If you’ve been following my blog or have read any of my recent posts then you’ll know that I’ve been in London recently for two interviews for what was essentially a dream job. It involved blogging, events, digital marketing and communications and I really thought my interviews had gone well.
In fact, they did go well! I came second, losing out to a candidate that had three years of experience in those fields. As a graduate there is potentially nothing more soul destroying than losing to someone with experience. I understand experience gives the company that sense of reassurance but when you’re on the other side of a rejection simply due to your age it can be pretty crushing. I have never let a lack of experience daunt me, because let’s face it. 90% of people probably had no idea what they were doing when they first start a job, no matter how much previous experience they have had. Every job will require slightly different skills, use different platforms and have a totally different working environment. So even 50 years of experience wouldn’t necessarily prepare you for that first day.
Now I don’t want to come across as bitter, because I am most definitely not! It’s still a dream company to work for and I’m going to keep pursuing jobs with them, so take this more as a lamentation for how frustrating it can be as a graduate fighting for that first big break. If you read my post on hunting for a job in London you’ll know just how overwhelming it can be, with so many opportunities simultaneously feeling like nothing being available.
However, in this moment of defeat (albeit a small moment of defeat) I am more determined than ever to grab a break and get the London city life I’ve been dreaming of. Whilst it throws our plans of moving into a flat into complete disarray, I guess I will just be even more prepared when the time does come. As a true millennial, I live my life by a great series of inspirational quotes.
What’s for you won’t come past you.
If it’s meant to be, it will be.
As one door closes another one opens.
So here I am checking in, down but definitely not out! I guess if it was easy there would be no sense of achievement and that is my whole motivation for moving to London in the first place.
Career goals and whatnot aside, one of the things I was most excited about moving to London and starting a full time job was getting that dream work wardrobe. Every rom com movie of my childhood featured women working for magazines or events companies, getting to strut around the city in Louboutin’s with a gorgeous dress and flawless makeup. What ambitious child would not want that!
But realistically it’s a lot harder in practise to curate that perfect selection, especially when trying to shop like a city girl on a non-existent budget. So if you’re in a similar situation or just fancy being nosy, I hope you enjoy my tips and walk-through of my wardrobe (wish that said walk-in wardrobe but a girl can dream…)
I think one of the first major dilemmas is how to navigate that smart casual minefield. I recently asked before an interview what the office dress code was as I didn’t want to appear completely overdressed and not fit in to the office vibe, or much worse, underdressed if they all were wearing suits. ‘The smarter side of smart casual’ was my reply, but that’s even more vague than when Robbie said ‘See you later’ to Georgia in the educational movie Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging.
When I think of smart casual I try and keep to the following rules:
Nothing remotely see through
If a strong wind blows or I have to bend down will I be forever mortified
Never grey or any other sweat showing colour, because have you been on the central line?!?
Nothing tight enough that will show my post lunch food baby
Dresses are what I believe are going to form the basis of my working wardrobe pretty much all year round. Knee length skater dresses or shift dresses in the Summer and knitted with tights in the winter. Dresses are easier to style for multiple occasions, especially in block colours which are undoubtedly the chameleons of the office wardrobe. I have three beautiful dresses that are forming the foundations of my collection and somehow they have all ended up being navy. By picking a neutral, block colour I can easily style it with different bags and accessories to disguise the fact I’ll be wearing the same three dresses on rotation for a while.
I’m also really enjoying Pinterest right now to collate ideas of how I want my wardrobe colour palette to be and it’s a great place to find inspiration for outfits! (You can check out my board here!) A pleated midi skirt is currently top of my work wish list, paired with a blouse or even a t-shirt, then a jumper in the winter months for a more casual environment. I think it is such a versatile piece that I would never considered could be workwear had I not seen it on Pinterest. This way, I also have an already curated collection of items to browse when that paycheque comes in and I want to expand my collection.
Whilst the branding of your clothes is completely irrelevant in the office, having pieces of quality is especially important as you’ll be wearing and washing them constantly. Having pieces that are easy to both wash and iron has been a careful consideration when planning my wardrobe as I definitely don’t want to be stuck on my days off spending hours handwashing my clothes, or worse, having to pay to get them dry cleaned. Checking out sites such as Brand Alley mean you can browse the high-end highstreet labels such as Reiss and Hobbs for a fraction of the price!
As for shoes and accessories? I think simplicity here is key. I have two pairs of chunky heeled sandals, one in black and one in cream and have already picked out my dream black work bag from Michael Kors. Black and either nude or cream will match any outfit and as long as they are comfortable, will see you through most of the year. When we get closer to winter I’ll be looking for a pair of good quality black heeled boots and a black coat as by keeping to black I know that it will match any outfit. This makes it so much easier to part with a larger sum of money for these items, knowing I’m getting good quality and will get so much wear out of them.
So I guess the message is one of basics. Basics are key, especially in the workplace! Whilst some may remind me that I’m going to work and not a fashion show, I think that even in an office setting you can tell a lot about a person from their outfit. By that I don’t mean the labels or price tag, but how they carry themselves and wear their clothes with pride. I have always thought I perform best when I am feeling put together and organised and my wardrobe has a big part to play in that.
PS. As you can probably tell, the photo with this post is not my own although I wish that was my wardrobe. On my previous blog the thought of using stock photos would horrify me, however right now I am sharing a tiny wardrobe with my boyfriend and there’s absolutely not a hope I’ll be taking a nice photo of that to share on the internet. I’d much rather put out a quality of writing I am happy with and want to share than spend hours agonising over how bad the camera is on my iPhone 6 which I’m using to replace my stolen phone so for now, a stock photo it is. Although don’t think I haven’t spent about an hour already trying to find the perfect one…
What a crazy few weeks we have all had! From new prime ministers to the most unbearable heatwave of 37.5 degrees, life really has been happening. However the real breaking news is that I am so excited that I now have the full domain of londonsnewgirl.blog which I cannot wait to work on and develop as I explore London life!
Whilst lots has certainly been happening on a national scale, things over here have been a little, well… odd. This really has been the first time in about five years that I haven’t had a Summer job or uni work to be doing. What on earth am I meant to be doing with all this free time? I’m catching myself feeling guilty if I sit and play on my phone for too long but at the same time I am struggling to fill each day. I hate sitting around and I am definitely not one for lounging around at the weekends, I’d much rather be out and about exploring or catching up with friends. That being said I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on Pinterest recently, follow me here if you’re a fellow ‘pinner.’ I’ve trawled every interior store and homeware section and pinned all my favourites, which is causing some contention between myself and the boyfriend who is refusing a pink, white and grey colour scheme in the bedroom. He needn’t bother as I’m very much aware that it’ll be a combination of both of our university things for the first few months/years anyway, however that does give me plenty of time to win him over…
My main task is finding a job, closely followed by finding a flat and both are majorly overwhelming. I have been lucky enough to have an interview that I’m keeping all my fingers and toes crossed for as it would be the dream, however realistically I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much. I want to do a whole post or even a series on finding a job in London as I definitely think it’s different to any other place, the competition is unbelievably strong yet there are so many opportunities so how do you pick the right one? Who knows. Not me right now anyway!
Flat hunting is looking slightly more positive, which is rather frustrating considering I can’t pay rent without a job, however it’s the three busses coming at once scenario isn’t it. However I guess in this case its the connecting bus arriving before I even get the first one! We are actually going to view a flat tomorrow and I’m trying to compile my list of adult questions to ask the agents however it’s hard to get out the mindset of asking if I can put blue tac on the walls after so many years of boarding school and uni accommodation.
So that’s it. Life really is starting yet is seeming to take a very long time to get going. I am such an impatient person, which is something I am struggling a little with right now, so I’m going to pool all of my organisational and creative energy into the blog and see what I can come up with! What are your tips for being patient when it comes to waiting for life? I definitely don’t want to wish this down time away when the next 50 or so years are going to be pretty intense, but I guess I am just too excited to get started? Let me know in the comments!