Slummy mummy: Third of women who return to the office after giving birth feel envious of single colleagues
Returning to an office full of trendy singletons leaves new mothers feeling 'dowdy' and 'undervalued', a study has revealed.
Researchers found more than half of working mothers feel intimidated by fashionable younger colleagues.
A quarter believe they are overlooked in favour of more trendy workmates, and 44 per cent believe they have missed out on a promotion because of the way they looked.
Over 25 per cent said they would be more confident in their approach to their work if they looked better.
The poll by Persil also revealed that 44 per cent of women feel self-conscious in the clothes they wear to the office and feel completely stuck in a rut when it comes to fashion.
Over a third of working mothers said they were really envious of their single colleagues who are often more stylish and get further in their careers as a result.
For 54 per cent said the main reason for feeling insecure was being overweight, followed by 49 per cent saying they just don't feel trendy.
However, award winning personal stylist Lisa Talbot claims that it doesn't have to be this way.
She said: 'Despite the pressures of time and money, working mums should not feel that they don't have the confidence to experiment with different looks and accessories.
'My advice would be to invest a little and create a simple capsule 'working wardrobe' of basics, suitable for helping you dress the part in any kind of workplace.'
The poll also discovered that one in five working women said that fashion was a main topic of conversation in the office.
And as a consequence, 60 per cent of the 2,000 working mothers polled said that a roomful of women created lots of competition when it comes to working wardrobes.
Dani Ross Brand Manager for Persil added: 'Working mothers have a lot on their plates and sometimes keeping up with the latest trends is the last thing on their minds.'
The 'uniform' was found to be smart trousers with a v-neck top, worn by 59 per cent of respondents on most days.
An honest 23 per cent of women said they never get their figure back after having children which has impacted on the clothes they wear to work.
And over a quarter (26 per cent) reckon despite every attempt to avoid being frumpy after pregnancy it can tend to creep up on you after having children.
It's no wonder working mothers are feeling left behind in the fashion stakes when 29 per cent of them never have the chance to go clothes shopping on their own.
Nearly half (48 per cent) said it takes too much time and effort to go clothes shopping and they are usually too exhausted to attempt it.
Most (28 per cent) of the 2000 who took part in the poll only managed to go shopping for new clothes four times a year.
Although 15 per cent prefer to go on one annual spree.
Two thirds of stressed out mothers said they would never attempt to go clothes shopping with their children in tow.
And it's got so extreme that 37 per cent of career mums have turned down an invitation to a work do because they felt they had nothing to wear.