeous on you. I just love the geometric and colorful pleated skirt! Your hair looks great, too. :)

  4. These are terrific work looks, Gail, the red dress is such a classic. Thanks for linking, xo


  5. Love both these looks on you Gail. The dress dress and sandals is my fav, you look so chic!

    Gemma x

  6. Thanks for linking up to Top of the World Style. I am a big fan of a little red dress. This red is great on you. Your skirt is calling my name. Such a stunning piece. I also love the statement heels on your sandals. Great looks!

  7. The red dress is a 10 in my book Gail. I love the simplicity of it meaning there's no need for lots of accessorising. Those block heel sandals are rather fab too!

    Wishing you a fab week ahead x

  8. I absolutely love the red dress Gail! It's so chic, especially with those gorgeous sandals. I'm lucky in that I can wear what I want to work - there's no dress code at all - but I still like to dress smartly. I only wear jeans to work at weekends, but I see all sorts of unusual outfits in the office...anything goes! Thanks for linking up!

    Emma xxx


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