The end of year sales are starting so it’s time for my annual Awards, defining my chic buys of the year 2016. Being an analytical person I like to reflect on where I’ve spent my budget and whether it was worth it.
The surprise difference for me since I started blogging has been my changing history with Boden. I’ve transitioned from spending most of my budget there in 2014 to spending a lot in 2015 and returning about 50% of it, to barely ordering or spending anything at all this year. I can’t work out who’s changed the most, Boden or me. I think it’s a bit of both although I do still believe that when you uncover a Boden find, it will last you for years.
So where has the balance of my 2016 budget gone? Two retailers: Finery and Hush. I love Finery for the quirky detail and the quality:affordability ratio. I love Hush for their ageless, relaxed looks.
In my view, they are the two retailers who are most successfully addressing the “attitude not age” issue. Hush go up to a size 16 and Finery often to an 18. I know neither of them have addressed petite sizes yet but hopefully, as they grow, they will.
But let’s get down to the nitty gritty. I’ve looked at the individual items I’ve bought this year that I have worn and worn; the things that have really sparked joy. In the end, these are the pieces that have been the best value. I’m only including items that are still in stock so that you can bookmark this post and come back to it during the sales if there’s something you like. These are the clothes that I truly recommend.
Chic buys of the year 2016: Best jeans
If you want to update your look with one small change, make it your jeans. I’m not saying you can’t wear skinnies but if you want to look more 2017 than 2015, think about starting to retire them in favour of a crop or a kick flare. Baby steps, it’s nothing scary and you probably already have some in your wardrobe from the summer. These 3 pictures show the subtle difference a pair of cropped jeans worn with a block heel makes…
… versus skinnies worn with a low boot which are still fine but just a bit tired looking.
It’s better if your crops aren’t skinny at the ankle. These are the dark indigo jeans I am wearing. I have them in the regular length, they come up a little tight so if you’re in between sizes, size up:
The black jeans have a slight kick flare which is always good for balancing out the width of your hips visually.
Black cropped kick flare jeans
Which shoes to wear them with? Ankle boots with a higher leg, block heeled shoes, flats or classic white trainers.
Best ankle boots 2016
I make no apology for featuring these again. I have them in the blue and the brown. They are so easy to wear and people always stop me to ask where they are from.
I need a pair in black, so I am waiting for these sock boots to go into the sale (also available in grey).
Best cashmere range 2016
After the testing I did earlier in the year, my award for the best value, responsibly sourced cashmere has to go to Uniqlo. I have worn this grey cardigan repeatedly since I got it and if their sale includes cashmere (which I expect it will) I’ll be buying some more.
Cashmere collection (V necks already in the sale)
Best long cardigans 2016
If there is one thing that I wear almost every day in Winter, it is a long cardigan. As well as an extra layer, it adds panache to a jumper and jeans outfit because it lengthens the body. However this only works if it is the right length. These are the best I’ve found and I suspect they will be going into the sale.
Julia cardigan (striped); Lina cardigan (available in black or camel)
Best Breton 2016
Aha! I have a new one for you here. I’ve only just had it delivered so I haven’t even had a photograph taken yet but this is my new favourite version of the classic breton. Thick, soft cotton that skims rather than clings, a good length and a selection of colourways that make a refreshing change.
Best ‘best dress’ 2016
This Bombshell dress has become my favourite. Quite simply, it makes me feel like a woman (there’s a song in there somewhere). People treat me differently when I wear it and it’s very versatile because it’s made from crepe which means it works well in a dressy situation but also simply for a meal out. It’s currently a bargain at less than half price and is also available in black, white or fuchsia pink.
Best skirt 2016
This is my Grace Kelly skirt. I have worn it for evenings and for work and I will be pairing it with a polo neck and boots on Christmas Eve when we go to the panto. It is back in stock and I suspect it will hit the sale.
Best Summer Buys 2016
We’re out of season here I know but these silk trousers are still in stock so they may go into the sale. I was surprised by just how much I liked them. They were great on holiday and they washed well.
Best short sleeved blouse 2016
This blouse was expensive at the time but it has earned its keep, I love the way the drape moves fluidly. It works as well with a velvet jacket and jeans now as it did in the summer. It is currently in the sale in a soft green colourway.
Best long sleeved blouse 2016
The clear winner for me here is this wrap shirt which I now have in 3 colours. I always feel relaxed and happy when I wear one and they work as well for the day as they do for evening.
Best swimwear 2016
This was the year that I began to transition from bikini to one piece swimsuit. This is already in the clearance sale. It is labelled as brown but it is more of a metallic bronze colour
I have made two careful handbag purchases this year, one for day and one for evenings. Both have been the right choice.
Best cross body bag
Coach is a brand that is really taking off after a period of investment so I suspect their prices will soon rise. For now though, these bags are a reasonable entry point into the luxury market and since I bought mine, they have been released in this saffiano leather which I like even better.
Best clutch bag
My other favourite is this ponyskin clutch which comes in two sizes. I find it more useful than a glitzy evening bag because I can use it for more dressed down evenings too.
Ponyskin clutch (available in two sizes)
You can even buy handy wrist straps to go with it in a variety of different colours which I think is genius
And that is everything that I can find that is still available to buy. I really hope it’s helpful. During the Christmas period, I will be updating the sale section of my latest post with a list of all of the sales that have started so keep checking back.
UK Blog Awards Final Call
You’ll be relieved to know that the public vote closes on Monday so this is my last plea for your kindness. If I have saved you money, helped you to find an item you love for yourself or somebody else – or even just made you smile for some reason during 2016, please could you do this one thing for me and vote for my blog. I’m not holding out much hope of being shortlisted because apparently they have registered over 60,000 votes since voting opened so I would be very lucky to be in the top 8.
However it is down to you and you alone. You can help me be the wise owl amongst the young chicks and show them that women over 40 still have a pulse as far as style is concerned. This is where you vote, it takes 10 seconds (and you are allowed one vote per email address so if you have more than one, you can vote more than once)!
I am now off to get ready for the return of the prodigal son tomorrow which will be one of the best bits of Christmas for me. Have a lovely weekend everyone and I’ll be back next week.
Disclosure: Chic buys of the year 2016 is not a sponsored post
Recent Christmas posts
Christmas Party outfits – women over 40
How to have fun at Christmas with teenagers
The Finery & Hush sales – what to buy
Relaxed Christmas outfit ideas
Dressing for a very formal occasion
Winter outfit posts
Jewellery by the Over40Collective
The process of learning which colours suit you
Using accessories to update your outfits – bags and jewellery
Using accessories to update your outfits – shoes and boots
Dressing in Hush from week to weekend
Reviewing cashmere on the high street
Women over 40 styling Marks & Spencer
Women over 40 styling Winser London
What I’ve been buying from Finery
Hope fashion – the new collection
Everything you ever needed to know about fragranced candles