Well I hope you’re getting used to the increasing levels of lockdown if you’re in the UK. Given our proximity to a two university city with rapidly increasing rates of infection, we were quite surprised to find ourselves in tier two but I suspect that will change very soon. So as today is my sister’s birthday, I made the most of being able to spend this morning drinking coffee with her in her garden which means today’s post is a little shorter but I know you’ll understand. It suddenly feels important to see the people we want to spend time with before we can’t again for a while.
The last new drops of the season are arriving this week – after this it will be what counts for partywear this year so I’m bringing you some of the highlights. Before I do though I have to share something that’s really struck me and that’s how small the collections are. Usually, when I look through the high street retailers’ sites at this time of year, there are pages and pages of ‘new in’ to choose from. Right now you can see how dramatically budgets were chopped as the impact of Covid began to hit back in the spring and there’s far less choice. In most ways this is good… unless you’re writing a blog and trying to keep inspiration coming! However I’ll show you some of the things that stood out in terms of easy, wearable autumn outfit updates that suit the way most of us are dressing at the moment.
Autumn outfit updates – easy knits to throw on with skinnies and joggers
As this probably isn’t a season for reinventing your look, I’m starting with a comfort zone – easy knits to throw on with skinnies. We all know how to do this – by using a slightly looser top to balance out the tighter bottom half. Pay extra attention to the hem, it’s always good if it’s split or dipped and straight ribbing will help it to hang well. I haven’t included full polo necks because I don’t know a single midlife woman who can tolerate them, however I’ve added raised necklines and funnel necks for a face framing effect. I’ve also found one jumper that works specifically for smartening up joggers.
- Fluffy pink jumper – an alpaca and wool blend, this jumper has this season’s fluffy texture. The central seam draws the eye down the front, adding structure to an otherwise loose fit.
- Flecked grey lambswool jumper – deep ribbed, split, dipped hem and extra detailing at the back; a great quality option at a fair price.
- Navy turtleneck – this is a little shorter, it comes to the top of the hips which means it won’t cover your behind but it will work well with wider trousers and midi-skirts too. Also available in pale green with a brown fleck that makes me think of mint choc chip ice cream.
- Soft brown cashmere rib – an investment but one that you’ll pull out for winters to come, a jumper that gives you the ‘borrowed from a fisherman’ style without the itchy roughness. All over ribbing with a split dipped hem.
- Bright pink jumper – slight funnel neck for those who prefer them not to come too high. I haven’t tried this jumper but I have worn this blend and it’s incredibly soft, it feels like very expensive cashmere but it’s a fair price. The seam at the front breaks up the expanse of the middle and it has good bum covering length. Also available in charcoal.
- Marl cashmere jumper – this has just arrived but it’s selling out quickly in the smaller sizes and it isn’t surprising because it’s well priced for 100% supersoft cashmere. It has an unusual cable knit pattern and it’s also available in cobalt.
- Soft blue jumper – this, in my opinion, is the ultimate in shape and length for wearing with skinnies and the tone will work really well with blue jeans and yet contrast with black too. 100% wool with a split, deep ribbed hem and lower at the back than the front. My mouse keeps hovering over it and it’s also available in light grey which is just as lovely. Size down if you don’t want it to look too voluminous. Currently on pre-order so it would make a lovely Christmas gift to self!
- Grey twist front jumper – if you find you’re wearing joggers quite a bit, this wool / cashmere blend jumper with its neat twist front detail is a great way of smartening them up. It will help you to feel more polished than a long loose jumper would. Also available in navy.
Autumn outfit updates – wider silhouettes
Sometimes, of course, you feel like changing your silhouette and here are a few more ideas for wider bottoms and what to pair with them. It’s often best to layer so that you can have a slim fitted top half with a cardigan thrown over for extra warmth.
- Long tawny cardigan – the colour of ginger biscuits, this has pockets that stop it from looking too Sunday supplement and a relaxed loose cut. Perfect for wearing with loungewear in the evening too, it falls below the knee. Size down if you prefer a neater fit, also available in khaki.
- Green leopard turtleneck – a smarter way of wearing jersey than just a standard top and a chic neckline too.
- Chic denim shirt – denim shirts are a capsule must-have but they almost always fall into the western style which isn’t great for layering because the seams and pockets create a lumpy outline. This is low profile and the conflict between the cut and fabric give it a feminine /masculine contrast.
- Mid-length cardigan – coming to mid-thigh, this cardigan is easy for throwing on as the days get colder. Made from a fluffy wool blend it has slouchy pockets to give it a relaxed look, also available in navy.
- Cropped pull-on velvet trousers – as easy to wear as joggers but so much chicer. Wear them to add depth and texture to your outfits now and then dress them up later for an easy Christmas at home solution.
- Pinstriped jersey straight leg trousers – another wider leg option that’s easy to wear at home. These are full length and again as easy as joggers but pair them with trainers and they’ll give you the iconic Phoebe Philo vibe.
- Cord wide leg crops – another option for bringing soft warmth and texture into your winter wardrobe and a pull-on style again. They’re an absolute bargain and they’ve already sold out in black and camel but the navy and berry colours have just arrived so there are still sizes available. NB the berry and camel shots give you an idea of how they look on the model.
- Tan suede boots with brogue detail – I’ve had this picture on my desktop ever since I spotted these but now they’ve sold out in my size. I love the style and the low heel which is better both for walking and visual leg lengthening than completely flat ankle boots. There are still most sizes available in glossy brown leather here.
- Block heel ankle boots – a lower priced alternative with an on trend square toe and great reviews, this pair looks like it comes from Cos. Also available in black or stone but remember that oxblood works with most colours and really adds panache to winter outfits.
And with those new autumn outfit updates I’ve run out of time as far as clothes are concerned today but I hope they’ve brought you some inspiration. I’m glad I spent time with my sister this morning. Without breaking social distancing rules or putting anyone at risk, I hope you’re able to see the people who matter to you while you can. We received the news that our Uncle Stan died this weekend. He’d been ill for a while with the same primary cancer that my mum had (multiple myeloma) although like her, he had other cancers too so although we feel sad, it wasn’t a shock.
Over the last few weeks I’ve helped my cousins out a few times by taking meals in to him to give him a break from the hospital food. On just one occasion at the beginning of last month the ward lockdown was lifted and so instead of just dropping the food off, I was able to go and sit with him while he ate it – and I confess It was nerve-racking because he didn’t hold with any kind of ‘foreign food’ (pasta… or anything with rice…) so I had to think hard about what to cook. Thankfully he tucked in to the braised steak I took and the tiffin too and while he ate he chatted away. I hadn’t seen him for ages and I’m really glad that I had that opportunity to reconnect with him. As I’ve said before, when this generation goes, I’ll lose touch with my farming roots so it was lovely to hear him talking away about the bullocks that he used to raise by hand – he really loved them. And we talked about haytime. When I was little we sometimes used to go and help him although we were probably more of a hindrance than a help as we climbed on the fresh hay bales and tried to make dens with them. I have such happy memories of being out in the sunshine with my cousins – golden evenings where the sun always seemed to shine on us.
We have a big family and so because of the lockdown restrictions, we won’t be able to go to his funeral although we can line the route to give our auntie and cousins some support. I’m not telling you any of this to make you feel sad, just to give you a gentle nudge to catch up with anyone you can if you have the chance, even if it’s just by phone. I’m going to be holding onto the happy memory of watching Uncle Stan enjoying my cooking and (this may sound mad) but somehow having been able to see him so close to the end has made me feel as if I’ve brushed a little closer to my mum and dad too. I’m sure they’ll all be together now and he’ll be able to tell them that he just saw me… and that all was well.
I think most of us at Midlifechic have a meeting of minds and as such we’ve always known that people matter more than anything else. However this year has really reinforced that and I think we’re all holding our friends and family closer to our hearts than ever before even if, for now, it can only be metaphorically.
It’s easy to get caught up in the frustration of everything that Covid is forcing us to miss – the bells and whistles of life – the big events, the holidays, the run up to Christmas and the parties but all of those things will come again. In the meantime it’s focusing our minds on the nub of what’s truly important. Uncle Stan had a lot of long and happy days. He loved his wife and his daughters; his bullocks and the rest of his family and friends – and he laughed loudly and often with all of them. In the end I think that’s the very summary of a life that’s been well lived, don’t you?