What I wear in January, outfit ideas women over 40
Today’s post is the first of a new series that I’m aiming to include every month featuring a compilation of outfits that I’ve been wearing for work and weekends. These posts will show you what I wear day in, day out and they should contrast nicely with the new season try-ons that I do with some of our favourite high street brands. I’m not going to patronise you by saying that we all need to buy less, you know that. Instead I’m trying to find a way of helping you to shop with care this year so these posts will include the capsule pieces that I rely on. I’ll try to explain what makes them my wardrobe heroes as I go along and you’ll probably see them featured repeatedly throughout the year with outfit tweaks to suit the season.
Reasons to be cheerful
So, let’s look at January. I’m one of the only people I know who loves January. It hasn’t always been this way but since I started blogging, life has moved at a whirlwind pace at this time of year though, it’s a little calmer. I can relax a little knowing that I’ve covered the bills for the previous year’s blogging and as there’s nothing to buy in the shops, I’m free to cover the topics that interest me such as the Marie Curie discussion that we had last week.
Social media yesterday was filled with complaints about Blue Monday stating that January is the most depressing time but there’s another way to look at it. Everything may seem dead and dormant outside but there’s so much regeneration going on; bulbs are starting to push through and buds are appearing on the trees. The days are just beginning to lengthen too. Although it was dark when I left the office yesterday it wasn’t pitch black and this morning when I waved the youngest off at 7.40am there was light in the sky for the first time. It isn’t like November when everything is darkening and dying so I suggest that if it’s getting you down, see it as a time when you can regenerate too, ready to burst forth in spring.
Unusually for me I also like the fact that in the countryside at least, there’s hardly any colour around. It’s refreshing after the rich glitter of December, like a spoonful of sorbet between courses to refresh the palette. And so almost as soon as Christmas is over, I find myself ready to leave colour behind for a few weeks, opting for a plain palette of navy, camel, rust and grey. So here are a few recent outfits that will show you what I mean and then I think it’s time for a midlife lately update.
What I wear in January
Actually I’m starting in the Twixmas transition period, I think this was about 27th December when we popped into town. You can tell the youngest took this photo – he’s far more interested in the architecture than what his mum’s wearing. So it’s a weekend outfit and it hinges on what I’d say is a winter essential, a pea coat. Good pea coats are hard to find and I’ve had this one for years but if you’re looking for one, make sure you get the right length – it needs to come to the top of your thighs rather than being cut higher across the widest point of your hips. Metallic buttons another useful detail if you can find good quality ones – they create a vertical line down the front of your body, breaking it up for a more slimming effect.
And this was when I was refusing to do any more cooking – my family were coming over and I knew they’d be happy with ice cream for pudding so it was a quick trip to the ice cream farm (one of the true wonders of this part of the world). I was at the beginning of my colour detox, wearing navy and black. My leather jacket is another capsule essential, I don’t wear it very often but it’s useful when I want to toughen up a midi skirt or midi dress and make it look less formal. I bought it two years ago but it’s a permanent line and because it was an investment I spent an afternoon at John Lewis comparing lots of different brands. This was by far the best cut and don’t forget it’s always best to size down in both leather and denim jackets, you’re looking for that slightly shrunken look.
And the rest of today’s pictures are all random January outfits. A relaxed work day here with a winter sale buy. A camel coat is another wardrobe essential in my view and I’ve been trying to find the right one for years. After some self-questioning I realised that I was being put off by the fact that pale camel shows the dirt easily so I knew I’d hesitate to wear it. This is a deeper, warmer shade which is probably better for my skin tone anyway and the pile is slightly brushed so a little more dirt resistant than a flat weave.
A wet January work morning wearing old favourites. I’ve had this jumper for years and it’s another staple from my winter wardrobe. The perfect cut and length for wearing with midi skirts or wide leg trousers, it’s a permanent line and if you’re somebody who finds wool itchy, it’s a good solution. Even though it only has 8% wool content, it’s a soft knit and available in lots of different colours. I find a turtleneck less irritating (and less hot to wear) than a polo neck. If you’d prefer a higher wool content in the same style, there’s a whole range here.
Mock neck sweater; M&S wide leg indigo jeans (SS18); Finery mock crock boots (AW16)
I can’t remember whether this was a working from home day or the weekend but let’s talk about the capsule staples: a gingham shirt that works with so many winter colours to give them a lift, a jumper that has deep ribbing and is flattering to a post Christmas midriff, jeans with leg-slimming fading down the front and leopard boots with a leg-lengthening dipped front. The little details make a difference.
This was definitely a work day, I bought the silk blouse just before Christmas. It’s a forever piece and I’ve worn it a lot already like this for work but also for evenings out with jeans and heels for a touch of Parisian insouciance. It was a bit of an investment but still a great price for washable silk. As I often say, I don’t like wearing classic shirt collars because they interfere with coats and they also visibly shorten the neck so this soft collar works perfectly for me. I’ve had the navy city coat for a while now, it’s the most expensive coat I’ve ever bought but I’ll have it for life and I can feel the quality every time I wear it.
Silk blouse; Finery flares (AW17); Jaeger boyfriend coat (AW16); Autograph leopard shoes (AW16)
Another work outfit and this cocoon coat is another style that doesn’t date. It’s currently in clearance in both this colour and the red (I have both). The jumper is the same as the grey one in the first outfit, just a different colour and as you can see I’m wearing it with my favourite midi skirt. I’m never going to adopt the trend for pleated midis, they just make me feel too much like my mum but I love the fluted elegance of a satin slip skirt. You’ll have to be quick if you want to catch one of these in the sale though, the best thing about it is that unlike so many satin midis, it doesn’t crease.
So there you go, that’s what I wear in January. Do let me know if this new format of everyday outfits based around core pieces works for you. If it does, I’ll keep it going.
I know it’s cool to be cynical about making new year’s resolutions but I like the idea of a fresh start and the chance to tweak things that you know you could do better – I may have gone a bit far this time though. You see Mr MC will be 50 this year and he’s set himself the goal of achieving his next karate black belt (there are nine in total each with specific training durations and we’ve worked out that with the wind behind him, he’ll make it to his ninth in time for his 108th birthday!). Anyway he’s been training hard for a while and for his 49th birthday last year, I bought him an Academy membership at my gym. I quite enjoyed pottering around doing my usual sets watching as the personal trainers put him through hell. It ended at Christmas and finding himself at a loose end, he came along with me during the holiday and joined in with my routines. “You’re not bad,” he told me, “you could easily manage the Academy.” And so, probably still with a high percentage of wine in my blood, I found myself joining him as he signed up for the next programme. It starts next Monday and this week has involved a series of lectures and technique training. Reader – this is not going to be pretty.
Why am I doing it? Yes that’s exactly the question I’ve been asking myself all week – I think it’s just something about needing to push my boundaries. It isn’t about weight loss because when I’m on my target, I’m quite happy as I am. However I’m not on target after Christmas so in preparation for the hell I’m going to go through, I’ve been trying to lose the six pounds I put on. I’ve turned to Balance Meals again as I did last January. You may remember that they deliver five days of meals in two weekly deliveries. Everything is freshly cooked in their kitchens so all you have to do is heat it up.
They kindly offered a month’s trial to Mr MC this time too so he’s doing their grow and gain plan whereas I’m doing the trim and slim. For me, the advantages are that it immediately switches my brain from being in ‘eat whatever you want’ mode to regulation. And because I know that all of my food and snacks have been supplied to me, I don’t find myself veering off it. If something isn’t on the plan I just don’t eat it. It also reminds me of what a portion size should look like which is an education in itself. I’ve learned which of their meals work best for me and so I generally opt for a good amount of protein so that I don’t feel hungry.
I’ve been doing it for two weeks now and the weight is coming off slowly. As always I’m muttering every morning about how easy it is to put six pounds on and how hard it is to lose it again – one of the great unfairnesses of midlife and menopause. Balance is a great way of kickstarting yourself when your resistance to dieting is low. You don’t have to plan or think, you just have to eat what you’re given. Your brain adapts as you go along and it gets you back into the mindset of eating well. I’ll let you know how I’ve got on by the end of it, in the meantime, here’s an offer that they’ve sent through if you’d like to give it a try:
Save £99 on Balance Plan with code BP Save £120 on Trim + Slim with code TS
Save £135 on Maintain + Sustain with code MS
Save £150 on Grow + Gain with code GG
Save £120 on Power + Plants with code PP
Please note these offers can’t be used in conjunction with other coupons. You can choose to spread your payment with Klarna if you want to.
A new arrival?
I have one more piece of news to share with you. As you know, our much loved dog Gary died rather suddenly in November. I haven’t said much about it but things went wrong on a Friday night when unusually, I was in the house on my own. I was sitting chatting to some of you on Instagram when I heard him spluttering in the room next door and went through to find him coughing blood. Knowing it was serious, I texted everyone and one by one they cut their evenings short and came home. Between us we sat with him overnight, knowing that we’d have to call the vet first thing. When we got there she told us that his lungs were haemorrhaging because his heart was failing and so we all agreed that it was time to say goodbye to our faithful friend of fifteen years. Even though he was old it still felt like a huge shock, only a few days earlier he’d been doing his usual photobombing…
As we set off for the vets with tears streaming down our cheeks, I said to Mr MC that it felt as though everything was ending. This whole phase of our lives has been about creation – having children and bringing up a family that Gary was very much a part of. Now it seemed that all of that was over and those of you who have dogs will know how empty life is when they go. We felt he was irreplaceable… and yet even though life is easier without a dog to factor in, there’s a huge hole. He’s always been a big part of my day because he came with me to work and slept under my desk. I miss my lunchtime walks and I can’t face the canal at the bottom of our garden without him… or rambling along the shore which is just ten minutes away.
So, last weekend we went to the animal rescue centre just to see how we’d feel. It’s the place where we found Gary and we often tell the story of how fifteen years ago we looked at all the dogs and were unable to find one who would happily live with cats. As we were leaving we explained to the man on reception that we’d probably try to find a puppy… and with a flourish he produced Gary from under the desk. It felt as though he was meant for us.
Last Saturday we looked at all the dogs – and once again were unable to find one who would happily live with cats. Not thinking anything of it we mentioned what had happened last time to the lady on reception and… she produced a puppy… who looks and feels very like Gary. You’ve guessed it – it felt as though he was meant for us.
Since then we’ve all been going up to visit him every day. The charity is coming to inspect our house and garden tomorrow (I feel quite nervous) and if all goes well, we can bring him home for his first week’s trial. So everybody, let me introduce you to Teddy. We didn’t choose his name – but somehow it suits him. I’ll tell you more about him as we go along but he’s five months old and here’s a first glimpse.
This is clearly not an outfit shot, we were going straight to the gym afterwards so I’m in a hybrid get-up but someone will ask – and these pieces do fit into my capsule heroes. I’m layering two light down jackets, my favourite hoodie and the best leggings known to woman (apologies to Nike-boy if he’s reading). Both hat and gloves are old.
So, with Teddy and my Academy programme, I feel really energised… that may not be the case in a week’s time though – I’ll let you know.
Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo SS20
There will be a change to my schedule this week because once again, we’ve been honoured with the exclusive launch preview of Inès de La Fressange at Uniqlo SS20. It’s going to be a short post because the launch is on Thursday morning and as yet, nothing has arrived for me to try on and shoot so tomorrow will be a frantic day. I just hope the sun shines otherwise you’re going to have to work hard to imagine it’s summer. In the meantime you can preview it here and then I’ll show you my edit with details about fit which, as you know, can be a bit tricky. I look forward to seeing you bright and early on Thursday morning.
Disclosure: ‘What I wear in January, outfit ideas women over 40’ is not a sponsored post
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