Do we dare say it? Has the weather finally turned? This has been the coldest spring I can remember but last Saturday, after a morning of heavy rain, the sun suddenly appeared. And it was hot which was lucky because we needed to take photographs of Boden’s latest summer drop while we were out and about and I’d been anticipating shivering in between the showers. At the moment we don’t have a big summer holiday booked, work permitting we might do something in September but for now we’re squeezing in shorter breaks away which means my summer wardrobe planning is a bit different to usual. The good thing is that the clothes I’m looking at will probably have a better cost per wear than the outfits I’m usually drawn to at this time of year because they’ll work in the UK too. I’m focusing on building a good capsule of pieces that all work together so you’ll notice I’m rewearing some of the pieces from earlier Boden posts. Today I want to show you what I pulled together from the drop that’s just arrived and as it was the coronation weekend I went for a red, white and blue theme – well they’re my core wardrobe colours anyway but it was good to feel on point when all of the Union Jacks were out. I should add that there’s 20% off everything in the new collection at the moment with code N4T9 and this weekend if you spend over £100 you’ll get 25% off with code L7J9 (offer ends 8am on Tuesday 16th). So let’s go – Summer outfits for different occasions.
Summer outfits for different occasions – breezy beach afternoon
Here’s that first moment of sunshine and the shoes probably weren’t the best choice for clambering over rocks but when Mal sees a good spot for a photo it has to be done. I was just happy that it was warm enough to wear shorts and this pair has to be in the most flattering cut around. Rather than being straight, they’re slightly A-line which has a very slimming effect on the thighs, they also have a decent amount of stretch which makes them comfortable to wear in the heat, I can’t recommend them enough. Some of you won’t be keen on the rough edges but I like the relaxed sawn-off feel which avoids them feeling too yacht club – always a risk with white shorts. I love the fact that they come in jeans sizes so you can get the fit right, I’m wearing a 29 and could probably have gone for a 28 but I always think it’s worth sizing up in shorts because you don’t want bulges at the waist when you’re wearing them with a tighter t-shirt.
Every year I get comments from people saying they feel a bit nervous about wearing shorts and a good way to do it is to pair them with a top that has longer sleeves. It’s similar to the loose top maxim when you’re wearing a mini skirt; covering your arms when you have your legs on show just adds balance to the outfit. Obviously it won’t work if you’re somewhere really hot but if you’re wearing shorts on a breezy beach like this it’s a good solution. This navy and white broderie anglaise blouse is beautiful, it’s described as oversized and it is – I’d probably go down a size because the seam is sitting a little off my shoulder and I like a neat fit, if you’re into the boho look then stick to your normal size. The cuffs are elasticated which is great because when it warms up you can pull them higher and they stay put. It’s a shirt that will work well with linen trousers, indigo jeans, ecru jeans, navy shorts… a simple but versatile piece for summer.
It looks as though I’ve got smoke coming out of my head here doesn’t it? The espadrilles are some I’ve had for years, the Boden classics that they bring out every season because they’re so popular. They’re easy to walk in and the low heel just gives you a bit of leg lift when you’re wearing shorts. You saw the oversized cats eye sunglasses last month and they’re still my favourites for this season although I haven’t needed them very often – yet!
Summer outfits for different occasions – night out
Ah summer evenings, you can’t beat them. I’ve already raved about these jeans and have since been told by a friend with good authority that Boden jeans are now being made by one of the denim industry’s most illustrious suppliers. I can absolutely believe it because I hate cheap floppy denim and these are anything but. I particularly like the way they flare out ever so slightly at the bottom. I had to try a few pairs to get the right fit but in the end my usual size was the right one.
The top I’m wearing is new in and it’s made from a heavy viscose satin so it hangs beautifully and has a slight sheen. Lots of people ask me about sleeveless tops, saying they want to wear them on hot days but they don’t feel good in them and I know the skin on our arms gets a bit wrinkly but my view is that so do our faces and we don’t go around in balaclavas. The way to show your arms at their best is to look for a sculpting cut. Any kind of halterneck like this set on the diagonal visually draws attention away from the tops of your arms and a racer cut is the other one to look for. A sleeveless top with straight cut arms has the opposite effect and gives you the dinner lady outcome.
This is such a lovely denim jacket with its tiny bit of crochet trim detail on the collar and pockets, it isn’t too fussy, it just works to elevate it. I’d put a cream denim jacket on my list of summer wardrobe cornerstones. It’s cotton so it’s easily washable, I’m wearing a 12 and it’s true to size. The sandals are part of the summer capsule I’m building and you saw them last time, there are four colours available but they’re starting to sell out because of the five star reviews. They’re quite high so more for special occasions than everyday, I’m wearing my usual size and they fit perfectly.
Summer outfits for different occasions – sightseeing
Now this dress was a lovely surprise, I was expecting it to be made from cotton jersey but actually it’s a lovely gauzy poplin with a cotton lining. It means that is has more structure than I expected which is always a good thing – jersey can look limp on a hot summer’s day but this kept on feeling fresh. The neckline ties at the back as you’ll see in a minute which means it’s adjustable and if you want to wear it a little lower you can. This is a 12 and it’s the right fit but you’ll have to be quick because although it’s just landed, it’s sold out almost immediately – also available in ivory and gold.
It was hard to believe that we could walk through the village like this in warm sunshine. As you know, every year there’s a summer erogenous zone, last year it was toned abs on display, this time it’s the cutaway back which is easier to wear and cooling on a warm day. You can either try a multiway bra with it or just go without which is another key movement since lockdown. With all of the coronation bunting around and cricket on the green it felt like a quintessential English weekend – these are the times that remind me why we chose to live here.
Of course it clouded over and so I was glad I had a navy cardigan in my basket. This is another of the fluffy crops and it’s just the right length for a high waist like this. I sized down to a 10 because it has a loose fit, five colours available.
Summer outfits for different occasions – chic event
And the last piece I want to show you is this dress – if you like it be quick because it’s another one that’s almost sold out already. It’s in this season’s 90s slip dress style but in a design that’s much easier to wear than the usual spaghetti straps – again we’re thinking back to avoiding right angles at the junction where the shoulders and top of the arm meet. I know it looks like a longer version of the top I was wearing but actually it’s a much more delicate fabric, a silk and viscose mix.
It ties elegantly at the back of the neck which gives you a small cutaway at the back but you could still easily wear a strapless bra with it.
This picture gives you a feel for the lovely fabric and the way that it moves with you as you walk, especially when the breeze catches it. It’s a truly beautiful piece, I’ll be taking it with me on our city breaks for a touch of evening glamour. It’s so simple that I won’t feel overdressed – and that was the joy of the 90s wasn’t it? The gold platform sandals work to bring it into the 2020s, I’m wearing a size 12 in the dress and it’s true to size.
Some people have asked whether I feel Boden has taken its eye off the midlife customer this season but I don’t think so. I know things such as mini-dresses can feel a bit more difficult to wear in summer but I do think we need to stop apologising for our ageing bodies and hiding them away. When we do that we’re discriminating against ourselves and perpetuating ageism – older arms and legs should be something that people are used to seeing so it’s up to us to wear the shorts and the sleeveless tops without any shame. Everyone’s body is going to age – if they’re lucky. So here’s to ageless style and wearing what you want – the way to look your best is knowing the colours and cuts that work for your body, regardless of your years. And with that can you tell I’m busy thinking about my birthday post next week as I celebrate the good fortune of living for another year? Let’s hold that thought.
In the meantime I can’t go without just a little bit of coronation chat. As I left you last week I was completely unprepared for it – my nose has been so buried in work that I hadn’t even realised it was on the Saturday, in my mind it was on Monday. It meant that I was glued to my phone during my 11am strength session on Saturday as they were all arriving at Westminster Abbey which didn’t go down well with my trainer! Anyway, beyond all of the majesty and splendour, here are my top five takeouts, I’d love to hear about the little things that struck you:
- The Tindalls – Zara and Mike leaving a London club hand in hand until 2am on the big day and then still managing to rock up at the abbey looking great (although yes, I have seen the video of Zara supposedly nodding off during the service). And then 9 year old Mia dancing and singing away unselfconsciously at the concert – they seem like such a happy, fun family.
- Penny Mordaunt – and this has absolutely nothing to do with politics. Talk about revenge best served cold though, her career sidelining led to an incredible midlife woman moment. I thought her outfit was inspired and I’m planning to do the Penny Mordaunt challenge which involves standing with a 4kg weight at right angles to your body and trying to get to 52 minutes. Even the PTs at the gym have been raving about it so I want to see how long I can manage after three years of consistent strength training.
- The rescue dog embroidery on the hem of Camilla’s dress – as an avid supporter of rescue animals I was so pleased to see such an important but neglected cause so prominently displayed.
- Sophie letting her hair down at the concert and boogying away to Lionel Ritchie, showing the world that midlife women don’t lose their groove.
- The rainbow display of so many midlife women on the day, almost without exception dressed in solid colours and somehow managing stiletto heels. They were a beacon of elegance and ageless style.
Of course Charles is not only the King but also the Duke of our local city of Lancaster so all of the buildings were lit in a regal purple- his 1000 year old castle…
… and other prominent spots along the stunning skyline.
We stuck with our pledge to spend the weekend quietly though because we have some fun times ahead. This weekend we’ll be in the beautiful park that you see above for a three day festival which is always great because we’re there with so many people we know. It isn’t the best lineup this time, we started with Hacienda Classical last night which was a good low key beginning for a Thursday. Tonight it’s Bastille and then Anne Marie tomorrow as headliners but there’s good support with people like Craig Charles and Gok Wan dj’ing in the woods so we’ll have a good time – and right now the sun is set to keep on shining which will make all the difference to the collective joy.
Next week we’re heading over to France for a little road trip that will end with a weekend with the youngest in his new environs. I’ll be back on Instagram while we’re there @midlifechic so do come along and enjoy the route from Geneva to Dijon with us. It’s my birthday while we’re there so next week’s post will be one of my more thoughtful ones about how it feels to be 56, as I type I have no idea what will come out of my head so it will be a stream of consciousness.
So I’ll leave you until then, in the meantime don’t forget this weekend’s Boden offer: 20% off everything in the new collection with code N4T9 and if you spend over £100 you’ll get 25% off with code L7J9 (offer ends 8am on Tuesday 16th). Oh and if you can, leave your top coronation moments in the comments, it’s nice to have them here as a pocket of living history for people who read in the future.
Disclosure: ‘Summer outfits for different occasions’ was commissioned by Boden but outfit choices, thoughts and photographs are my own
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