Desk To Dinner: One Dress, Two Ways

Dressing to go straight from desk to dinner isn’t something I have to do very often. You see, I work from home and my desk is my dining table and my workwear is jeans and a breton. If I do go to a meeting or to dinner, I have my entire wardrobe at my disposal right here. However, there are a few upcoming events, optometry conferences and such like, which necessitate a smart, professional daytime look. Drinks and dinner will follow so I’ll change up the outfit to give it a different feel. Adding the right accessories, different shoes and amping up my make-up will transform the look in a matter of minutes.

The Desk Look

It’s important to feel comfortable and to feel like oneself, particularly in a professional working environment. When I was selecting the outfit to take me from desk to dinner, (or from conference to cocktails as it’s more likely to be), I went immediately to the dresses. You’ll know by now that I’m most comfortable in a dress. I love dresses and I feel right in them. They form my signature look and fill more than half of my wardrobe. Consequently, I know I’ll feel comfortable when networking and meeting new people because I have confidence in my outfit.

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The dress I chose is a tunic shape with a statement bell-shaped sleeve,  a style detail which has been prominent all year.

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It has a dark navy background with an orange, teal and blue floral pattern which is bright enough to add interest and still look like workwear. It’s comfortable and hangs beautifully, without creasing, an important factor to consider when looking for a dress to remain pristine for more than 12 hours. (Flora dress Hobbs, £139)

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My choice of shoes also reflects me and my style, but is a practical one. I don’t feel like I’m in work mode in flat shoes, but there’s nothing worse than aching feet when standing on them for hours. The solution? A mid-height block heel. This shape is both current and comfortable. They’re made in Italy from spazzolato leather and the finish is exquisite. The metallic tone is so much more interesting than black and just as versatile, if not more so. I will wear these with jeans and numerous other dresses and I can confirm that they are as comfortable as they look. (Ruby fringe court shoes, Hobbs, £159). My tights are the Satin Opaque 50 by Wolford and are excellent. A very worthwhile investment because they are incredibly comfortable and very well-fitting.

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The Dinner Look

To take this dress to dinner, I’ll swap the black opaque tights for nude sheer ones. The ones I’m wearing are the Wolford Sheer 15. Again, quite an investment for a pair of tights, but they are beautiful quality. The daytime black leather bowling bag is easily swapped for a clutch, so all that remains is a change of shoes and an extra layer for the cab journey home.

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A few pieces of statement jewellery add requisite sparkle. I have had the necklace and ring for several years, but I never tire of wearing them.

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My shoes are by Mulberry and are one of the few pairs of “designer” shoes that I own. I couldn’t resist the tomato red quilted leather and signature postman’s lock fastening. They pick out the orange within the floral print beautifully and add an air of frivolity and fun to the outfit.

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An elegant way of adding an extra layer is with a mohair serape, (see how I styled my cream serape with jeans and wellies for a casual transitional look). This dark navy one is elegant and would work with almost every colour and style imaginable.

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How The Over 40 Collective Do Desk to Dinner

Of course, my floral dress wouldn’t be everyone’s desk to dinner choice, so for more inspiration here are the other members of The Over 40 Collective with their interpretation (Tap on their photos to see their posts).

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Michelle, The Barefaced Chic

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Nikki, Midlife Chic

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Catherine, Not Dressed as Lamb

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Michelle, RetroChicMama

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Lisa, The Sequinist

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Annette, Lady of Style

Thank you to Hobbs for providing our desk to dinner outfits. Thank you too to Ian for photographing my desk look and to my son for photographing my dinner look. Later this week I’ll be linking this post to I Will Wear What I Like,  Brilliant Blog Posts and The Saturday Share.

27 Comments

  1. Gail September 4, 2017 / 11:24 am

    Love both looks Lizzy, the dress has a great print and looks very sophisticated and you have added such great accessories. I fully agree with you that more expensive hosiery is worth it, and looks more classy. The Hobbs metallic shoes have a great heel height and metallic goes with so many outfits – I always have at least 2 pairs of metallic shoes or boots on the go.

    • elizabeth September 4, 2017 / 3:15 pm

      Thank you Gail. Yes, the hosiery makes such a difference to both the overall look and to the comfort too. I agree about metallic footwear. It works with everything doesn’t it and the heels on this pair make them both on-trend but comfortable too (honestly, what has happened to me. I keep mentioning comfort. I must be getting old!!) xxx

  2. Michelle September 4, 2017 / 11:50 am

    I love this look Lizzy! It’s sophisticated enough for a meeting but it has just the perfect touch of fun. Love those shoes too, great heel size.
    Michelle xx

    • elizabeth September 4, 2017 / 3:17 pm

      Thank you lovely. I wanted it to reflect the fun side of my personality but to be occasion appropriate too. I’m so happy with the dress xxx

    • elizabeth September 4, 2017 / 3:17 pm

      Thank you so much Jaymie. I’m pleased with both looks too xxx

  3. Lisa September 4, 2017 / 2:55 pm

    I looooooove the print on this dress! It really is equally perfect for work or a night out. It is absolutely super with your tomato red shoes, and I love the big shawl and sparkly necklace for evening. Your legs are so fabulous Liz, I wouldn’t ever wear anything but short skirts if I were you 🙂 GORGEOUS! xx

    • elizabeth September 4, 2017 / 3:19 pm

      Thank you so much! Praise indeed from you, my sparkliest friend. The print is so pretty isn’t it and I was so happy to be able to team the evening look with my tomato red shoes xxx

  4. Catherine, Not Dressed As Lamb September 4, 2017 / 2:57 pm

    OMG Liz this has to be one of my favourite outfits (meaning both of them) ever of yours… I ESPECIALLY love the work outfit because of those bronze heels!! The dress is the perfect shape and colour for you, and you look just so darn CUTE in that overall 60s style of short shift dress (with a twist) and the tights and heels. Maybe cute isn’t quite what you want for a business meeting, but maybe I should just say hot instead of cute…?!! 😉

    This was a fab project – I think all the ladies look amazing in their Hobbs pieces, I think we’ve done the brand proud!

    Catherine x

    • elizabeth September 4, 2017 / 3:22 pm

      I’ll take hot!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you. You’re too kind. But, I do LOVE the dress, in particular the shape and the bronze shoes are fab aren’t they. It was a fab project and I hope Hobbs will realise how much we all enjoyed this collaboration. Thank you to you for being our facilitator. I will visit your blog once your post is live but I have to say that you look amazing in your mustard velvet xxx

  5. MT September 4, 2017 / 3:00 pm

    Gosh this really is a versatile dress when I see you style it Liz. The length is perfect on you & I love the statement sleeves. Those Mulberry shoes are stunning too by the way xx

    • elizabeth September 4, 2017 / 3:24 pm

      Thank you Michelle. It is surprisingly versatile isn’t it. I envisage it with ballerina flats too. Thank you re the Mulberrys. They are among my all-time favourite shoes, not least because they are one of just a few “designer” items I own xxx

  6. Rena September 4, 2017 / 8:40 pm

    Excellent example of how transition from work to evening with the same dress. Both of your outfits perfectly suit its purpose and yet the looks are different enough that you’re not wearing “the same thing”. The others look as though they tackled the task equally as well.

    Rena
    http://www.finewhateverblog.com

    • elizabeth September 4, 2017 / 8:44 pm

      Thank you Rena. I love the dress so it was very enjoyable decided which accessories to add. The othes did indeed do a great job! xxx

  7. Petite Teacher September 5, 2017 / 5:49 am

    Hi Elizabeth. I love your desk look and simply adore the dinner one. Those shoes are fantastic. I’m always amazed what a difference shoes make to an outfit. Yours is another perfect example of this. The orange flowers on your dress is another detail I absolutely love. Orange radiates happiness and that is always a good thing, be it at a conference or at a cocktail party. Love, Lieske

    • elizabeth September 5, 2017 / 7:03 am

      Hi Lieske, thank you so much. You’re right about the shoes. Footwear can change the whole look and feel of the outfit. I know you like orange. I do too but tend to go for a reddish-orange rather than a true orange, but I love the vibrancy of it and how uplifting it is xxx

  8. Nancy Baten September 5, 2017 / 6:27 am

    I love those second shoes and your poncho is the best! Lovely serie!

    • elizabeth September 5, 2017 / 7:04 am

      Thank you Nancy. The shoes are fabulous aren’t they. I have had them for at least six years and enjoy wearing them every single time xxx

  9. Josep-Maria September 5, 2017 / 6:44 am

    Beautiful dress, I love the stamping with this beautiful mixture of colors, and also the sixties design. Beautiful outfit with the selected accessories. Between the two proposals, my favorite is the second, without the dark socks.

    • elizabeth September 5, 2017 / 7:05 am

      Thank you Josep-Maria. Yes, the design is so pretty and I think it’s quite an unusual mix of colours but it works beautifully xxx

    • elizabeth September 6, 2017 / 8:42 pm

      I agree!!!! Dinner is the most important thing of all! xxxx

  10. Honest Mum September 6, 2017 / 10:45 pm

    You look fab, I love that print x

    • elizabeth September 7, 2017 / 6:59 pm

      Aw, thank you! It’s a fab print isn’t it xxx

    • elizabeth September 7, 2017 / 7:00 pm

      Thank you so much Emma. I love the shoes!! I’ve had them for so long but always enjoy wearing them xxxx

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