Casual Friday…help!

You either love it or hate it. Most of us secretly hate it, dreamt up by the über cool in the office to have a more cohesive workplace that should reflect the party life of the weekend. The reality is that it is a minefield of work faux pas and really, your suit or your standard office dress is just looking too appealing and easy now.

For some of us, it rolls around every Friday…hence the name… but for others, like me, a teacher – we only see it at the beginning of every term for Professional Learning days.

Here’s the thing, if you’re reading my blog posts, theres probably a really high chance that you care about your work dress standards and like to present yourself well – so how do you dress down now? Just because it’s labelled as ‘casual’ doesn’t mean you go from suit jacket, sleek ponytail Queen to weekend TV slob. No. You. Can’t. You have set a standard for yourself which you now absolutely must uphold. Everyone actually expects you to nail this tricky dress code of casual. And you have to do it, otherwise your killer outfits the other four days a week are going to look like its all fake and that you are just trying too hard. You want your professional dress to be classic, elegant and chic, just as you want your ‘casual’ look to be classic, elegant and chic.

It’s easier than you thought. Take one or two professional work items and build the ‘casualness’ around it.

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For example, jeans, high heels and a tucked in shirt. The shirt and the heels are your existing wardrobe pieces you would normally wear to work, and the jeans are the perfect hint of casual. If you don’t normally wear heels, that’s fine, just don’t go from classic ballet flats to thongs (flip-flops for everyone who’s reading this outside of Australia). You need to keep the flats ‘work-y’.

 

If you want to wear a work dress thats fine, but add a touch of something that is the casual vibe. In the example below, I have added a soft denim shirt to this white corporate dress. By tying it at my waist it makes it much more casual. I have also swapped the stilettos for chunky heels.

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How do you wear jeans? Blue denim is best avoided if you can unless they are really new and a perfect fit on you. The easiest way to wear denim to work is through colour, or lack there of! Wear white denim or black – they always add a touch of class to the outfit, particularly if you add some heels and a blouse. You will look put-together-chic, not I-wore-this-to-family-dinner-and-couldn’t-be-bothered-to-change.

I have included some of my favourite Professional Learning outfits for the teachers out there. These can easily be adapted for a more corporate casual Friday look by adding a blazer in the cooler months and some stilettos or strappy heels!

2018 boring already? Mix it up

So, you’ve started back at work and you’re in full 2018 mode. You have goals set and plans made and you have everything sorted. Until you hit about week 4 and you realise that you’re wearing last, last, season’s blouse and a pencil skirt that’s definitely seen better days. Your outfit is boring and you don’t really care about getting dressed, and ironing that old blouse is certainly not appealing the night before work… hell, you probably won’t even bother to iron it, it’s that old. So, what to do? Buying a whole new work wardrobe would be lovely, but not realistic. Pop that one in the pile of ‘Oh if I ever win the lottery…”.

What you need is to refresh your basics. You need a mix of both new, on trend pieces and classics. Simply put, you need to cull the old and worn out. Go through your wardrobe and toss out all those white blouses with the unspeakable yellow stains under your arms, and the jackets that are starting to pill. Then, you need to replace the old with the new. But, the difference is, you’re going to pick pieces you can mix and match that way you aren’t stuck in just a white blouse x 2 black skirts and so on.

When you go shopping, avoid matchy matchy prints and colours, instead, you need to look for complimentary pieces. There is a big difference between those two. For example, matchy matchy is navy on navy, or different shades of blue. Instead, look for colours that compliment each other such as; navy, red, white and tan. That way you have multiple options rather than just repeating the same colour scheme. Even if you’re going from a skirt to a dress to pants, people won’t notice the actual item changing if its all the same shade, or matchy matchy colour.

So what’s on the shopping list?

  • A white blouse. It can either be plain or could have some subtle detail. In these photos, I have chosen a lace detailed blouse from Portmans. Look for a good quality material, and if possible, find one that doesn’t need ironing, because you don’t have time for that.
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The classic lace blouse from Portmans
  • A navy pencil skirt is second on your shopping list. This one is a stretchy material from Forcast and has a front split – just be careful that front splits are appropriate for your workplace otherwise go for the classic back split. Luckily because I teach and stand for nearly 6 hours a day, I rarely sit down (at least when I am in the classroom) so the front split is not an issue. If you’re in an open plan workspace or meeting and sit constantly while interacting with team members and clients, then the front split wouldn’t be good for fear of the dreaded peek-a-boo….

 

  • A brightly coloured pencil skirt. See above for the same reasoning on cut and quality, except this time, go for a brighter colour to mix up the colour palate.Just remember, it still has to be complimentary.
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Portmans has me sorted with this blouse and skirt
  • Printed/coloured blouses x 2. You need two of these babies in your life. Choose totally different patterns for these as you obviously can’t wear them both at once, so you don’t have to worry about clashing! They are great for lifting and making your outfit more interesting. The red paisley print with the fun sleeves is from David Lawrence, and the blue and grey print is from Forcast (pictured two above). Both of these shirts will work well with the navy pencil skirt ( as shown).

 

You now have your new fun pieces for your wardrobe and have refreshed some classics too. All thats left to do is for you to go through your wardrobe and see if you can pair any of these with existing pieces. Eg the blue Forcast blouse with grey, navy or cream pants, or the bright pencil skirt with a complementary classic colour like grey, black or navy.

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Forcast blouse

The final thing you can do is play with accessories. Luckily head scarves are becoming quite a thing. I will be writing another article on how to style these for work soon!

Until then though, I bought this little haul from Lovisa all for under $40.

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Chunky necklaces, statement earrings and bangles are an easy way to brighten up, and transform a tired work outfit.

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Hooray for headscarves being on trend in 2018

 

Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

xx

Mums and daughters

Every little girl plays dress ups, whether we were emulating our favourite Disney princess or warrior princess we all loved dressing up and pretending to be some one else. I did this so often as a little girl – I would always put my mum’s high heels on and shuffle around the kitchen floor with her necklaces hanging to below my knees. Often with stuffed toy in tow. My mum has always been my style icon. Despite insisting that I wear my brother’s hand me down clothes when I was in primary school ‘because it was cheaper’ which resulted in me being dressed for extended periods in maroon corduroy overalls, boys jumpers with frilly socks on my feet, she really does know what she is doing.

When I got my first Practicum teaching posting, my mum and my sister took me out shopping. We first hit up Target for some basic suit skirts and collared shirts which we knew would take a beating. But then mum took me to David Lawrence, one of her go to work wear brands. She explained to me how I needed to invest in some timeless, quality pieces which I knew would suit me and last for years to come. Boy has that been true. I still have my black suit blazer from DL after 5 years and it still has its shape and is in great condition. I also bought a classic cut white and green dress from DL at the same time, and I bring this dress out every year for special occasions like Parent Teacher interviews, school Christmas parties and Speech day at the end of each school year.

Over time, I have been adding some amazing classic pieces from the DL range, which are not seasonal, one off purchases. Each piece I buy, I know will fit me and still be appropriate not only for office and work dress standards but also it won’t become ‘last season’ and no longer wearable.

One of the other things I love about David Lawrence when I shop, I know exactly how each piece will fit. Once you find your fit with them, you know it will be true to that size each time you shop – which is a dangerous thing for me sometimes with my tendency to online shop – the only thing that stops me is being scared it won’t fit me, but no excuses now!!

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These DL pants are everything

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Most of you wouldn’t be aware, but my mum takes all of my photos. Its a mum and daughter day out normally when we want to shoot specific looks which always means we just have to stop at a cafe for coffee or lunch. I know that the opportunities I have had with my IG and my blog are all thanks to her and I wouldn’t be able to do this without her (also, you should see the photos my dad takes… smh). It’s such a fantastic feeling being able to not only share my fashion journey with her but also to be able to share with my mum the excitement of wearing brands she introduced me to. So thanks Mumma Bear for introducing me to David Lawrence and countless other brands, and being my style guru!

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Still nothing to wear…

The pile of clothes you’re standing on is steadily growing as you strip off yet another top that doesn’t quite fit the dress code. I call it a ‘floordrobe’, the pile of clothes that didn’t make the cut, you can’t be bothered to hang them up again (plus they aren’t worthy – they didn’t live up to the expectation that the size 6 would suddenly fit again) but too clean to put through the wash.

This used to be exactly how I left the house on a Friday evening, and continued adding to my ‘floordrobe’ over the weekend after several (finally!!) changes of outfits. I used to struggle so much with what to wear on the weekends. I used to have my corporate working wardrobe set, and perfectly managed, but was completely at a loss as to what to wear on the weekends. The only things I had to wear other than my work clothes, were either my sports bra and leggings, or jeans and an old t-shirt. What to do? So I started to pick pieces I could easily ‘dress down’ for a casual chic look but would also look super chic and classy for work. Winter and Autumn are the easiest because you can just throw on some cute boots and a chic blazer and you’re set. But how to dress up a summer wardrobe when you’re slowly roasting?

Have a look at these photos, I have included my two favourite workwear pieces worn so many different ways!!

Enjoy! Xx

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Carbon Coco

So for the first time I have ‘vlogged’ – how is that even a verb? My autocorrect hates it!?!

After many false starts and some serious trouble figuring out the whole ‘your face is reversed you numpty that’s why you can’t touch that side of your face when you tried to touch the other side’. But, I must say, it was quite a bit of fun, after I got over the cringe of listening to my voice over and over again as I edited the video. In saying that though, I haven’t done much editing. I am a serial watcher of all things beauty videos and reviews, but one thing I can’t stand about it sometimes is that they are always so heavily edited. Apart from being lazy and editing inept, I would like to think that this is a more real review, which includes all word stumbles, and just about every time something flits through my mind I say it. So, I hope you enjoy my little baby steps review of my new fave product (seriously!) in the video below.

In all seriousness though, why did I want to review Carbon Coco? Well, it mostly comes from my love of coffee and my inability to not be caffeine wired throughout the day. Which unfortunately means that I am always left with pesky little stains on my teeth and no one can regularly afford proper dentist teeth whitening.

Another reason why I’m loving Carbon Coco, is that it is all natural, and cruelty free. If you know me, natural products are the go for me, (it’s secret ingredient is activated charcoal, which is why its icky black to turn our teeth sparkly white) and its also cruelty free – it’s a winner for me then.

If you’re too lazy to watch the video then the only review you will ever need is the one compliment from my boyfriend, who is pretty allergic to social media and we have zero photos together because of this… I’m getting off track.. oh yeah, he commented and asked me if I had been using ‘that gross black stuff’ on my teeth, because ‘hey, your teeth look white, you look good.’ Now, ladies (and gentlemen), from him, this is a world class comment, one that made me all wriggly with satisfaction and I had to sit there and try and act cool and nonchalant like this wasn’t one of the best compliments I’ve ever heard..  so, if he thinks it works (and he is super unobservant with things like this) then it absolutely must be!

Try it, and let me know how you go in the comments!

xx

Carbon Coco

Target bargains

Ok, so everyone loves Target. Everyone. Don’t deny it, you actually do.

I am one of those people who will deliberately park my car at the Target entrance to the shopping centre just so I have to walk through Target to get to where I am actually going. I like to pretend that I’m not a sucker for sale signs, but really I am, and making it necessary to get from A-B by having to walk through my most favourite-est shop ever means I feel less guilty for stopping, because really, its not actually my fault. I had to stop and look.

Which is how I find most of my workwear staples, or some absolute gems in Target! It is amazing for those basics, white shirts, black blazers etc that don’t cost the earth but also look really decent…IMG_8080IMG_8070

That’a how I found this little treasure hanging on a rack one day. It was $15.. 15!!! so it had to come home with me. I couldn’t have left it there! Anyway, I love this little striped dress so much. I know Its much more of a summer style, and trust me I’ll be living in it come summer time at work and at home, but for now, I have styled it in our Australian winter (which is let’s face, it pretty mild) so it can go across seasons.

 

Another target gem is this blazer. Target has the best reasonably priced blazers, ever. The fit and cut of these blazers is always spot on and they feel sooo comfy. I am loving this bright blue blazer which I picked up about a week ago (you would have seen it feature heavily on my IG!!). Oh, and did I mention it has subtle shoulder pads? Shoulder pads. Can we please bring back the power suits – as hideous as some power suits were, I just loved what they symbolised! Yassss ladies!

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And last but not least is this dress I bargain bought at Target, is one of my all time favourite red dresses. It is made out of a heavier material, but I am just so in love with it. I know that I have done lots of other posts on it – maybe thats because its a fave, hint hint. Target please make this in other colours too!

The little kick detail at the back and the cut out shoulders are amaaaaazing!

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Let me know what you think in the comments!

Back to school – goal setting

IMG_7247We have all been there, we come back from a break and we feel refreshed and willing to tackle some new work and new challenges. By week 6, you’re already planning what time you’ll get to bed that night as you get your morning coffee, because it seems like for the past few weeks, you’ve done nothing but stay up too late, not work productively, and you feel yourself slipping. You promise yourself that tonight will be the night you turn it all around, that you will get on top of your to do list both professionally and at home. And yet, it’s 10PM and you’re sitting half changed from work, chocolate on your lap, staring vacantly at the TV watching an old episode of Game of Thrones, and the washing basket is full next to you, supposed to be on its way to the washing machine… What were you saying again about making a fresh start?

Good news is, we all do it! I used to be so guilty of doing this but I figured out what is actually super simple to keep myself on track and sticking to my goals.

Set yourself mini goals towards a major goal.

Often people will simply write down their major goal and neglect to tick off or recognised the small steps they needed to take in order to achieve this goal. For example, one of my goals for this school term is to focus more on engaging my Year 8 students. Now if I simply wrote down; Engage Year 8 students, I would quickly realise that after a few weeks of work I wasn’t achieving this big long term end goal of full engagement. If instead I had written as a heading Engage Year 8 students, then as sub categories, I had written down my mini goals in order to achieve this improved engagement I would be able to stay on track, keep myself focused and maintain my own enthusiasm and positivity towards this major goal.

Now, engagement is a rather abstract concept for a goal, so lets pick a simpler, more real life example. If your goal is to revamp the master bedroom – which, let’s face it, could be a month long task, or maybe more, for working people, then start small. First step might be to go through your wardrobe and donate unused clothes so you can declutter your wardrobes. The second mini goal you might choose is; find, sort and wash all linen for that room so its clean and easily accessible. The next goal you might have is to shift furniture and remove any surplus items in that room that are possibly just there for storage. Your final step might be to then finally, redecorate the room. If you had simply written REVAMP BEDROOM. I can almost guarantee that you would not have achieved this as you wouldn’t have had the foggiest, where to start.

So, make sure you set yourself     mini goals in order to achieve those bigger long term end goals, whether professionally or personally.

I would love to hear your thoughts on goal setting and some of your goals! Let me know in the comments!

Maddy xx