I was chatting to my blogger friends in the Over 40 Collective recently about how difficult it is to know what to blog about during this fallow period when the sales are on, especially when the weather is as mixed as it has been. We talked about paring things back to simplicity and from there an over 40 style blogger challenge arose – styling a white shirt with denim.
Of course the sale period was a problem until somebody suggested Marks and Spencer. After all if they’re doing their job as the cornerstone of the British High Street, it should be easy to find a white shirt at M&S at any time of year.
So, the challenge was accepted and for me, not having a decent sized M&S store nearby, it was time to hit the website. As is always the case, the shots on the website weren’t strong enough for me to be able to order a single style with the confidence that it would be ‘the one’ so I ended up ordering 4 different tops to choose from. Of course then I decided to take the challenge further by seeing if I could order the denim from M&S as well. In the end, when the very large box arrived, I was surprised to find that I quite liked everything I’d selected so we shot them all.
White shirt and denim look #1
I thought I’d start with something on trend. New season cropped kick flare jeans and a white poplin shirt. I really like this outfit. When Marks and Spencer do jeans well, you can’t beat them. I’m thinking back to the 5 pocket super skinny jeans which at £22 are every bit as good as Boden’s super skinnies that retailed at £59. Unfortunately when I was ordering, most sizes were sold out and I had to order a 14 which was too big, so don’t take these shots too literally.
The reason I like these kick flares is that the flare isn’t too extreme and, if I had the right size, they would be close cut on the thigh so overall they’re a flattering shape. Even people who love their skinnies won’t find these too much of a leap for Autumn. They’re also long enough to wear with ankle boots in the Winter. All sizes are back in stock now so I’ve reordered them in the right size.
Tailored fit poplin shirt; Per Una Roma Rise kick flare jeans
The shirt is listed as being tailored. In a loose sort of way it is, thanks to the pleat at the back. It is made of crisp cotton poplin that didn’t crease too badly and the whole outfit felt simple yet chic. It is a good transitional look that would easily see you through to the end of October.
White shirt and denim look #2
For this shot I’m wearing the same kick flare jeans but with a more classic Autograph silk blouse.
Pure silk button through blouse
This was the most expensive of all the shirts and it was lovely quality silk as well as being machine washable. It did come up quite big though, making it looser than I wanted it to be.
White shirt and denim look #3
For this outfit I wore M&S coated jeans that I already have so technically it wasn’t cheating even though you can’t buy them at the moment. Coated jeans have featured at most of the AW 16 press shows that I’ve been to so they’re definitely going to be around for another season which I’m really pleased about.
The blouse in this outfit was my wild card. It’s from the Classic Collection which, as you’ll know, is targeted at the older, more conservative lady but in my view it’s bang on the ‘tie neck trend.’ It arrived with the neckline tied in a neat pussy bow which I instantly undid.
The best thing is that the tie is simply attached by a button at the back so if you remove it, you have a plain, mandarin collared blouse – two for the price of one. This was by far Mr MC’s favourite look which surprised me (perusing these shots, it strikes me how you glow a little when your husband tells you you’re looking good)! Its a keeper. Incidentally snake print is coming through very strongly for Winter which is why I decided to add these shoes.
White shirt and denim look #4
A completely different structure for the last shot. This is the way that shapes are starting to move, with a wider bottom balanced out by a tight top half. These denim wide leg trousers are also from the new Autograph collection at M&S.
They’re heavy denim, feel good to wear and they’d be great for smart casual office wear. They were the perfect length for me – I ordered a regular (my usual length) and with heels they were just off the ground. I’d forgotten how comfortable wide legs are to wear.
Slim fit shirt; raw wide leg jeans
The slim fit shirt is a basic one from M&S Collection. It is very well tailored and fits snugly which is fine because it has ‘no peep’ buttons so there is no gaping. It is a mix of 68% cotton, 30% polyester and 2% elastane which I prefer to the previous tailored shirts which were 98% cotton and creased very quickly. It’s a great pricepoint and it would also look really good with boyfriend / girlfriend jeans at the weekend.
…and this last picture sums up one of the blogging challenges I’ll have in the weeks ahead, as the long Summer holidays begin. Not only was I battling with a very breezy afternoon which was playing havoc with my hair, but also with the crashing server at Pokemon Go which meant the boys were no longer usefully distracted and instead were, quite literally under my feet. I have definitely stopped glowing and should probably be offering a prize for the best caption!
So for me, the challenge didn’t turn out to be too difficult, even though we’re technically out of season but I know it didn’t go quite as smoothly for some of the other over 40 style bloggers as you will see when you visit their blogs.
Actually I have great faith that this is going to be the season when Marks and Spencer turns things around in the fashion department. You may remember that I gave you a sneak preview in my post after I visited the press day – Per Una in particular seems to have been reinvented. Good things ahead I hope – come on M&S, we’re rooting for you.
The Over40Collective styles Marks and Spencer
So, this is the parade of my over 40 style blogger friends wearing their white tops and denim.
Here’s Liz from whatlizzyloves wearing a Marks and Spencer broderie blouse with blue cropped kick flares
Michelle from Retrochicmama chose a Per Una blazer instead of a shirt and paired it with denim cut offs.
Lisa from thesequinist chose an off-white shirt to wear with boyfriend jeans on holiday in the Austrian Alps
Annette from ladyofstyle picked a white boat neck top that is great on the clavicles and teamed it with elegant dark denim and heels
Michelle from Barefacedchic looked Summery in a sheer sleeveless layered top with cropped jeans
Last but not least, here’s Catherine from notdressedaslamb in wide denim crops and one of the shirts that I loved but couldn’t get right on the sizing. She has more patience than me and sleuthed her way though the reviews.
So – how many different ways can an over 40 style blogger wear a white shirt and denim? The answer is many – we have all taken a completely different approach, as always. Have a great week everyone.