One of the interesting things that my new site has shown me is which have been my most popular posts over the last 2 years. Top of the leaderboard is ‘chic basics for women over 40’. Unfortunately because it is now so old, most of the products are no longer stocked so today I’m giving it an update. Here are my capsule pieces for a simple Spring wardrobe, the no brainer items that enable you to look perpetually well put together.
The best skinny jeans for women over 40
So we’ve been talking a lot about jeans recently and moving away from skinnies. I know you don’t want to and I’m not saying that their reign has ended yet but it’s on its way. However in the meantime like most people I will still be wearing them regularly. These for me (and I know for many of you too) are the best skinnies for price, fit and colour choice – in total there are over 20 colour options to choose from. A chic basic wardrobe would start with black and indigo, then extend into grey and a vintage wash and carry on from there. Don’t be put off by the name.
5 pocket jeggings – indigo (UK site)
5 pocket jeggings – indigo (US site)
5 pocket jeggings – black (UK site)
5 pocket jeggings – black (US site)
The best blazers for women over 40
Adding a blazer to skinnies gives instant chic – you will always look effortlessly polished. I’m with Coco Chanel in preferring jersey blazers because they allow unrestricted movement and this simple factor gives you an imperceptible edge of relaxed glamour. I’m thrilled that Whistles have rereleased my favourite blazer, only in 2 colours so far but I’m sure they will extend the range as the season goes on. I have these in every colour. Mine are the same fabric and are labelled as washable – for some reason they aren’t this season but I’m sure that they would be fine on a gentle hand wash setting. Don’t forget that there is still 25% off at Whistles here until Monday 7th March with code WH25SS16.
If you’re looking for navy, this one from the Inés de la Fressange range is currently reduced. It has chic Parisian white tipping and is washable.
Navy blazer with white tipping
For plain navy this one is great value, is washable and also comes in grey, black and off white.
The best trench coats for women over 40
A raincoat is essential for Springtime but they can be problematic, requiring specialist cleaning to protect the waterproofing which isn’t great for something that is light coloured. In my book they need to be washable. This is my current favourite trench coat. I ordered it last week in large thinking I needed to size up so I could wear it over a blazer however that thought had obviously already been factored in because it was too big and so I am waiting for the exchange. The best thing about it is the detachable quilted lining which means you could wear it in early Spring and late Autumn and still be warm. It’s a great cut and it’s currently reduced so be quick.
Inés de la Fressange trench coat
Another good option (although I haven’t tried it) is this slightly longer and more formal trench coat. It features the classic storm flaps on the shoulders so you need to think carefully if you have big shoulders or a big bosom. Again it is machine washable.
If you commute on public transport you may prefer a trench coat that is slightly darker in colour. This one has a warmer tone – good for winter skin and again is machine washable.
I’m also going to add this single breasted raincoat one as a wild card for people who don’t like double breasted styles. I had a vintage mac just like this when I lived in Paris and at the tender age of 20 and felt supremely chic. I know it looks a bit like a flasher mac – you have to use your imagination, picture it with a black polo neck.
The best white shirts for women over 40
Let’s start with the classic white shirt, we all need one of these in our wardrobe. I confess I don’t spend a lot on mine because I replace them as soon as they go off white.
One of the big differences since I last did this post though is the move towards a much looser silhouette with fluid tops. If you have broad shoulders like me, they can be tricky to pull off but here is my selection of the best, starting with this one which is still loose but will give you definition at the waist.
Silk will always hang better than synthetics and is nicer to wear because it’s breathable. This relaxed silk shirt has a simple neckline and the pockets are well placed to avoid any transparency issues.
Throwing in a wild card here – I love this, in fact I love everything on the entire site, it’s investment dressing but it stands apart from everything else I’ve seen this season.
Shirt with grommets (their description not mine)!
And finally one that transitions beautifully from day to evening, I have the long sleeved version of this from the winter collection and it has become one of my failsafes (you’ll notice I’m wearing it in one of the pictures from the weekend). I love the way that it is longer at the back but still hits the waist at the right point at the front – size down if in doubt though, it comes up big.
The best chic shoes for women over 40
Now we could all go on about shoes endlessly but this post needs to cover the simple pairs that finish an outfit off with quiet panache. Statement shoes are for another day. These are my favourite shoes in the world, I’ve talked about them before, I turn to them on the days when chic is a simple objective. You have to try them on to understand fully. I have them in a few different colours and may just have ordered this ponyskin pair as a mother’s day gift for myself given that my mum is no longer here to buy for and I know she would approve wholeheartedly. There are a few different colours in different sizes still available in the sale.
A simple pair of flats in a striking colours always works wonders, again I vouch for the supreme comfort of these (available in different colours).
Classic loafers in the metallic trend that is back again for summer
A fashionable nod to the 60s with patent and a block heel (available in different colours)
These are much more wearable than the other ‘granny shoes‘ that are around at the moment. A way of looking fashionable without risking frumpy. (Available in different colours).
Very pretty, very practical, these spotty mid heels should be great for rushing around in as the straps will keep them securely on your feet (available in different colours)
And finally for serious shopping trips or holiday sightseeing a choice of the classics…London style…
and European style…
Superga 2750s (other colours available)
…. to check you’re still awake… you’ll soon be sorry that I have more time to blog…
The best Bretons for women over 40
The breton is of course the sine qua non of the midlife wardrobe. I still maintain that I don’t like the Boden ones, I know I’m unusual in this but in my opinion they lack the texture and structure of a true breton and they cling rather than skim. If you’re building a core wardrobe it makes sense to invest in an authentic French breton.
This year’s less pricey summer edition breton has been updated with a little twist
And I also highly recommend this British take on a sailor style top
So I’m going to stop now, we can move onto the accessories part another time. I’m really hoping to have something beyond chic basics to talk about soon but I’m still not finding much that excites me. Maybe we just need the sun to come out…which it hasn’t here as you can see.
(wearing Boden off duty jumper and super skinny jeans; Clarks over the knee biker boots)
When they announced the new names for the British storms last year we joked that the 2 that were named after our family members (my brother Desmond and my son Jake) would be the wildest. As you know, Desmond brought us the chaos of the floods and power cuts and this week Jake brought us snow, torrential rain and wild winds. Last night, as we were sitting down for dinner and watching the storm rage through the window, we realised that there were flames at the bottom of the garden and our studio was on fire. Fortunately Mr MC managed to put it out before the fire brigade arrived and there wasn’t too much damage. We were doing our best to keep smiling when he then went down to the cellar to reconnect the electricity and discovered that it was flooded – it hasn’t quite been the start to my new ‘working from home life’ that I’d planned!
Despite this it’s been great not to be doing my long working days. The boys have thrown up their usual last minute curved balls – a GCSE graded drama script to be written…
Me “when do you have to hand it in?”
Middle son “tomorrow”
Me “how long have you known?”
Son “just a few weeks”
Me “so why did you think it was a good idea to go to your friend’s house for tea tonight and not come home until 9pm?”
Son “chill mum – it’s only 16% of the final grade and I’ve got all the ideas in my head. It’s just the writing it down bit left to do – that’ll only take 10 minutes”
JUST THE WRITING IT DOWN BIT!! I’ll leave you to imagine the rest.
On the same night we had cakes to be baked for a charity sale…
Me “when do you need them for?”
Small son “tomorrow – I understand if you think we should get some from the shop but it would be really great to take some home made ones, nobody else’s mum has time to do proper baking!”
And so it goes on. Daily life. I’m so very glad to be back to it.
As I mentioned last week, I was really looking forward to spending the weekend with some other 40 plus bloggers. We went away to meet each other for the first time and learn more about blogging at the Blognix retreat which brought together about 60 bloggers who are passionate about all kinds of subjects. I was a bit nervous – it’s very strange meeting people whose blogs you read, on one level you know them so well, on another, you wonder if they’ll be completely different to the person portrayed online. The strangest moment came when I was sitting waiting for the first session to start. I looked at the person opposite me and thought ‘gosh that person smiling at me looks just like Liz from What Lizzy Loves’ without it actually occurring to me that of course it was her!
Anyway we spent two days together and gravitated into our little subgroup of 8 ‘over 40 style bloggers’. I can confirm that each person was exactly the same as they seem on their blogs and I feel really privileged to have made such a great bunch of new friends. It goes without saying that bloggers are probably oversharers so we had some really open conversations about life and lots of laughs. I don’t think I’ve had an experience like it since starting university, it was just so good to be with a group of women of the same age who were all on the same wavelength. Here I am with Annette from Lady of Style and Liz from What Lizzy Loves – notice how I’m in my comfort zone wearing chic basics!
(I’m wearing Inés de la Fressange pinstriped blazer; Next relaxed skinny jeans; Betty Barclay white shirt; Jigsaw shoes; Claudia Bradby necklace)
And here’s the full line-up dressed for dinner the night before;
(I’m wearing Hush wrap blouse; Autograph coated skinny jeans; Whistles clutch; Boden sequin shoes)
…and looking a little tired the morning after…
L-R Catherine: notdressedaslamb; Michelle: thebarefacedchic; Lisa: thestylopedia; me: midlifechic; Liz: whatlizzyloves; Michelle: retrochicmama; Annette: ladyofstyle
We finished off with a selfie – if you haven’t read their blogs before I highly recommend each and every one (Lorraine at the front here is just about to start her blog so I’ll give you the link when it’s live).
Making new friends was the best possible way to start my new way of life, it started my week off on a high and they’ve kept me smiling this afternoon whilst I’ve been sitting in my smoky office! This is my second post this week, if you’ve missed the last one, it’s all about my Coolsculpting adventures. Have a great weekend and keep in touch.