My most read wardrobe posts are always the ones that focus on creating an edited collection so I thought it was time for another one. I’ve been working on my own wardrobe for Spring as I’m having a huge clearout and so I’m using my own plan as a basis for this post on capsule wardrobe updates for women over 40.

I’m going to start with jeans because they are increasingly becoming acceptable for working wardrobes as well as weekend looks. I know from your comments that the move on from skinnies is causing regular distress and so I’ve found a few different options. They all work and it’s up to you to decide where you are going to settle for Spring 2017.

In terms of colour – light, stonewashed blues are the thing and you will see them getting more bleached as the trend progresses. I have been wearing them and trying hard to like them but I can’t help preferring a dark indigo for its slimming properties and chic finish. I’m going to include both options where I can.

For skinny refuseniks – the cropped skinny

I think this covers a large number of Midlifechic readers. We have all become used to the neat silhouette they give us and it is hard to move on. The easy way is simply to make sure you are wearing cropped skinnies. The ankle continues to be a key erogenous zone for 2017 (the other of course is the shoulder and we’re lucky – both areas are easy for women over 40).

capsule wardrobe updates for women over 40

Left to right: indigo cropped skinnies; mid-blue cropped skinnies; grey cropped skinnies

Of course an easy way around this is to crop your old skinnies yourself. Just make sure they are made from proper denim rather than elasticated cotton before you start. Cut the hems off, fray them (I use a pair of nail scissors to tease the threads) and then wash them a few times to settle the hem. I tried it last year but it still didn’t match the effect of machine distressing and in the end, I preferred the pairs that I bought ready frayed.

Moving on gradually? The slim boyfriend

These are not the same as the baggy boyfriend with ripped knees from two years ago. They are a slightly looser move on from the skinny, often referred to as a ‘relaxed skinny.’ They are often very low rise but I have found two styles that aren’t. I have the Baukjen ones in black and they are very easy to wear.

capsule wardrobe updates for women over 40

Left to right: very slim boyfriend jeans; boyfriend fit ankle jeans

Ready for a bigger change? Straight cropped jeans – maybe with a raw hem.

I really like wearing these jeans. Because I have hips, I find the slightly wider hem balances the proportions out. They are my choice for work (in dark indigo without frayed hems) when I want to feel a bit smarter.

capsule wardrobe updates for women over 40

Left to right: straight high jeans; indigo ankle skimmer jeans (10% off); vintage high ankle jeans (great value); raw hem straight leg jeans


So, once you’ve chosen your jeans, this is the next thing you need to get right.

Ankle boots

The low ankle boots that you were wearing with full length skinnies don’t work any more. With a cropped ankle you need a block heeled boot that rises higher on the ankle.

capsule wardrobe updates for women over 40

Left to right: snake boots (15% off with CHIC15); gold boots; black boots; red boots


The block heeled pump is now embedded in the mainstream probably because it is so practical and easy to wear. It might be worth foregoing pure leather for such a high trend item. I have the silver ones and I love them.

capsule wardrobe updates for women over 40

Left to right: taupe block heels; silver block heels; charcoal grey block heels with zigzag edging; V Cut gold block heels; V Cut red block heels

This was yesterday when I was wearing my silver shoes heading off for a day at my desk on a very windy day. I was wearing full length skinnies though – it was freezing.

capsule wardrobe updates for women over 40

Silver block heeled shoes; boiled wool waistcoat; Blush pink cotton jumper; Ultra stretch skinny jeans; Finery bag past season

A close up – the first day of the year without socks!

capsule wardrobe updates for women over 40

The loafer

You can’t escape the Gucci inspired backless loafer. I have just had the red ones delivered and I’d forgotten how easy they are to wear. It shows how long they have been out of fashion though, they inspire horror in my 13 year old even though I remember wearing them endlessly when he was little.

capsule wardrobe updates for women over 40

Flame red backless loafer; Zebra loafers (zebra stripes are this season’s leopard); black loafers (40% off); gold babouches

The flat slingback

I’m including these because the leg lengthening pointed toe means that they work well with dresses and skirts as well as trousers. The V Vamp is a key trend, it’s this year’s version of the slightly ‘fugly’ shoe.

capsule wardrobe updates for women over 40

Gold V vamp slingbacks; White V Vamp slingbacks; Snake detail slingbacks; Silver slingbacks (30% off)

Smarter trousers

In addition to jeans, we need trousers for work or smarter days. I featured wide legged trousers a couple of weeks ago and had lots of requests for an alternative from people who felt they weren’t flattering. The tailored crops from the last few years are looking tired but it’s a small adjustment – we’re still working with a 7/8 length but the hems are slightly wider.

I have the first and third pairs below – I usually buy regular length but needed long in these, especially the navy.

capsule wardrobe updates for women over 40

Left to right: Ochre slim leg cropped trousers; Pink cropped trousers; Navy cropped trousers; Scarlet cropped trousers (30% off); Cropped bi-stretch cigarette trousers 


The statement piece this season is the top, specifically the shirt. You may need to layer underneath rather than over – I’m serious. This season you wear a coat or blazer (ideally shoulder robed) but take it off as soon as you arrive where you’re going. You need to show off the detail of the top.

capsule wardrobe updates for women over 40

Gingham top (I have this, it’s lovely); Pleat back top; White cinched waist shirt; Stork print shirt

I can already hear the groans about the ironing involved. There isn’t really any way round it this season but you can always include some jersey to make it a little easier.

capsule wardrobe updates for women over 40

Partial cold shoulder top; Trumpet sleeve lace top; Ruched jersey sweat (15% off with CHIC15); Cross neck detail top; Frill hem swing top

These are the genius pieces that make this trend wearable in early Spring – totally invisible layering tops.

capsule wardrobe updates for women over 40

Invisible longline tank; Invisible cami

If you want sleeves, these are slightly less invisible but still good.

capsule wardrobe updates for women over 40

Scoop neck thermal tee (in sale)


Dresses are an easy way to make a statement in Spring, especially as it gets warmer and you can wear them with bare legs. I already have a number of plain ponte dresses in my wardrobe that are great for every day so this year I’m just adding a couple of showstoppers. You’ve already seen my Finery water lily dress. I wore it for a day in London last week when I was meeting brands and it felt fantastic. Three women stopped me to ask where it was from. It’s inspired  me to look for a couple more, my only focus is on making sure they’re not too girly.

capsule wardrobe updates for women over 40

Water lily dress; Bird print dress; Floral print silk dress; Fit and flare panel dress; Embroidered bird print dress

So, by the time you’ve picked your favourite pieces, you could end up with an April / May capsule that looks something like this.

A capsule for Spring 17

capsule wardrobe updates for women over 40

Top L-R: Indigo Jeans; scarlet trousers; grey jeans; yellow trousers

Row 2 L – R: gingham blouse; white jersey top; white shirt; navy jersey top; water lily dress

Row 3 L – R: invisible tank; invisible cami; pleat back blouse; Panel dress

Shoes: white V vamp; Black ankle boots; Red loafers; Silver block heels

Midlife lately

What a week it has been in the UK. I send my thoughts to everyone who is living or working in London – #wearenotafraid is the only response but I know it is not easy to live in the shadow of terrorism. I clearly remember working at the top of Selfridges during the years of the IRA attacks and the constant bomb scares.

Today sadly, we have been to the funeral of a longstanding client who has died very suddenly at the age of only 48. He was out cycling with friends and, without warning, had a huge heart attack. He leaves behind his shattered wife and three children. It has been a big shock for everyone who knows him and the church was full of dumbfounded midlife families, people who are more accustomed to meeting at weddings and christening than untimely funerals.

And now we are heading off to watch the middle son have a moment in the spotlight as he performs in a play at The Bolton Octagon. The eldest and his girlfriend are joining us along with my sister and brother-in-law. In the shadow of the week’s events, I feel extremely fortunate just to be spending an evening with the people I love, living my everyday life.

So this weekend I wish all mums – and in fact everyone who has ever had a mum – a happy Mothering Sunday. Let’s celebrate the women who bore and raised us, even if they are no longer here and, if you are a mum yourself, I hope you enjoy at least a few moments of gratitude.

It looks as though it will be an exciting day in our house. With the eldest at home from uni for the Easter break, the boys have said they are staging a takeover in the kitchen. Mr MC is already mopping his brow in anticipation of the chaos. I will stay out of the way until I am called – with a glass of fizz and a book!

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Disclosure: ‘capsule wardrobe updates for women over 40’ is not a sponsored post

Mid Season sales

Boden – up to 50% off here

White Company – up to 50% off here

Whistles – further reductions and new lines here

Pure Collection – up to 50% off here

Jaeger – up to 50% off here

Jack Wills – up to 50% off here

Current discounts

Finery – 15% here with code CHIC15

Pure Collection – 25% off here (added at checkout)

JD Williams 20% off here with code RURY6

Recent SS17 posts you may have missed

Spotlight on Pure Collection

Finery Review – Spring 17

The gift edit

Spring 17 wardrobe updates

Beauty and books

New February outfits for night and day

Trying on Finery, Boden, M&S and looking at Hush SS17

Spotlight on Baukjen

Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo

Finding the ultimate breton top

What I’ve been wearing

Winter jumpers and the new jean style

Reviewing Next SS17

Midlifechic’s 3rd birthday – what’s next?

The Midlife Series

Curing a lifelong phobia

Midlife loneliness – a follow up

Loneliness and the midlife woman

What is midlife in the twenty-tens? 

Survey results – what you are experiencing

My story