I have a few different things to talk to you about today. Firstly a capsule summer city wardrobe challenge – can I create a chic wardrobe for a month in just fifteen pieces? Then a few outfits of the day and finally, full details of the blogger sale that will open on Sunday morning 13th May at 11am (British Summer Time). Please read the details carefully to avoid any misunderstanding or disappointment.

Capsule summer city wardrobe challenge

I get all kinds of interesting emails from readers and do my best to reply as soon as I can (although I’ve discovered a backlog from around February that I’ve just retrieved from my Spam folder). I’m often asked for more features on petites or plus sizes and always have to apologise and explain that I’m not a professional stylist (although I can style people I know well). This blog is mostly a personal journey as I get to grips with my own body shape and what works best.

Last week I heard from a US reader called Laurel who was in a panic. She has just been given the opportunity to relocate to London for the month of June. She works in a tech based role for a company in Texas and feels that her clothes won’t adapt to a London working look. Plus she is keen to return home with what she describes as ‘London polish.’ She’s going to be staying and working centrally but will also be taking clients to summer events such as Wimbledon. So, she’s keen for her outfits to be chic rather than dressed down although she still wants to be able to adapt them for the weekend.

Fundamentally, she needs a very tight collection that will fit into a hotel room wardrobe. It struck me that it might be a bit different to the usual blogger capsule post so the challenge we came up with was to create a summer capsule in fifteen pieces. I have to say, I really enjoyed it – who remembers Bunty magazine? I used to spend ages on Saturday mornings playing around with these and adding new cut-outs to my box…

capsule summer city wardrobe

Capsule summer city wardrobe

So, here we go, a real life version – I bring you a capsule summer city wardrobe. As you can see, because Laurel wants to look as though she has her finger on the pulse, I’m focusing on the silhouette that we’ve been talking about all season and the volume is in the bottom half of the outfits.

I’ve kept the tops simple and structural so that they can be worn tucked in or out. Some will work best for office wear, others will adapt to evenings and weekends. The number crunchers amongst you will have spotted that there are 14 items – I saved the 15th so that Laurel could take a favourite comfort piece from home for nights when she’s in her hotel room alone. Pyjamas would be my choice.


capsule summer city wardrobe

Top to bottom, L-R

Short black jacket – this cotton jacket hits the sweet spot, it’s exactly the right length to work with all of these outfits on a cloudy day or when the air con is turned up too high (also available in ivory or pink)

Ivory silk blouse – nothing hangs as well as silk or feels better next to the skin in summer, it’s washing machine friendly too.

Black leather tote – big enough for a laptop and everything else you need to carry on a daily commute. It makes a stylish shopper too, also available in fawn or orange.

Woven leather shoes – woven leather is the shoe finish of the season and it’s great for ventilating overheated toes

Simple pearl hoops – classics with a twist, a ladylike version of the on trend hoop

Yellow sleeveless top – a more cost-effective option than silk but still in breathable viscose, bear in mind that reviews are saying it comes up big

Vertical stripe trousers – another popular, eye-catching SS18 trend and easy to wear with a drawstring waist

Layered ruffle skirt – this skirt has it all – flamenco style ruffles, a contrasting polka dot pattern and a stay-fresh viscose lining. I suspect it’s going to sell out fast.

Satinised cotton paperbag crops – something for everyone here because they’re available in three leg lengths and there’s a black version too.

Linen short sleeved jumper – yes this is an investment piece but the simplest pieces often have to be. It’s timeless and you’ll wear it every summer, also available in yellow or navy.

Black halter top – high quality jersey means this hangs beautifully, revealing the clavicles and covering any signs of a sun damaged decolletage

Yellow and black statement earrings – great value for an accessory that will bring your outfit bang up to date

Tassel clutch – leather with cotton tassels, this will add simple chutzpah to any outfit, year in, year out

Ribbon tie block heels – raffia, ribbons, piping and pompoms and yet simple enough to work with a pattern as well as a plain.

So there you go Laurel, a capsule summer city wardrobe that would work in any European city and even for sipping a cocktail on the Riviera should the opportunity arise. I hope you enjoy your adventure next month.

What I’ve been wearing

I have new shoes – yellow ones and I’ve been using them to lift all kinds of ordinary outfits whilst the weather is up to its usual tricks. I suspect that just about everyone has a breton / jeans outfit that they fall back on regularly. I feel as though I’ve found the perfect pieces now in terms of quality and fit and adding the yellow shoes just makes it a little less mundane. They’re this year’s ‘granny’ shape with the V vamp, square toe and block heel. A few people have been asking on Instagram if I’ve tried the M&S ones. I have and they’re great but the leather of these is much softer and the cut is better – but then they cost more so you would expect that.

You’ll notice that I’ve had the jeans cropped. I was talking about doing it myself and fraying the edges but my friend recoiled in horror because they’re so well made so she very kindly shortened them for me and now they’re the perfect summer jean.

Breton; Jeans (gSS18); Yellow block heel shoes

And for work this week I paired the yellow shoes with leather leggings and this year’s longer, lean blazer. There are still some of these blazers left in the sale by the way, light wool flannel and fabulous quality.


Flannel blazer; Yellow dobby high necked blouse (gSS18); Leather leggings; Yellow pumps; Mulberry bag past season

This is an outfit I forgot to include from the ‘wine and tissues’ evening last week. Hope sent me this silk top to show you which is their usual amazing quality. As I’m trying to buy fewer, better quality pieces, I’ve been looking for silk tops to wear in summer and I’ve noticed that silk seems to be going the same way as cashmere. It’s suddenly more widely available but it often feels more like polyester than silk. This however is exactly the buttery texture that you hope for – it almost feels like suede.


Silk top(g); Hush leather leggings(gAW16); Zara shoes AW17; Clutch(gAW17 now in the sale)

I haven’t talked about Hope for a while but don’t forget that they’re a particularly good brand if you’re petite because they include free trouser alterations. They also invest a lot of design time into disguising areas around the midriff after finding that it is a bête noire for a lot of midlife women. As you can see this top has a dipped hem so it not only falls loosely at the front but it covers your rear end too.

leather leggings after 40

Hope make as many of their clothes in the UK as possible and they’re run by a team of women over 40 so I’m always keen to support them – do pop over to their site. If you’re a first time customer there is an offer for 15% off at the moment.

Blogger sale

Two things prompted me to run another sale. Firstly, when we arrived home from the Blog Awards, I went upstairs to unpack and discovered that a long rail had collapsed in my dressing room taking a big chunk of 300 year-old beam with it. Before he set about fixing it, Mr MC caught my eye with a look that suggested a clearout would be a marriage-maintaining thing to do!

Then, the following day was the London Marathon. As you probably saw on the news, a young chap who was running for Bloodwise lost his bib and so was asked to leave the course shortly before completing it. Unfortunately the bib was picked up by a spectator who completed the course and claimed his medal so I’m not sure whether the sponsorship that had been pledged to Bloodwise was validated. It’s very unlikely that I will ever run a marathon but at least I can do my bit to raise some funds for the charity that is so close to my heart.

We have a lot of new readers so I just want to go over the details again. I run the sale every season and stock consists of lightly worn items (mostly in a size 12) and sometimes samples that are new with the tickets still inside. I hold the sale because I have only one body and too many clothes. I run it at short notice because I want readers of Midlifechic who do so much to support me to be the ones to benefit. If I publicise it any earlier, the Ebay sellers will pick up on it.

I have to pay for the website and for the person that comes in to help me build the shop and upload the products before the event. After I have covered costs, I make a substantial donation to Bloodwise which is the charity that I support because so many people in my family have been affected by blood cancers.

Now, I’m putting this in bold because people are disappointed every time. To keep costs as low as possible, I use a simple storefront. This means that even if something is in your basket, it is still available for others to buy until you check out. If it is something you really want, it is worth checking out immediately and then going back into the shop to browse again. It may help to know that extra postage received from multiple purchases from a single address will go to charity.

Further points:
  • The sale opens at 11am (British Summer Time = GMT + 1 hour) on Sunday 13th May. I will publish a blog post here on Midlifechic with a link that will take you straight to the sale.
  • If you are an email subscriber, keep an eye on your Inbox and you should have a 10 minute head start to thank you for your loyalty.
  • For the first time we are opening the shop to international readers. We have done our best to calculate postage but if you buy a large number of items, please bear in mind that we may have to contact you to increase the delivery charge.
  • If more than 5 items are ordered by UK readers, we may also have to contact you to ask for extra postage. This will depend simply on the weight of the items, if they fall within the courier’s weight band, we will not charge extra.
  • Clothes are clearly marked as ‘lightly worn’ (LW),  ‘brand new with tickets’ (BNWT) or ‘brand new without tickets’ (BNWOT)
  • Clothes are sold as seen, I am not offering returns and have kept the prices low with this in mind.
  • Refunds will only be given if a product is found to be damaged.
  • A donation will be made to blood cancer charity Bloodwise at the end of the sale.
  • The shop will close on Friday 18th May or as soon as all products have been sold. There are more items than usual this time but going by past experience, most things sell out in the first two hours.
  • Products have been listed as accurately as possible – please remember I am a human, not a full scale retailer.

Phew – that’s it I think! I’m hoping that there won’t be any glitches this time but if there are, contact the shop email [email protected] and someone will help. Have a brilliant weekend and let’s hope the sun comes back.

Disclosure: ‘capsule summer city wardrobe’ is not a sponsored post

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