Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

How do I fit into a corporate dress code without following suit?

This article was published in yesterday’s paper as a part of my weekly fashion column – every Wednesday! Here’s a reprint, in case you missed it. I recently started work at a company with a corporate dress code. I hate …

Thu, Jul 26, 2012, 12:14

   

This article was published in yesterday’s paper as a part of my weekly fashion column – every Wednesday! Here’s a reprint, in case you missed it.

I recently started work at a company with a corporate dress code. I hate suits and I’m finding it hard to find clothes that are suitable. I’m a size 16-18 which makes things a little more difficult. – Chantelle, by email

I once worked in the Department of Justice (yes, really) and spent my time jumping between two suits – one black and wide-legged and one, er, grey and wide-legged – mixing and matching a variety of floral blouses and block-coloured T-shirts.

But times have changed, and as I see it, corporate needn’t mean pencil skirts or dress’n’jacket combos. For example, Evans (whose website has an even looser definition of the word “workwear” than I do) has a great selection of ontrend staples that would be perfectly suitable for an office environment.

This ivory contrast shirt (€55) would look great with a black pencil skirt or a pair of trousers, such as these wide-legged belted trousers (€42), also from Evans. Wear with or without a blazer for corporate cool.

Asos is another great one for plus-sized fashion, with its Curve range. Try this lace midi dress (€62.21) – very Kate-Middleton-in-Erdem – under a contrasting blazer, such as this one (€48.39), also from Asos, with a very trendy peplum detail, which is, I swear, more flattering than one might think.

If you’re looking for a basic capsule wardrobe, you can’t go far wrong with a pair of peg-legged black trousers; a navy or black blazer, perhaps with an interesting detail such as a faux leather lapel (see River Island’s upcoming collection, up to a size 18); two fitted dresses in either block colour or lace; and two soft blouses or tops.

Note: I got an email from a reader to say that a woman in an office environment wearing a lace dress would be laughed out of it. “I can just imagine a new girl starting, doing the filing, answering the phones, photocopying in a lace dress…the office would be in convulsions.” I think a lace dress with a pair of tights and a smart blazer would be fine. What do you think?