Today I’m really pleased to be working with Uniqlo again. My brief was to have a look at their denim and write an honest review of some of this season’s core styles. I don’t know whether you’re aware but Uniqlo take denim very seriously; they’re constantly working on it and their ultimate objective is to create a capsule of timeless jeans in the world’s favourite cuts: skinny, relaxed and straight. So they gave me free range to put together some outfits with jeans as a base and I decided to try a pair from each category which took me out of my comfort zone – never a bad thing.

Before I do the jeans review and try-on though I just want to summarise what makes Uniqlo’s approach to jeans different. We all know how much attention they pay to the detail of their basics but with jeans they go one step further. Back in 2016 they launched the Jeans Innovation Centre in LA. They began by installing a team that was dedicated to building an archive of samples reaching back to denim’s earliest days. The idea was that this archive would enable them to analyse the best jeans that have ever been made and understand what makes them special. Then, in order to understand contemporary fits and trends, they worked with J Brand, looking at what customers value in today’s market.

Once they’d done that the next task was to focus on the manufacturing process so the last few years have been dedicated to improving their processes. I won’t go into too much detail because it involves terms such as laser engraving, nano-bubbling and ozone washing. However they believe that they have now revolutionised the manufacture of denim by cutting down water processing by 90% and dramatically reducing the use of bleach and other chemicals. Their next focus is on sourcing and they aim to ensure that 100% of the cotton that they use is sustainable by 2025. So, as you can see it’s an ongoing process. They’re not just paying lip service to it but instead they’re going through the complete manufacturing and design cycle methodically with a clear end goal.

Let’s move on and have a look at some of the styles that they’ve defined as being timeless. For reference, I know that jeans sizing can be confusing so I’ll just explain that before lockdown I was a size 28, currently I’m nearer to a 29 which gives you an idea of a lower and upper size 12 in the UK.

Uniqlo denim – jeans review & try-on

1. Relaxed fit category

Slouch relaxed fit tapered ankle length jeans

I’m starting with the shape that’s newest to me. I wasn’t sure how these jeans were going to look but I decided to trust in Uniqlo’s attention to the perfect cut. I haven’t worn jeans like this for a long time but they work really well with trend’s move towards looser styles. Very wide jeans don’t look good on my long body unless they’re cropped and I can wear them with a low heel. These however reference the looser look without swamping my lower half – or they would if they were the right size. Before you look at them bear in mind that they come up big – these are a 29 but I would definitely need a 28 – or even a 27.

Uniqlo denim - jeans review & try-on

So here they are on me. They sent them in a solid dark indigo which is a finish I love. I never find it works for skinny jeans because without fading, solid indigo can make your thighs look chunky however in a looser cut like this you don’t need it. I’d now really like to try them in a smaller size.

Uniqlo denim - jeans review & try-on

The blouse is another good find, simple cotton in a chic shape and with lovely pearlised buttons at the cuff. Cotton shirts like this are a real Uniqlo speciality, you just can’t find anything like this anywhere else.

Uniqlo denim - jeans review & try-on

Slouch tapered jeans in navy; stand collar shirt; cardigan my own

2. Classic skinny category

High rise skinny fit sculpting ankle jeans

The next pair were from the classic skinny category. They’re a stiff, mid-weight denim so they aren’t like the stretchy, elastic jegging style that we all got used to circa 2012. I’d call them a relaxed skinny with a looser cut at the ankle which avoids the sausage skin effect on your legs. I tried a 29 and they were a great fit, true to size.

I’m doing a full on ‘Milk Tray’ look with all of these black pieces but I wanted to try one of the fleece mock neck jumpers from this year’s collection. They’ve been a mainstay of my relaxed winter weekend look for the last couple of years. If you’ve ever bought one after reading me raving about them, bear in mind that they’ve changed this year. They’re now a heavier weight which means they aren’t as soft but they’re probably better for wearing out of the house because they’re a bit stiffer and so they look smarter. They remind me of the Audrey tops that Boden do but in a fleece finish (and at a much lower price) – great for wearing when you’re working from home – stock is going fast though.

I topped it off with one of Uniqlo’s Ultra Light Down jackets. I can’t imagine my life without these jackets in it. I have them in so many different colours and at this time of year I always have one with me, rolled up into its little pouch so that when it gets chilly I can wear it on its own like this…

Uniqlo denim - jeans review & try-on

Skinny jeans; fleece mock neck jumper; ultra light hooded parka

… and later on layer it up like this. Yes it’s the coat that I featured a couple of weeks ago, unfortunately the only sample size available was a large so it’s a bit big on me but they’ve restocked it in a medium now – although they’re selling through quickly again because they’re such an amazing price. I don’t know why you’d buy a teddy coat from anywhere else.

Midlifechic Uniqlo try-on 2020

Skinny jeans; fleece mock neck jumper; ultra light hooded parka; teddy coat

3 – Straight fit category

High rise slim fit straight leg jeans

I was so pleased to find these. Every year I’m asked for recommendations from people who don’t like wearing cropped jeans in winter because they hate having an ankle gap of flesh exposed to the elements. Personally I would have them shortened (and don’t forget that Uniqlo do free alterations in store, more info here) but that’s because a crop works best for my silhouette. Remember when we talked about finding your break points on the capsule wardrobe course? If not you can go back to it and do some revision here.

I’ve paired them with another of Uniqlo’s wardrobe hero basics, an extra fine merino knit – can you see that it just adds more texture to the outfit than a jersey top would? And I’ve finished it off with the tweed jacket that I showed you a while ago. They’ve cut them in this year’s longer length which gives your outfits an updated silhouette.

Uniqlo denim - jeans review & try-on

Slim fit straight jeans in blue; extra fine merino crew neck (currently on offer); blazer

And don’t forget the brilliant accessories that you can find there, it’s always worth having a browse through hats, scarves and gloves while you’re on the site. The look for scarves is oversized and chunky with fat tassels again this year. They have them in plain colourways here or checks like this – they’re made in a non-itchy wool blend and they cost £12.90, a really easy way to update your winter coats.

Midlifechic Uniqlo review AW20

Wool blend scarf; slim fit straight jeans in blue; extra fine merino crew neck (currently on offer); blazer

So thank you to Uniqlo for supporting Midlifechic and giving me the chance to try some new jeans shapes as well as the favourites pieces that I know and love. It’s been great to look beyond the excitement of the Inès de La Fressange launch and focus on the basics that they do so very well.

Midlife lately

Ah where do I start? Still no news about the pitch – but that’s the world of marketing for you, especially at the moment. The apartment sale seems to be going through ok – I have everything crossed because we’ve ordered a sofa and goodness knows what we’ll do with it if it falls through. I don’t know whether you’ve tried to buy any furniture recently but everything seems to be on a 20 week plus delay thanks to Covid which is why we thought we’d better get moving on it as soon as possible.

The middle boy has been placed into a strict two-week period of isolation with his flatmates at university. One of the boys in his block is a confirmed Covid case and so even though the others feel fine so far (thank goodness), they’ve all been confined to barracks for 14 days. He’s really frustrated because he was due to spend the afternoon in a real theatre today doing some performance practice and he was looking forward to treading the boards again. However, we’ve been dispatching emergency parcels to cheer him up and he sent me this selfie yesterday of him tucking into the Malteser cake that I’d included in his latest box. I was only slightly surprised to hear that he was having it for breakfast – hopefully not all at once.

Mr MC designed some face masks and had them made in the hope that he’ll be encouraged to wear them inside the flat – and so far it’s looking promising…

… and I’ve discovered that if I include toddler yoghurts and biscuits in my weekly shop, Sainsbury’s add Lego cards to my delivery. So I was able to put lots of those in the box too – although the youngest is less impressed -a lunchbox filled with pre-school food isn’t doing his street cred much good!

Today is actually Mr MC’s 50th birthday so I wrote this post in advance. Yesterday I kidnapped him so that I could take him away for a surprise weekend. It’s been difficult planning something with the new lockdown rules up here because we can’t meet up with friends or family so I’ll have to be all jazz hands and do my best to entertain him. You can see where we’ve got to on Instagram (I’ve even confronted my fear of video and done a Story) or, of course, I’ll tell you about it on here soon. There will be two posts next week but they may be on Wednesday and Friday for a change. Oh and I’m so sorry – I’m behind with the comments again, this should be the last time I have to take days out of the office to do family stuff so please bear with me, I’m really looking forward to reading through them and I’ll catch up soon – until then, have a lovely weekend.

Disclosure: ‘Uniqlo denim – jeans review & try-on’ was commissioned by Uniqlo, as always I had full control of images, outfits and content. Please support the brands that help me to keep on bringing you Midlifechic.

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