And so I can’t hold it off any longer, Autumn is most definitely here and I can’t believe how suddenly it’s arrived this year. September is often the warmest month of the season for us up here and yet I’ve already found myself digging out gloves for my walks with Ted. So today you find me edging into A/W22 with White Stuff . I’m bringing you my personal edit from their new collection and to go with it, you’ll see that they have a great offer of 20% off and an exclusive £10 discount for Midlifechic readers who spend over £100 until Sunday night (2nd October). However before I show you the particular pieces that I picked out from their new collection, let’s just have a think about the season ahead.
A/W22 – the season ahead
There’s no doubt that it’s going to be a time of thoughtful shopping for everyone. Many of us will be working hard with a base of pieces we already have, finding ways to update outfits as we go along. So it’s more important than ever to start with a lifestyle audit by which I mean thinking clearly about the lives that we actually lead rather than the ones we wish we did.
The next step is delving into our wardrobes and assessing what’s there. You probably won’t have paid much attention to your AW pieces for a while but as you touch them, you’ll know immediately which ones give you that flicker of either joy or comfort – the two most important feelings when it comes to clothes. If you feel negative or even just indifferent about something, syphon it off for further investigation. We won’t go heavily into decluttering here but the next job is to look at the pieces you’ve filtered out and particularly with the indifferent pieces, work out whether it’s because they’re core workhorses or if, in fact, they’ve had their day.
So, now that you have a collection of both loved and core pieces, try them all on. I know it’s tedious but I went through the process this week and was surprised to find that some of the outfits I loved last season just don’t feel right now. That’s because as always, looks have moved on. Less so than usual, it’s a nuance but it’s the difference between looking current and jaded. I’ve spent a bit of time experimenting and found that I can pair some things differently for this year as well as identifying which gaps I need to fill. Now I know that when I shop, I’ll spend my budget wisely.
Subtle trend changes for A/W22
Ok – are you with me so far? Now we can look at what’s different about the season ahead. Changes are subtle, there’s a continuation of the feeling that ‘everything goes,’ that it’s more important to know and develop your own style than chase fashion’s bubble. Having said that, there’s a leading silhouette for volume on the bottom and a neater fit on the top. This is a move on from the androgynous, ‘fugly’ outline of the last two years where everything was loose and baggy. One of the small changes that interests me most is footwear. I couldn’t get my eye around the clumpy boot / trainer worn with a wide legged trouser – for me it took all of the architecture out of the lower half of the body. This season you’ll see that ballet flats and loafers are charging in – and yes, the loafers are often heavy soled but the key thing is that they give the break at the ankle that restores the line of the leg.
Stompy boots are still around but more often worn with a straight or tapered leg; knee high boots are key to mini, midi or maxi length skirts and dresses. For a heeled ankle boot, Western cowboy style is the way to go. After a few years of midis, lengths are slowly edging towards the two extremes of mini or maxi. Don’t instantly rule a mini out, now is the season when it’s easier to wear them because you can pair them with thick coloured tights. I often feel puzzled when midlifers tell me that they’re squeamish about their legs and then cling tight to their skinny jeans which are far more revealing of the outline than an above the knee skirt.
As for trousers – well the trend is for wide legs that pool on the floor and it’s an incredibly elegant look. I love it BUT… I have to remember where I live and the fact that I have a dog to walk every day. My compromise has been to buy a couple of pairs of great wide leg jeans and a beautiful pair of trousers for meetings. Other than those, I’m sticking to straight legs that can be worn cropped or tucked into wellies. And that brings me back to the importance of doing a lifestyle audit for your next few months before you’re dazzled by what’s in the shops. Think about how you really spend your days and nights.
My time breaks down as:
- 15% meetings (smart and impactful)
- 30% gym / exercise days (if I don’t dress for them in the morning, I don’t go after work)
- 30% country life/wfh (home office or weekend days and casual nights out)
- 25% urban chic (Newcastle – days and ‘out out’)
- Added to this is the requirement for a good stock of cosy ‘fireside to bedroom’ pieces to relax into at the end of the day
So this is the breakdown I’m bearing in mind when I start to fill those gaps in my wardrobe that I identified last weekend. So for example, it’s already steered me away from the many fabulous bright trousersuits that are around – in other years I’d have been tempted to fill my wardrobe with them but this year I’m shopping more astutely. I have to remember that I have a core roster of loyal clients and if I wear the same bright trousersuit to every meeting they’re going to notice, whereas if I have a range of neutral basics that work with bright pops of colour, my outfits will appear to be ever changing.
That’s how I always work my AW wardrobe – usually with three basic pieces, a top, trousers/skirt and a coat. The absolutely ‘no thinking required’ way to manage it is to make sure two items match or tone and the other contrasts. It’s a method that works whether I’m living my country life, my urban life or going to London meetings. Over the years I’ve built a particularly strong foundation of good quality pieces in navy/blue denim. Depending on my mood I then work in a dopamine bright or a soft neutral for contrast. It’s easy.
Edging into A/W22 with White Stuff
With all of that in mind, let’s move into considered new additions. White Stuff were the first brand to invite me to do a new season edit for A/W22 – as you know, I’ve been watching their developments since the beginning of this year. They’re gradually including more fashion forward looks and this time it was this co-ord that caught my eye. Dark denim has been hot on the designer catwalks for a while but it’s taken a while to filter through to the high street. I suspect it’s appearing now as an antidote to the sea of very pale denim that’s been around for the last few seasons and I’m delighted to welcome it back.
This is great for me because it ticks lots of boxes. Worn together like this it has great structure so it’s smart and impactful enough for meetings. The skirt has great shape, fitting neatly over the hips and then flaring out which looks great as you move. Fully dropped waists are on the way in but I know they won’t work for my body structure so this skirt is a great way of referencing that silhouette.
Worn together they have all the impact of a dress but of course the pieces can work separately too. I can already imagine pairing the skirt with neat cashmere jumpers in different colours and the top will work with indigo jeans and chinos at the weekend.
The denim has a high level of stretch so it’s comfortable if I have a long journey by car or train. We had to duck in and out of the rain while we were taking these photos and as it was a Sunday afternoon, a stop for a glass of wine was a treat.
I’m going to add this dress in as an alternative option for everyone and especially petites because the skirt might be too long for you. It’s another easy way to get the dark denim look and one of those workhorse on-trend pieces that you’ll wear again and again without getting bored.
This velvet coat fills a transitional hole in my wardrobe and the important thing to remember about transitional items is that they need to work in Spring as well as Autumn. That’s why even though Autumn berry colours can be tempting, I always try to stay away from them because I know they won’t feel right in April. This teal works beautifully with denim so it’s great for my country wardrobe and of course velvet is smart enough for our city escapes too so it bridges both worlds.
I particularly like the way the collar is raised to frame the face, it’s also available in purple or saffron but it’s the deep teal blue that ticks my box. The scarf I’m wearing is from the SS22 edit that I did with White Stuff so if you bought it then, you already have one that will work to lift a simple outfit like this but…
… if you prefer something warmer there’s this lovely striped option…
… with a version in deeper colours here.
I hadn’t intended to wear the coat as part of the next outfit but Mal took a quick picture while we were walking through town because he liked the look (he’s always keen for me to wear shorter skirts) and I have to agree that the coat length works really well. You may remember that I started wearing longer minis last Winter because I find them much easier for day to day life (and dog walking) than longer lengths.
I’m resisting tights or socks for as long as possible because once I submit, that’s it until May (mind you I was glad I tested the heating this week because it isn’t working!) Anyway, this is a lovely, simple A-line cord skirt, lots of you recommended it last year when you saw that I had one that was twice the price and I agree, it’s every bit as good – no wonder it’s one of White Stuff’s most loved classics. I’ve paired it with another of their most loved items, a simple long sleeved tee in a good shade of off-white. When it gets colder I’ll be wearing it with a navy mock neck and navy tights or a black mock neck and black tights… You get the idea.
As always with White Stuff, the delight is in the detail, it’s a skirt that’s as well finished at the back as the front. It’s such a top seller that it comes in quite a few different colours although they’re going quickly – dark plum, charcoal, navy, dusty blue and both a teal and a navy pattern. Given that minis are so high fashion it’s a very easy way to update the jumpers and blouses you already have in your wardrobe. And this is the best approach for this season, working out how you can transform your staples with a touch of trend that doesn’t require a rework of anything else.
So that’s my White Stuff try-on but there are a few other items that I want to bring to your attention. First of all the tights, I don’t know anybody who does tights as good as these in lovely colours. I find they’re great quality – one pair will last you a whole season and you can opt for plain…
Plain tights – 8 colours available
… or sparkle but be quick – they’re cult classics and they’ve usually sold out by the time the cold weather arrives. You can see the complete collection with all colours, various knits and even stripes and patterns here.
Sparkle tights – also available in grey and navy
And then there are pyjamas. Strangely my pyjama drawer was where I started my big sort out last weekend but then I think I’ll be spending a lot of time huddled up close to the fire this year so I’m investing in making sure each pair I have is fresh and lovely. Again it’s the detail that makes these special and it’s this kind of thing that’s disappearing from high street retail as merchandisers make every cut they can to costs before production begins. So I’m particularly pointing out the trim on the cuffs and ankles here…
… and the embroidery detail. The small finishes that can make a personal garment like this so pleasing. There are other styles to choose from here.
I’m finishing with slippers because given that our underfloor heating won’t be on for a while, I’m slightly obsessed with them and this is a great price for sheepskin, especially with the 20% discount.
And that’s enough of an introduction to A/W22 for this week – don’t forget that there’s 20% off everything at White Stuff this weekend (ends Sunday night) and an extra £10 if you use code MLC10.
Next Friday I’m hoping to look at some brights and bring you pops of colour to brighten up your existing wardrobe – if my deliveries arrive in time. It’s Mal’s birthday on Sunday so we have another excuse to celebrate and we’ll probably be over on Instagram – now that I’m motoring I have to keep it up! We’re starting a new bootcamp on Monday that will last till Christmas so I’m going to eat lots of chips and cake before I have to start monitoring macros again.
Have a fun weekend and perhaps do your A/W22 sort-out. By the way when you’re trying things on don’t forget to add shoes/boots to your outfit – they’re a whole headache of their own when it comes to wide trousers (we’ll deal with that at some point!). See you next week when it will be October – how did that happen?
Disclosure: ‘Edging into A/W22 with White Stuff’ was commissioned By White Stuff but as always, I had full control of outfit choices and content
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