To celebrate the end of what is allegedly the most miserable week of the year, I thought we’d indulge in a spot of retail therapy with some January casual wardrobe updates. Before we do, I just wanted to say thank you for all of your kind and very touching words after my last post. It was a difficult one to write because I just don’t know how many people read my blog locally and I don’t want to make anyone feel any sadder. I’m glad that I was able to honour my friend in my own way though and that it has helped all of us to remember how lucky we are just to be here, doing our everyday stuff.

So, the sales are finally coming to an end and I’m feeling pleased with myself because I kept away from them completely this year. At the moment I’m trialling a genius wardrobe hack that I read about over Christmas which involves turning the coat hanger of something you have worn to face the other way when you put the item back. That way, by the end of the season, the items that you haven’t touched will be staring you in the face. My clearout in March is going to be so much easier. Prepare yourselves ladies, we will be raising funds for Bloodwise again with another sale.

The very early drops are arriving at some of my favourite retailers. You can see some of the season’s key looks starting to come through. I will be doing a post on trends and colours in a couple of weeks but there are a few things that I can point out today.

Let’s start with colour. Retail experience shows that regardless of the colour trends for the year, from January to March people veer towards soft colours. Time and again research uncovers a sartorial detox that follows the strong colours and adornment of December. It makes sense if you think of the early Spring flowers, the soft pinks, blues, whites and yellows. Deep down, we must have an instinct to reflect our surroundings.

So, you will see that soft colours are dominant in the early collections, along with crisp navy. In terms of motifs, love is still a strong message and we have a new heart. The loose, hand drawn heart that has been around for a while has been replaced by a solid love heart. It’s much more graphic and has its roots with Stella McCartney on the catwalk.

Slogans continue to be strong this year, sometimes still a simple word but going forward, we will start to see more phrases coming through. Stripes have moved on and are being used more as a detail than an all over print. You will notice that they are rainbow stripes too rather than the more classic duotone. Later in the season we will see the return of polka dots… not that they ever really left my world.

New Spring 2018 tops


A no risk wardrobe update is a new top, so let’s start there. Here are my picks for January.

January casual wardrobe updates


Top to bottom:

  • Heart long sleeve top a perfect example of the new heart graphic, absolutely on point for the season.
  • Hello sweatshirt being married to a font anorak I find that I’m very picky about the typefaces that are used for slogan tops. This one’s a good one – inspired by American Typewriter I believe…
  • Stripe detail jumper this is available on pre-order and won’t arrive for 14 weeks but it’s so on trend that it’s worth bagging one now.
  • Amour sweatshirt a perfect storm: a slogan… in French… about love… in rainbow colours… and bonus points because the letters are embroidered. What more could you ask for?
  • Stripe detail breton this is what you will notice about stripes this year (it’s been around at the designer end for a while but now it’s filtered through to the high street), contrasting stripes for detail on the sleeve. As Wyse cashmere have said for so long, the added benefit is that they break the line at your widest part (across the hips) so they have a slimming effect too.

New Spring 2018 knits

Knits continue to be soft and cosy which is a good thing given the winter we’re having.

January casual wardrobe updates

Top to bottom:

  • Broad stripe jumper slightly retro with a nod to the punk trend that is emerging but in this season’s colours rather than the classic red and black.
  • Cashmere polo neck I’ve included this because these cashmere jumpers are currently on offer. This is from the menswear range so that you have a slightly looser look to wear with jeans and the neck will not be too constricting. Remember that my tests showed you can wash them in the machine (cold handwash setting) but they shrink by about 10% so I would probably buy a medium with that in mind.
  • Nubby crew neck my favourite jumpers of the season, I make no apologies for including them again.
  • Pompom jumper with athleisure styling these are selling out really fast, probably because they are so affordable – be quick if you’d like one.

New Spring 2018 jeans

Jeans – here we go, always a tricky one. Wide leg cropped jeans are what the fashion pack are wearing. I haven’t tried them, I’m not sure if I will, my eye needs to adjust to them for a while. In the meantime I’ve found some more straight crops which continue to be a safe bet for the season. Mid and light blues are the on trend shades but I’ve found some darker indigo dyes too for anyone who prefers Parisian chic.

January casual wardrobe updates

Top to bottom

New Spring 2018 boots

As we move into more clement weather, we’ll be wearing these jeans and tops with heels but for now, sock boots are an ankle saver. A reader wrote to me last week to say she hadn’t understood the fuss about sock boots until she gave in and tried some. Now she sees that they give you an elegant foot without your ankle freezing plus they’re incredibly comfortable. The best ones hold true to their name and have a soft, sock like ankle. Beware the high-rise stiff leather ankle boot that rubs your shin raw.

January casual wardrobe updates

  • A great choice for winter weather and hard to find – black suede sock boot. Please note the cylindrical heel – I told you it was on its way last season!
  • The classic fabric sock boot in a new Spring green. Not too high with a great witchy shape, they have also been restocked in last season’s sellout red – great value if you’re trying them for the first time.
  • If you prefer a block heeled boot to a kitten heel these will be easy to walk in and they are a Spring-like shade of raspberry rather than a bright Christmas red.
  • The black version of the green ones, I wish these had come in before I paid twice this price for a Zara pair that aren’t quite as nice,
  • The trend for yellow that began last summer continues right through this year. These canary boots are a great way to lift an outfit based around navy, black or grey.

Layer up

Whenever I do posts like this early in the year someone always complains that it’s too cold to cast layers yet. I agree but just add an extra layer underneath. Now that thermals look so much better than they used to, more people wear them. They also help if you need to peel layers on and off throughout the day thanks to midlife temperature fluctuations. The key thing is to find one in a neutral colour. However well designed it is, a thermal showing under your top isn’t the best look. Unfortunately not many retailers have clocked this and most ranges are still offered in either black or white but here are a few neutrals that I’ve found.

January casual wardrobe updates

  • Long sleeves for very cold days, this nude top has ultra-thermal properties.
  • Not quite flesh coloured but you could probably get away with this pretty pink thermal cami unless you’re wearing a very sheer top. Currently buy one, get one half price.
  • My personal favourite, I stock up on these thermal t-shirts in September because they always sell out. I particularly like the ones with the integrated bra because they give smooth lines under jersey. They are currently on promotion so better value than ever.
  • This light control shaping vest has slimming properties, it sucks you in as you wear it.
  • And don’t forget the old faithful compact ultra-light down, often copied, never matched and great to pull out as an extra layer when needed.

Great new ranges

Some of the stores seem to have jumped straight into summer and I’m not ready to look at linen t-shirts and bikinis yet. The M&S “new in” section is particularly confusing. Others are taking a different approach and adding capsule ranges throughout the season which helps them to match the weather (and customers’ expectations) a little better.

Hush launched their pre-spring range this week here. There are some lovely pieces and I’m particularly excited about their ‘coming soon,’ they have a strong offering this Spring.

Baukjen have a crisp new collection. They are working on monthly drops so there will be newness at the beginning of every month.

Finery have new lines and are working in a similar way but will be adding new pieces a couple of times each month.

Sézane will be launching their January capsule at 10am on Sunday but I just wanted to show you their Demain t-shirt which is now available for pre-order (note the rainbow coloured slogan). You may remember their Femme t-shirt, worn by every Instagrammer last summer, it sold out before stock even hit the site. I suspect that the same may happen with the the Demain t-shirt. It is the first of a number of pieces to be sold in aid of children’s charity La Voix de L’Enfant which implements projects in over 100 countries worldwide.

January casual wardrobe updates

Demain t-shirt

Midlife lately

Well as you can imagine, the last week has been somewhat overshadowed by the death of our friend and I haven’t taken many photos. This was my first day back at work after Christmas – we knew the office would feel cold so I was well wrapped up.

Midlifechic winter

M&S coat AW17; Hope jumper AW 16; Boden jeans AW15; Boots AW17; Bag current season

My Hunter wellies have finally given up on me so I invested in some new ones. It’s a sad fact but I wear wellies more often than stilettos, especially at this time of year and so it was an important purchase. Just as everyone who lives in the city veers towards a green pair, ideally from Le Chameau, so I was determined to have something more urban looking. I ended up opting for this sturdy Danish pair and they are so much better than Hunters, much more comfortable and better insulated. I suppose the laces won’t stay white but I can always replace them.

Midlifechic casual

Jacket; Jumper (gAW17); Leather leggings (gAW16); Wellies; Scarf (gAW17); Fingerless gloves; Hat – can’t remember, sorry

So this was last Sunday when we went for a freezing walk in beautiful winter sunshine. This route is a particular favourite because there’s a toffee shop at the end of it!


It’s revolving doors in our house tonight, the eldest is coming home for the weekend but the youngest is heading off on a French exchange for a week. Somehow we need to stay awake until 2.45am so that we can drop him off for the trip to the airport. I’m doing my best not to fret. He has a sore throat and of course the flu epidemic is worse in France. In these days of CRB checks, it also seems strange to be sending your child to stay with a family that you know absolutely nothing about.

Still, I keep telling myself that I did it and it was a learning experience for me. I stayed with a lovely Algerian family in Paris for two weeks. They spoke no English and very little French so I didn’t learn much about the language but it was an incredible cultural experience for the country girl that I was then. They lived in a high rise block, there were seven children plus me and two parents in a three bedroomed flat… and it was Ramadan! I had a great time though and I’m sure he will too. It does make me wonder whether my mum was on pins as I will be until he’s home. Oh and it’s a joint trip with the girls’ grammar school ( alma mater) – now that definitely wouldn’t have happened in my day but I would have loved it if it had.

So, it seems that Mr MC and I might find ourselves at a loose end this weekend. The eldest has plans with his uni friends, the middle one has plans with his school friends… we may just have to go out and have fun. Thank goodness we’re not doing dry January! I hope your weekend is a good one too.

Disclosure: January casual wardrobe updates is not a sponsored post

2018 posts you may have missed

How to find your purpose at midlife

Great British Boltholes – The Pentonbridge Inn

Midlife lately – winter outfits and events

Happy January – searching for a better way to manage 2018

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