As promised, today’s post is an AW20 Boden edit – and by that I mean my pick of the pieces that have arrived over the last couple of weeks. Like me you’ll be getting used to the fact that retailers are working around delayed deliveries this season and so quite a lot of product is only available on backorder. However, everything I’m showing you here is available now. As always, I was drawn to some of the stunning dresses that have come in but I forced myself to focus on outfits that fit life as we’re likely to live it over the next few months – well as far as any of us can predict it anyway. So let me show you what I picked out. Oh and before I start, I have a lot of new readers who are asking if I’m petite. People often think I am from my photos because proportionately, I have a long body and short legs – but I’m actually 5ft 8. Luckily Boden often has petite sizes which makes it easier for the more diminutive to recreate the outfits I’m showing today.
AW20 Boden edit – relaxed nights out… or in!
Now I picked this top with the hum of three relaxed evenings in Edinburgh still in my head. As I was packing for our trip I realised that I needed to update my ‘jeans and a nice top’ repertoire because let’s face it, it’s been a while! And now it looks as though it might be a while again but even so this velvet top will be great as we move closer to Christmas, even if it’s just for wearing at home. It’s comfortable, it works tucked in or left loose and it’s warm so you could happily wear it to elevate a relaxed night in – plus it’s low maintenance because it’s washable too. It’s also available in black but I can’t tell you how much I love this blue, Boden are calling it blue depths but I’d describe it as kingfisher. Although it looks a bit dull in the shot on their website, in real life it looks like this – it lights up your face and so I’d happily wear it for Zoom meetings. There’s an easy to wear midi-dress in the same stunning colour too.
You keep telling me that you like seeing me trying different cuts of denim so I thought I’d explore a different style this time and I hoped they’d arrive in blue but the sample that was sent was black. They’re very high rise (coming to above your navel) which is great if you like a visual leg lengthener. I felt they came up a bit small which may be more reflective of me at the moment than the jeans but I would upsize for comfort given that the waist comes so high. The distressed hem will be a love/hate for some people. I would never wear jeans with distressed patches on the legs but I love frayed hems because I think they add the insouciance to an outfit that steers it away from frumpiness.
I should add that an icy wind blew up from nowhere while we were doing this which is why I’m holding onto my hair and my nose is so red.
I was changing into my own jeans for the next outfit because it needed blue ones so I asked Mr MC to take another quick photo of the top because blues don’t always work well together and I wanted to assess whether it would work with other shades – and it does…
You’ll notice that I’m wearing the new sequin shoes. As you know I love a party shoe, it’s the ultimate in lazy glamour, you could even throw them on with joggers to make yourself feel more dressed up.
Sequin shoes (true to size, also available in pink)
The genius touch with this pair is that they’ve added a contrasting black velvet bow at the back. This change in colour and texture works magic because it means that you could wear the shoes with opaque tights – the softer, darker velvet means that the contrast wouldn’t be too much.
Sequin shoes (true to size, also available in pink)
AW20 Boden edit – upscaled weekend wear
Moving on, I spend a lot of time out walking with Teddy and I’m always happier if I have a warm outfit that hits the feelgood spot too. This fur jacket is the colour of autumn and the short cut means that it’s versatile, working really well with midi-dresses or skirts too for a completely different look. I tried this outfit on at home when it arrived yesterday morning and said we’d have to be quick to shoot it because I felt too hot. By the time we’d driven out to the park the season had turned and I was really glad of its warmth. It feels as though we’ve gone from late summer to early winter in the space of a few days this week.
I picked the colour of the jacket up in the western style suede boots which have a low heel that’s just the right height for my achilles issues. Reviews are saying that they come up small but I found them true to size and easy to slip on and off.
Faux fur jacket (true to size, also available in forest green); Cashmere jumper (size up one or two sizes depending on preference, also available in charcoal or aqua); Ankle boots (true to size); Jeans my own
The jumper is cashmere and after seeing the model shots I sized up which is unusual for me. I’m wearing a 14 here and having tried it I’d be tempted to go to a 16 because it’s a cut that will give you a relaxed look without feeling swamped. I really like the detail of the raised seams, the deep ribbing and the split hem that doesn’t bunch over jeans.
Cashmere jumper (size up one or two sizes depending on preference, also available in charcoal or aqua)
There’s a split at the cuff too which adds to the quality feel and also avoids pilling when you’re working at a keyboard. As you can see from this shot it’s a heavyweight cashmere with a tight knit so it’s warm.
AW20 Boden edit – easy workwear
And lastly back to the ‘nice top’ again but this time in terms of easy workwear because since Zoom came into our lives, ‘nice tops’ have become important for day as well as for night. So I have a blouse that I loved as soon as I saw it paired with a couple of different skirts as an experiment. First of all the pleated skirt which you know I, along with many of you, struggle with because of its associations with the warm older women of our childhoods. However here I am, giving it a spin with the fur jacket. And I do appreciate the way that it twirls but I’m still not sure that pleated skirts will ever be for me.
Satin is warmer for winter than silk but it has the same effect of bouncing light to your face, softening your complexion and helping your skin to glow. Boden are on fire when it comes to colour this season – this satin blouse is such a grown up pink and it makes me think of Gillian Anderson in The Fall. It’s a long cut with a bibbed hem which gives you the option of wearing it loose over skinnies or leather leggings if you want to.
I’m always on the lookout for workhorse bottom halves at the moment and with our Barbara Woodhouse pleated skirt conversation in mind, I wanted to give this skirt a try. It’s made from the same warm navy, heavy crepe fabric as the tailored joggers that I wore when we were in Newcastle a couple of weeks ago. As I mentioned then it’s the same fabric that Me+Em use a lot, specifically because it doesn’t crease when you’re sitting. I really wanted to capture the cut of this skirt because it flutes out at the bottom, giving it a swish when you walk. It was such a windy day that it was hard to get on camera but I think we caught it here. It’s one of those skirts that doesn’t look very exciting when you first put it on, it’s all in the movement. I think you’d wear it repeatedly throughout the winter because it would look great with jumpers too. I’ve paired it with the boots that I first showed you in the last Boden post. I knew they’d be winners, they seem to work with just about everything.
Satin blouse (quite a lot of volume so size down if between sizes, also available in black or dark green); Fluted skirt (true to size, also available in dusty pink or pattern); Kitten heel ankle boots (true to size, also available in black)
I just want to show you two other pieces that caught my eye but that I couldn’t justify. I’ve been looking for a dress to wear to a wedding that we were really looking forward to and as soon as I saw this it felt like the one because it would be easy to wear for more dressed up work days too. Of course the wedding has now been postponed until next year so I haven’t ordered it but here it is anyway. I love the shade of teal blue that Boden has chosen this year, it’s slightly ‘dirty’ so it doesn’t look frumpy as teal often can.
Jersey midi-dress (also available in a pink and purple pattern)
And this coat is just fabulous. I have absolutely no excuse for either a navy or camel coat (it comes in both colours) but if I did this wold be my choice. It’s a great straight single breasted cut and the leather belt makes me think of one of the lovely French brands such as Maje, it’s both cool and elegant.
Navy coat with leather belt (also available in camel)
It comes from Boden’s new Everyday Collection which you may have missed – I had until I was writing this post. It focuses on relaxed casual and it seems to have pieces that aren’t featured in the general part of the site so it’s worth having a look through.
Blimey – how can anybody distill their thoughts at the moment?
As you’ll know if you saw my Instagram Stories, we had a lovely long weekend in Edinburgh to celebrate Mr MC’s 50th birthday last week and I’ll tell you about it soon. We were lucky, just as we were with Turkey – we just managed to complete our trip before further lockdowns began. It wouldn’t have been quite the same if the restaurants had closed at 6pm as they will from this week.
I came back to a big work project. I was asked to present to the directors of one of the global brands that I work with via Zoom. It was a much higher level than usual and as well as London they were attending from places as far flung as Brazil and Australia. They wanted me to talk to them about the particular niche that is the midlife consumer and as always it was great watching the penny drop as they realised what makes us different (and special – but then I’m biased). And because they were more senior than usual, rather than telling me that they’d now be kinder to their mums which is what I usually get at the end of the sessions, the men said they could now understand their wives better… and the women (mostly early 40s) said it had helped them to make sense of a few things. So it’s been a formidable but rewarding week of my worlds colliding – and I feel as though I’ve done some social good as well as commercial!
On another work note the pitch feedback is positive – the stumbling block we have is that it’s a massive project that would require Mr MC in particular to spend a significant amount of time in Hong Kong and Beijing over the next year… which takes me back to the impossibility of distilling thoughts at the moment.
More than that though I’m thinking about the generation below us. As I chat to friends who are the parents of young adults the same age as ours, it strikes me just how massively they’re all being hit by the fallout from Covid. Our eldest continues to apply for jobs in a sphere where he’s not only competing with other recent graduates but also people with a few years’ experience under their belts who are scrabbling for any position, even at a junior level. And I’d say that 70% of his friends from school and university seem to be in the same position. Since the universities reopened he’s been thankful that he still has his security licence from the doorman job that he did as a student. He’s been heading up security at the university’s student nightclub but yesterday he was told that it was closing indefinitely – so that’s gone too. He’s remaining positive because he knows others are in far worse situations than he is… and I’m busy trying to blow currents of warm air under his wings.
The middle boy will be released from quarantine tomorrow. In the end all of his flatmates tested positive for the virus apart from him. They’ve all been asymptomatic but rather ironically their positive result has meant that they’ve only had to do ten days of isolation whereas he’s had to stay in for the full fourteen. They’re clearly a nice bunch though because all but one of them has stayed in with him. They’ve been busy working their way through the Harry Potter movies with the occasional drinking game applied… every time Ron swears… or Harry waves his wand… you get the picture. His party shelf is apparently looking pretty empty now though!
We’ve been Facetiming him a lot and last night he was chuckling away saying how much luckier they were at Northumbria than Lancaster (which you may have seen in the news is charging £18 a day for food supplies with a value of less than £3). He smugly told us that food boxes are free at Northumbria… until we asked whether he’d been offered one and it occurred to him that no he hadn’t… and neither had anyone he knows. I’m not going to judge any of the universities for the way they’re handling things because it must be a logistical nightmare but I do wonder how the students who don’t have parents dispatching supermarket deliveries are managing.
Back on the home front the youngest is keeping his head down and continuing to go to school. The virus is all around him, the boys in the form that he’s a prefect for are all at home isolating because one of them has Covid but fortunately he has been sufficiently distanced from them so can still go in. Like so many people we’re waiting to hear what’s going to happen with next year’s A Level exams. One of his (Art) has already been cancelled with the whole grade being awarded on coursework which is both good and bad. For now he’s just hoping that school stays open because even though he feels he worked harder from home in lockdown, he really missed the social interaction and also the idea germination that he gets from studying alongside other boys – oh and girls too – his school now has girls in the Sixth Form.
So, as we wait to hear whether we’ll be included in the new red tier northern lockdown, I find that I’m living with a low hum of unease and everyone I know seems to be feeling the same. I find the only answer lies in controlling the things I can. I’m making more effort than ever to dress in clothes that make me feel good, I’m playing my favourite music and making the house feel as warm and cosy as possible. This weekend I’m going to pack summer away with a wardrobe declutter, deadhead the garden and wrap the outdoor furniture up. I cleared some big deadlines at work this week and next week will be the first since July where I’ll have five full days at my desk so it feels like a new start. I’ll be able to catch up with your comments, fully focus on the eight week bootcamp that I’ve just begun at the gym and try to think about on going forward one week at a time. I think it’s the only way to handle the uncertainty that surrounds us and stay sane my friends. As always, at times like this my mum’s voice comes into my head. When things were tough she used to quote Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind (so apt for midlifers – and anyone living through these times)
Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre
Vaulted with all thy congregated might
Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: O hear!
… when winter comes, can spring be far behind?”
I’ll be back on Tuesday but in the meantime I want to say thank you to you for reading and to Boden for their ongoing support of this blog. Without brands like this behind me I wouldn’t be able to keep on bringing it to you so please do support them in return if you can. Have a happy weekend and I’ll see you next week.
Disclosure: “AW20 Boden edit – and midlife lately” was commissioned by Boden but as with all brands that support this blog, they gave me complete control over outfits, photography and thoughts
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