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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Gold V vamp slingbacks; White V Vamp slingbacks; Snake detail slingbacks; Silver slingbacks (30% off)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Invisible longline tank; Invisible cami
If you want sleeves, these are slightly less invisible but still good.
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.
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
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
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
White Company – up to 50% off here
Whistles – further reductions and new lines here
Pure Collection – up to 50% off here
Jack Wills – up to 50% off here
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
New February outfits for night and day
Trying on Finery, Boden, M&S and looking at Hush SS17
Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo
Finding the ultimate breton top
Winter jumpers and the new jean style
Midlifechic’s 3rd birthday – what’s next?
The Midlife Series
Midlife loneliness – a follow up
Loneliness and the midlife woman
What is midlife in the twenty-tens?
Survey results – what you are experiencing