Another quick post from me today as I reach the end of a week that has been busier than most. I’m sure we’re all in the same boat with Christmas shopping adding to the general workload that we all power on with. Anyway today we’re looking at workwear chic for women over 40. As I mentioned in my last post, we had to deliver a pitch for a new account on Wednesday. Because we’re going in as a creative branding agency, I always have to think carefully about what to wear. I’m the one that does all of the serious talking about strategy and brand management so I tend to dress quite conservatively, leaving the quirky details to the creatives. Here are some quick shots taken after the meeting, I’d been talking for 90 minutes without a break so I’m looking rather relieved. As you know I’m a bit of a coat collector and this one was a Christmas present from Hobbs about 3 years ago. It was a serious investment but it has been worth it because it always feels ultra-luxe.
I didn’t have time to tie it very carefully as I left the meeting but it looks a bit less bunched up at the waist here. If you’re lucky enough to have a husband who is asking what you’d like for Christmas (I don’t think Mr MC will ever make that mistake again – I saw the whites of his eyes when he took this to the till) then a really, really good coat is an idea – you can always earmark one because I suspect there will be lots in the sales after our warm approach to Winter.
- Hobbs cashmere camel coat
- Mulberry Congo briefcase (another investment purchase from my Selfridges days)
So when I’m dressing for presentations, my objective is to ensure that I’m not wearing anything that will distract attention from what I’m saying. I had originally planned to wear opaque tights and my leopard print shoes with this outfit but when it came to it, it didn’t feel right. I think it was partly because the full body expanse of black made me feel a bit like a Greek widow and also because leopard print, although very stylish for other occasions, lacks gravitas. When we’re pitching I’m aware that I’m likely to be at least 10 years older than the competition so I try to use what I’m wearing to encapsulate grown up style, underpinning the advantage of experience over youthful enthusiasm! We’d stopped for a coffee on the way back at this point so I’ve revived a little.
As I so often do, I’d opted for one of my Boden ponte dresses. Like the coat this is about 3 years old, I think it was one of the first ‘Audreys’. I don’t wear it often but it’s perfect for occasions when I want to feel understated. The patterned tights broke up the black and the Zara necklace looked better than the classic pearls I considered, it just made it a bit more contemporary. I did add my wedding day pearl earrings for luck though!
- Boden Ponte dress (similar here – 30% off until Sunday, I have this one in green and it’s even better than the one I’m wearing because it’s lined)
- M&S Rose patterned tights
- Boden patent courts SS 14 but this ‘Always Chic‘ pair from Clarks are probably more comfortable. They are on my wishlist in the burgundy.
- Zara necklace – sold out online but still available in store
- Gucci G frame watch
Thank you for all the feedback on the faux leather leggings – unfortunately opinion was divided and I haven’t had chance to think about them yet so they’re still sitting on the pending pile of life. Thank you also to those of you that have managed to circumvent the problems with my contact page to let me know that it hasn’t been working this week. It is now fixed and emails are coming through this morning so if I haven’t replied, I’m not ignoring you and will be in touch over the weekend. I’m really grateful when you let me know if there is a glitch, the technology behind the blogging platforms seems to be updated so regularly that I don’t always have my eye on it.
So now I must crack on with preparing for our little party tonight, I’ll be back on Tuesday to tell you how it went. In the meantime I’m wondering if any of you are aware of needing to use your style as a tactical tool in the workplace. Do you consciously try to work your gradually advancing years to your advantage? It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot given the ongoing issues for women over 40 at the BBC. I worked there for 2 years early on in my career and have a good understanding of the cloak and dagger culture. It seems insane that we are seen to be over the hill, I know that in terms of experience and ability I now have more to offer than I did at 30 when I was distracted by so many exciting things outside the workplace. Women over 40 are generally settled and have often gained insuperable skills by bringing up young children. When they’re ready to fully immerse themselves back into the workplace they’re powerful beings in their prime. It would be good to get a discussion going in the comments so let me know what you think.