It’s hard to believe but we’ve arrived at the post where I reflect on my chic buys of 2017- the pieces that I’ve worn over and over again. It’s trickier this year because I’ve been experimenting more. As you know when a brand gets in touch with a gifting opportunity, I try to step outside my comfort zone and play with a look that I wouldn’t risk my own budget on. This means that there has been less of an opportunity for me to develop favourites because there have been more clothes in my wardrobe.
However there are still items that are no brainers. The things that I turn to on days when I don’t have to have my photograph taken. I’m going to focus on items that are still in stock. This year I’m including beauty too because I’ve found a few heroes that I’ve been meaning to share with you for ages. So here goes, starting with clothes:
The best coat 2017
I find that this coat, in grey, is the one I opt for most often. It goes with everything and it narrows slightly towards the hem which gives it a hint of a cocoon shape without it being baggy. This means that it seems to work with everything – jeans, trousers, pleated midi-skirts and dresses. It is just so versatile. Stock is low in grey but other colours are available.
The best jacket 2017
As you know it was love at first sight when I bought this back in September and I’ve worn it a lot already. Because it is waisted it works with skirts as well as trousers and jeans. People stop and compliment me whenever I wear it.
The “I can’t live without one of these in each handbag”
I’ve been carrying packable ultra light down around with me for a couple of years now. However this year this small but genius alteration has been made to the design. An interior button has been added so that you can change the jacket into a V neck. It means you can wear a blazer or a coat with lapels and still be warm.
The forever knit 2017
I’ve only had this for a few weeks but it has become a core item. As I said in one of my recent posts, there’s just something about the texture of the knit and the shape that makes it the perfect dressed down piece.
The best everyday knitwear range
For me, Hush make the best knitwear for everyday wear. I love the way that they play around with the weights of their knits. This jumper for example has a lovely loose, knubbly texture. It doesn’t look anything special until you put it on and then it just hangs so well.
This very fine mercerised knit has been a new discovery for me this season. I have the charcoal version and it is great for wearing under a jacket or long cardigan. It is as light and comfortable as jersey but the knitted texture gives it a more wintery look. The inverted seams add chutzpah.
The best jersey 2017
Baukjen was another new discovery for me in 2017. I now have a number of their jersey tops which are by far the best quality that I have found. My absolute favourite is a navy one with criss cross detail at the neckline from the SS17 collection. However I also love this striped top in both the pink and navy. It is less boxy than a breton and made in the usual smooth, crisp Baukjen jersey – plus, it’s now in the sale!
The best jeans 2017
A recent discovery as you know but so many of you have been in touch to say you’ve bought and loved these. Simple, blue, ankle length jeans that are a step on from a skinny and the perfect length for wearing with sock length ankle boots, heels or flats.
Best ‘serious’ dress
As you know, I steer away from black so I’m surprised by just how many times I’ve worn this. It comes out for serious occasions. Unfortunately I’ve had quite a few funerals recently and it has been perfect for those. However I also wear it for meetings with the bank and with clients who need to feel that they are putting their brand into a safe pair of hands. The cut is unbelievably flattering and the sheen of the fabric makes it less draining than most black dresses. It’s a dress that I’ll be wearing for years to come.
Kate dress (g)
Best footwear update 2017
The item that has updated my wardrobe more than any other this year has been a pair of sock boots. Actually I have three pairs – red, blue and black. Surprisingly it is the red ones that I wear the most. They are so comfortable because they are made from stretchy fabric and of course the fact that they are a boot makes the heel easier to negotiate. I bought mine from Asos back in September. They’re sold out nearly everywhere but I’ve tracked some down for you.
Best Beauty Buys 2017
I am constantly asked about my beauty regime and so I’ve been meaning to write about it for ages. I don’t profess to be a beauty blogger but I do take good care of my skin and I’ve had to up my game on the make-up front this year. These are the products that I use every day.
I have been using this for years and years. Every so often I am distracted by something new but it never matches Galateis. It removes all of my make-up and leaves my skin feeling nurtured and clean. What more can you ask for from a cleanser?
Best everyday toner
You won’t be surprised to hear that I use the matching toner. The winter sale is the best time to stock up on these products, there are nearly always bundle deals on at the department stores.
Best active toner
Twice a week I use this after cleansing. I find it helps to slough off the dead cells, revealing a fresher complexion underneath. I also lend it to the boys if they have a break out – it seems to clear it up overnight.
Best serum 2017
I’ve been using this since I reviewed it back in May. I find it to be a great all round serum and it is backed up with proven research results. I’ve repurchased it a number of times.
Best winter day cream 2017
I was given a small sample of this to try after having my make-up done at Charlotte Tilbury. I have now bought a full sized pot. It’s very rich so I wouldn’t use it in summer but I’m finding it’s great for winter when my skin gets dry after blustery walks followed by central heating. You have to massage it in and your skin feels nourished afterwards. The only thing that I’m not keen on is the fragrance.
Best winter night oil 2017
This is another product that I’ve bought after being given a small sample. It has five star reviews wherever you turn and I am finding it to be the best oil I have ever used.
Best glow giver 2017
I’ve mentioned this before and I use it all year round, adding it to my moisturiser every three days in winter. Yes there are cheaper versions but this is the only one that gives a natural looking glow in my experience. I use the body drops for my face because they’re better value and I can’t see any difference.
Best primer 2017
This is new to my arsenal. I was given a free sample when I bought some nail varnish a few weeks ago and I think it’s amazing. I have never found a primer that really works before but I’m convinced that this makes me look five years younger when I remember to use it.
Best foundation 2017
This is another product that I have been using for a very long time. I love it for the radiance that it adds to your complexion. Nothing matches it and it lasts all day. I was told that Laura Mercier Candleglow foundation was better so I bought it and it was awful greasy stuff. Back to Dior Star I went.
Best bronzer 2017
I bought this when we were heading to Turkey this summer. I wanted a bronzer that would get rid of the shine when we went out into the hot sultry nights. It looks so natural that I’ve been using it daily ever since. It says that it has a tanning effect and I can’t say I’ve noticed that. It can also make a bit of a mess on your dressing table because you have to tip it upside down to dispense the powder but you soon get used to managing that. It comes with a really good brush and I know Avril at ALifeToStyle is a big fan too.
Best highlighter 2017
This has won so many big awards and I’m not surprised. I would never have bought an illuminating powder if I hadn’t been sent this to try but it is amazing. I just sweep it over the top of my cheekbones, underneath my eye brows and over my clavicles if I’m wearing a low cut top. It makes you look glowing and wide awake. I can imagine that a single compact will go on forever.
Best eyeliner 2017
I found this when I was having my make-up done by Bobbi Brown for the UK Blog Awards in April and I have used it every day since. I have accepted that after fifty, it really isn’t a good idea to wear eye liner underneath my eyes because it settles in the creases and makes me look older. However, I had never mastered liquid liner. This is the answer. You need the brush below to apply it with and you simply brush it along the lashline every morning. It stays put until you actively remove it at night. Wonderful stuff.
Best eyeliner applicator 2017
This is the one to use to make sure you really apply the liner into the lashline.
Best everyday eyeshadow 2017
Another item I discovered through booking a make-up session. I don’t have the patience to fiddle about with different shades so I simply sweep this on in the morning (or evening) and it stays put. No disappearing, no slipping into the creases. The colour I use is Bette but there are lots of others.
Best mascara 2017
I have tried so many mascaras and I always come back to this one. I am never going to have long, luxurious lashes but I find this does the best job with the lashes I have.
Best lipstick 2017
This is my ‘cheer me up / put a brave face on / fun night out’ lipstick. The best shade in the best matte finish. You need the lipliner that goes with it too though to make sure your lipline is defined.
The most life-changing beauty accessory
So this sounds ridiculously first world but I can’t tell you what a difference this has made. I will talk about my hair soon because it has been a journey with a happy ending this year. I have finally found a very talented (but eye-wateringly expensive) hairdresser who really gets me. Because he is expensive, I just want to see how well this second cut lasts before I recommend him to you. However one of the things that surprised me is that he doesn’t use any hair products before blow-drying my hair. His view is that if the cut is right, you shouldn’t need to. He did however talk to me about using good tools and he recommended a few.
Now I dropped my very ordinary Remington hairdryer a few months ago and ever since then it has been smelling very hot whenever I’ve used it. Given that my last hairdryer set on fire spontaneously and it was just lucky that I was in the room at the time, I decided to change it. I ordered this one on Black Friday because it was one of the models that the hairdresser had mentioned. It was then lumped together with a lot of Christmas shopping so I only unpacked it and started using it last week. I can’t believe what a difference it makes. It dries my hair really quickly at a low heat and it looks as though I have been to a London hairdresser. This is not a sponsored post by the way, I am truly raving about it. So, if you need a new hairdryer, this is the one to go for in my view.
The Midlifechic Brand of the Year
And so we come to the difficult decision – who has been my brand of the year? I have a stable of brands that I love and rely on. Amongst others they include Hush, Baukjen, Stories, M&S, Uniqlo and of course John Lewis and House of Fraser. Each of them has a specific place in my world.
However like so many women, I live a multi-faceted life. My roles encompass business partner; lecturer; marketing consultant, blogger, wife, mother, friend… and there is one brand that has helped me to feel special in each of these different guises this year. If you’ve been reading all year, I don’t think it will be hard for you to guess who it is but here are a few reminders…
The dress that has seen me through so many important meetings (g)…
… my UK Blog Awards finalist outfit…
… my go anywhere jumpsuit (g)…
…my summer press days in London dress (now half price)…
… my ‘watching the youngest in the school masterchef finals’ skirt (sold out)…
…the Spectacle Wearer of the Year Awards velvet jumpsuit…
…another date night top…
…the opening of the expo organised by our agency trousers (sold out)…
…another night out top…
…the school prize winners ceremony cropped trousers (SS16) with that M&S coat
So you see, it’s a brand that sees me though every aspect of my life. Not every item that they launch works for me and I do a lot of ordering and sending back but when I find something good, it’s always really special. It’s Finery.
Most exciting newcomer
One final award from me this year – which is the brand to watch? There have been a few new arrivals on the high street in 2017: Arket; Weekend; Reserved and also online brand Kitri. They’re all interesting but the one that excites me the most is Sézane. I covered them earlier in the year and they have continued to impress me although I am often frustrated by their short product runs and lack of stock availability. As soon as their SS18 collection is out I’ll order a few pieces and do a proper review.
And that’s it, another year is nearly over. I will be publishing one more post on Tuesday and then logging off for a while. So that means I only have two more opportunities to beg you to vote for me in the UK Blog Awards 2018. If you haven’t managed to do it yet, only your vote can get me through to the finals. It takes seconds and I am down for two categories: fashion and beauty + lifestyle. Voting closes soon here.
The sales are starting, here are the best ones so far. Have a lovely Christmas weekend – I hope it’s fun and not frantic!
Mango – 30% off everything with code VIP17
Disclaimer: Chic Buys of 2017 is not a sponsored post
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