Unconventional Work Dresses

Monday, 7 May 2012
KW2
Left: Pepper Tunic NZD 215   Center: Dragonfly dress NZD 210  Right: Tuck Detail Dress NZD 210


Work dresses are predominantly conservative, plain and tailored. I'd say the same for the stereotypical pantsuit or skirt suit, a common attire for most corporate workers. In the past, I rarely ventured outside of my comfort zone so it was pretty much a variety of rather uninteresting combination of similar blazers and tailored trousers worn without a hint of femininity to project a tougher image. These days, I would do things a little differently. Perhaps, I'm older and more confident in my own skin, therefore, happier  to throw caution to the wind. I've learned that it IS okay to look stylish, feminine and professional.

As long as one adheres to the office guidelines -  not too showy , tight or short, you can get away with more interesting cuts or prints as long as it's paired with a structured blazer or simple heels. Although I no longer work in a corporate environment, the same rules have been drummed into my psyche for so long that I still shop with them in mind.


KW1
Left: Sparrow Dress NZD 215   Center: Jackie Dress Double Crepe NZD 575  Right: Knotted Waist Dress Painterly NZD 495

I perform 3 tests when I'm in the fitting room (or at the comfort of my own home if I'd ordered online). Don't laugh. I call them the squat, arm and lean forward tests. I squat  to ensure that the hems do not skyrocket up to my crotch and expose my underpants. I raise my arms to for the same reason. I also lean forward to establish that the neckline does not expose my entire upper body. I'd rather not get charged with indecent exposure.

The thing about dresses is they're so easy to put on. You don't have to worry about trying to mix and match. A great feature if you're not a morning person like moi.  The downside is if they're not cut or do not drape properly, they expose every bulge and flaw. For that reason, I like my arms covered and stay away from jersey material to disguise my bulge (aka muffin top).

I'm a devotee of Karen Walker dresses. They're always original, refreshing and most importantly, flattering. I love a designer who understands that the average woman's body does not look like Gisele's. Pair the dress with a blazer for work and let it shine on its own at an after work party. I'm tempted to get all 6 dresses but may have to limit myself to 2. I've noticed that it's far cheaper to buy directly from Karen Walker and they also ship internationally.

Photo credit: Karen Walker

23 comments:

  1. Lol the 3 marked tests! Have to try it! Love #4 and 5, do you know what shoes the models are wearing, they look amazing?!

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    1. I'd hate to have anyone with me in the fitting room while I do my "tests". I'm sure friends would keel over with in hysterics. The shoes are Beau Coops for Karen Walker. Here they are: http://shop.karenwalker.com/products/beau-coops-for-karen-walker-lockie-pumps-cigar

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    2. Thank you lol!!! Just checked out the link...sold out...weeps :( x

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  2. The top right and bottom left dresses are my fave!!! xoxo A-

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  3. These are beautiful dresses. Totally in love with the first and last one. I completely agree that you can be office appropriate but also stylish at the same time. And I totally need to start doing your squat, arm, and lean forward test - love it! :)

    xxTheresa

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  4. Cute! Love the first dress.

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  5. Adorable dresses. I was just on the Karen Walker site a few weeks ago looking at the dresses and thinking how perfect they all are for work. I would just add a little blazer if it's a more formal day. They're perfect!

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  6. I'm in love with the red shift dress.. gorgeous! Karen Walker, here I come!

    http://mrsjackofalltradesdaily.blogspot.com/

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  7. I do the same tests as well, LOL. Love these picks!! They are really versatile and I would totally go with these dresses if I had a conventional work environment. Lucky (or not) my workplace is jeans-and-sneakers which presents a different kind of challenge.

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  8. HaHa M! LMFAO at the squat that it doesn't skyrocket up the crotch comment! HaHAHAHAHA I nearly fell out of my chair. Everything you said is so true and you are the funniest at saying it. LOVE IT! I'm back from my blog break, so I'll be commenting more often. Hope all is well my friend.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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  9. Beautiful dresses. I'm a real sucker for Karen Walker items. The quality and cut is amazing!

    ~ Mandi
    www.findmeamuse.com

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  10. You know I'm going straight to look at Karen Walker don't you? I love your pics and I have dresses to build up after my take no prisoners clear out.

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    1. Good on you for the brutal culling. I did some editing yesterday but may need to do a little more. It's silly hanging on to things I no longer wish to wear. I still have the KW dresses from 6 years ago.

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  11. Beautiful dresses! Am going to check out Karen Walker asap!

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  12. Great post!
    I love your blog. Shall we be followers?
    If so, leave your link in my comments box so that I can follow you back.
    xoxo
    Nina

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  13. I would wear every one of them but the first red one is simply amazing in its cut and simplicity! I've bought so many dresses lately - can't resist!!

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  14. Lovely blog and what a great post! I love dresses and wish I could wear them more often. Unfortunately, it's often too cold here and I am too sensitive to the cold. :) xx Kayin

    http://www.logomania.nl

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  15. Pepper tunic and dragonfly dress = <3 absolute love!!!!

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  16. Hehe your fitting room tests are brilliant! I'll have to start trying them. Love that first dress. The color is fantastic!

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  17. Oh my I absolutely love that red dress in the middle. I've never heard of Karen Walker. Can you get her stuff in the UK?

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    1. That's my favorite too, Annie. You can get her clothes from Asos but it's far cheaper to order them directly from www.karenwalker.com.

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  18. You have just described my work "uniform". I used to wear suits and business shirts all the time... And on reflection worked out that I did it because I wanted to fit into the make dominated environments I work in. One day I woke up and realized it was ok to be me! Ok to dress like a woman (within your work appropriate guidelines which I also share) and have never looked back since. Love your selections... And I have also just discovered Elie Tahari as my latest source of beautiful dresses!

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  19. Love your tests! I am going to employ them for sure now!

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