In a post last week, I explained that my midlife return to Paris centred on a special dinner, the culmination of a promise I’d made to myself 29 years ago. It was special because I was with the right person, in the right place at exactly the right point in my life when new beginnings are opening up all around me. It was extra special because I had a second elegant dress to wear.

The look I was aiming for on this particular night was simple sophistication, I didn’t want anything fussy or glitzy. It felt important to me that I was wearing something timeless, in fact something that I would have been as likely to wear 29 years ago as I am today. Serendipity has always been my favourite word and so when Winser London invited me to choose something from their collection, I knew I’d found the answer.

elegant dress paris

Miracle full circle skirt dress worn with Jigsaw Milly shoes; Boden clutch… and the pearls from my wedding day

As you know, my aim was to have dinner in the shadow of Notre Dame. We arrived early so that we would have time for a stroll past the cathedral and across the islands of the Seine.

elegant dress paris

The dress is made from heavy Ponte de Roma and the weight means that it hangs beautifully, swishing as you walk.

elegant dress paris

A warm day had turned into a stormy evening so I was glad that I had also bought the gossamer soft silk cashmere dress cardigan that matches the dress…

elegant dress paris

As you can see, the umbrellas were coming out and we only had a short time to take these photographs…

Nikki Garnett

Only in Paris – an al fresco concert in the middle of a bridge. I was laughing because Mr MC was oblivious to the other eight people who were taking my photograph behind him…


Adding the pearls gave this a very classic look which is what I was aiming for because I’d worn this very different dress the previous night. I chose red accessories for a little less predictability although you could just as easily easily pair it with black, leopard, snake or nude and a more elaborate necklace.

The great thing about this dress is that it will be versatile. I would quite happily wear it for a meeting or for lunch with friends. What I can’t quite express is the quality. It isn’t just the weight of the fabric or the swish but the little details like the lining, the grosgrain finish on the zip at the back and the intricate tailoring that make it hang so well. We should have taken a video but here’s a little gif to give you an idea


So – you’re wondering if our evening went well – it did. We had a simple meal at a bistro called Le Petit Châtelet next to Shakespeare and Co which loosely ticked another Hemingway / Lost Generation box for me. We dined on delicious risotto with a fine Sancerre and I felt every bit as joyful in midlife as I dreamed I would be all those years ago.


I want to say a huge thank you to Winser London for playing an important part in a special evening.  I wasn’t the only lucky blogger that they invited into their collection. They also asked my six best blogger friends to choose something too. These are the ladies that I met back in February and I can’t believe how quickly we have become close friends. Our styles are all completely different but we share the humour and empathy of women with a little life experience under their belts.

As part of our mission to raise the profile of women over 40 in the fashion industry we’ve launched a group called the Over40Collective. Between us we hope to work with the right retailers to up the ante for women over 40 on the high street. It’s a sign of Winser London’s commitment to women like us that they have chosen to work with us on this. So, without saying any more, let me show you what the others chose, you can see more of their outfits on their blogs.

Lisa from thesequinist is already a big fan of Winser London and you’ll often see her wearing their outfits on her blog. This time she picked a fabulous red crepe jersey shift dress with matching cashmere wrap.

Winser review

Instagram @thesequinist

Liz from whatlizloves chose a Chanel inspired cotton tweed jacket and broderie anglaise blouse

Winser review

Instagram @whatlizzyloves

Michelle from thebarefacedchic went for a nautical cotton textured dress and jacket

Winser review

Instagram @barefaced_chic

Catherine from notdressedaslamb added to her own twist to elegant wide leg trousers and a jumper

Winser review

Instagram @notlamb

Annette from ladyofstyle chose a luscious red cotton poplin wrap dress

elegant dresses for women over 40

Instagram @theladyofstyle

And Michelle from Retrochicmama looked stunning in shorts and a silk blouse

Winser review

Instagram @retrochicmamablog

About Winser London

Kim Winser is another female retail figure that I’m keen to champion. She shares our values – she is a woman over 40 who has branched out on her own because she “found a lovely gap in the market for very wearable, stylish clothes. Not silly clothes, not fashion.” Her background is in broad high street retail: M&S, Pringle and Agent Provocateur; she launched Winser in 2013 and it is growing quickly.

They use models aged over 50 – although we are talking Yasmin Le Bon. Their ethos is to put as much of the investment behind the product into the product itself rather than spending it on advertising campaigns, middle men or bricks and mortar shops (although there are 2 in the home counties along with the pop ups that they launch). The only discrepancy that we all encountered was in the sizing – most of us found that our initial orders were a size too big. Other than that the clothes are utterly lovely.

So – that’s the final instalment of my Paris weekend and we’re back down to earth with a bump again now. I hope you all have a wonderful week. Once again this is your opportunity to feed back when you know a brand is listening so if you have something to say, don’t forget to post a comment.

Other Paris posts

Two days in Paris

A sassy dress for an evening in Paris

Disclosure: the dress was gifted to me but I bought the cardigan. I have not been paid for writing this post and as always, I have chosen to support a brand that I truly believe in.