And so as summer’s last gasp starts to recede, it’s time to think about a more autumnal look and that’s where I’m beginning with this month’s Boden edit which is all about stepping into Autumn 23 – new wardrobe additions. If you read last week’s post about the AW23 trends, you’ll see I’m working them in little ways as I think carefully about how to expand the outfits that I already have and love. Boden’s first big Autumn drop landed last week and they’ve ranged it by colour, starting with a red and navy theme, moving onto camel and black, pink and tan and sky blue before working in the miscellaneous pieces. If you’ve done the homework that I suggested and chosen your core wardrobe colour and then thought about which pops you’ll use to lift it, then their colour ranked display makes it easy to shop.

It feels almost shocking now when I think back to the days when retailers expected people to scrap their entire wardrobes each season and start again but they had the power to make styles turn over much more quickly in those days. When we weren’t exposed to a plethora of eclectic street stylers on a daily basis, the fashion industry and magazines were able to declare that looks were ‘so last season’ and trigger a rush to buy everything new. It’s the reason that style doesn’t move on as quickly as it used to and that can feel disappointing at first for those of who lived through those times. There was a real magic to the feeling of self-reinvention that came with trying something completely different to anything you’d ever worn before. That level of ‘all change’ isn’t there any more and we all know that it’s the right direction to head in for both the planet and our purses. Even so, there are adaptations that you  can make to your existing collection each season that make your old favourites feel fresh.

So, before I show you what I chose to refresh my autumn wardrobe for the weeks ahead, let’s just recap on the key considerations:

  • Add thoughtfully to your existing capsule – when you add a new piece you should be able to think up at least three outfit updates that it will give you OR know that you have a workhorse of an outfit that you’ll wear repeatedly
  • If you’re adding a new colour into your collection, make sure it goes with the core colour you already have and also that it has the ‘legs’ to branch out into a wardrobe extension i.e. that it’s a colour you’d like to buy more of – you’ll see me putting this into action further down.
  • Remember you’re buying for a season that lasts from September until early May – ask yourself if you’ll still feel like wearing the item you’re considering in March
  • Don’t forget that AW dressing is much trickier in many ways because there are so many more components to coordinate: e.g. skirt+top+cardigan+coat+tights+shoes. This can be particularly important when you’re buying a skirt or dress – think about what colour tights you’ll wear with it when the weather gets cold. In this case it can be easier to dress in columns of colour e.g. all red OR blocks e.g. red sandwiched with navy

As always with my Boden edit I’m aiming to practice what I preach and this is what I selected. By the way, there’s 20% off all new season and free P&P with spends over £50 this weekend plus an additional 20% off all sale products. Use code F7P3 at checkout.

Stepping into Autumn 23 – new wardrobe additions

1. The simplest of updates to casual outfits

On a wfh day when the weather’s cool and the ground’s wet you’re likely to find me in cropped jeans, navy trousers or a mini-skirt. I love my wide trousers and sweeping skirts but I keep them for city days because at home my day will always include a soggy dog walk. This cord shirt is a great way of livening things up and as the weather tends not to get chilly until late October, it works well thrown over a t-shirt for now as a shacket. As we get closer to December it will still work worn as a shirt, perhaps over a turtleneck jumper. Unlike a lot of styles like this it doesn’t have dropped shoulders which gives it a neater fit.

Stepping into Autumn 23

Cord shirt (gifted AW23, everything else my own)

From the pictures on the website I’d expected it to be a brighter red. Boden are calling it cranberry but I’d say it’s more of a raspberry. Either way I really like it, it’s kinder to my skintone than burgundy but if you prefer more of a neutral, it’s also available in ivory. I’m wearing a 12 and it’s true to size.

Nikki Garnett, Midlifechic

Cord shirt (gifted AW23, everything else my own)

2. You can wear a mini-skirt at whatever age you want

You may remember that last year was the one when I swung back into the mini-shirts of my twenties, even more so when a select group on Instagram told me I was too old for them. Mini-skirts are one of the few pieces of clothing that are good about AW in my book and I’ve built up quite a collection. Last winter I noticed that the ones I pulled out of my wardrobe most often weren’t the neutral ones in navy, pine green or black. Perhaps it’s because if you’re going to wear a mini in your 50s you may as well make a statement… I don’t know… but the ones I wore most were the silver metallic and the fuchsia pink cord, both from Boden so with that in mind I didn’t hesitate to opt for the red.

Stepping into Autumn 23

Cord mini-skirt; striped sweatshirt; (gifted Aw23, everything else my own)

In my view Boden do the best cut and length, they’re slightly shorter than most other brands but if you’re wearing them with boots and tights I don’t think it matters. So here’s this season’s in admiral red which will slot straight in with the navy and reds in my wardrobe. I upsized because over the summer I found Boden’s waistbands to be smaller compared with pieces from previous seasons but actually I didn’t need to, this would have been fine in a 12. Hopefully there’s been a cutting pattern correction.

It’s a while since you’ve seen Sugar the village cat but she’d been watching from the churchyard and spotted her moment here…

Stepping into Autumn 23

Cord mini-skirt; striped sweatshirt; (gifted Aw23, everything else my own)

… she wasn’t in the mood to pose though.

I’m wearing the skirt with one of the new striped sweatshirts which is the same cut as the moss green one I showed you a while ago which I’ve been wearing repeatedly because the shape is just right. This has the same short (but not cropped) boxy fit that will work well with high waisted jeans too.

Stepping into Autumn 23

Cord mini-skirt; striped sweatshirt; (gifted Aw23, everything else my own)

3. A jumpsuit that is not a jumpsuit

Now that brands are at last bringing out co-ordinated pieces this faux jumpsuit look is fast becoming a favourite trick for me and I realise it won’t be to everyone’s mix and match taste but it’s catnip for someone like me who loves the column look. I’ve said before that Charlie’s Angels (the original) was a huge influence on my idea of what a cool woman looked like when I was growing up and this makes me think of my favourite, the no-nonsense Sabrina.

Simple chic for women over 50, column dressing

Wide leg ponte trousers; Ecovero jersey top; Ballet flats (gifted AW23)

Like Me+Em (but at a much more reasonable price), Boden have released a complete collection of these trousers in different cuts because they’re so easy to wear. I’ve gone for the wide leg but other versions include a flare ,a straight leg, a wide leg crop and a slim taper so you can choose whichever one works best for your shape and your lifestyle. The ponte fabric is made from ecovero viscose which gives it a slightly smooth, silky texture that’s hangs beautifully. All cuts are also available in red, black, navy or grey but they’re selling out quickly.

The top is a simple ecovero jersey in the same shade but there are other colours and patterns available, a reliable Boden basic.

Classic style updated for women over 50, Nikki Garnett

Wide leg ponte trousers; Ecovero jersey top; Ballet flats (gifted AW23)

I can’t help thinking how good this outfit would look with the new suede jacket which has a really beautiful cut, luckily for me I already have a similar one. It’s an investment but I wear mine so often in Autumn and spring that I can say it’s worth it.

Stepping into Autumn 23

Suede jacket

4. Expanding the new colour in your wardrobe

So as you can see green is my new colour addition for this season in any of the warmer shades and here are two more pieces in it. It works with my navy base but I’m gradually building a mini-capsule that will stand alone too. This skirt would work with the jersey top above but I’ve switched it for one of the Boden jersey shirts that I already had and love because they fit so well (and don’t need much ironing!). I’m so glad that retailers like Boden are carrying their key colours through and adding new pieces in the same shades each year because it really helps when you’re trying to build a hardworking collection of clothes that you can wear together.

Don’t shy away from the tulle skirts that you’ll see around, they’re great options that are not just for parties. I have the orange and the navy, now here’s the deep green. They’re as versatile as a pleated skirt but without the Miss Jean Brodie overtones. They work all year round and you can dress them up or down but don’t forget to upsize so that there’s no muffin overspill caused by the elastic waistband.

Nikki Garnett, Midlifechic

Tulle skirt (5 colours available, gifted AW23); knee high boots (gifted AW23); Jersey shirt (Boden past season, now available in black) belt (past season Boden but this year’s version here)

Here’s a closer look at the boots which are made from lovely soft leather that creates a slight slouch at the ankle which I like. A pair of tan leather boots is a wardrobe workhorse I’ve been looking for for a while now. I have some in suede but they’re a bit limiting in winter because you can’t risk getting them wet so this leather pair will be a much better option.

Stepping into Autumn 23

Knee high boots (gifted AW23)

I’ve gone for the slimmer heel but there’s a chunky one too here and even a suede pair with a Cuban heel here if you’re quick. I’m wearing my usual size and they fit perfectly.

Stepping into Autumn 23

Knee high boots (gifted AW23)

So I’ll leave you with those thoughts about stepping into Autumn 23 – and if you’re feeling a bit confused about where I am, we took those photos just before we left for our Greek Island hopping adventure on Tuesday. There will be another post next week with a survey that I’m hoping some of you will find the time to answer, it won’t take long but it will help me with my thinking about what to do next so I’m really grateful to anyone who joins in.

In the meantime we’re in transit today, moving on from Santorini to Naxos for a few days. We’ve had a hectic time in Santorini because we decided only to stay for three nights so we’ve been packing everything in. I haven’t quite settled into the holiday mood yet, I’m feeling a bit conflicted because we had to leave the youngest behind at home on his own. When we planned this I thought he’d have left for Spain by now but visa problems and his contract mean he doesn’t head off until the day before we come back. Mal keeps reminding me that he’ll be happily curled up with Ted, his games console and Deliveroo but Mum guilt’s a powerful thing isn’t it? It felt so hard leaving him, knowing that we wouldn’t see him again until Christmas. Anyway I’m trying to put it out of my head – if we hadn’t taken this slice of time between contracts, we couldn’t have gone at all. So, I’m looking forward to having the chance to lie on a beach in the sunshine tomorrow reading a book… and sometimes a piece of writing comes along just when you need it doesn’t it? Here’s mine for today:

“It is easy to mourn the lives we aren’t living. Easy to wish we’d developed other talents, said yes to different offers. Easy to wish we’d worked harder, loved better, handled our finances more astutely, been more popular, stayed in the band, gone to Australia, said yes to the coffee or done more bloody yoga.
It takes no effort to miss the friends we didn’t make and the work we didn’t do and the people we didn’t marry and the children we didn’t have. It is not difficult to see yourself through the lens of other people, and to wish you were all the different kaleidoscopic versions of you they wanted you to be.
It is easy to regret, and keep regretting, ad infinitum, until our time runs out.
But it is not the lives we regret not living that are the real problem. It is the regret itself. It’s the regret that makes us shrivel and wither and feel like our own and other people’s worst enemy.
We can’t tell if any of those other versions would have been better or worse…. you are happening, and that is the happening we have to focus on.”
(Matt Hague, The Midnight Library)
Have a lovely weekend my friends and let’s all do our best to appreciate whatever is happening for us at the moment… without regretting what is not.
Disclosure: ‘Stepping into Autumn 23 – new wardrobe additions’ was commissioned by Boden but as always I had full control of clothing choices, thoughts and words.

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