A Boden outfit try-on today and it’s always the one that gives me a bit of a lump in my throat because we’ve arrived at the last of the high summer drops. After the June deliveries, retailers will be moving into sale and then season transition which brings more autumnal colours and a change of mood. Anyway let’s not think about that until we have to, for now we’ve reached the apex of clothes for warm sunshine and amazingly the British weather is playing along so the photos were a pleasure to take. Well apart from my puffy face that is – as I mentioned I had a nasty dental procedure (apicectomy) at the end of last week and although some of the swelling and bruising has gone down I’m still feeling a bit self-conscious. The left side of my face looks puffy and my smile is a bit Wallace and Gromit but at least you know why! Anyway let’s move on to Boden’s high summer drop – a try-on and bear in mind that code F7V8 will give you 20% off everything in the new collection.

As you know I’m being very selective about the retailers I work with and when I do my edits I’m only choosing clothes that I’m confident I’ll wear repeatedly. So my theme for today is holidays and packing light. Why? I mentioned last week that prompted by our safari experience we’re experimenting with different types of travel this year. To the boys’ dismay we’ve allocated our usual family holiday budget to just the two of us and it’s amazing how much further it goes (not a good sign if you’re reading boys – not at all!). So, we have a couple of city breaks in the diary which will require cleverly packed carry-on luggage and then a longer holiday in September that will see us living out of a big (shared!) bag as we move from place to place. It means that my focus for anything holiday related this year is packability – I won’t have the luxury of our usual Kalkan experience where I unpack everything and keep it hanging neatly in a wardrobe for two weeks. As we’ll also be on the move a lot comfort is important so I’m staying away from anything that squeezes and doesn’t accommodate an expanding holiday pleasure tummy. So with that in mind, here are my top picks for easy travel from Boden’s high summer drop.

Boden’s high summer drop – a try-on

Beachy pieces

The trend for boxer short styles started last year and they’re easy to wear for relaxed days in the sunshine. They work well over a swimsuit on the beach or with a looser tee if you’re out and about. Blue and white stripes always say summer to me and the elasticated waist with its drawstring make them comfortable and easy to slip on and off. These are a 12 and they’re true to size.

I’m wearing them with a double layered tee here; the tank style top is a key trend this year again but a thin layer can be pretty unforgiving. The slightly thicker construction of these classics is kinder to the torso; Boden don’t work a bra shelf in any more which is a shame but you can easily wear this over a bra and keep the straps covered. It’s a top that will work with trousers and skirts too and look sleek under a blazer plus you can crush in the the corner of a bag and still not need to iron it – a holiday hero. I’m wearing a 12 and it’s true to size.

Boden's high summer drop 23

Blue striped cotton shorts; double layer tank

For breezy seaside days like this one, add a cotton cardigan. The crochet knit behaves like broderie anglaise, balancing warmth and ventilation. It’s in this season’s cropped length but it’s less frumpy than a bolero and works well with dresses, skirts and high waisted trousers. Size down though, I’m wearing a small and it’s plenty big enough. It’s also available in red or black but it has five star reviews so it’s selling fast.

Nikki Garnett, Midlifechic

Crochet cardiganBlue striped cotton shorts; double layer tank

Sunny day dressing – Boden’s high summer drop

Moving on, here’s a light t-shirt dress which has a ribbed texture that skims over your body rather than clinging. As you can see, it’s quite figure hugging, I’m wearing a 12R here but I’m wondering whether I should change it for a 14L – I’m in debate with Mal who absolutely loves it as it is and I’m forever grateful that he somehow misses the fact that I no longer have the 30 year old’s form he originally fell for.

Mini dress over 50

It has a great boat neckline and it’s one of those dresses that you’ll turn to on warm days at home too because it’s so easy to wash and wear. Plus of course it takes up next to no room in a suitcase and doesn’t need ironing when you unpack it.

Can you wear a mini over 50

The back has a scoop which probably won’t stretch as wide if you don’t have the same swimmers’ shoulders as mine!

Boden's high summer drop

And I absolutely love these sandals. I’ve ordered quite a few tan platforms this summer but had to send them back because the heel has just been a bit too high for walking any kind of distance in. These are just right, they give you the elevation that helps with shorts or a shorter skirt but don’t take too much off the length of a pair of floor grazing wide leg trousers. I was surprised how comfortable they are too, wooden soles often aren’t but they were fine. I know they won’t work for light packing but they fill a gap in my wardrobe for when I’m at home.

Boden's high summer drop

Clog sandals

Golden evenings – Boden’s high summer drop

Now when I posted the black linen dress that I wore on my birthday evening a few people said that it’s the kind of thing they’d love to take on holiday but that the tiered frills made it too much to pack and iron so here’s an easy-care alternative. The first thing I’ll say is that it comes up small though. I’m wearing a 12 but the fixed seams at the waist were just too tight on the bottom of my ribs, I’d need a 14 which is unusual. There’s a beautiful lacing feature at the back which means you can adjust it to fit across your bust and the U at the front is wired so it sits neatly. If you get the size right it’s a great holiday dress – floaty and soft to wear plus it doesn’t crease so you should be able to unpack it and put it straight on.

Midlifechic Boden summer

Ruched satin dress

And here’s the cardigan again, just to show that it dresses up as well as it dresses down. You can really see my puffy, swollen cheek here, I’ll be relieved when I’ve had the stitches out and it’s back to normal.

Boden's high summer drop

Crochet cardiganRuched satin dress

Day to night outfit – Boden’s high summer drop

And I’m finishing with some real wardrobe heroes. Linen trousers are difficult things to buy but for the first time I’ve found some that I like – this is a new cut that I bought a couple of weeks ago, I’ve just managed to buy them in white too but they’re selling out fast. What’s good about them? The principle thing is the weight of the linen which isn’t the tissue paper kind that creases as soon as you touch it. I’d say it’s mid-weight so it hangs well but isn’t too heavy for summer. I had to size down to a 10 to get the right fit but they’re now the wide, easy but not too slouchy look that I like. They’re exactly the right length on me for wearing with flats and they’re also available in limited sizes in white and khaki.

Boden's high summer drop

Linen trousers; t-shirt

And this has to be the most forgiving t-shirt you can find. The diagonally ribbed texture and the ruching mean that every bump is glossed over. The size 12 fits as though it was made for me (that’s down to the diagonal cut) and you’ll be pleased to know that it isn’t cropped so you can tuck it in to ordinary skirts or trousers. It’s one of those quiet pieces you’ll have in your wardrobe for years and it’s also available in bright blue.

The earrings add the drama that an outfit as simple as this needs to liven it up a bit. I wasn’t sure about them when I unwrapped them because they felt so light but of course as soon as I put them on I was glad – earrings this size would have dragged my earlobes down to my waist if they weren’t hollow. (and if you watch the TV drama The Bay, that’s the beautiful house that they always seem to feature behind me).

Nikki Garnett, Midlifechic

Earrings; t-shirt

And so that’s the last of my Boden posts for SS23 and I want to say a huge thank you to them for the ongoing support that they give to Midlifechic. Without it I wouldn’t be able to divert time away from my day job to writing this blog so please do support them in return if you can.

Midlife lately

Hopefully you (and I) have our wardrobes just about ready for summer now and long may this weather continue. So far it seems as if we’ve had the very best of it in the North West which is hard to believe – and annoying because, as some of you will have seen from Instagram, I’ve spent the second half of this week working in London so I had to leave it all behind. However it gave me a chance to catch up with the eldest who managed to fit me into his schedule for a quick breakfast and it’s great to see him thriving in his very urban world. He seems to have grown up so much since he turned 26 last December and has a new self assurance about him… but underneath the polish he’s still my lovely boy.

The youngest is heading towards the end of his time in Dijon already. Apart from the three Leeds students, everyone else on his course has left to go home and he’s been rattling around a bit for the last couple of weeks so I’m glad that he has a group of friends from home going out to visit him this weekend. They’ve been a close knit group since primary school and I know they’ll have a ball, especially as most of them took apprenticeships rather than the university route so they’re always very generous with their impoverished student buddy.

I feel a bit worried about the middle one who is facing the sudden cliff edge that is the end of university and the reality of stepping into his own, self-supporting adult life. He can no longer hide behind his ‘future me problem’ philosophy and he really isn’t finding it easy. I think this photo from the end of his final clowning performance last week sums it up – I was relieved for him that it was all over but he clearly had all kinds of emotions sweeping over him.

Boden's high summer drop

It’s true when they say that as your children get older, the bigger their problems become isn’t it? I feel very wistful for the days when you could fix everything for them with a few soothing words and a cuddle. We’ll have a few slightly stressful weeks ahead no doubt until he firms up his plans and of course there’s the small matter of exam results… if any of you have a final year student at Northumbria Uni and know the date when they’re published I’d love to know – my boy seems to have ‘misplaced’ the details!

I was talking to my sister the other day and we were saying that your happiness seems to be tied to your children’s like a helium balloon – when they’re a bit low it tugs you down with it. I’m sure lots of you will know that feeling and I’m trying to balance the instinct to sweep in and ‘direct’ him with the knowledge that I must step back and trust that we’ve given him enough inner fortification to live his life well. As I picked up from so many of you in the comments on my birthday post, this is midlife. Just as we start to taste a little bit of freedom, it’s so often offset by the duty we have to ageing parents and our emerging young adults. But that’s the rock and roll of family – and love – and we wouldn’t be without it. Onwards my friends, let’s put on our favourite summer clothes and take joy from the simple pleasures of the sunshine. I’ll be back next Friday, as always.

Disclosure: ‘Boden’s high summer drop – a try-on’ was commissioned by Boden but all thoughts, words and outfit choices are my own

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