This is it, the last post of 2019. I’ve been trying to work out what would be most useful to you right now and so in anticipation of the sales starting, I’ve sifted through what I think are the best buys of AW 2019. They’re the hero pieces in my wardrobe and so I’ve rounded up my personal recommendation of what to look out for from specific retailers’ sales. I’ll finish with a few thoughts about Christmas because it feels a bit different for us this year but I’m still looking forward to it.
So, hero pieces. I feel as though I can judge most brands by their strengths now which saves me a lot of time when I’m looking for something. Not all of the sales have started yet but they will any day now and if you need something specific, these have been my favourite finds this season.
Best buys of AW 2019 – jeans
Hush win my prize for jeans at the moment and I have two pairs that I wear repeatedly. They’re a Goldilocks discovery for me, not too skinny, just the right length and with the perfect amount of leg-slimming shading. I have them in the darker blue wash…
Jeans; jumper (size down); boots (all gifted as part of a post AW19)
…and the grey which I’m wearing far more than I thought I would. You see now that I’ve reached the end of the greying journey with my hair, I’m finding that I need to soften the contrast in my outfits and so I prefer grey jeans to black. By the way, Hush has 20% off everything at the moment here with code MERRY20. It’s a gamble because not everything goes into their winter sale so some things will have more than 20% off when it starts but others will revert to full price.
Jumper (size down); jeans (gifted as part of a blog post AW19)
Best buys of AW 2019 – boots
Hush score highly here too. Every year they do an iconic Parisian style with a low kitten heel and a pointed toe. I hope they never stop doing these boots because they’re really comfortable for such a stylish shape. This year you can find them in blue metallic as I’m wearing above and also a black and bronze weave which seems to have sold out. The other pair that I’ve worn a lot are the ones below and this style is also available in plain black suede:
Studded ankle boots (gifted as part of a post AW19)
I’ve never been able to find black leather ankle boots that I like before because they tend to be so ubiquitous but I find that the studs elevate this pair and they work well with midi-skirts as well as jeans. 20% off everything at the moment here with code MERRY20.
Best buys of AW 2019 – knee high boots
If you’re looking for knee high boots, go to Duo Boots. They’re a new discovery for me this season, I was sent a pair to review and I’m blown away by the fit and how comfortable they are. Your order is bespoke to your calf size so you don’t have the worry about a welly effect.
I particularly like the fact that they have styles that are slightly shorter than knee-high which is good if you have a long torso. As you can see from this picture last weekend, my legs aren’t chopped in half at the knee so they look longer than they would in a classic knee-high boot.
They aren’t a cheap option but I choose knee-high boots very carefully and wear them for more than ten years so it works out on a cost per wear basis. The trend for wearing jeans tucked into boots is just coming back so it’s likely to stick around for a few years now (note I’m wearing the grey jeans again).
Boots; Jeans (AW19 gifted); Hush coat (AW18 gifted); H&M jumper 2014
Best buys of AW 2019 – blouses
Blouses were a key part of my wardrobe this year until the weather got colder. I prefer them to shirts because I don’t have an especially long neck and so collars often don’t flatter me. My hands down winner for casual blouses this year has been Boden, particularly the collarless styles that wash and wear so well, I find they’re an easy solution for both days and evenings.
Blouse (gifted AW19) – this style now heavily reduced in the sale; jeans; shoes (gifted AW19) now in the sale
The other place to go for blouses is Sézane. I haven’t bought one recently but the quality and quirky detail is outstanding and you often find you’re getting washable silk for the price of a UK brand’s polyester. I’m wearing one of their blouses in the picture below, look at the detail on the double collar.
Sézane blouse (sold out); H&M skirt (sold out); M&S shoes (sold out)
And finally for shirts I recommend Hawes & Curtis, as I showed you last week. Their sale is now on here.
Best buys of AW 2019 – Relaxed knitwear
My vote here goes to small brand Hope Fashion who always add extra thought to the cut of their knitwear and pay as much attention to the way it washes as to how it looks when it’s new. Their jumpers hang beautifully and they don’t itch (I’m wearing those grey jeans again). The sale is now on at Hope here.
Soft grey jumper; jeans (both gifted AW19); Finery boots AW17; M&S bucket bag (ancient)
Best buys of AW 2019 – cashmere
As far as cashmere is concerned, I find the softest, lightest jumpers come from The White Company. I wish they did more colours but my all time favourite is the one below. It’s cloud soft, the sort of cashmere that is so hard to find these days and I love the deep ribbing and split hem. I was told by a retail friend last week that White Company cashmere is sourced by a lady who has been working for them since the beginning. Apparently she’s retired now but she still buys the cashmere for them and that’s why the quality remains the same. I’m showing you the model shot first because the only one I can find of me wearing it doesn’t do it justice…
… it’s my comfort jumper so I opted for it when I was feeling ‘jaded’ a couple of weeks ago (those grey jeans again).
Best buys of AW 2019 – classic winter coats
Hobbs is my first choice here because of the quality. I don’t know of any other high street retailers that have such a high wool content in their coats. They also pay careful attention to the linings so that they slide on and off luxuriously. Quite a few colours are heavily reduced in the sale here. There’s more stock here.
Coat (now in the sale); cashmere scarf now half price; roll neck top (now in the sale)
There are also beautiful classic coats now in the sale at Jigsaw here and Whistles here.
Best buys of AW 2019 – casual coats
I will always stick with Uniqlo for these, they’re often copied but never matched because they add innovations every single year meaning that they’re always a step ahead of everyone else. Ah – happy days with Gary…
Down jacket; jumper (now in the sale); leather leggings (now 20% off); wellies (3/4 version); cashmere scarf (now 20% off, gifted AW16); cashmere fingerless gloves (20% off)
Don’t forget to stock up on thermals while you’re there, they’re already in the sale and they’ve always sold out by the time the January cold snap arrives.
Best buys of AW 2019 – blazers
I find blazers one of the hardest things to buy because it’s so difficult to find one that doesn’t look boxy and I need tailoring to suit my shape. Boden have aced it this year, I really hope they’re going to continue with this cut, they do it in various fabrics and most are now in the sale here.
Blazer (gifted AW19) – everything else past season
Best buys of AW 2019 – beauty in the sales
Head over to John Lewis & Partners because they’ll be price matching every other brand and retailer in their sales hub. They also negotiate special buys so they have often have better value than other retailers during the winter sale.
Clearance hub price-matching every brand in the store here
So there you go, my analysis of the best buys of AW 2019 and the last of my shopping guides for the year. I hope it helps you to cut through temptation so that you only buy what you need when you hit the sales.
Midlife lately, thoughts about Christmas
The home front
Thankfully this week has been calmer than the last few. I’ve been busy wrapping everything up at work so I only have two pictures to show you. A very quick one taken when we were going to a friend’s dinner party on Saturday – I wore velvet jogging bottoms with an elasticated waist in anticipation of her fabulous cooking…
M&S tux jacket; And Other Stories gold top; Hush velvet jogging (bottoms all AW 2018); shoes
… and an action shot from last night’s carol service in the village church. As you know we throw together a not very melodious village choir in the run up to Christmas – this is our main performance and what we lack in tunefulness we make up for in spirit. It’s always a special evening for me because it’s a prompt for me to stop worrying about whatever’s going on in the wider world and just focus on the people that are closer to home.
I wore the Boden gold suit again with a past season Joules Christmas breton and my red metallic Hush boots.
I can’t join in with the endless reviews of the 20-10s yet because I haven’t had time to stop and look back but I will when we reach the Twixmas lull. Before that though, my mum-in-law is arriving to stay for a while. As you know, she’s always been fiercely independent at Christmas, insisting on going away with a friend but after last year when she ended up spending the entire Christmas period in a hospital in Stockport, she’s lost her confidence.
With that and of course the loss of yet another of her sons just twelve months ago, it’s been a tough year for her. However over the last few weeks we’ve noticed that she’s been picking up a bit and getting back to her old self. And then on Sunday we had a call telling us that her brother had died so that’s knocked her down again. Life can be so unfair, it seems to hit some people particularly hard and repeatedly so. We can only hope that being away from the North East for a bit will give her a break from her sadness.
The boys all have busy social lives now and with no Gary wagging for winter walks, it’s going to feel like a different Christmas for Mr MC and me. To keep Christmas rolling I have my own version of Norad’s Santa Tracker going on with what the boys are calling the ‘motherboard’, a complex spreadsheet that I’ve stuck to the fridge detailing everyone’s movements.
As you can imagine, being Aladdin’s genie’s mum comes with a price and that is that there’s only one full day and night when we’ll all be together until he hits the end of his 30 show run in the new year. So I’ll be savouring every moment of Christmas Day and packing in the fun and games. Other than that, Mr MC and I will be relaxing and enjoying the company of whoever is there. I have to accept that our family is in flux right now and even though I find it really (really) hard that I’m no longer in control of our Christmas, I’m just going to try to go with it and enjoy the times we have.
You see the one thing that has stayed with me since my breast cancer scare in the summer is a huge sense of gratitude for just being here and being well. I know how darned lucky I am to be living this everyday family life. So I’m going to embrace the fact that the boys have Christmas plans of their own and we’re all moving on. I’ll enjoy being free to make spontaneous plans with Mr MC and friends who are navigating a similar path through the late teenage years. We all had a good moan about it for five minutes in the village pub after the carol service last night before deciding to crack on and have fun of our own.
As far as Midlifechic is concerned, I’m really looking forward to the quiet of January when retail sleeps and we have a chance to discuss all kinds of different things on here. I have a challenging but interesting life topic that I’m going to broach. Some of you might not like it but others will and I think it will get a good conversation going on amongst us all so be ready!
Before that though I want to thank you once again for sticking by me and reading this year. As more and more people desert blogs for the shiny promise of Instagram, I appreciate the time that you give to me more than ever. Having the opportunity to meet some of you in real life has been one of the absolute highlights of my year and I’ll work hard to make it happen again.
My final and biggest thank you goes to the people who comment, often having to wait a while for me to reply. As you know I spend as much time as I can with brands and retailers, communicating the needs of our particular midlife demographic. The fact that I can go armed with print-outs and presentations that expand on your insightful and well thought through feedback gives me proof of what I’m saying and means that I’m taken seriously wherever I fly the midlife flag.
It’s not just about brands though, I want you to know that you make all the difference. You make me laugh when times are good and you help me to feel understood when I hit bumps in the road. I’m just so glad that we’re sharing this midlife journey together – may it go on for years and years. I’m logging off now but I wish every one of you a Christmas filled with joy, love and laughter… and I look forward to seeing you in a shiny new decade.
Disclosure: ‘Best buys of AW 2019’ is not a sponsored post
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Autumn / Winter
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