whatveewore

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All Day Heels

Even though it may never appear in the Marvel or DC universe, the ability to wear 10cm (3″) stiletto heels from dawn to dusk should be regarded as a legitimate superpower.  Even at the height of my being a slave to fashion, I only managed to get around all day in 3″ stilettos a handful of times.

Killer heels for me are now strictly “car-to-the-bar” usage – but more realistically “desk-to-conference-room” – because, let’s face it, I haven’t been to a bar in years. Date nights with my husband don’t typically call for stilettos either.  In fact, just last night, we had our first date night in a while and went to watch Downton Abbey at our local cinema. We were both in our Nike Epic React sneakers carrying thermoses filled with tea. When your Saturday date night footwear is sneakers and you’re comfortable enough smuggling tea into a cinema together – you know you’ve found your forever partner. (P.S. Downton Abbey was great in case you were wondering!)

Being 158cm (or 5″3′), I need the extra height, especially around the office where everyone towers over me.  Thankfully, I’ve found ways to make heels work all day, and I’m sharing with you the things that I look for now that my ‘killer’ heels usage has come to a halt.

The Checklist

To ensure I am comfy in my heels and can last in them all day, I typically shop for heels that:

  • have a lower heel (ie. less than 6cm)
  • are cut with a higher vamp – the vamp is how the top of the shoe is cut.  I like shoes cut higher (covering more of your foot and toes) providing me with more support – like these.
  • are a comfier style such as mules or slingbacks – I prefer these as my feet are wider and fully enclosed shoes take a little longer to wear in.  Mules or slingbacks are an easier style to wear in as they are open at the back.  They’re also an acceptable form of footwear in my office which is why I’ve embraced them lately.
  • have a comfier block or kitten heel

If the shoe fits the above criteria, I can manage in them all day. And it’s not a case of walking to the station in flats or sandals and popping heels on at my desk.  I leave the house in these heels, walk to my kids’ day care centre to drop them off and then commute into the city on the train and back with no problem.

I bit the bullet with the heels I’m wearing here, which you may recognise from my Spring Workwear Wishlist.  They’re a wonderful dupe for The Row’s Coco Mules that I have wanted for the longest time, but couldn’t justify the price.

These gems I’m wearing are from Tony Bianco. They’ve got a comfy kitten heel and adjustable satin straps that tie up across the foot. If I’ve been doing a bit of walking throughout the day, the straps loosen up slightly and I typically re-tie them in the afternoon.

Hope you’re all having a great weekend and thanks again for stopping by!

Shop my outfit

Shirt (here)

Mules (here, here and here)

Skirt (H&M – sold out | similar here, here and here)

Bag (Chanel – not available online)

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Four Ways to Style a Black Silk Shirt

A silk shirt is a timeless wardrobe staple and one every woman needs in her wardrobe.

No matter the occasion – a serious day in the office, a job interview, date night, drinks with friends – its versatility is undeniable as it moves seamlessly from 9-5 to after 5.

Style icons, both past and present, have confirmed the silk shirt as a classic. Those iconic Hepburns – Katherine and Audrey – effortlessly tucking theirs into wide legged pants. Lauren Hutton carelessly popping hers into a pair of khakis. And, Victoria Beckham styling a silk shirt with a high-waisted tailored trouser.

Silk is on high rotation in every fashion editor’s wardrobe and we’ve all seen many styling Equipment signature blouses with their inimitable je ne sais quoi.

Wherever you choose to draw inspiration from when styling a silk shirt, there is one thing that’s certain –  whatever you want it to be for you, it can. Be it polished, casual, effortless, tailored, smart or masculine, it is the chameleon in your wardrobe.

Wearing Lilysilk shirt throughout

Here, I’m styling a black silk shirt from Lilysilk. The shirt is made of a luxurious crepe de chine and is wrinkle resistant.  It’s feminine in a demure, understated way. It looks good tucked, part-tucked and untucked.  It’s slimming, yet enhancing. But, best of all, it has a premium look while being very reasonably priced.

Look 1: Checked Wrap Skirt

Wearing Lilysilk shirt, Scanlan Theodore skirt, Celine Cabas Tote, Vince Camuto Heels

Look 2: All Black

Wearing Lilysilk shirt, H&M Studio A/W 19 skirt, Tony Bianco mules, Celine Belt Bag

Look 3: Utility Skirt

Wearing Lilysilk shirt, Tony Bianco Mules, Chanel Classic Flap

Look 4: Denim & Leather

Wearing Lilysilk shirt, Oak Rider Leather Jacket, Nobody Denim Jeans, Tony Bianco Mules, Chanel Boy Bag

You can see all these looks in action on my IGTV.

Shop my outfits

Shop the black shirt featured throughout here (I’m wearing a size S).

You can get 12% off your entire order at Lilysilk using the code ‘VEE12

All other items featured in my outfits are linked below:

     

Thanks to Lilysilk for their support in this post.  As always, thanks for stopping by!

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Trailblazing

Ahh, the blazer. The jacket that women blatantly stole from men (and then wore it better).

Its versatility is matched by no other – we wear it over dresses, tailored pants and denim (clean or distressed).

The best part? It straddles both the masculine and feminine, formal and relaxed and traditional and trendy. You can’t quite box it into one category and therein lies the allure.

Why you need one

My very first blazer was an oversized and itchy component of my school uniform at my all-girls high school. We all had one – some a little more faded than others. If you were lucky enough to get an updated version of the blazer, yours came with shoulder pads and lapels.  For the rest of us who had to deal with the older daggier style, it was a collarless, shoulder pad-less mess.

My second blazer was a slight improvement.  It was part of my choir uniform (yes I was in an awkward children’s choir – no it wasn’t a compulsory school one – yes I chose to go out of my own free will – and my God yes, I’m aware that I was/still might be a total dag!).  This blazer had shoulder pads and lapels but it was about four sizes too big.  My budget conscious mum had conscientiously bought a large blazer under the false impression that I would fit into it eventually (I still wouldn’t fit into it today).

Fast forward to graduating from university and resigning from my casual retail job to start a grad lawyer position, my wardrobe got upgraded too – my first designer bag (a pre-loved Miu Miu bow bag) and my first suit – a starchy and stiff wool monstrosity kept me in style purgatory for years.

The intervention came a few years later, when I walked through David Jones and finally acquired a feminine but structured navy blazer by a leading Australian designer – I don’t see a day when it won’t hang proudly in my wardrobe.

A well-made blazer is truly transformative.

 

What to look for

The key to wearing a blazer is ensuring that every element is tailored for you.  Here’s my checklist:

  • The buttons: The blazer should still hold its silhouette when worn unbuttoned (which is how I typically wear mine).  When buttoning the blazer, it should sit smooth and not pucker or pull on your chest.  I also look for blazers with working buttons and real buttonholes – to me, it’s a sign of quality.
  • The sleeves: They should hit no longer than the joint at the base of your thumb when standing with your arms at your side.  I make no exceptions here and I’ve gone to the trouble of shortening sleeves that have only been 1-2cm too long.  I think it makes all the difference.
  • The shoulders: For a traditional fit, they should be straight and crisp.  The seam where your arm and body meet should be at the outer edge of your shoulders.
  • The length: For a traditional one, it should skim your hipbone, but it really is a matter of preference.  There are so many different styles available in the marketplace.
  • The size: If you’re between sizes – always go up.  It is always easier to get things tailored to fit and not always possible the other way round.

Where to buy

There is a blazer to suit every budget and flatter every body type.

I predominantly wear my blazers to work.  I might wear it on a date night (though they are rare at the moment) but I haven’t really been incorporating them into my weekend wardrobe because a structured jacket isn’t conducive to chasing after a toddler or nursing an infant.

Here is where I look for (and have bought) quality blazers:

Luxury / Designer – International

Luxury / Designer – Australian

High Street – International

High Street – Australian

 

I’d love to know what you look for in a blazer and where you shop for them. As always, thanks for reading and stopping by!

Shop my outfit

Blazer – Sarah Lloyd (here | similar here, here and here)

Belt – Gucci (here, here and here)

Pants – H&M (old season | similar here and here)

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

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Cargo Wrap Skirt

My first pair of cargo pants were the daggiest and baggiest pair of pants going round.  I saved my pocket money for over 2 months to buy the pants – $69.95 from Just Jeans if I recall correctly.

I was 15 and a little young and naive. But boy did I love those pants! I wore them constantly on weekends and to every non-uniform day at school that year. I was soooo cool that I took the opportunity to not use a bag and store all my belongings for the day in the pockets. My fat velcro Billabong wallet in one side pocket (filled with sticker photos, old train tickets and receipts), key chain in another, my Blistex Lip Tone Lip Balm and tissues in my back pockets and a small pocket umbrella shoved in the other. Pockets are meant to be used right?! Probably not my best idea.

Almost 20 years later, I’m glad to be able to right some fashion wrongs by wearing a more chic version of cargo. And all wrapped up with a bow!

As always, thanks again for stopping by!

Shop my outfit

Knit (sold out | similar here, here and here)

Skirt (sold out | similar here, here and here)

Mules (here and here)

Bag (here)

Thank you to theurge for supporting this post.  theurge.com is a fashion search engine consolidating luxury goods for sale from online retailers. It’s simple, fast and comprehensive making it easy to browse and compare items sold by various online retailers in the one search.  All the items linked in this post are from theurge‘s search engine.  

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Making a ‘Mum-back’ to the Office – Part 2

Recently, I shared some thoughts on making a “Mum-back” (here). Today, I’m sharing some more practical tips in coming back to work after an extended period of leave. While these are things I learned and am now applying after returning from my second stint of maternity leave, they could also be worthwhile considering if you’re coming back from a gap year, a study break, a bout of illness, or (more appealingly) extended travel.

First and foremost, just remember to go easy on yourself. You can’t control everything and things don’t always run perfectly to plan. But, with some thoughtful planning, things can run a lot more smoothly. While it can sometimes be hard to set time aside to plan, particularly if, like me, you’re still mired in nappies and feeding schedules, every additional moment of planning can provide you with the clarity and calmness to make your “Mum-back”.

In the weeks and months leading up…

Reconnect with your team

First time around, I felt literally plonked at my desk, totally out of context and like a fish out of water.  I was fortunate enough to have another mum in the office take me out for coffee and help me get my bearings back.

This time around, I’ve tried to take the sting out of that first day back by reconnecting with my team in the weeks and months before I was back on deck. I’ve been out to lunch with colleagues, spoken with my supervising partner a few times over the phone, and begun engaging in email threads. As a result, I’m part of the planning for future work opportunities, including an exciting secondment placing, and I’m much readier than I was for Day 1.

What’s more, this reconnecting with your team need not be all uncompensated time. Which leads me to ‘keeping in touch’ days.

Make “keeping in touch” days work for you

In you’re in Australia and the UK, there’s often a provision for you to work up to 10 days while on parental leave to enable you to ‘keep in touch’ and facilitate a return to work. I had no idea about these valuable “keeping in touch” days when I was on parental leave with my first, but I will be using some days later this month to attend some training sessions. There are rules as to the type of work that can be performed so it is best to read up on these.

In Australia, you should check with the Department of Human Services and you can read more about keeping in touch days on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

Dip into industry/association news and updates

The first time around, I pretty much switched off my emails completely and stopped reading industry/association newsletters altogether.  In a profession where legislation and regulation is constantly changing, I was a bit lost on my return!

This time around, I’ve been browsing the circulars and updates once a week just to keep myself in the loop.  I start from the latest updates and work my way back.  It’s nice to be able to refer to a recent development or an important precedent at a ‘keeping in touch’ meeting that may have escaped the attention of your colleagues! I’ve found that there is nothing much better to let your team know that you’re champing at the bit to return.

Put in a call to HR

While your return is the most important thing to you, HR have a million other things to do every day and may not have your return front of mind. This can lead to annoying administrative delays in your first days, rather than letting you focus on getting back into the swing of work.

To grease the internal machinery of your firm, contact HR to let them know of your plans to return wiht specific dates and proposed working days. HR may need to draw up different employment contracts if you plan on returning on a part time basis.

This time around I’ve achieved greater certainty by keeping in touch with my HR department.  It has also given them a chance to utilise their full range of skills by introducing me to various return to work support services to assist in my transition back to the office.

One month before…

Lock in care arrangements

This is probably the most stressful part of the Mum-back equation. If you’re like me, a Sydney-sider trying to get your kid into day care, chances are you’ve played the Great Waiting Game! The day care wait lists in Sydney are ridiculously long. My husband and I put our names down on several wait lists of child care centres in our local area when I was pregnant with my first – even before Baby WhatVeeWore had a name!

Ideally, baby should start at childcare centre a few weeks before you return to work to give both you and baby the time to ease into the new care arrangements.

I found it was also reassuring to have a plan about how we would manage sick days when I was back at work.  All it takes is one sick kid to turn your world upside down! My husband and I are both lawyers but we have usually been able to manage emergency care arrangements between ourselves thanks to the increased flexibility that comes with some seniority. But, if we’re both stuck at work, we are lucky to be able to rely on extended family to lend a hand.

In the last week, we’ve started our youngest at day care. I won’t lie, it has been an unsettling and emotional time.  What I’ve learned though is that when transitioning from being at home full-time to going back to work is that you have to get ride the emotional change as smoothly as you can with an eye to the future. Drop-offs do get easier. Even though it seems at first as if they couldn’t.

Dust off your work wardrobe

One of the great constants about corporate life is the unofficial uniform of corporate clothing. As I explore in this blog, your work wardrobe can be highly individual, creative, and heavily context dependent. But it can also be paralysing. Sometimes the hardest part of the day can be getting out the front door wearing something that lifts your up, rather than dragging you down.

After having my first, my body completely changed. I gave myself a hard time for not fitting into my old clothes and I lost my style confidence. After taking some time, I built this up again (a journey I will share soon in a separate post).  This time around, I know I have some reliable pieces (acquired post babies) that I feel good in.

If your budget permits, new work clothes are a sure way to give yourself a boost of confidence as you make your mum-back.

The week before…

Get a final lay of the land

Things can move fast in corporate culture. If you can, catch up with a trusted colleague for a coffee to get a feel for how things are travelling in the office. See what work is currently going around so that you can be ready to pick up the baton when it’s passed to you in the first few days.

This time around, I’ll be popping into the city to catch up with a few colleagues before I start and I might take the opportunity to browse a few shops and check off a few things on my Spring Workwear Wishlist while I’m there!

The night before…

Get some shut eye

This should go without saying… but with all that has been said recently about the importance of sleep to everything we do, it doesn’t hurt to stress it again GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP (the caps are every bit for me!). To do this, know that you’re ready for the next day. Have your outfit laid out and your bag packed (with your lunch too if you’re super organised). While you can’t control if baby cries in the middle of the night, or the neighbours decide to have a Sunday night party, at least you’ve done everything within your power to get quality sleep. So if your best laid plans don’t work out, don’t beat yourself up too much about it if you’re a little tired on your first day back.

Your first day…

Start your first day back like you want to enjoy the ones after. Establish your routine, keep calm and carry on!  Even if you’re not looking forward to being squished on a peak hour public transport or sitting in interminable meetings, making a comeback to work is a chance to rediscover the side of you that has been laying dormant these last months and to look great. Good luck.  You got this!

___

Shop my outfit

Knit jumper (similar here)

Skirt (here | similar here, here and here)

Coat (old season, similar here and here)

Belt (here)

Heels (similar here and here)

Bag (old season, similar here and here)

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A Non-Husband Approved Outfit

As the title suggests, my husband is not a fan of this particular outfit. The deal breaker for him is the silky camisole. He thinks I’m wearing sleepwear out and about. I usually take his opinions on board but I thought I would live on the edge and test our marriage a little in this number!

If I’m honest, this Cami NYC camisole was a classic “Instagram made me do it” purchase. I heard Chase Amie rave about them on her YouTube channel and when I saw her style them for work on her Instagram I was sold – thinking I would get more bang for buck wearing it to the office and on weekends.  I think she looks fantastic in them, but I have a much shorter frame and find they don’t sit on me as well as they do on her.  Just goes to show – just because it looks nice on someone else doesn’t mean it will as look good on you.

Have your partners ever expressed their disapproval of anything you’ve worn?! And do you take it on board? I’d love to hear!

We’re catching up with family this weekend at typically vetoed dining establishments.  We normally eat quite healthy at home so the kids are really looking forward to the junk food!

Shop my outfit

Cami (here, here and here – and in black here, here and here)

Blazer (Carla Zampatti – sold out | similar here, here and here)

Skirt (Scanlan Theodore – sold out | similar here)

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

Bag (here, here and here)

Hope you’ve had a wonderful week and thanks again for reading!

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Where I can, I’ve added affiliate links, where you can support whatveewore.com by clicking through to featured items.