Working 9 to 5

While plus size fashion options have grown & developed in the past couple of years, one of the areas where choice is still seriously lacking is workwear. I’m lucky enough to work somewhere that allows me to get away with oversized knitwear & scruffy Gazelles 90% of the time, but on the occasions where I want to dress to impress, contemporary & stylish pieces can be tough to find.

So, today I wanted to share with you some of my favourite places to shop for workwear that will leave you feeling confident enough to take on whatever workplace drama comes your way.

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For context, while I love super feminine pieces I often struggle to style them in my professional looks, so my workwear aesthetic definitely feels more androgynous. I also think separates are a great way to get added value since you can double-up, wearing the same trousers with a blouse or cropped sweater – something that’s especially useful when travelling – so that’s what I’ll be focusing on.

The look I’m wearing in this post is a perfect example.

The shirt was a gift from Navabi & I love the contrast between the deep navy colour & the pussybow detail. The darker shade & heavyweight fabric mean it definitely reads business so I’m unlikely to get much wear out of it outside of work but it’s a classic piece that I can see myself reaching for year after year.

I would love to recommend these trousers from Elvi to you because I think the shape is perfect, but unfortunately both pairs I’ve bought have split at the seam after only a couple of wears. They also run super small with even the UK26 being snug on me (I generally wear a UK20/22). This style of trouser has popped up in a few plus size brands lately so I’m hoping to pick up a similar pair soon.

I generally don’t wear heels to work but sometimes for important meetings the little boost, both in terms of height & confidence, can feel good & New Look is always my go-to brand for super comfortable wide fit shoes. This pair are just £20 & they come in a really nice range of colours, including deep pink which I love.

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In terms of places to check out if you’re in the market for new pieces for work, I’ve listed some of my favourites below but please do drop any recommendations you have in the comments below as I’m always looking to expand my options.

1 // Navabi

For timeless, well-made workwear I don’t think you can go far wrong with Navabi. Their prices are high – there’s not denying it – but if you sign up to their mailing list you’ll get regular discount codes through, & unlike cheaper brands you’re more likely to get pieces that you can wear again & again. Navabi have also just launched a capsule workwear collection with the charity Smartworks – if you buy a piece from the collection Navabi will donate the same item to Smartworks who help provide workwear for low-income women looking to get into employment.

2 // River Island

For more fashion-forward workwear I generally head for River Island. Their plus size collection isn’t huge but their shirts & blazers are perfect for making more timeless pieces feel contemporary & updating your overall look. They’re also one of the few plus size brands to play with pattern: this polkadot jumpsuit, dogtooth check wrap dress, & striped top could all be great additions to a work wardrobe.

3 // ASOS

I’ve been obsessed with ASOS’ lounge & casual wear lately, but they’re also my go-to place for workwear staples like crisp white shirts, black peg trousers & oversized blazers. You can find their plus size workwear category here, but it’s definitely worth searching for specific items or browsing the full Curve collections as there are some hidden gems like this wrap jumpsuit.

4 // New Look

Chloe from Chloe in Curve said on Twitter yesterday that New Look desperately need to hire a new designer for their plus lines as it’s super basic & she is not wrong. That being said, when I interviewed for the job I have now I was dressed head-to-toe in New Look, & once I got the job I bought a full workwear wardrobe – including shoes – for under £100 in their sale. The quality isn’t great & it’s not super stylish, but if you’re a fat babe on a budget you could do a lot worse.

5 // Marks & Spencer

If you’re on the smaller end of plus & on the look-out for wardrobe staples – especially tailoring – you can’t go wrong with M&S. From pencil skirts to blazers, if you can look past the less-than-inspiring styling there’s a lot to work with, & hopefully when their full Curve line launches on January 23rd there’ll be even more to choose from.

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Photography by Lianne Mackay.

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