Style file with WEEKEND stylist Kate Parker
Q. I'm starting my first job working for an advertising agency. I want to make a great first impression and feel smart but not too formal. I have a larger bust (which I don't want to draw attention to) and slim hips. I have a budget of just £100 to start with. What would you suggest?
A. It's great that you are giving some thought to how you will present yourself in the workplace. It can make a huge difference to the way you will be perceived by your new colleagues. Also, feeling the best version of you will give you a confidence boost as you start your new career. Don't be afraid of colour when selecting your new wardrobe, especially as you will be working in a creative environment. It will visually make you appear more approachable as you get to know everyone. To help your budget go as far as possible I've pulled together the beginnings of a capsule wardrobe.
This lovely yellow rose jacquard pencil skirt is from www.asos.com (£35) and teams beautifully with both of these tops. The lace-effect peplum top is from J by Jasper Conran at Debenhams (£35), whilst the turquoise blouse (£10) and tote are both from Florence & Fred at Tesco (£15). I've come in under budget at £95. Good luck in your new job!
Q. I'm fed up with big slouchy bags so I'm looking for a neat ladylike handbag. I wouldn't want to spend more than £50. Have you any ideas?
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A. There is definitely a move towards more structured handbags this season with an emphasis on ladylike. If you've been used to carrying everything but the kitchen sink in your large slouchy bag, you might still enjoy some space. A good shape to go for is a hand-held bowling bag. It still offers you capacity, but the styling isn't too severe. This powder blue cut-out effect bowling bag by M&S (£35) is extremely feminine and would accessorise a formal outfit just as easily as it would a pair of jeans – a great piece.
Another key trend for the season is monochrome (black and white). This structured combination bowling bag from Zara (£39.99) is a fabulous way to introduce the trend. You could use it to even more dramatic effect by teaming it with a striped piece. If you do feel ready to downsize, this selection of structured over-the-shoulder bags from Accessorize offer great value priced from £12 to £27. You could even have more than one!