Well hello, how nice it is to be back on a Tuesday for a change. It’s just a quick post today to tell you about the latest SS21 drop at John Lewis & Partners. As we discussed last month they’re going through a style evolution on their fashion floor and we’re now moving into stage 2 as more small labels arrive to augment their already established collection of brands. Their vision is to have a foundation of good capsule pieces within their in house ranges offering stylish, well priced basics with a few twists. They’re then continuing to collate other high street brands that we all know well and on top of that they’re layering new, often smaller brands who are doing things differently.

They’re effectively giving a leg up to small brands who are perhaps established online but don’t have a physical store presence such as Baukjen and also those who are start ups such as Albaray. It all began last month and the new ranges are selling well as core JL&P customers discover brands they perhaps hadn’t come across before – Baukjen for example has exploded with some lines selling out in a day. New last week was the exclusive limited edition range from Kemi Telford and within minutes of it going live I noticed that the number counter on screen was showing that thousands of people were looking at it – I’ve never come across that before. There are also lines coming in that add more diversity to the mix. Live Unlimited is a move towards increasing the plus size offering and Aab is a modest clothing range with some really beautiful pieces.

At the same time the John Lewis & Partners collection is, in my view, going from strength to strength. It feels as though it’s finally found its niche, offering well priced, well designed pieces that capture current style rather than trend. I can see how quickly the JL&P team are learning from the brands which designs sell through fast to customers like us who are, after all, their mainstay. They’re now using this information to give us the clothes we want, clothes that have edge without being too high fashion and that are produced with an eye on sustainable practices.

So it isn’t surprising that when the team asked me to look through their ‘Wear What You Love‘ edit this month and pull out my favourites, the pieces that really caught my eye were from their own ranges with a few brands peppered in. Let me show you.

The latest SS21 drop at John Lewis & Partners

Cool blues

The oversized dress is carrying on from last summer but canny retailers have spotted that not everyone wants to wear something marquee sized and so there’s a new middle ground to be found with dresses that are looser at the waist but have some structure in the bodice. It means that your form isn’t completely swamped as you can see from the model shot below – but they still skim over any lockdown accrued pounds… and thermals if you’re wearing them to sit outside in a pub garden.

Hemlines fall to the point where the calf narrows meaning that they work well with trainers and flat shoes but of course you can still add a heel – a semi-casual espadrille rather than a formal heeled sandal is this summer’s most popular choice.

The latest SS21 drop at John Lewis & Partners

  • Ecovero midi-dress– with a stretchy waist, this is so easy to wear and made from breathable, sustainable viscose
  • Denim jacket – a denim jacket in dark indigo adds a touch of Parisian chic to any outfit and it’s particularly good for throwing over a summer dress. Also available in white.
  • Denim jumpsuit – a sharp look for a cooler summer day, also available in a warm stone colour
  • Leather trainers– with a soft padded heel for extra cushioning, they bring the retro 90s tennis shoe look to any outfit
  • Tiered cotton dress – tiering can add a bit more weight to a loose dress, giving it structure and definition. This one in a linen/viscose mix is also available in a mid denim blue.
  • Soft leather crossbody– a pop of colour always works well with a summer outfit, this shade of buttercup yellow is hard to find but it will work hard to lift most other colours

Earth tones

Khakis and other earth tones are key to the very British summer of 2021. The dress on the model here makes me think of one of our favourite brands but actually it doesn’t come from there… and so is a much lower price than you’ll be expecting. Shirtdresses are the other key look for this summer and they’re a particular favourite of mine because the cinched waist is often more flattering than a loose one.

The latest SS21 drop at John Lewis & Partners

  • Camo shirt dress– this is from the modest clothing collection, it’s beautifully cut and the contrast of the tough camo print with such a feminine silhouette really works.
  • Khaki jacket– a cropped shacket for anyone who likes the trend in a shorter cut which makes it easier to wear with a dress, this is made in a light fabric to slip on when it’s a cooler day, the drawstring cord adds a sporty touch.
  • Hanky hem dress – a handkerchief hem always works well to break up the line of the leg for a lengthening effect, the ditsy summer print is given weight by the dark background.
  • Suede espadrille – a great price for an espadrille with a suede toe that will keep its shape far better than a canvas one. Also available in stone.
  • Olive jersey dress – great to throw on for a summer’s day at home or away, this ecovero dress is a warm shade of olive green and it’s made from ecovero jersey. The ruffle hem draws the eye down and the dipped hem flatters the legs. Also available in black.
  • Crossbody bag– a sporty looking crossbody bag in an acid shade with a handy front pocket for a face mask, also available in black.

Jeans and a nice top…

… will always be a winning formula. The trend is for pale jeans but I know a lot of us, me included, find them to be too much of a throwback to the 80s. I always find darker denim works better for me, especially as extra pounds always go straight to my hips and thighs. This is such an easy formula for a cooler summer day.

The latest SS21 drop at John Lewis & Partners

  • Loose summer blouse – a blouse has the chic edge over a t-shirt in Summer, this is so simple and such an uplifting colour.
  • Seam detail tee – go to the model photo to see how well this t-shirt works on the body, also available in green or black.
  • Dobby spot shirt – a crisp dobby shirt is a summer classic and looks just as fresh with a skirt as with jeans.
  • Plaited sandals – I paid so much for a pair that were similar to these last year from Ancient Greek so they’re a great find. They look really elegant because they’re minimal on the foot – and they aren’t as tricky to put on as they look, simply slip your toes through the ankle strap first.
  • Wildflower earrings – for a minimal nod to summer
  • Straight jeans– a great pair of jeans with thigh slimming fading that come in a wide range of sizes and both petite and long lengths too.

The latest SS21 drop at John Lewis & Partners – quick try-on

JL&P invited me to borrow some samples so that I could put a couple of outfits together from the ‘Wear What You Love’ edit. My instinct was to play around with their own ranges again because they’re developing so well this season and they’re such good value for money. The first one is Summer simplicity: a skirt, t-shirt and sandals. The t-shirt is great, the neckline is lower than a standard crew so it hints at the clavicles and avoids making your face look too round. Plain white t-shirts are classic but can leave an outfit looking a bit dull, adding a slogan or a graphic livens things up but it’s hard to find a good one. I love the simple lines of this heart in hand sketch and it echoes the current kindness/love motifs without being too sickly sweet. It has added detail with tiny gold threads around the heart too which makes it look far more expensive than it is. I’m wearing a medium which is a loose fit as you can see, size down if you’d like to wear it closer to your body.

The sandals are the ones I mentioned above, I usually lament the fact that JL&P don’t do half sizes but actually these fit me well. They won’t work for you if you have a wide foot because there’s no stretch in the plaited bands of leather but again they’re a great buy and an easy way to update your wardrobe. (By the way lots of you asked about the earrings I’m wearing after last week’s post, they’re due to come back into stock this week so I’ll link them on Friday).

Midlifechic summer 2021

T-shirt; Skirt; Sandals

The skirt is made from Ecovero fabric (sustainable viscose), it’s a light and breezy with an elasticated waist. The dark background makes the ditsy floral less girly, I’d love to see JL&P extend the range of these skirts and do them in a series of plain, bright colours too. Here’s a picture to show you the split, there’s one at each side for extra pizzazz and easy movement.

SS21 drop at John Lewis & Partners

T-shirt; Skirt; Sandals

Here’s the second outfit, again it’s a simple one for a cooler Spring day, a sweatshirt, jeans and trainers. The sweatshirt will be great for anyone who likes a roomy fit, I’d sized down to a ten here and I think I’d have been better with a size eight because I like things to be more on the fitted side. It’s made from organic cotton and it’s lovely and warm so a good choice for sitting outside in a pub garden in the evening. The puffed sleeve and neckline detail take it beyond an ordinary sweatshirt.

The jeans are the dark indigo version of the straight legs I showed you a few weeks ago, good for anyone who likes a solid dye without any shading for a smarter look. They’re quite long so I’ve cuffed them but it means they should work for those of you who are taller and have difficulty buying jeans. True to size, they’re made from organic cotton with an added 7% polyester which makes them easy care and 3% elastane so there’s plenty of stretch.

If you prefer unbranded trainers this pair is a good choice, they were slightly big for me which means they’re true to size. The gum sole gives them a retro look and the suede detailing on the toe visually narrows the foot so if you avoid trainers because they feel clumpy, this might make all the difference to you.

SS21 drop at John Lewis & Partners

Sweatshirt; Jeans; Trainers

If you’re still not sure what you want your post lockdown look to be, don’t forget that you can always book an appointment with the John Lewis & Partners styling service. Appointments are free, you can do them online and there are often same day slots available so if you’re quick you could even have a style boost delivered to you in time for the Bank Holiday Weekend. You can find all the details here.

And with that I’ll leave you to get on with your week, it’s been lovely being back on a Tuesday again with this extra post. I’m not going back to a regular twice weekly schedule just yet because I have too much work on but hopefully when the post lockdown rush settles down I’ll be able to get things back on an even keel again. Have a good week and I’ll see you on Friday.

Disclosure: ‘The latest SS21 drop at John Lewis & Partners’ was commissioned by JL&P – as always I had full control over my interpretation of their range edit. Thank you for supporting the brands that help me to keep on bringing you this blog.

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