Well the clocks go back here this weekend so we’ll be officially saying goodbye to British Summer Time. Today I’m doing a Baukjen AW20 try-on, showcasing a few pieces from this tiny British brand that has continued to shine ethically throughout this difficult year. And at the end of the post I’ll show you my tiny collection of new bags that have finally arrived after the hard work we did in the summer. New readers often ask me how Baukjen is pronounced – it’s Bow-kin (bow as in bow down) and the name comes from the brand owner who was 50 last weekend so I must just wish her a very happy birthday from us all. So what’s new this season? Well their focus on sustainable sourcing has really started to stand out. You can read about it in detail here but they’re using all kinds of interesting new textiles such as Ecovero and Ecotec which repurpose textile waste and Econyl which recycles plastic ocean waste. They’ve also continued to ensure that the natural fibres they work with are all carefully sourced and organic wherever possible. During lockdown Baukjen were one of the first companies to start making re-usable facemasks and I still find that they’re some of the most comfortable to wear because you can actually breathe through them. And did you know that you can send their clothes and masks back to be repurposed when you’ve finished wearing them? In return they send you a £20 gift voucher.
Because their clothes are ethically made and produced in small runs, they’re a bit more expensive than the average high street store. However, the 20% discount that they offered to Midlifechic readers last season is still ongoing so make a note of it: MIDLIFECHIC20 – you can use it as many times as you want. Oh and if you’re a Keyworker they’ll increase it to 30% off if you email a photo of your ID through to them. Today they’ve invited me to do an edit of their latest drop so that I can show you what the clothes look like on a non-model body. As always I was distracted by the lovely leather and faux fur that they do but in the end I decided to keep it simple and look at some of the items that will really work hard for the unusual winter that lies ahead of us. Let me show you what I picked out.
Baukjen AW20 try-on – burgundy stripe breton
Starting with a breton, the thing that I love about Baukjen’s is the cut. Rather than being boxy they’re gently shaped so that they skim your body but don’t cling. They’re made from a mid-weight organic cotton that has enough stiffness to sit sharply and the neckline is much more flattering than the usual round crew. I have them in lots of colours but I think this burgundy set against the soft white is my favourite yet. I’m wearing it with Baukjen boyfriend jeans that I’ve had since 2015 – you can see that they’ve washed brilliantly without wearing or fading.
Baukjen AW20 try-on – blue leopard print top
The next top I tried was this blue leopard print. You’ve seen me embrace pattern this year and I think it’s purely as a result of the time I spend on Zoom calls – my plain tops just don’t have enough standout on screen. This has an integrated scarf neckline and the end result is that it’s as comfortable to wear as any other jersey top but it just helps you to look a little more dressed (even if you’re wearing athleisure on your bottom half). It’s made from Ecovero which is viscose made from wood that comes from sustainable forests and it has a smooth, silky feel.
Baukjen AW20 try-on – ponte top with volume sleeves
Moving on, this top is all about structure because it’s made from ponte. It means that the neckline doesn’t flop as so often happens with jersey polo necks and yet it isn’t so tight that it touches your skin which always makes me feel hot. The sleeves have volume so you don’t need to worry if you don’t have Michelle Obama arms and the deep cuffs add extra drama. It’s quite a loose fit so if you’re in between sizes, size down – a 10 would probably have been better on me. Once again they’ve used warm rather than stark white which is much softer on the skintone.
Baukjen AW20 try-on – new Housewear
New to Baukjen this season is what they’re calling Housewear which makes sense for the very home-centred lives that we’re living. It includes classic checked pyjamas but also this modal set which crosses the divide between nightwear and loungewear.
It made me smile because one of my closest friends has a permanent bee in her bonnet about people wearing pyjamas when they’re not in bed. I often put pyjamas on after work and she can’t bear it. If she pops round she’ll always raise an eyebrow and say “oh – are you not well?” Obviously she won’t be coming round for a while but when she catches me in these they’ll completely confuse her.
This grouping includes a long sleeved top and trousers with a matching wrap cardigan. The modal is silky soft and feels good against your skin plus it doesn’t crease when you’re in bed so you still look neat when you get up in the morning. It’s such a good idea – you wouldn’t be remotely embarrassed if you had to answer the door wearing this outfit.
Baukjen AW20 try-on – double denim
The last look I want to show you is this one. I ordered these organic denim jeans a while ago and I’ve been waiting for them to come in. They’re still not available in my size so in the end I bought a size 14 to try which means they’re too big but I really love them – they added a sashay to my step. I suspect the size 12 will have a neater fit on the hips and thighs than these do, flaring out from the knee. I posted this picture on Instagram yesterday and most people loved it although as always there were some haters. It’s funny because whenever I post jeans on Instagram that aren’t skinnies I know I’ll get a few heated direct messages. I think it’s fear talking because we’re all so used to that particular silhouette but we need to try new things every now and then. And if people want to stick with skinnies there’s nobody saying that they shouldn’t so I’m always a bit surprised that they feel so strongly about it.
Anyway lot of people asked if they’re bootcuts but they’re wider than that so definitely flares. I’d always advise caution with bootcuts. It depends on how you style them of course but they can look a bit dated – the noughties aren’t quite distant enough for them to feel fresh again yet although it won’t be long before they’re the next new thing. The other question was about length. As you know I usually take a regular length in trousers and I’m wearing a 1 inch heeled boot with these so that should give you an idea.
The organic cotton shirt feels more like a soft chambray than stiff denim and it tones with jeans beautifully. It’s one of those quiet wardrobe heroes that you’ll have forever and it will be great worn on its own like this or layered under jumpers to give them a bit of a lift.
So there you go, a few things to think about from Baukjen who are such a lovely small, ethical brand. I think we all want them to survive these difficult times so do support them if you can.
And now I’m moving on to an even tinier brand – my own. As you know I paused the bag shop last year because as a result of currency fluctuations, I just couldn’t make the maths work. I’ve explained before that the factory that I work with in Istanbul is used by the luxury brands for their over runs when they’re outsourcing from Italy. As you can imagine, this year demand has reduced and so they were willing to negotiate. The bags that we’ve produced are from a couple of the designs that we worked on last summer and I’m really pleased that they’ve come to life. I had some beautiful work bags in the pipeline too but as hardly anyone is commuting, it didn’t make sense to have those made.
This is a test, there are only ten of each style available because I want to see if you like them – and that of course makes them very exclusive! The first design is a new crossbody but this time in a satchel shape and you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been test driving a couple since I had the samples made last summer. As always they’re made from high quality leather and available in three colours: the shiny black and chocolate brown mock croc that you’ve seen me using for a while along with a new pewter colourway in a saffiano finish which is the colour most requested by readers because it works with everything.
The strap is detachable so if you were travelling you could use it as a clutch if you wanted to. It has slots for credit cards inside and a pocket on the back which was originally designed for a travel pass but now I’m finding it really useful for a neatly folded facemask, in fact it’s a feature that I wish all of my bags had. So here it is in black…
The handy back ‘mask pocket’ that they all have…
… and in chocolate brown…
New shoulder bag
Then there’s a larger shoulder bag which I’d hoped to have in two colours: navy blue and oxblood but when the oxblood arrived it was too purple so I rejected it. However it’s lovely in navy blue, big enough for a large iPad along with your purse, phone, brolly etc – you’ve seen me using mine a lot recently. Here it is, it has a detachable zipped pouch inside which I use to keep things like my lipstick and keys in so that I’m not always scrabbling around for them .
So, I’ll (rather nervously) leave you to have a look at those. I do hope I’ll be able to start rebuilding my retail plans again soon but it feels a bit scary at the moment as you can imagine. I’d like to say a huge thank you in advance to anyone who is able to support me. The bags are here now so we’ll dispatch them straightaway and international delivery is no problem.
Have a lovely weekend and don’t forget that clock change on Saturday night. I’ll be moving into everything bright and shiny on the blog soon but next week is half term here so there will probably only be one post because I’m going to take a couple of days off. I’m hoping that the boredom of lockdown might mean that the youngest will come for some autumn walks with me – it’s our last autumn half term ever so I’m going to make the most of it while I can.
And my very last shout today is on behalf of the Food Banks. As we go into half term many families who rely on free school meals will be really struggling and children will be going hungry. Demand is now running higher than ever before and our local warehouse today told me that they’re already anticipating that this will be the biggest winter crisis they’ve ever seen. Please donate food to your local centre or, if you’d like to help quickly, you can make a national financial contribution here – either as a one off payment or a regular donation. Thank you for reading – and see you next week.
Disclosure: ‘A Baukjen AW20 try-on – and new bags’ – thank you to Baukjen for helping to support this post, as always, I only cover brands that I genuinely love and buy from myself.
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