Creating a chic casual wardrobe from scratch
A task driven post from me today. I love getting emails from readers who have found Midlifechic at the beginning of their journey and are just starting to feel excited about the idea of a period of transformation. The first question they ask is where to start and, in addition to urging them to begin by eating and drinking healthily and finding a form of exercise they love (which is the bit no-one ever wants to hear), I always suggest that they put together a budget if they can, in the same way that they would if they were overhauling a room of their house. I’m never quite sure if they do it or if they lose the will to live (I really hope not) so I was pleased when a lovely lady who contacted me in the summer got back in touch to tell me she had raised the budget and was ready to dive in with a new wardrobe. I’ve asked her permission to write about it this week without divulging her identity so let’s call her Maria.
Maria has recently come through a divorce, one of her children has just left for university and the other is 14 and so is deeply involved in his own world. She is finding that she has more time for herself and is doing well being really positive about her new future. She works in a corporate environment and is quite happy with her professional identity but finds she struggles to know what to wear at weekends so she’s looking for a chic casual wardrobe. She also has the thrilling possibility of a date on the horizon and wanted me to help her with some simple, flexible outfits. Now at first I thought I wasn’t qualified to help, not being a personal stylist, but she told me that she likes the things I wear so suggested I imagine that the budget was mine and just show her how I would spend it.
This has turned out to be a lovely but fatal challenge as of course I have discovered new things that I love at a time when I have vowed to stop spending on clothes. Christmas is coming and the Midlifechic goose is not looking very fat! Because I know renovation budgets come along once in a blue moon I’ve focused on pieces that will last for more than one season but that also look spot on for a new core wardrobe for Autumn/Winter 2014.
Chic casual wardrobe for Autumn/Winter 2014
A great textured weave on this jumper
which makes it just that little bit different, also a great price.
Not everyone likes cashmilion but I do and the berry colour of this Jumper
is perfect for Autumn/Winter 2014
Everyone needs a simple White shirt
which can be worn with or without the jumpers. This is a fitted shape which skims the body and gives definition.
As you know I have this Pea Coat
and now I notice that they are appearing everywhere. It’s more of an investment piece but worth every penny. Size down though, it comes up big.
The other shirting cornerstone of a casual wardrobe. This is from Jigsaw but has sold out there. It’s a bit pricey but beautiful quality and it’s really difficult to find tailored dark cuts like this that can be dressed up or down. I’m really pleased that I’ve managed to track some down here: Tailored dark denim shirt
Dark Indigo Jeans
. In my opinion if you only buy one pair of jeans you should make them dark denim because they are so versatile. They’re more flattering than lighter jeans and these are the best I’ve found this season. If you prefer them shorter go for the ankle zips, I have them too. The ultra stretch denim means they tuck into knee high boots sleekly too.
Oxblood leather Chelsea Boots – phew, another thing I already have and love. Everyone who has bought these after seeing them on the blog has agreed that they just make you smile.
A simple but effective neutral Necklace
will update lots of different outfits, this one is really eye-catching and will sit at the flattering point just above the clavicles.
Like everyone else I’ve bought a checked scarf this winter but I’m already getting tired of seeing everyone wearing the same thing. This Winter Floral Scarf
is on trend but not as mainstream as tartan.
My new favourite Leather Shopper, big enough to hold everything you need and in a lovely matte finish that makes it look much more expensive than it is
Dressing up for a chic night out
Here’s the date night bit – I’m going out this weekend and I now really want to wear this outfit.
I nearly bought this Black Guipure lace top
when I was in Manchester with my eldest a couple of weeks ago and have regretted not doing so ever since. It’s really lovely, heavy lace and falls loosely at the waist. Wear with a strapless black bra.
I had to feature at least one of my beloved Ponte Blazer
s. Because they are jersey they move with your body rather than sitting stiffly like a normal blazer. They’re machine washable too.
I love wearing Coated biker jeans
for a night out and have even started wearing them with soft loose knits during the day too. The biker seams and ankle zips are great extra details and they’re high waisted which is extremely flattering.
I took my snake clutch when I went out last Saturday wearing leopard shoes. I quite liked the clash at the beginning of the evening but by the end it was niggling me. This is a great quality leopard clutch
which you could use with jeans during the day too.
This Rhinestone statement necklace
adds chutzpah to what is an otherwise understated outfit. It is unexpected and I think it makes it more youthful. It would also work really well to dress up the daytime looks.
My beloved Clarks Leopard shoes
. I wore these to stand for a 4 hour lecture recently and my feet weren’t remotely sore at the end. I have therefore elevated them to evening status – they’ll be great when you’re still standing chatting at the end of a long evening.
I’ve been very remiss about taking outfit photos this week, sorry. The house has been out of kilter because the eldest has been down at Saatchi and Saatchi for an internship that he won in the summer. I’m really looking forward to him coming home tonight, no doubt buzzing with the glamour and glitz of London. They’ve allowed him to work on a live project so his texts have been full of excitement. Hopefully it might have helped to clarify his university choices because we still aren’t there yet!
Anyway here’s the one shot I did take after coming back from a client’s board meeting on the crazy hurricane day. At the last minute I took the statement necklace off that I was wearing and looking at the photos, I think I should have kept it on.
So, what do you think about the core wardrobe? It was strangely nerve wracking doing it for someone else and I’m holding my breath until I hear back from Maria. As I mentioned, I have a night out tomorrow – Mr MC and I are escaping for a bit. Both he and the youngest are in a karate competition in Newcastle during the day so I am going to enjoy a precious few hours on my own in the city. The boys will be staying with grandma overnight so that we can ‘gan oot on the toon’ which is always a matchless experience and we’re staying in a hotel so we can really relish the extra hour when the clocks go back.
And of course at last, after an eight week marathon, next week is half term here. It’s our Boden party on Tuesday so if any of you are in the South Cumbria / North Lancashire vicinity and would like to come then get in touch via the contact form and I’ll give you details. They’re sending some clearance rails which look interesting – bargains to be had! Have a lovely weekend everyone.
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