Looking for something between jeans+hoodie and suit...

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Looking for something between jeans+hoodie and suit...

Post by Kaz on Tue May 26, 2015 7:51 pm

So I'm finally (finally!) leaving uni and starting my first ever full-time job in about a month. Since the dress code is "very casual except for the love of god dress up if there are clients around", I think I need to expand my wardrobe.

For about ten years, my standard outfit has been jeans, T-shirt and hoodie. Somewhat nicer T-shirt and hoodie if I wanted to be a bit fancier. For interviewing, I bought a suit and button-down shirt. I'm told I look very nice in it but would be rather uncomfortable wearing it too often because soo freaking formal. Also, the shoulderpads and the way the suit jacket is cut really restrict my arm movement which is annoying. Surely there must be something of a similar style in between these two extremes?

Considerations:

- I'm genderqueer, and my style is basically "feminine side of androgynous, as done via the women's clothing section". Stuff that pings too feminine - dresses, skirts, heels, make-up - can trigger dysphoria, which is capital-B Bad. So I don't wear them. It's sad - I used to have a skirt I really liked - but it's not worth the risk. Stuff that pings too masculine, or masculine at all, can also trigger dysphoria! Which is why I don't shop in the men's section. (Also culprits: T-shirts in a pale solid colour. Shrug )

- I'm curvy and although I bind on occasion I don't do it regularly. As a result, finding suitable non-stretchy tops and especially ESPECIALLY blouses or similar front-buttoning shirts is seriously not easy. I don't much like being forced to choose between A) having a nice gap in front so everyone can see my bra, B) looking like I'm wearing a sack or C) both of the above, laws of physics be damned. (The shirt I have for jobs is of the "sack" variety, thankfully not so noticable under a suit jacket.)

- I live in a very cool climate. Shorts/short skirts/any items of clothing that bare your legs are things that happen to other people, and although I do need some short-sleeved wear the main focus here is on layers or long sleeves.

So... any suggestions? Nice-ish trousers, I'm guessing, but I'm a bit stumped on tops. Cardigans? Blazers? What should I be wearing under them?

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Re: Looking for something between jeans+hoodie and suit...

Post by Guest on Tue May 26, 2015 8:38 pm

I feel your pain on the torso shape issue. My solutions are usually either a rouched top, with soft scrunchy gathering around my stomach to pull in from my bust, or slightly-too-tight t-shirts with nice cardigans over them. The discovery of stretchy cardigans and drapey cardigans was a kind of godsend for me, because I can use them to dress up plain stretchy t-shirts and also to cover the armholes in sleeveless blouses that would otherwise show my bra gaping through.

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Re: Looking for something between jeans+hoodie and suit...

Post by eselle28 on Tue May 26, 2015 8:39 pm

Cardigans and blazers sound like good pieces to have. Do you mind t-shirts in dark solid colors? Something like these pictures (except with dress pants) can be a good business casual look.







I don't know if you like non-cardigan sweaters, I often see both men and women wearing v-neck or crew neck sweaters over button downs. The sweater ends up covering enough of the chest area to hide any gaping, and the collared shirt makes the sweater look a little more formal. I'm thinking something like this, with the different patterns and with the shirt tucked in.



Another option for button downs would be to wear one over a t-shirt or tank top in a contrasting color and unbutton past the point where there'd be gaping. Apparently retailers and magazines hate this look, because I can't find it anywhere, but I have the same gap problem as you do and use this solution myself. I see other working women do this too.
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Re: Looking for something between jeans+hoodie and suit...

Post by Kaz on Tue May 26, 2015 8:50 pm

@eselle - ooh, those pictures are *gorgeous!* Not such a fan of the shirt-under-sweater look, but those blazers (I think they're blazers?) look amazing. Particularly like the second picture. And dark T-shirts are absolutely fine, thankfully!

I may have to try the unbuttoned-button-down-over-T-shirt look in a shop and see what I think, too. I do like the idea of button-downs, they just end up posing serious logistical issues.

ETA: whoops, forgot to add:

@ElizaJane - hmm, I am intrigued by stretchy/drapey cardigans. Do you have any pictures of something of the sort so I can get a better idea of what you mean?

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Re: Looking for something between jeans+hoodie and suit...

Post by Guest on Tue May 26, 2015 9:17 pm

So, I wanted to include pics, but I am in the middle of moving now and almost all my clothes are in the home I'm not in now. Tomorrow, I'll model a few things and snap pics -- it's hard to see what they'll look like on a curvy form from "typical model" pics.

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Re: Looking for something between jeans+hoodie and suit...

Post by Kaz on Tue May 26, 2015 9:20 pm

If you're comfortable with that, thanks! You're right that typical models aren't the best examples of how things actually look in practice on a different body type.

(Also, sympathies on the moving - I need to move next month for the second time in less than a year and aaaaah hate packing hate moving hate unpacking hate everything. I hope everything works out for you!)

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Re: Looking for something between jeans+hoodie and suit...

Post by litterature on Wed May 27, 2015 6:44 am

I second Eselle's suggestions.

In particular I'm a big fan of cardigans - it isn't as easy as it seems to pull off the blazer thing without being too dressy, and a cardigan usually works if it's dark and not too textured. I often just wear a thin sweater under it when I don't feel like wearing a dress shirt (which is often).

Congrats on your graduation and your job, btw!

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Re: Looking for something between jeans+hoodie and suit...

Post by Enail on Wed May 27, 2015 12:17 pm

Feminine androgyny from the women's section high five!

Eselle's suggestions are great, and blazers can be dressed way down with jeans and a t-shirt or up with more formal pants and/or accessories, so it's very versatile. Shoes make a big difference to how dressy things read, do you have some shoes you like for different levels of fancy?

You might also want to look at finding some more unusual styles in the blazer/jacket realm - there's a lot out there that's cut for a curvy body but doesn't have the gendered styling cues (ruffles are the bane of my existence). Since you don't like stiff shoulders, maybe soft fabric jackets (stuff like these or these) would be to your taste.

Also, this may be obvious to people who aren't me, but fashion tape or even just a safety pin can help the gap problem with button fronts.
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Re: Looking for something between jeans+hoodie and suit...

Post by reboot on Wed May 27, 2015 12:37 pm

Another option, if it does not ping too feminine for you is shawls and wraps over t-shirtesque shirts (e.g. scooped or v-neck, T-shirt style but not made of cotton)

I wear them all the time to business up my wardrobe.

These are for blanket scarves, but most work with smaller shawls and wraps http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/10/16-ways-to-wear-a-cozy-blanket-scarf-this-fall.html
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Re: Looking for something between jeans+hoodie and suit...

Post by PintsizeBro on Wed May 27, 2015 2:09 pm

Polo shirts are a great choice for "nicer than a t-shirt, but not a dress shirt." They are somewhat stereotyped as a bro choice, but a brief Google search for "women's polo shirt" turned up quite a lot of results that look pretty androgynous to me.

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Re: Looking for something between jeans+hoodie and suit...

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Wed May 27, 2015 2:36 pm

I know nothing about shopping in the women's section but if you have a non-standard body shape (which I understand basically everyone who shops in the womens' section does relative to what's on sale), maybe you want to look into getting a few pieces tailored to avoid the sack or gap issues.

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Re: Looking for something between jeans+hoodie and suit...

Post by Guest on Wed May 27, 2015 11:31 pm

Okay, I suck at this image thing.  Forgive the sideways, and also bad image quality.  I am wearing crappy jean shorts with this, because I spent the day unpacking, but I'd typically wear black slacks or dark jeans with any of these.  I've done all of these in the office.



The above pic is a light, stretchy cardigan over a sleeveless cowlneck shirt I could never wear to the office without the cardigan, because all sleeveless tops in size 16-18 have gapingly huge arm holes that show bra.  The shape it does with my torso nips in under the bust, but the 2-shirt combo makes it look more smart casual than "skintight".



Above, same top, with a shorter, buttonless cardigan.  This is boxier above the hips, but still avoids the "tent" feel.



Above, drapey cardigan with tight T-shirt.  This shirt is actually a little too tight for office wear, but it could be duplicated with other shirts to the same effect.  Below is a profile of the same combo.


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Re: Looking for something between jeans+hoodie and suit...

Post by Kaz on Mon Jul 06, 2015 5:54 pm

Hey, I just wanted to give a belated thank you for all the advice I got here! It was really useful, particularly Eliza Jane's pictures. Smile I went shopping for nicer tops a while back, and although it was a bit hit and miss (as I suppose it always is when you're changing your style) and tricky since all the clothes shops decided to stock mainly light breezy summer wear (in Scotland are you kidding me) I did manage to come out with a few things I really like. My favourite is a drapey open cardigan much like that last set of pictures! I'll have to keep an eye out for more like it, or maybe poke around knitting patterns a bit. Blazers have been a bit more frustrating, although I really like the look of them I can't seem to find them in colours I like and then the shoulderpads bother me and I find them really restrictive around the arms. But I haven't given up yet!

There were going to be pictures - this is one of the reasons this is a belated response - but my old flat didn't have a decently sized mirror and my new flat doesn't either, so you'll have to do without. :/

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