Today’s post is one of the ones that goes a bit wrong. I had initially intended it to be about the new pre-collection from Hush but when I looked through it, it wasn’t as exciting as I’d hoped so the only piece I’m going to feature is the charcoal and brown sugar stella jumper which is back in stock. These jumpers are a lovely cut and they somehow make you look younger.


Charcoal and camel star jumper

I have one in silver and black – this is how it looks on me. They will be sold out within a few days so if you want one, be quick.


Next Spring 2017 collection

So, there I was in a slight panic wondering what we could talk about when I stubbed my toe on the Next Directory that had been gathering dust since it arrived over Christmas. Now, I’m not Next’s biggest fan, mostly because I find the size of their collection obscene in these days of edited capsule ranges. I wasn’t surprised to hear that they were one of the few retailers who had seen a drop in sales last Winter.

However, amidst the thousands of items there are usually a couple of absolute gems. You just have to find them. So ladies, I went in and ploughed my way through the Next Spring 2017 collection. By the end of the evening I had filled a basket with nearly £300 of possibilities (to try I must point out – not to keep) and they were with me this morning. You can’t fault Next for their delivery system, it’s amazing.

So, my plan was to share my entire trying on session with you but in the end half of the pieces were too bad to even photograph. My issue was mostly with the quality of the fabric and the cut of the clothes – they just had not been designed to flatter any woman’s body as far as I could see. In the end though there were 3 outfits that I thought I’d show you.

Working wardrobe

People often ask me to feature more easy office outfits. The trouble is that because I work in a creative environment, I don’t often have to look classically smart. I’m lucky because as you may have discovered, ‘classic smart’ can be particularly ageing once you’re over 40. You need to try to find a twist so I ordered some kick flare trousers from Next’s tailored range along with a wrap shirt – I was particularly keen to see how this measured up against the ones I buy from Hush. This is how it looked.

Next Spring 2017 collection

Navy wrap shirt, tailored kick flare trousers

The trousers were true to size and would wear well if you were sitting down at a desk all day as they soon recovered their shape. The blouse isn’t as luxurious as the Hush ones and the drape isn’t quite as soft BUT it is half the price. I’m not overly keen on the zip detail (Next always seem to have to add an extra detail to things) but, all in all, I’d say this is a good blouse either for work or for wearing with jeans on a night out. There is a similar style in blush but it’s already selling out fast.

Weekend wardrobe

These were the two outfits that made the cut. Firstly, an on trend blush pink sweatshirt with a side knot. Knotted waists are an-on trend detail for Spring. I like the fact that this one is slightly off centre so it doesn’t add visual bulk to the tummy. The sweatshirt is a thick cotton, lovely quality, the sort of thing that Next used to make back in the golden days of the 80s. It’s also available in soft grey and sage green.

I teamed it with some of their new cropped flare jeans. These are cropped longer than most of the ones I’ve tried so you could wear them with a normal ankle boot rather than needing a sock boot. They’re good quality denim and the fraying at the hem has been finished well (if that isn’t a contradiction in terms). I don’t see much of a flare to the leg, if anything they’re a straight leg which may appeal to more people.

Next Spring 2017 collection

Pink sweatshirt with knot detail; black cropped flare jeans

And finally, this last outfit could be the gem. There is a huge summer trend coming through for blue and white striped shirting, in dresses, in trousers and of course in tops. Sleeves across the board are going to be either wide or ruffled (or both). This sweatshirt is great for people who want to buy in to the shirting look but aren’t overly keen on ironing as most of it is a sweatshirt.

The cropped jeans are some of the cheapest in the range and yet they feature the shading that Next does so well which is very slimming on the leg. It’s subtle at the front of the thigh but it works wonders. These jeans would have been perfect if the fraying was properly frayed. As it is, the leg has simply been left cut raw so it is neither hemmed nor frayed, however you could easily loosen it up and it would improve naturally after a couple of washes.

Next Spring 2017 collection

So yes, this last one was definitely my favourite of the outifts, it felt fresh and Spring-like and yet you could easily wear it now. I hope that’s given you some inspiration for the weekend.

Here are a couple of outfits from the week. One from last weekend when it was suddenly unseasonably warm. I’ve noticed that the birds have started pairing which is about 3 weeks early.

Jacket past season – similar here; cashmere crew neck – currently in the sale; jeans – a few sizes left in clearance; Hush skinny star scarf AW16; tote bag; M&S sock boots AW16

Here’s yesterday’s outfit for a tough meeting working on a tricky strategy followed by parents’ evening at school.

Boden dress past season; Hush cardigan – in sale; Boden scarf past season; Clarks boots past season; Tote bag

And there I must leave you. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to post next week because I’m spending a few days in London meeting some of my favourite retailers so I’ll be fully up to date on all of the new collections. I do want to say thank you to the many of you who have been so generous in giving your feedback in the midlife symptoms survey so far. Hundreds of you have taken part so the results will be really interesting to publish, a genuine insight into what everybody is really experiencing.

I wish you all wonderful weekend. I’ll try to keep posting on Instagram @midlifechic whilst I’m in London. In the meantime I’m sorry it’s taking me so long to keep on top of your comments – there have been over 100 so far on the Midlife in the Twenty-Tens post and I find myself so engrossed by each one that it’s taking me a while to answer fully. I have been so touched by the stories some of you have shared and also gripped by the thoughtfulness and intelligence that we have in this community. If you haven’t read them yet, do go and have a look, it’s a really good insight into midlife today.

Disclosure: ‘Next Spring 2017 collection’ is not a sponsored post