A lifestyle blog by a London gal who loves plants, metal, bleaching my hair and Osaka

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

My Work Capsule Wardrobe ♡ Preparing for work wear

A blue turtleneck and a grey plaid blazer laid out with a necklace, round glasses and a plain black watch.

Normally I'm not a huge fan of the 'capsule wardrobe' trend. It seems a good idea, but like a lot of 'minimalism', it seems to have been co-opted into just another excuse for people to chuck out all their current clothes and buy loads more new things. 

But the concept of capsule wardrobe was actually really useful for getting together work clothes for the first time a couple of years ago, and I thought it might be useful to do a quick run down of how I prepared (on the bare minimum budget as I was saving money to go out to Japan and to live on before I got my first pay cheque!)

I had a couple of wearable bits left over from Sixth Form, but longtime readers (from 2012-13) will know that I didn't exactly dress the smartest in sixth form... I really wanted to find a way to look smart but still have fun with clothes.

My plan was to buy the bare bones before I started, and then fill in other things if I need them/ when I get paid, and it mostly panned out!

Here's what I bought with me and what I ended up buying:

For Smart (i.e. matching suit set, looking 'polished') 

Blazers// I bought a houndstooth blazer from a vintage shop in Leeds, but it was deemed too "loud" so I wasn't actually allowed to wear it...  and my Mum gave me a black one ♡ I later bought the grey check skirt and blazer set up which was deemed more appropriate. 

Tops// I actually had a lot of men's collared shirts and turtleneck jumpers, so I didn't buy any new tops for work. But my advice here is: plain clothes look more "professional", so a couple of black or white shirts would have been good here.

Coat// I didn't have a proper posh coat, so I planned to buy a posh one in Japan. (TBH I didn't need a posh work coat as we changed before we started our shift.) I have one now though and I do love it a lot. 

Trousers// - I got new grey printed trousers from Zara- the fit is great and I love the check. I bought another black pair now I'm back home cos they're classic. The best thing was that the print matched my grey blazer so I had more options.

Skirts// I had a couple of short-ish but serviceable skirts, and I bought 2 more skirts (a black pencil skirt and a grey print skirt) that were a bit more work-appropriate once I'd been paid.

Work Shoes//  I went for Dr Martens 1416- I got the vegan leather which I slightly regretted because they were soo hard to break in ;-; But they look really cute and I could wear them for work and on my days off. 

Accessories// Small and simple jewellery can really make things look more put together, as can a nice belt! I also used to wear fake glasses quite a lot. I had short hair so I didn't need to tie it up, but sometimes a low ponytail really makes you look more "polished". 

Makeup// light makeup that wears well will never go wrong- although it depends on where you're working as to how fashionable you can be. I'll need to make sure I carry around a spare powder for touch ups.

Bag// I bought a plain black rucksack in Japan- the same black rucksack I used to have was still being sold by WEGO, and it's the perfect bag- it works for day and night, juust about fits A4 and can look smart or chill depending on how you style it. It was also an absolute steal at like 3000 yen (under £20).

Underwear/ tights// make sure your underwear isn't visible and maybe have a spare pair of tights in case of ladders.

So what I'd recommend to buy/ collect together for work:

  • 2 x matching suits- blazer and skirt or trousers
  • 6-7 x shirts or tops - a mix of plain, collared shirts (which are workwear staples that you can never go wrong with) and things like printed shirts and turtlenecks which can be slightly more casual
  • 1x pair of smart leather (or vegan leather etc.) shoes
  • 1x bag- plain, preferably weather resistant and large enough to hold your things
  • You probably have well fitting underwear, plain tights and socks etc. already, but if you don't I think these thing really help make you look more professional 
  • Depending on where you work: smart coat
  • A couple of small, plain accessories like a watch, belt etc. can also help you look more put together. 

My advice is to err on the smart side when you start work, and you can always dress things down once you learn more about the dress code and about what people actually wear.
Which is why it can also be a good idea to start with the bare minimum, so you don't end up with loads of too-smart clothes you don't actually wear.

For smart casual: 

At my current job, we're doing smart-casual because of coronavirus, so I usually wear jeans and a turtleneck. I tend to outfit repeat a lot tbh (decision fatigue is realll...) The only thing I *needed* to buy was some nicer fitting jeans because I didn't own any.
I will say that I started off smart and have gradually got more casual after seeing what my co-workers wore. This does help give a good first impression by making you seem like you're taking the job seriously. You can always wear a jacket/blazer and take it off.

I hope this helped, thanks for reading! What's your favourite thing to wear for work? And where do you get your workwear style inspiration- I'd love to know!
-Amy xoxo

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Saturday, 6 November 2021

I have seven different shampoos and theyre ALL DIFFERENT OK?// My bleached hair care routine 2021

Hair products in a flatlay on my bathroom floor. Pictured are: Bleach London Beer Mask, Smoky Shampoo, Silver Shampoo, Rosé shampoo, Awkward peach conditioner, pearlescent shampoo and conditioner

Hello gang, I am really pleased with the condition my hair is in atm- it's almost completely recovered from the state it was in (lots of breakage and general sadness circa 2019-2020) , and so I thought I'd share what I'm doing to keep it in tip-top shape. There's lot's of Bleach London because I am obsessed.

My everyday hair care routine for bleached hair// 

Shampoos (I have six, and they are All Different, I promise...)

Tresémme Colour Protect shampoo// this is my everyday shampoo- does what it says on the tin and it's a huge bottle. Also pictured is the Bleach Live forever shampoo which I think has been discontinued? Which I am sad about and have bought a couple as a little stash cos I really liked it...

Coloured Shampoos

I have too many of these and it's a problem... but I do use them all... 

Bleach London's Silver shampoo/ Smoky Shampoo/ Rosé shampoo/ Pearlescent Shampoo (they are all different and I use them all so...) Coloured shampoos are essential for me for removing brassiness or changing the tone of my hair. Just a reminder: don't over use these every time you wash as silver shampoos are often drying! 

I also have this clarifying shampoo from Toni and Guy- I don't use it very often, but if my hair has product build up or if I'm trying to fade out a colour, I like this.

Conditioner

I have this Pearlescent Conditioner, and Awkward Peach (both Bleach London)- they're a nice way to deposit colour without damaging or drying out your hair.

I also often just use a hair mask as a conditioner- at the moment I'm using the Beer Mask and Reincarnation Mask from Bleach London. I also have Philip Kingsley Elasticizer which I love but am being careful with because too much protein is bad for your hair. I also have this Tresémme mask which is fine, but again I'm being a bit cautious with. 

Hair products in a flat lay on my bathroom floor. Bleach London, Toni and Guy, Tresémme, Philip Kingsley and Mark Hill.


Heat styling//

I blow dry my hair about 80% dry (because it's bleached and porous and it's easier to damage when it's wet.) and do my fringe 100% dry. 

Sometimes if I want extra curls, I'll twirl it into one or two little buns and dry it like that- this actually works really well if you practice. 

My hair dryer is an old one from Nicky Clarke, but it's still really good! I use medium heat, because max is damaging but life is too short to dry it on cold.. 

I have a round brush from Denman which I use to add volume to my fringe while I'm drying it, removing the need for straighteners too! I do have a pair of super old straighteners from Nicky Clarke which work well but I am really trying not to use them.

Tangle Teezer// My old faithful, I adore this. Gentle on your hair which is a complete must for me.

Tresémme Heat Defence// this heat protectant smells great, seems to work and the spray nozzle is really nice- it makes the perfect fine mist.

Bleach Hair Elixir// this smells lovely and makes my hair super soft without feeling greasy. As I have bleached hair I use quite a lot of this. 

Once a month (every 4-6 weeks)

I bleach the roots, I used to get a big box of bleach powder and developer but at the moment I'm getting a box of either schwarzkopf or Bleach London's bleach. I sometimes use alex plex (Bleach London's plex treatment) to prevent damage to my hair when bleaching. 

After it's bleached, I sometimes use a toner (Bleach's Champagne Supertoner or White Toner) or a colour if I'm feeling fancy, but I'm currently staying blondeish. 

After colouring it, I'll usually do a hair mask and leave it in for as long as possible. Sometimes I'll do a protein treatment like Old Blue Last or Philip Kingsley's Elasticiser, but only if I haven't used a plex treatment or other protein thing. Too much protein actually makes your hair go really brittle, so I'm a bit wary of protein atm.

General haircare notes// 

You can have too much protein in your hair- so I avoid using too many protein shampoos, conditioners, extra protein treatments etc. 

Silver shampoo is drying as heck// so don't use it more than you need to- try a purple conditioner or hair mask, or mix a pigmented shampoo with a non- pigmented one

The less heat styling, the better// I've recently bought a round ceramic brush so I can style my fringe as I blow dry it, so at the moment I rarely use straighteners at all. I used to curl my hair all the time (like every day!!) , but now I'm going for more of a natural wave which means less straighteners and less damage.

I don't need to tell you to use a heat protectant (do I???) 

Wash it less// I've gone from every 2 days to every 3 days. 

No hairspray//  hairspray is drying and damaging and gunks up your hair. Need I say more? 

Trim split ends// if your hair is looking sad, cut a couple of inches off and it will instantly look healthier. 

Use a sun defence product or wear a hat when it's sunny// Just like you need to wear sunscreen, strong sun dries out your hair and instantly makes it feel sad. I've got this Mark Hill leave in spray, but a hat is your best option if you're going to be out in the sun for ages.

So that's that! Look after your hair gang- it will thank you for it!

I'd love to hear your hair care tips too!

-Amy

I finally got my bleached hair to grow back by doing the thing everyone says to do // Having unnatural hair in Japan part 2:  Bleached blonde hair at work // Bleach London Champagne Supertoner Review and Before and After// 

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