whatveewore

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5 Things I Love About Being a Workwear Blogger

We often don’t spend enough time appreciating the things we love and cultivating our passions – usually because of the obligations of our hectic lives. No newsflash there, but I think it’s so important that when we get a little bit of breathing space, we seize upon it to do the things that enrich us.

After being back to work for a few months and getting through those inevitable bumps on re-entry, I’ve been feeling much more settled. My youngest (Mr 9mths!) has settled into day care and I’m really enjoying my secondment.  The pace of my days is really picking up and I find myself coming home with funny stories to share with my husband and boys around the dinner table, rather than just with the worries of what tomorrow might bring.

Now that I’m finding myself with some free air, I find myself snatching as much time as possible to further my whatveewore passion project. Usually, it means time at night after the kids have gone to bed – often when I should be sleeping (oops!) – but I feel so grateful for my whatveewore world, and the community of support, that I feel uplifted by making it a priority.

That’s why today I’m sharing with you the 5 reasons why I love being a workwear blogger.

The community

The workwear blogger community on Instagram is a wonderful and supportive network. I was a bit apprehensive about putting myself out there initially but I am so pleased that it has been a such a positive experience for me so far. I have loved getting to know so many workwear bloggers from all around the world maintaining impressive day jobs while continuing to inspire all of us after hours with their style posts. 

The engagement

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know quite a few of you through comments and DMs and have loved meeting fellow working mums in the corporate world as well as lawyers from all over the world.  

I am so grateful to those of you who take the time to like my posts and comment on anything I have published – it encourages my passion to continue to share.

The accountability

I started out on Instagram at the beginning of 2018 after my style confidence took a bit of a hit after having my first baby. My body changed and I couldn’t fit into half my corporate wardrobe and I desperately wanted to reignite my passion for classic style.

My Instagram and blog have served as a bit of a catalogue of my looks over the past couple of years and I love having a collection of posts that record the small tweaks I have made to my style.

The creativity

I have always been creative in one way or another and I love how my blog provides me with that opportunity.  My work can be quite prescriptive and often times it can be dry and concern industries and products that I ordinarily would have no interest in.  

Being able to apply my own ideas with almost no restrictions is an aspect of this whatveewore world that I love. Of course, dressing for the office has its own conventions and by nature, I am quite conservative.  But being able to share with you my thoughts and my unique spin on things with so much freedom is truly satisfying.

Discovering up-and-coming talent

I never anticipated being presented with the opportunities that have been afforded to me since I first posted on Instagram. To work with some amazing local emerging designers has been a great privilege.

To read a bit more about how whatveewore began, I delve a little deeper into the ‘how’ and ‘why’ here.

As always, thanks again for stopping by!

Shop my outfit

Jacket (Scanlan Theodore – here)

Skirt (Scanlan Theodore – here)

Mules (Tony Bianco – here | similar here, here and here)

Bag (Celine – here, here and here | my comprehensive bag review here)

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The 5 Essentials When Shopping for Pencil Skirts

I’ve always been a fussy shopper and these days, I’m more mindful before adding anything new to my wardrobe. In being fussy, I’m a serial returner and will always take things home with me to try on with other pieces in my wardrobe before making a call on whether to keep it or not. It takes a bit more effort but it’s part of my decision making process.

Having worked in a corporate environment for over 10 years, I’ve worn many pencil skirts (including this grey one which is on constant rotation) – the pencil skirt is a major workhorse in my wardrobe. In the process of building my skirt collection, I’ve bought and returned many pencil skirts, only keeping a handful that have satisfied my pencil skirt criteria!

The checklist

With time, I’ve finessed my checklist and I’ve narrowed it down to these 5 elements that I look for when shopping for pencil skirts.

Here they are:

  • The hemline: should fall below the knee – I’m partial to a midi length skirt
  • The waistline: high-waisted – I like how it elongates my petite frame
  • The fit: snug, but never too tight
  • The fabric: preferably a wool mix (so it’s breathable and can be worn all year round) and also with a bit of stretch to make it easy to sit and walk in
  • The finer details: a vent (to make for easier movement), colour/pattern – I’ll usually assess these depending on trends at the time

I’ve been after a camel coloured pencil skirt for the longest time and I’m very pleased with this one I’m wearing from Marks and Spencer. It has the perfect amount of stretch, a centre back vent which makes it easy to walk in and wear all day in the office, and the colour is a perfect warm toned brown which matches effortlessly with my corporate staples.

As always, thanks for visiting!

Shop my outfit

Skirt (Marks & Spencer) – here (gifted)

Silk shirt (Lilysilk) – here (use the code VEE12 for 12% off) (gifted)

Mules (Tony Bianco, here | similar here, here and here)

Bag (Celine, here, here and here)

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Standing on Neutral Territory with Oroton

I’m not one to shy away from a billowy sleeve and they are currently all the rage.  As you know, I’ve completely embraced the neutrals trend – (and it pains me to call it a trend because I really feel like it’s here to stay!) – so it would come as no surprise to you that I couldn’t resist this Oroton dress in all its caramel toned glory and statement sleeves.

Taking pride of place in my Summer Wishlist were pieces from Oroton‘s debut RTW collection. I’m happy to report that this dress does not disappoint.  The fabric is a heavyweight cotton-linen mix and the piece is beautifully finished with a fine gold zips and fabric covered snap buttons. It’s fitted at the waist so I don’t feel like my frame is overwhelmed by the puffy sleeves… and did I mention it has pockets?!

When I visited the Oroton boutique last week, the sales associates were quick to note that their pieces were proving very popular and rushing out the door. If you’ve thought about checking out their collection, don’t hesitate!

Thanks again for stopping by!

Shop my outfit

Dress (Oroton – here)

Mules (Tony Bianco, here | similar here, here and here)

Bag (Chanel) – not available online

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Summer Workwear Wishlist

It only feels like a moment ago that I was crafting my Spring workwear wishlist. The mercury is rising and summer is upon us. Indeed we’ve already experienced some 35°C degrees days (95°F) so I am a little apprehensive as to how hot it’s going to be during the height of summer!

A new season means a wardrobe refresh, right? For me, there won’t be any wholesale changes, but more of a strategic reorganisation. The office air con keeps conditions at a consistent 21°C, but commutes to and from the office and lunch breaks will be in much warmer (and stickier) environments so I’ll be moving my thicker knitwear and jackets to my storage drawers and I’ll bring my lighter and more breathable items to the front of my wardrobe so they’re within arms reach.

Some workwear bits and bobs on my wishlist for summer are:

  • anything and everything from Oroton‘s ready to wear collection – the colour palette is right up my alley (think neutral tones) and I’m loving the structured and billowy sleeves on the dresses and blouses – like this one and this one. Droooool. Oroton’s been through some challenging times over the years but it has been well and truly revived under the creative direction of Sophie Holt (ex-Country Road). If their debut RTW collection is anything to go by, we can expect to see some amazing things from the label.

Drooooool. (Images from Oroton)

  • linen pieces – I’m loving this puffy sleeved silk blend linen top (you know how much I love my puffy sleeves!) and this belted ivory tank.
  • a sleeveless tank – a sleeveless tank is a must during summer as a Sydney-sider. I tend to stick to cotton ones for the weekend but I’m after a dressier silk or linen version for the office. I appreciate that unfortunately an unspoken conservative office dress code can have us shying away from wearing sleeveless pieces. Office ‘dress codes’ vary widely among professions (and countries) but sleeveless tops have never been off the cards in any of the legal firms that I’ve worked in in Australia.  Of course, I’d never be so daring to try that in the court room.
    That’s why I’m loving this navy linen one and this camel coloured polka dot silk piece.
  • a pair of cropped trousers – these will be great during January which is usually casual dress for the whole month. I’ve got my eye on this black pair and this lighter grey pair.

Shop my outfit

Dress (H&M – sold out)

Slingbacks (Chanel (not available online) | similar here, here and here)

Bag (Celine – here | similar here)

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Achieving a Work/Life Balance – The Steps I’ve Been Taking

For a lot of us, juggling the demands of career and personal life can be a constant battle. Achieving a ‘work-life balance’ can often seem impossible – especially to those who strive to give 100% of themselves to everything they do.

I returned to work at the end of September after having my second baby.  I knew returning to work wouldn’t be smooth sailing – see my ‘Mum-back’ series – and I’ve made no secret about being on Struggle Street these past few weeks. I didn’t quite get to the point of being burnt out, but I could have very easily spiralled down in that direction had I not taken active steps to keep myself in check.

It has been a couple of months, and I’m feeling much more settled at work. In addition, I’m finding my work incredibly rewarding and I’m particularly enjoying the adult interaction and using my law brain once again!

Of course, all of our circumstances are different. Work/life balance is exactly that, a balance of the things each of us value.  But, I wanted to share with you some of the ways I’ve facilitated a work/life balance that have been incredibly beneficial to me.

Flexible work

In this day and age, more and more employers are offering flexibility in the workplace allowing employees to make arrangements that can suit them.  While it may not be for everyone, I consider flexible working to be incredibly helpful to me in maintaining a work/life balance.

For starters, a big (and tiresome) part of my day is getting ready for work and commuting to the office. Now that we’ve added young kids to the equation, it’s a flurry of activity in the morning.  The older 2 boys are fantastic and can do a lot of things themselves (even lending a hand to keeping the younger two occupied and distracted while my husband and I tend to our own personal care), but the younger two still require us to be very hands on with everything – nappies, getting dressed, eating breakfast.  We then have to make sure all school lunches are made, feeds prepared for our youngest and breakfast for everyone before we leave the house.  I’m feeling a bit frantic even just writing all of that down!

If I’ve got no meetings scheduled, I like to work from home because it saves me the hassle of getting ready for and commuting to the office.  After dropping the kids off at school and day care, I can get a heap of work done in an empty house during working hours.  I also increase my productivity generally as I can usually put on and hang out a load of washing between emails and calls and pop something in the oven in the mid-afternoon for that night’s dinner.

If your workplace is supportive of flexible working, it can really work in your favour.

Less travel

My role requires me to collaborate with a lot of interstate colleagues. In the past, I was travelling interstate on a weekly basis.  Even though Melbourne is technically an hour away on a plane, if I’m there for the day it’s guaranteed to be a big one. I’ll have to be out of the house at 7am to catch a flight and I’m usually home by about 8pm and absolutely knackered.

With the help of technology (and the understanding of my colleagues) a lot of meetings are now being conducted via video conferencing. Of course there are times where it is best to meet in person, and I won’t compromise attendance at those meetings if they’re important, but travelling less has been beneficial to me and my responsibilities at home.

Prioritise prioritise prioritise!

Giving priority to what’s important to you can inform how your day will play out.  Unless I’ve got a deadline or something urgent to get out, I will prioritise leaving work to pick up the kids from day care and getting dinner on for my family.  It means that I’m much more efficient during business hours.  If I find myself in a good rhythm at work, I will usually duck out quickly to pick up some food for lunch (and a bit of fresh air) but will usually eat at my desk just to get things done and ensure I can leave on time.

My attendance at Friday night drinks is not as often as I’d like but I will still catch up with colleagues for coffee and lunches during the week.  The trade off is more time at home with my young family which is at the top of my priority list.

Conversely, there are times where I consider work events and engagements need to be prioritised, such as work retreats, client dinners or conferences.  These events are typically organised well in advance giving me enough time to ensure my husband can keep his schedule clear or coordinate care arrangements if we’re both tied up.

Scheduling in ‘me’ time

I’m still working part time, but on my ‘off’ days with my youngest, I will prioritise going out for walks with him and will kill two birds with one stone by listening to a podcast while he naps in the stroller. When the kids are in bed for the night, my husband and I like to unwind watching Netflix with our cups of tea and will usually read a book or magazine in bed before calling it a night – though lately I’ve developed a bad habit of just scrolling on Instagram on my phone before bed which doesn’t make for a restful transition into sleep.

As for ‘whatveewore’, finding dedicated time for it is still a work in progress. I’ll usually steal some time for ‘whatveewore’ by responding to emails or drafting blog posts when my youngest has his morning and afternoon naps (provided I’ve made good headway with the chores) or I’ll sit on the couch with my laptop on a Sunday afternoon while my toddler is mesmerised with The Wiggles on telly and I’ll quickly finalise a blog post (which may or may not be what is currently happening as I type!).

What are some of the ways that you’re achieving more of a work/life balance?

Thanks again for stopping by!

Shop my outfit

Knit (Uniqlo – here)

Trousers (Uniqlo – here)

Coat (H&M (sold out) | similar here and here)

Belt (here)

Bag (Prada – here and here)

Mules (Tony Bianco, here | similar here, here and here)

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How To Beat Procrastination

How do you beat procrastination?

When it comes to procrastinating, I used to be up there with the best of them. If ever there was a task that I wasn’t confident with or a bit scared of, I would struggle to even start – often always completing it in a mad rush at the last minute.  My procrastination skills were at their peak during my university days but I reined it in somewhat when I started working full time.  I still slip up now and again, more often than I’d like, and I very often beat myself up when my day doesn’t go to plan.

My aim for each day is to be productive and being productive and procrastinating do not go hand in hand! In this post, I share with you the ways I combat procrastination when it rears its ugly head.

Address the problem

I remember feeling overwhelmed at university, particularly with heavily weighted hand-in assessments or essays, and feeling like the task was too enormous and difficult that I couldn’t see a clear way as to where to even begin. Similarly during my grad year at work, I used to get overwhelmed when I was asked to write chunky legal advices and I wouldn’t know where to start researching in the first place.  If I was scared of doing the work, I would almost always put it off.

For me, I quickly learned that I needed to take a step back and see the bigger picture, rather than get overly stressed for not knowing the answer straight away. In breaking down a large task into smaller chunks, the feelings of being overwhelmed would almost always disappear.

Addressing the reasons why you procrastinate in the first place may help to overcome any fears you have in getting started.

Make a (realistic) checklist

I get a lot of satisfaction when I cross things off a list. So I always start my day with a handwritten list of things I want to get done and I break down each of those tasks so they are easily achievable.

The list also serves as a visual aid for me to track my progress throughout the day. I love looking back at my lists in the late afternoon and seeing all the little ticks next to the tasks I have completed.

The trusty checklist is my friend in the office as well as at home and serves me when I’m going about my domestic/parental duties.

Prioritise

One way to tackle procrastination is to grab the bull by its horns and deal with the ugliest task first. Personally, I find that the pressure’s off and I’m not wasting my energy worried or anxious about finishing off that particular task if I’ve already done it.

***

I would love to hear any of your tips as to how you ward off procrastination. Let me know in the comments below. As always, thanks for stopping by!

Shop my outfit

Jacket (Scanlan Theodore – here)

Skirt (Scanlan Theodore (sold out) – similar here and here)

Bag (read my full review here) (Shop it here, here and here)

Mules (Tony Bianco, here | similar here, here and here)

Follow:

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