I’m following on from my post about leather leggings with a focus on a different type of trouser. You see when I was down in London last week, I gambled on not having to stand up too much in my consultancy sessions. For once, I travelled light without ‘street shoes’ in my bag. It misfired. I was working with a larger team than expected and so I had to stand to enable everyone to hear (and see) me. We were based on Oxford Street so of course I’d planned to do a spot of shopping on the way home but first I needed to stop and rest my feet for a while. It was a warm autumn day and I found a bench where I could sit and people watch – all in the name of research for Midlifechic!

Smartly dressed commuters were whizzing past me and, as I analysed the best dressed women, something struck me. Hardly anyone was wearing tailored crops – and if they were, they looked a bit jaded. Of course as you’d expect, the fashion forward were mostly wearing wide crops. However a high percentage of the chic women on the street had made a more subtle transition from their tailored crops by adopting side stripe trousers.

We’ve all seen the athleisure trend that has been around for a few seasons now, generally styled with box-fresh white trainers for the weekend. However it has now clearly made the move into an updated working wardrobe. I’m guessing this is partly because so many people spend time working from home but also because offices are less formal.

I prefer to affiliate side stripes more with tuxedo trousers than trackpants – thinking of them that way makes them feel far more chic. I’ve been sold on them ever since I found the leg-lengthening nirvana that I’m always searching for in the Hush pair with the gold stripe…


Jacket; trousers (sold out)

So whether you’re based at home, in a school or in an office, I think this is a look that now transcends all but the most formal of boundaries. I’ve found as many images as I can to show you where to find side stripe trousers and how to wear them.

The best side stripe trousers

Starting with the obvious white trainer weekend look, these side stripe trousers have cuffed ankles and they’ve been styled with a loose chunky knit.

Side stripe trousers

Side stripe trouserscable knit

Alternatively here’s a monochrome look with a lighter top and a belt which helps to move the outfit away from the gym.

Side stripe trousers

Side stripe trousers; jersey star top; trainers; belt

These side stripe trousers are an unusual colourway in charcoal and pink. They’d look lovely with a pink cashmere jumper and heels.

Side stripe trousers

Side stripe trousers

With a wider leg, these work well with a breton tucked in (there is a subtle black on black side stripe)

Side stripe trousers

Self coloured side stripe trousers

Moving on to the sort of office styling that I was seeing last week, here side stripe trousers are worn with a blazer, loose blouse and pointed flats…

Side stripe trousers

Side stripe trouser with subtle kick flare; Pinstripe tux jacket; curved hem satin trim top

…a loose blouse and heels…

Side stripe trousers

Subtle side stripe trousers; Boots

… or a blouse tucked in and heels.

Side stripe trousers

Side stripe trousers; blouseboots

Another with tucked in blouse and heels – see how easy it is to bring a splash of this season’s red into your wardrobe even if you don’t want to wear it head to toe. Plus the stripe is in velvet – extra new season brownie points.

Side stripe trousers

Side stripe trousers; heels

An alternative pair of red side stripe trousers…

Side stripe trousers

Side stripe trousers; sandals

…or black and white with a top that is neither tucked nor loose – go for it ladies!

Side stripe trousers

Side stripe trousers; sandals

So you see side stripe trousers are a subtle move on from the tailored crop but an effective one. I think the reason that so many women have adopted them is because they echo the neat fit that tailored crops gave you. Despite the fact that they are a slightly looser cut, the stripe draws the eye down to the shoe giving you a ‘finished’ look.

I’m ending with a sample of a new pair of side stripe trousers that Hope have sent me to show you. They come in a colourway that I didn’t find anywhere else, a luxe shade of merlot. They should be in stock from Monday (9th October). They have a sewn-in crease at the front and the waist is fitted rather than drawstring so I haven’t tucked the top in. Because there is no bulk at the waist they would work well with loose jumpers too.

Side stripe trousers

Foundation top; Longline boiled wool waistcoat; Side stripe trousers (available from Monday here)shoes; Tricolor tote

I’m wearing them with one of Hope’s Foundation tops and the boiled wool waistcoat is from Hope too. I love the way the slits at the side show a flash of stripe.

Side stripe trousers

Foundation top; Longline boiled wool waistcoat; Side stripe trousers (available from Monday here); shoes; Tricolor tote

So, I’m hoping that today I’ve brought you an easy, ‘suits everyone’ trouser update. There’s no stress about skinny, slim or wide leg because the side stripe trouser transcends them all – just pick the cut that suits you best.

Midlife lately

GymCube update

As you probably gathered, I spent a lot of last week resisting the idea of the new GymCube health and fitness plan. Even though I accepted the challenge willingly, there is a strange side to my psyche that hates being chivvied on to do something like this. I used to feel the same about doing cross country at school. I loathed being forced to run through the city in a tiny burgundy skirt and navy knickers, especially when our sadistic games mistress used to run behind my friend Deb and me with a nettle to make us run faster.

Anyway, the Lifestyle Guide that comes with the GymCube plan focuses a lot on mindset and it helped me to stop making such a fuss and ‘just do it.’ I spent Friday evening using MyFitnessPal to plan a menu for the week. Because we eat pretty healthily, I simply planned out one of our normal weeks but it was fascinating to see how many calories some of the meals had – and how few there were in others.

I started the exercise regime on Monday and I’ve done something every day this week. I have never been a fan of fitness DVDs but I find I quite enjoy the GymCube online classes. It’s so much more efficient than going to the gym. Even though I’ve done a class every day, it has taken less time out of my working week than my usual Pilates classes do. I’ve started going to the gym in the evenings twice a week instead because I have a new gym buddy – the middle son. We go together and each do our own thing but it’s an added bonus to be sharing something with him.

I’ve been using the MyZone belt that Kevin sent me so that he could track what I’m doing and I’m slightly obsessed with it. The app on my phone tells me how I’ve done and it also tells me how many calories I’ve earned so I’m turning into a bit of a stats geek. You can still join up and share my venture any time here.

So, all in all it’s been a great week. The only thing I’ve done that I shouldn’t have is weighed myself. Somehow I’ve put on 4lbs which can’t be muscle yet. I didn’t weigh myself after the wedding last weekend (and I did indulge) so maybe I’m still in payback mode for that. Kevin’s going to read this now and tell me that I’m supposed to stay away from the scales so we’ll move swiftly on!

A midlife wedding

I was surprised by how many of you said you were looking forward to hearing about the midlife wedding so I’ll tell you a little more about it. As you may have read on Instagram, J is my oldest friend. I’ve known her since I first saw her at Brownies. We were in different packs but she stood out at church parades because she was so much taller than anyone else. Funnily enough, the wedding was held at the very same church last weekend – so in a way we went full circle.

We met properly when we were eleven and started at the same secondary school. Over the years our friendship grew. We had our first taste of freedom together when we went interrailing at eighteen and had some hair raising adventures (if you’re J’s mum reading this – it’s better not to know). We lived together for six months in Spain when I was on my university year abroad and after graduation we both ended up working in London. When we moved back up here, she came too for a while but then returned to the South. Regardless of our circumstances we’ve stayed close for 40 years.

It surprises people when I tell them she has never been married. I’ve lost count of the late night conversations that we’ve had over the years when she has wondered if she would ever meet ‘the one.’ But, as it turns out, he was there all along. She first met D at a bus stop 21 years ago. In fact they had just started dating when she came to our eldest son’s first birthday party and told me all about him. They were star crossed and it didn’t last… but then they found each other again via Facebook. Twenty years had passed but the spark was rekindled and, like a proper fairy tale, they celebrated their happy ending last Saturday.

The wedding

Let me show you some photos. J is a country girl like me and although she lives near London, her heart will forever be with the sea, the hills and the mountains (and her new husband of course)! The weather was on fine Lancashire form but it didn’t really matter. Here we were, waiting for her to arrive at the church and hoping it wouldn’t rain. Unfortunately the oldest son was working at an event at Wembley and the youngest was doing his Duke of Edinburgh expedition so only the middle son was able to join us but being J’s godson, he was the important one.


Midi dress; Red Shoes; Cashmere shrug


Midi dress; Red Shoes; Cashmere shrug; Boden clutch – past season (I’ve sold all of mine)!

We sat at the back of the church because I wanted to get the first shot of her making her entrance. Sadly her dad died a couple of years ago but her mum did a stalwart job of giving her away. Look how happy J is. Her dress was a dove grey silk.

Midlife wedding

The reception

Her husband works in the film industry so lots of his friends had come up from London a few days before the wedding to turn the village hall into J’s dream woodland. This was the edge of the dance floor and all of the trees, ferns and greenery were real, planted around the edge of the room in soil that had been brought in.

Midlife wedding

The ceiling was draped with voile…

Midlife wedding

…the guests were seated at long tables…

Nikki Garnett

…and look how beautiful the top table was, waiting for the bride and groom to arrive.

Midlife wedding

We made some brilliant new friends and had a whale of a time.

Midlife wedding

It was touching to see just how many creative people had donated their time and skills, making it into the magical setting that J really wanted. This huge tree was made by one of the groom’s set building friends. It had a door that concealed the cake and it has been left there for the village children to enjoy when they go to the after school club.

Midlife wedding

The wine flowed and the evening progressed with gypsy jazz and a Lancashire ukele band that we all ended up singing along with. When the disco started there was no stopping me – you know by now how much I love to dance. I barely sat down but thankfully no toenails were lost this time – I have to say those red M&S shoes are amazing, even when the party ended my feet weren’t sore. I must just give a shout out to my wonderful middle son who danced happily with his mum whenever I asked him to. I thought he would be embarrassed but he wasn’t!

So J, my loyal and long standing friend. I know you’ll read this when you return from sunning yourself in the Maldives. I’m so pleased that you had the perfect day that you have waited so long for. Thank you for being my friend for so many years, sticking by me even when I’ve been too preoccupied with the boys and the business to spend the time with you that you deserved. I feel sure that the two of you are going to be happy and I look forward to all of the good times we have ahead of us. Let’s hope there are as many as we have behind us. Here’s to the happy ever after!

Nikki Garnett

And with that I wish all of my Midlifechic friends a happy weekend. I’m away in London next week so there won’t be a post on Tuesday but I’ll be back on Friday.

Disclosure: “Side stripe trousers – a great solution… and a midlife wedding” is not a sponsored post

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