Hello and happy Friday everyone. As promised I’m taking a break from coronavirus today and thinking about clothes instead. You see as this long spell of sunny weather continues (and I realise I’ve probably jinxed it now), I’m finding I don’t have a lot of options in my wardrobe. I know that’s hard to believe but when I thought it through I realised that my summer clothing budget usually goes in two particular directions. You see at this time of year I generally spend a lot of time in heavy meeting mode, sometimes in London working on projects for autumn and Christmas and the rest of the time here which is focused around client summer events and drinks parties – so all of that requires smart summer clothing. The rest of my summer budget is allocated towards holiday wear because we usually go away a few times between May and October. I don’t often spend a lot of time at home during the summer months and when I do, I tend to rely on a t-shirt/blazer/jeans combo. So today I’m trying on pieces for summer at home.

We’ve now cancelled all but two of our trips away. We’re clinging on to two separate weeks in August in the hope that lockdown will be over and if it is, I’ll just throw a suitcase together from things I already have. In the meantime it looks as though even when we start to be released, we’ll still have to spend the larger part of our summer at home so I’m looking for a few things that I can throw on and still feel happy in. I can’t believe I’m saying this in April but it’s been too hot for jeans recently. I’m finding that my days tend to encompass a few hours at my desk, a spot of gardening, a lot of cooking, a walk with Ted and then maybe a workout or a run. So I want things that will cover all activities apart from the gym stuff because I don’t want to keep on having to change.

I started putting my winter cashmere away this week and as I was ordering moth stuff from John Lewis & Partners it made sense to add some of the things I’d been wanting to try to my basket. Now I know people are divided over whether to shop or not. Of course I’m biased because retail is my bread and butter but it isn’t just me, billions of people in the global supply chain rely on the retail industry for their living. Responsible retailers have now had time to implement very careful social distancing and other protective measures for workers. Good delivery companies have done the same. My view is that we need to keep the wheels of commerce turning but the important thing is to shop more thoughtfully and selectively than ever before. Hopefully lots of behaviours will change in the process – not just consumers but from a retail perspective too, across the whole supply chain including design, sourcing, manufacture and distribution. In the end it could result in exactly the outcome that the planet needs. Of course you need to decide on your own approach, I’m just explaining my thoughts.

My delivery arrived late yesterday and there was just time to take a few quick photos before it got dark. I have a list of things I’m looking for – a blouse, a pair of relaxed trousers (not jeans), a summer dress and a skirt. As I’ve already said, I’m looking for easy pieces that I can wear for summer at home, hopefully as the warm sunshine goes on and on. One thing I notice though is that I’m now more picky than ever before. In the same way that I’m noticing the detail of everything around me far more, I’m also more aware of how clothes feel to wear and they have to be right. I’ll stop talking now and show you the photos we took while I was deciding what to keep.

Trying on pieces for summer at home

An easy blouse

I’ve already talked about the fact that a blouse and jeans is my go to on cooler summer days. I like my blouses to be collarless and with an open neck. They need to fit at the shoulder and have fluidity so that they don’t add bulk to my shape; as an extension of that, I prefer them to be semi-sheer.  I tried this on over the jeans that I was already wearing so I’ve left it loose but it could also be worn tucked in with heels for a trip to the pub (imagine that). This one ticks all of the boxes and it’s in a colour I don’t already have, I like the fact that it can be dressed up or down too.

Trying on pieces for summer at home

Blouse (more sizes here) loose – if in between sizes size down; jeans (gifted AW19); trainers, earrings (gifted SS20)

Trousers – that aren’t jeans

This category is always difficult, I so often end up buying trousers in summer that I just don’t wear. As I’ve been thinking about this, I’ve been trying to think of times in the past when I’ve had a summer at home. There’s only one and it was my maternity leave after the eldest was born. He was a Christmas baby and so it was about now that the pregnancy weight started to come off and I pulled together a new wardrobe. I remember that it worked really well and it was all based around chinos so I’ve been looking for a pair. Good ones are hard to find but I suspected that if I went to Gap then I’d uncover some. I often find that chinos are very stiff but these are made from a peachskin type of cotton and they’ll get better and better with every wash. They’re available in quite a few colours and an absolute bargain in the sale at the moment but as a result the stock levels are low. I’ve just slipped them on with the blouse here but I’m thinking that I’ll wear them mostly with t-shirts – and sandals when I unearth them from their winter storage.

summer at home

Ankle length cotton chinos a neat fit so size up if in doubt; blouse; trainers

An easy summer skirt

The other thing that really earns its keep during a British summer is an easy summer skirt if you can find one. Last year I lived in my satin skirts which I still love but Teddy jumps up a lot and I know his rough paws will ruin them if I wear them at home. I need a workhorse and I wondered if this would be it. I really like the way the hem dips at back and front to make it less mumsy but I think the solid navy blue would probably be a harder working colour option. Ordinarily I’d probably have both but my budget has to work hard at the moment so I need to mull it over and decide if I want to order the other one instead.

summer at home - what to wear

Skirt true to size; T-shirt (past season)

A throw on dress

Knee length

I ordered two dresses to try. The first one I like but the fabric is black rather than navy as I expected so it’s just too dark for me. If you can wear black it’s an easy choice for summer at home though.

summer at home wardrobe ideas

Knee length jersey dress (more stock here) true to size

A shirtdress

As you know I love a shirtdress and this is no exception. It isn’t as easy to wear as the spotty one – more ironing will be required but even so it will work hard for me. I probably wouldn’t do the gardening in it but it would be fine for the rest of my day. It’s funny, as we popped out onto the road to take this picture Mr MC said “I remember you,” and even though I rarely wear khaki, I knew what he meant – it’s a dress that’s right up my street (quite literally).

Nikki Garnett, Midlifechic 2020

Dress true to size; Pure Collection espadrilles (SS15)

I should add that it has splits up each side which I like because they make it less ‘Mrs Jones at the garden centre.’ You can see them in this picture but the exposure wasn’t right on the camera so don’t take it as a guide to colour, it’s a darker khaki as shown in the first shot.


Dress true to size; Pure Collection espadrilles (SS15)

So there you go, the first try-on that I’ve done for a while. I have one more delivery coming – sandals and a t-shirt from Sézane but they haven’t arrived yet. I think it’s a time for supporting the brands that you love while being very thoughtful about it but of course you must do what’s right for you. I have on more picture from this week, an old favourite that you’ve seen lots of times before and it just proves that if you find something you love, you’ll wear it to death and it will always make you feel good.

Midlifechic, Lake District blogger

Dress true to size; trainers

Have a good weekend and I’ll be back on Tuesday with more coronavirus diaries – I hope I can find something new for us to talk about. I tell you what I’m missing most right now and it’s female conversation. I love my chaps but I sorely miss my Saturday morning coffees with my buddy. However Mr MC has promised to take the day off tomorrow (he’s been working flat out on the landing stage every single day since lockdown began). I’ve warned him that he’ll have to dig deep and find his feminine side… I’m not hopeful!

Disclosure: ‘Trying on pieces for summer at home’ is not a sponsored post

Big stock clearance sales

John Lewis & Partners – womenswear up to 50% off

Liberty – 50% off everything here

Fenwick – most things half price including designer brands – clothes, bags and accessories

Stories – 50% off here

Recent posts you may have missed

Midlife lately – quarantine days and nights

Life in the time of coronavirus – more diaries

My capsule wardrobe for the week – smart casual

Lockdown continues – how are you feeling? 144 comments

Lockdown outfits – keeping spirits high 68 comments

Coronavirus diaries – lockdown week 1 86 comments

Supporting small brands through difficult times 19 comments

Strange coronavirus days 109 comments

Easy Spring looks from M&S

Great British Boltholes – Yorkshire

Spring/Summer 2020 trend update

A casual midlife lately

What to look for when you’re buying jeans

Chatting through the points you raised in the reader survey

What to wear with jeans now – SS20

How to know what clothes suit you