As you know I’ve been reading lots of style books over the Christmas holiday they were definitely my most useful and absorbing presents. Actually they couldn’t have come at a better time, because they reminded me that a truly chic wardrobe isn’t filled to bursting with lots of different clothes, in fact it is pared down to a number of essentials that all work seamlessly with each other. So when the sales started I was far more eclectic than usual. Rather than ordering random bargains that caught my eye, I focused on where the gaps had been in the weeks leading up to Christmas, especially when compared to a classic Parisian wardrobe. This is what I bought:

A Whistles tuxedo – apparently this is essential for a night out in Paris, I haven’t decided whether I’m keeping it yet, it’s a very glossy fabric and I’m not sure about it but it was such a bargain and it is a beautiful cut.

parisian starter wardrobe women over 40

Boden glitter slingbacks – Ines de la Fressange believes that a simple outfit with beautiful shoes is the best evening look:


Since then, I’ve been thinking about the new season. As you know, I bought an awful lot of clothes last year. My ‘restoration’ budget has gone and so I am going to have to be very thoughtful and selective over the next few months. However a classic beige trench coat is one item of clothing that I don’t have and it would make a huge difference to my Spring wardrobe. I’ve bought cheap ones before from places like M&S and Gap but they just weren’t quite right and going forward, I’m only going to allow things in my wardrobe that feel perfect. I think a trench coat is an investment item and you need to up your budget. So keeping it realistic (i.e. not looking at places like Burberry or Aquascutum), this is the shortlist I’ve made (all new season stock so links included):

Classic trench

parisian starter wardrobe women over 40


Saskia trench

parisian starter wardrobe women over 40


Boston trench 

parisian starter wardrobe women over 40

I would need to try them all before I commit but at the moment the Saskia is my favourite because of the colouring, I think it would be the most flattering for a washed out early Spring complexion! It’s annoying that it doesn’t have a buckle though – pedantic I know but that’s the way I’m approaching it.

Moving on to the next gap I’ve uncovered, I have a comprehensive selection of blue and grey jeans but only a straight cut black pair and I think the Parisian look I’m aiming for requires skinnies. Now as you know I love Uniqlo and M&S for jeans, however I tried Boden’s super skinny jeans when I ordered the pewter metallics in the sale (I decided I wouldn’t get enough wear from them to keep them) and I was amazed by the fit. I’ve always been put off by the name but they’re great and as soon as a discount is available on the new season stock I’ll be ordering them.

parisian starter wardrobe women over 40

So you’ll be starting to get the idea of the various outfits I could put together from my existing wardrobe with these two items: add a roll neck jumper, a breton or a tailored shirt and I could be happily sitting at a cafe in the Marais, however to finish it off I would really like some black ankle boots. The ones in my wardrobe are old and have a platform, they just don’t look right any more. I don’t want anything very high – these are perfect:

Oregon kitten heel boots

parisian starter wardrobe women over 40


Anaise suede ankle boots

parisian starter wardrobe women over 40

However I may just compromise with these zip ankle boots which, not being leather, would help with funds for the coat. So, food for thought but definitely the beginning of my new season edit.

parisian starter wardrobe women over 40

We’ve had a really great few days finally catching up with various friends who are emerging from their flu caves. I completely forgot to take photos on New Year’s day when we spent the day catching up over too many glasses of champagne. It was a very indulgent start to the year, topped off with a lovely friendship bracelet gift made by my 10 year old friend Olivia which I’ve been wearing with pride:


Last night I’d lost the will to cook so we had fish, chips and fizz and more friends over:


You’ve seen this sequinned Whistles sweatshirt from S/S 14 before but I’ve just spotted it in the Selfridges sale here reduced from £75 to £25 so if you like it, be very, very quick!!! It fits in with both the Parisian theme I’m going to be taking this year and my mood – here’s another shot of it (worn with M&S coated jeans. Autograph boots, Zara necklace):


We’ve been taking the decorations down today and the caveman in Mr MC has enjoyed burning the trees on the fire which has left us with a big scorch on the cream carpet when a branch fell out – another wretched insurance claim to make!


One boy is back to school tomorrow, the other two on Tuesday which means back to work for me. I’ve been touched by the number of emails that have come in following my midlife bodies post – thank you for your enthusiasm and please bear with me, I’ll be catching up with them and your comments when I’m back in the office and I can concentrate without being interrupted. Until then, I hope you’ve had a brilliant start to the new year and are feeling relaxed and ready to go. Keep in touch.