Hush Christmas Edit. Christmas started for me with a bang this week when I went to do a talk for Hush at the “My John Lewis” shopping evening on Wednesday. My brief was to pull out my favourite Hush pieces and discuss them. So, I took lots of lovely ladies through five specific capsules that I’d created for days that are likely to crop up in our Christmas calendar. At the end so many of them came to tell me that they’d found it helpful that I thought I’d share it with you too.
I felt very honoured to represent Hush, especially when I realised that they’d had a series of posters like this one on display all week (cue a few heart thumping moments of imposter syndrome).
As you know, my comfort zone lies with the written word but I’m being increasingly being asked to do video and events. My immediate instinct is to decline but I think the best way to keep on growing is to grit your teeth and do the things that challenge you. If we all stay exactly the way we are, then sooner or later we’ll lose momentum and that’s when you start to roll backwards into a state of decline. Now there’s a thought for the weekend!
What I wore
Before I go on to the capsules, let me show you what I wore. I was allowed to choose an outfit and I did it with the John Lewis customer in mind. I wanted to illustrate a less obvious Hush look – people generally associate Hush with their casual looks but they do loose elegance so well. This is a quick shot taken before I set off (a blast from the past for long term readers who will remember the days when all of my shots were taken standing in this spot).
Let’s move on to the capsules. I want you to use your imagination and immerse yourself into the days around Christmas which are approaching very rapidly.
Desk to drinks… and maybe dancing… then home again
So, for a day at the office which might include popping out for a Christmas lunch with clients, we’re wearing:
Silk camisole – I’ve had this since August and I’ve worn it quite a few times with jackets. I love it because of its length – it goes down to the top of your thigh which is great if you want to wear it loose over something like leather leggings but it also means that if you tuck it in, it stays put. So often silk camis slither around all day and you find yourself constantly tucking them back in. I also like the washed effect of the fabric which means it looks discretely expensive. The lace is deep across the chest so you don’t end up exposing lots of cleavage and it is machine washable. It is an investment but it’s one of those lifelong pieces. It looks particularly good underneath V neck jumpers too.
Gold lustre skirt – this has been out of stock for ages but it’s coming back in again next week. I’ve worn it for client dinners with the silk cami but also with jumpers to meet friends (and I’ve just realised that I haven’t taken any photos of it which I must do). Again it is a piece that has been cleverly thought through, the waistband is elasticated but because it is so well designed, it looks lovely if you tuck something into it. The lustre glimmers and I’ve been wearing it with red recently as well as black. It’s really going to come into its own next month when you feel like wearing something festive every day.
Gold flecked jacket – This was a really big hit on the evening. So many ladies made a beeline for it after the talk that there wasn’t enough stock to satisfy them. It’s a great cut and the zip positioning flatters your curves. Because it is unlined, it’s as easy to wear as a cardigan. The one thing that surprised everyone at John Lewis was the price because it’s such good value for an item that will dress things up but also work just as well with jeans.
Now we’re moving on to the evening and making a quick change before going to the office party which may end up with a bit of a boogie.
I’ve replaced the skirt with the velour joggers. I bought these as soon as they came in and you saw me wearing them in Marrakech last week. They felt really good dressed up with heels but I know I’ll enjoy wearing them at home over Christmas when people will be popping in randomly in the days after Christmas. One of the things I particularly like about them is that they’re a good weight so you have the benefit of them looking like velvet and yet being washable.
And finally we’ve made it home but we’re a bit too wired to go straight to sleep.
The heating has gone off so I’ve thrown a Stella jumper over the top. You don’t need me to tell you about this because it’s a Hush icon. There’s something about the slouchy cut married wth the deep V neck that makes it look both relaxed and sexy.
A winter walk and back for a boxset
This capsule is for the days after Christmas when you suddenly get cabin fever and need some fresh air.
The parka – this is the nicest parka that I’ve come across this year. As always, it is well thought through. The faux fur lining is detachable which means you will be able to wear it for a full three seasons (actually after the summer we’ve had, probably four)! The fur on the hood is also removable which is so important if it starts to rain. Nobody likes the matted dog effect.
The wool tunic – this is so very, very soft that I thought it must be acrylic but it’s actually 53% baby alpaca. The deeply ribbed neckline is very flattering and cut lower so that you don’t end up with the chubby, round looking face that crew necks often give you. As I’ve said before, I particularly like this ‘brown sugar’ colour. It gives you the sophistication of camel but because it has pinky rather than yellow tones, it is much less draining to the complexion. It’s also available in ivy green. Because the wool is such a high quality, it will probably pill when you first wear it. Buy yourself a debobbler and relax in front of the TV.
The leather leggings – we’ve already talked about these but what I didn’t know until I saw them in store is that they’ve had a design tweak this year. They are now a heavier leather and even nicer than the ones I have. I love them for their deep waistband that gives you a smooth outline and their matte finish which I prefer to a glossy shine.
And now we’re back home where the heating is on (I think these things through very literally)
So, we’re throwing on a lovely loose top with a feather print. I like this blouse because it works well with trousers or a skirt, tucked in and with the neck tied. However worn loose it has a completely different look – wear it with jeans and heels and the neck untied for a relaxed evening out.
A visit to relatives
I have our Christmas visit to my Newcastle in-laws in mind here. We have a second Christmas dinner at my mum-in-law’s and Mr MC’s brothers always have one eye on the clock because they then want us to “go out on the drink in the toon.”
So, the love jumper is bang on message for a family event. I’d wear it with the skirt for lunch but it would look just as good with the jeans. Love and kindness are the two slogans that are going strong this year as people fight back against the political environment on a macro level.
There’s something about this skirt that makes it low key despite the fact that it’s lace. It’s partly because the lace has a high cotton content and so it isn’t shiny. I also like the Self Portrait styling of finishing the lining at the knee. This means that there is transparency from the knee down so the longer length doesn’t look frumpy.
The leather jacket – I finally managed to try this on in store and I do see what all of the fuss is about. The leather is such lovely quality and the panel at the back really does make it sit flat against your back. This means that it works really well with dresses as well as jeans. I’ve decided that it is the jacket that will replace my pleather one but I may have to wait quite a while. I’m going to put it on my Christmas list but I think I’m being a bit optimistic.
Now, when it comes to getting ready to go out, my brothers-in-law will give me about 30 seconds so this is an easy switch over.
The boyfriend jeans – as you know I love these but some of you have struggled to style them. The secret lies in the yin yang technique of contrasting masculine with feminine so always try to reveal your ankle (if you’re wearing boots make them sock boots). If you add a jumper make it a low v-neck or alternatively contrast with something like this lace blouse.
Brunch with friends – and back
I think this is my favourite kind of Christmas socialising. It feels decadent drinking Buck’s Fizz in the morning – or mimosas as they now appear to be called in London. Why did Buck’s Fizz need to be rebranded?
Because we need to know these things, I’ve just checked. Apparently Buck’s Fizz is a British drink (from Buck’s club in London) and it contains twice as much champagne as orange juice. Mimosas hail from Paris and have equal parts of champagne to orange juice. You can keep your trendy mimosas, I’ll be sticking with Buck’s Fizz!
So, we’re starting the day looking sleek and sassy
The black jacket – I hadn’t noticed this until I was preparing for the John Lewis event. It’s a great black jacket – it has a high rayon content so it hangs really well. It is this season’s looser, longer cut and I also like the fact that it doesn’t have collars so it will layer well underneath a coat throughout the winter.
The wrap blouse – this is one of my Hush staples. Longer at the back to cover your behind. The front finishes at the waist so you don’t add bulk by having to tuck it in. What more can I say?
The leather leggings – yes again… but in burgundy, such a lovely colour for winter. If you’re looking for an alternative these velour jeans would look just as good. They’re true to size this year so you don’t need to size up.
When you’ve wended your wobbly way home…
simply throw on this super soft, oversized hoody and relax.
Christmas Eve to Christmas Day
In my view Christmas Eve is the time when at some point, you should be able to sit back. Everything is ready and you deserve to feel special.
For me, new pyjamas on Christmas Eve are a fundamental requirement. These are very special, they’re made from slubby washed silk. Nothing is nicer to sleep in than silk, especially if you are having any issues with temperature regulation.
If silk is a stretch too far, I must just mention the brushed cotton Night sky pyjamas that Hush have issued. For each pair sold, £52 will be donated to Refuge supporting women and children who are victims of domestic violence. They’re selling fast but they would make a lovely gift because they come with a matching eye mask too.
Having spent Christmas morning unwrapping lots of presents in your new pyjamas, we’re moving on to a brilliant Christmas Day dress. Shirred waist so that you can eat lots, long sleeves so you don’t end up turning the heating up, and an on trend fluted hem. Job done.
So, those are the ideas that I talked through at John Lewis, I hope you’ve enjoyed them too. There is one more small drop to come from Hush and it arrives on Tuesday. I’ll let you know when it’s in.
Dressing for confidence
An interesting conversation started in the comments on my last post and I really love it when this happens – it makes my blog feel alive. Sushma was about to attend one of the biggest functions of her career and she was trying to decide between wearing conventional English business dress or a peach and gold sari. In the end she was encouraged by other readers and by what I’d said about my gold Bombshell dress and she opted for the sari. She has reported back and said that she felt fabulous.
I do think that dressing for confidence is a really important thing. It’s far better to stand out than blend in. You’ll find that people come to talk to you – and they remember you afterwards. While we’re on the subject of adding confidence (and I wouldn’t otherwise show you my knickers), a trick I use if I’m giving an important lecture or delivering a talk like this one is to make sure that everything I’m wearing is fabulous, including my lingerie. For this event I armed myself with something new and it helped me to know that I was well structured.
The engineering on lingerie like this is so good – plus it looks so pretty that it might be worth adding it to your Christmas list. I also buy a new pair of Wolford tights because nothing else comes close in my opinion. They’re a proper black and the finish is velvety. One pair will last the whole winter because they wash so well and they never seem to ladder. I don’t wear them quite like this though but unfortunately I’ve thrown the packaging away!
So, there you have it, confidence from the inside out. When you feel good, you look good and vice versa.
M&S advent calendar
One last thing – the Marks and Spencer beauty advent calendar is now available. I get this every year and it really is one of the best value treats around. It costs £35 if you spend £35 on clothing, beauty or home and the products inside are worth over £250. Plus it’s a really lovely set and if you save the empty calendar for next year, you can fill it with treats for someone else which makes it seem even less self-indulgent.
Next week I’m hoping to try something different. We have a lot of ground to cover before we move on to gifting so I’m planning to do a series of shorter posts each day, looking at different elements of the Christmas wardrobe. I’ve decided it’s a bit like the oxygen mask instructions on a plane – we need to prepare ourselves before we move on to thinking about everyone else! If you’d like to make sure that you don’t miss them you can subscribe to have them delivered straight into your Inbox here. I promise that I work to data protection laws and I will never sell or share your details.
Have a good weekend. I will be dedicating mine to researching everything sparkly!