It feels too early to be doing this. I made a quiet pledge not to complain about the weather but really – 2017 has been the year that summer forgot. So, I’ve been finding myself looking ahead to Autumn without feeling guilty. After all these are the clothes that we wear for about nine months of the year. Style-wise there is more change afoot than there has been for quite a few years so I thought I’d kick off with a snapshot of Autumn 2017 trends for women over 40.
Why do I say ‘for women over 40’? It’s because most of us are savvy enough to know that a new season doesn’t mean that we have to replace absolutely everything in our wardrobe. With a few well chosen additions we can refresh what we already have. So I’m not going to go into huge depth. Instead I’m going to highlight the areas to concentrate on.
The most radical shift this season is the silhouette. I suspect that if you simply bring last year’s Autumn wardrobe out, by the end of October you’ll be feeling that you don’t look quite right but you won’t know why. So I’m going to draw your attention to the key differences. Picking an item in an on trend colour is an easy way to update your wardrobe too – so I’ve included the shades to look out for. There are no product recommendations (well maybe just one at the end) because I want to focus on the principles. I’ll be bringing you plenty of ‘what to buy’ posts from next week onwards.
Autumn 2017 trends for women over 40 – colours
So, let’s start with the Autumn 2017 colour palette. This year sees a very natural Autumnal colour direction. I don’t usually like the way that Pantone try to dictate the colour of the year. However their analysis of the major fashion weeks is very useful. When the shows are over, they reflect the colours that have dominated the runways with a specific chart for London, New York etc.
I’ve taken their analysis and adapted it according to the themes I’ve picked up from the retail press shows I’ve been to. These are the key colours that I’ve seen coming through.
Flame scarlet or bright red is going to be the most important colour for the season. Colour houses insist that it is a shade that suits everyone so if you haven’t tried it before, you may be surprised. If you prefer a more neutral wardrobe, this is the colour to head to for your accessories: red boots, a red bag and you’re away.
The other key colour is the blue that Pantone are calling ‘Blue Bell.’ I have also seen it being referred to as ‘fifties blue’ and ‘Adriatic blue’ by the fashion magazines. You will find that the high fashion pack are falling into one of these two colour camps although some are pairing the two together.
At the press shows, I noticed that the majority of UK high street retailers have taken a safer bet and focused on the yellows, soft oranges, oxbloods, saffrons and warm khakis. These are the colours that most people find easier to adopt and they come out of the nostalgic 70s trend which shows no sign of disappearing. Keep an eye out for the Liberty purple too. I can also see brown coming back into the mainstream. I think it will be stronger next year but I’m so pleased that it’s re-emerging, especially dark chestnut. I love that colour and it has been out in the cold for so long.
As we go towards Christmas, you will notice the return of silver. After a few years of rose gold and true gold being dominant, silver is making its return in high tech, super shiny fabrics that reference the space theme that has been bubbling away since last winter.
Autumn 2017 trends for women over 40 – styles
There are lots of theories about the move away from everything short and clingy towards a more covered up way of dressing. The one that makes most sense to me is that there is a new confidence emerging amongst women. It is even being called the fifth wave of feminism. There are certainly a lot of powerful, strong females in prominence at the moment and when you set them alongside their less credible male counterparts, it makes sense.
Regardless of whether or not you ‘like’ them, we have Theresa May, Angela Merkel, Hilary Clinton (well nearly), Christine Lagarde, Nicola Sturgeon and so on. Wonder Woman is the superhero of our day and even Dr Who is regenerating as a woman. I am noticing that the boys’ female friends are dropping the word feminism into their conversations regularly. This new mood is what I think we are seeing reflected in fashion. Women are not feeling the need to expose their bodies in short tight dresses to influence men. They are driving forward on their own terms, regardless of male opinion.
The midi hemline is dominant everywhere. I’m thrilled because I find that it is elegant and easy to wear. Loose, flowing dresses are even stronger for Autumn than they were for summer. Asymmetry is key and ruffles are still a big feature although they’re less frilly this season than they have been.
The way that I will be adopting these dresses is to make sure that they follow the line of the upper part of my body. Let’s face it, if you have a Kate Moss figure, you can wear the very loose look and still look like a sylph. If you enjoy a bacon sandwich every so often, you need to give one part of your body a little definition. So, if I could afford the Mulberry dress above, I would probably commit the heinous crime of having it altered very slightly to allow for a little more definition at the waist.
The other key look for dresses is the loose sweater dress. They’re pretty straight up and down so look for splits up the side like this one so that it doesn’t look like a sack. It also means you don’t have to walk like a penguin. You could add more definition with a wide belt too and still be on trend.
If you prefer to wear skirts, the pleated midi is still going strong. Otherwise look for skirts that are similar to the yellow dress above – fluid in shape with asymmetric hemlines or layers. Wear them with a blouse tucked in, a sweatshirt, or a slogan tee.
I did a post back in May saying that the trouser suit was back and it really is. Again it seems to underpin the new mood of ‘woman power.’ There are two approaches to take. The very fashionable are wearing it supersized with huge, shoulder padded blazers and voluminous wide trousers. Alternatively you can opt for crisp tailoring which is the easier approach. It doesn’t mean you can bring your old suits out again though. The proportions are probably different. Jackets are long, falling to the thigh rather than stopping at the hip. It is the same for blazers worn with jeans – they are suddenly a much longer, boyfriend style.
The area of definition is the waist. You can buy a jacket that is tailored to your middle or you can emphasis it with a belt like this. I always find a belt makes me look bulky but that’s probably because I no longer have a 23 inch waist!
Michael Kors 2017
Wide trousers are in. It’s hard to get them right though. Balance them with a short jacket but don’t wear them with a tight jersey top as you did last time. A tucked in blouse is the way forward. If you’re giving them a try, it’s probably easier to start with a cropped pair otherwise you’re opening up a whole ‘which shoes?’ can of worms.
Winter Coats 2017
If you’re thinking about a new winter coat, it’s worth adding a midi to your collection so that you have something to wear over the dresses and skirts. Tweeds and checks are everywhere. If you wear trousers more than skirts, look for a tailored coat that stops mid-thigh.
Shoes and boots, Autumn 2017
You will have noticed from these catwalk shots that knee high boots are everywhere, worn so that they disappear under your new hemline. The most fashionable are red with a pointed heel and toe. You get extra credibility points for a 90s boot with a slouchy, wrinkled leg. However because of the strength of the 70s influence, there are also a lot of block heeled, round toed, knee high boots around too if you prefer a more walkable option.
In terms of ankle boots, sock boots are still strong along with tactile fabrics such as suede, velvet, velour, embroidery and even faux suede because the fabric mimics the slouchy look. Wear them with cropped jeans for an easy weekend look that carries over from last year.
Shoes seem to be playing second fiddle to boots. Kitten heels and pointed toes are fashion forward but I’m adding warning bells to them because I think they’re difficult for women over 40 to adopt without looking like a throwback. As Jess Cartner-Morley puts it, “the kitten heel’s comeback (as declared by Vogue at the beginning of this year), is A Good Thing, but not quite as straightforward as you’d think. The danger is that if you let it, it will unwittingly rewind your wardrobe to the early noughties… the new wave kitten is not nearly so easy to wear. But get it right and it still punches above its weight in its ability to elevate” Don’t worry, we’ll be working on this one together because after all, they are so easy to walk in.
Jeans Autumn 2017
This is another area we’re going to focus on. I’ve been saying it for a while but I think most people are beginning to accept that the skinny is over. For now, the baby step forward is to wear a slim cropped jean or a mom jean. Either is fine. For a new look, I’ve just been sent a fabulous pair by one of our favourite retailers but they’re not in stock yet so I’m waiting a couple of weeks until I show them to you.
I think that’s enough for now, I just wanted to get you thinking over the Bank Holiday weekend. Rules, of course, are made to be broken so I’m not saying that anyone has to wear any of these styles. However, it’s going to be an exciting season. I’ve had quite a few deliveries of new samples this week and so I’ll be bringing you new ideas right through September. It seems that you and I have caught the eye of the retailers and they want our attention which is great news. As always though, I will be doing honest reviews and showing you what the clothes look like on an ordinary 50 year old body.
Special post next Thursday
A heads up – next Thursday I will be bringing you the launch of one of our favourite seasonal collections. It’s exclusive to Midlifechic again – it’s the one that is so well designed and well priced that it sells out by lunchtime. I’ve done an edit and so I will be showing you a few pieces. I’m hoping to send it live by 9.30am so please do make a note of it. I know quite a few of you didn’t believe me about the selling out last time and were really disappointed.
As I predicted, it’s been a busy week catching up with clients after our holiday and also having a bit of blog related fun. I spent a couple of days working with some other bloggers and JD Williams in Manchester. We have been recruited as part of a campaign that they will be rolling out in Autumn. Over the season we will be sharing style tips and ideas on the JD Williams site so this week we were filming our first videos.
As a brand JD Williams impress me. A few years ago they funded the only piece of UK academic research that has ever been done into midlife women and their fashion requirements. This year they have, once again, done a huge amount of insight work as they prepare to rebrand and relaunch their offering at the end of September. I can’t tell you yet whether the clothes will live up to the promise because I haven’t seen enough of the new range. However I truly believe that their intentions are good.
Anyway here’s a sneak preview of what we were up to. This was when Catherine from NotDressedAsLamb and I were being interviewed on camera. Video is not my comfort zone so it was very nerve racking for me.
And here’s a little moment when we frustrated the crew and went off brief.
Featuring LazyDaisyJones; Moi; FashionFoieGras; TheTreasureHunter; Busola Evans and NotDressedAsLamb. They were a lovely bunch of bloggers and journalists and I had a lot of fun spending a couple of days with them as you can tell.
And so that brings me to the long awaited, really big day of the week – GCSE results day!
You can see from his face that the boy did well and is through to Sixth Form. My relief knows no bounds and I am very proud of him, particularly for persevering with the subjects that he didn’t find easy. I absolutely relate to his joy at never having to open a maths book again. After my dedicated tuition sessions though I’m a bit disappointed that he feels the same way about English Lit!
It was an early start at school so we went out for breakfast afterwards. Here he is calling his big brother with his news.
Mr MC and I are so very relieved that we feel we deserve a night out tomorrow in recognition of the not inconsiderable amount of our effort that went into the results too! I very much hope that every single one of you who has been through this especially stressful new GCSE exam year has got the results you need. And the same goes for A Level results too. If things haven’t gone as you hoped, I’m just going to share with you what I was thinking in the run up to the day.
During the many long waits I’ve had with loved ones in oncology departments, I made a promise to myself that in the future, I would always keep my reaction to other kinds of results in proportion. After all, even though they may change the track of life’s path, exam results are fixable. One way or another there is always a way round them, even if it isn’t easy. There are times in life when results are immutable and they are much harder to deal with.
So, I’m ending with a picture of a proud mum in a new dress that I wore for Sixth Form enrolment day this morning (we both need haircuts)! If you’ve been taking notes, you’ll notice the longer length, the looser cut, the splits up the side, the colour (navy peony) and the belted waist. It’s such an easy way of edging into the new silhouette. I’ll be adding boots and tights when it gets colder so it will see me through the whole season.
Have a fabulous Bank Holiday weekend if you’re in the UK – the last one until Christmas which, as I spent a day wearing festive dresses this week, suddenly doesn’t seem all that far away. And don’t forget that I will be publishing at 9.30am on Thursday morning (31st August) with an edit of that very special collection that is released only once each season. If you’d like to subscribe by email so that you never miss a post, you can do that here.
Disclosure: Autumn 2017 trends for women over 40 is not a sponsored post
Posts for anyone whose offspring are heading to university
About the wrench of the first goodbye: The end of days – when your firstborn leaves for university
A year later – my advice about what mums need to know: What to consider when your son or daughter leaves for university