Working mums feel ‘dowdy’ and ‘undervalued’ on return to work

Returning to a workplace full of trendy singletons leaves new mothers feeling self-conscious about the clothes they wear to the office and stuck in a rut when it comes to fashion, claims a new survey.

Returning to a workplace full of trendy singletons leaves new mothers feeling self-conscious about the clothes they wear to the office and stuck in a rut when it comes to fashion, claims a new survey.   Workingmums.co.uk looks at how you can transform your wardrobe for the perfect work outfits.

We feel dowdy
A study has revealed more than half of working mums feel intimidated by their fashionable younger colleagues when they return to work.
The poll, carried out by Persil Colour, found that 44% felt they had been overlooked for promotion because of the way they looked, while more than a quarter (26%) admitted they would be more confident in their approach to their work if they looked better.
Over a third of working mums said they were really envious of their single colleagues who are often more stylish and get further in their careers as a result – and one in five said that fashion was one of the main topics of conversation in the office.
The working mums ‘uniform’ was found to be smart trousers with a v-neck top, worn by 59% of respondents on most days.
Dani Ross, brand manager for Persil, said: ”Working mums have a lot on their plates and sometimes keeping up with the latest trends is the last thing on their minds.”
Nearly one third (29%) said they never have the chance to go shopping on their own – 48% who work full-time said they were usually too exhausted to attempt a splurge in the shops.

So what can be done?
When it has got to the extreme that 37% of career mums say they’ve turned down an invitation to a work ‘do’ because they felt they had nothing to wear, it’s time to fight back on the shoes and handbag front. 
The solution, says personal stylist Lisa Talbot, is a ‘working wardrobe capsule’.  ”Despite the the pressures of time and money, working mums should not feel that they don’t have the confidence to experiment with different looks and accessories,” she says.  ”My advice would be to invest a little and create a simple capsule ‘working wardrobe’ of basics, suitable for helping you dress the part in any kind of workforce.  As all mums know, we lead very busy lives and mornings are the busiest time of day. Often, it seems that once the kids are up and dressed and ready for school, you barely have time to grab the nearest discarded piece of clothing and run for the door. Not only that, but having children means you have so much less time and money to go shopping.
”You can create a cost effective capsule wardrobe that will make your life so much easier and help you dress the part in any kind of workplace. The capsule wardrobe, a reflection of versatile key pieces, means that whatever your career, you will have an array of outfits that have more than one job. You can do the school run, go to a business meeting and still look fab when your husband walks in the door.
”Styles can be varied depending on the type of industry you work in. For example, media, marketing and advertising work in a more artistic, casual environment while those who work in environments such as banking and telecommunications require a more business like dress code. Regardless of the place you work in there is a capsule style to suit everyone.”

The Creative Business – advertising, marketing, publishing and media
Industries such as marketing or small creative businesses like graphic designers want to show clients that they have a creative flair in their personality and are ahead of trends – some employees will even go so far to start a trend.
Wardrobe must haves:
 * Jeans ‐ Denim is a minefield, I can recommend H & M, Zara and River Island for boot cut and skinny jeans. If you like branded jeans then pop into a House of Fraser – they hold a great range of jeans such as Hudson, 7 For all Man Kind and J Brand.
* Oversized blazer ‐ Primark have some gorgeous blazers this season at super prices
* Leggings ‐ Try H & M for knit leggings this season, this works brilliantly for the ‘country trend’.
* Tunic tops ‐ Opt for black leggings with a coloured tunic top to bring in this seasons ‘colour’ trend
* Dresses ‐ Opt for a 50’s style dress with a floral cardigan to bring this trend to life.
* Jumpers ‐ There are some gorgeous ‘country’ jumpers in Zara, Primark and M&S this season
* Accessories ‐ On trend statement necklaces, rings, bangles, bracelets and earrings are a must. Casual trend handbags, hats, scarves and great belts all add interest to these outfits.

The traditional office
Many offices have a conservative dress code, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be creative with your outfits and enjoy the confidence that brings.
Wardrobe must haves:
* Dress (Military/Uniform style )‐ Some great dresses can be found in H & M -  these come in black, khaki and camel or try Karen Millen for a more structured look. The shirt dress looks amazing on all body shapes
* Skirt ‐ It is important that the skirt you chose suits your body shape. My failsafe tip is to invest in an A line skirt. This style looks great on all body shapes
* Tailored trousers ‐ A pair of black trousers is a must have for the ‘simplicity’ trend teamed with a simple ‘camel’ merino wool jumper. This simple outfit can look wonderful if you add in red wool jacket, from Hobbs or Oasis or a military blazer from Primark
* Shirts ‐ The high street currently has some super office shirts with lycra. I highly recommend a white shirt with a little detail to add some interest. This will go with everything!
* Suit ‐ You can find some great, classic power suits in Zara and H & M this season
* Stunning shoes ‐ For this season’s trends go for a high ankle boot, knee high boot, shoe boot or court shoe
* The Coat ‐ A coat should be your statement piece – hot for this season is the camel coat. My favourites are the H & M Military, Pied a Terre’s gorgeous camel cape, Wallis’s double breasted coat in purple or red and Ted Baker’s tweed coat in purple and pink
* Great accessories ‐ Jewellery, belts and handbags. The office handbag for this season is a patent bag with a small strap worn over the wrist or a soft structured bag.

The Great Outdoors
Women who work in the great outdoors tend to have a natural style personality and love the open spaces and the love of being outdoors. Their working wardrobe will reflect their love of the outdoors which will reflect in the fabrics they wear also.
Wardrobe must haves:
* Cord trousers / Combat trousers ‐ Zara has some beautiful navy and khaki cords in store this season. Jaeger also has some gorgeous camel cords, perfect for pulling off the outdoor look
* Jodphurs ‐ Zara have some gorgeous jodphurs in navy, black and oatmeal this season. These comfortable trousers have more strength than leggings and look great worn with a checked shirt and a faux fur gillet from River Island or Top Shop
* Argyle jumpers ‐ Primark, River Island, Next and Oasis have a great range this season
* Barbour jacket / Aviator jacket ‐ The Barbour jacket has made a comeback this season, you can find the original Barbour in House of Fraser or lookalikes in M & S, Next and River Island
* Hiking / Timberland boots ‐ Suede looking lace up boots with faux fur, available in all high street stores
* Accessories ‐ Wooden chunky jewellery has a real link to the great outdoors and is a great cost effective way of pulling off the outdoors look. Also hats, scarves and gloves pay an important part as they not only keep you warm and cosy in the winter but make this country look complete.




Comments [2]

  • says:

    I work from home and my challenge is to feel that smart and stylish for my own sense of confidence, even when my job doesn’t demand it unless I’m in face to face meetings with corporate clients. At the moment I live in my favourite Kookai jeans, my MBTs (great for burning calories during the school run) and a variety of jersey tops (from £2 a pop at Primark to £100+ everlasting beauties from Wolford!). I find casual more difficult to "get right" than corporate. I look back wistfully at the days when I frequented Hobbs for fabulous suits and shoes! Any tips on the best place for great fitting skinny jeans or jeggings that don’t cause muffin tops or that John Wayne feeling of your ‘kecks falling down your hips?!

  • says:

    How true is this editorial. I was always up to date with the fashions, spending hundreds if not thousands on designer outfits. After I had the children, this all went out of the window. I work from home now but I find I still get down when I look at my wardrobe and feel very "Mumsy", a term I hate. It’s finding the time to shop, plus my body shape has changed so much I am not quite sure what suits me any more. I will try and take some of your pointers and try and get out on my own to update my wardrobe a little!


Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *