Over the weekend I realised how many outfit pictures I have clogging up my camera roll so it’s time for a catch up. Of course the highlight of my weekend was the wedding we went to so today’s post is a mixed bag of summer and autumn outfits cumulating with what to wear for a wedding over 50. You see the last few weeks for us have felt a little more like life before lockdown especially as far as work is concerned. It’s been a slow and steady journey out of the months of isolation up here but gradually, tentative events have started to pop up in the diary and, to our surprise, they’ve actually been able to go ahead. So I’ll go through a series of random outfit photos and chat about what I was doing as we go along but be warned it’s a long one – you need tea… or gin!
The eldest is staying with his girlfriend’s family in Eastbourne at the moment because it means he has a quicker journey into the London office when he needs to go in. And as you know, the middle one is back in Newcastle, working hard in the restaurant on top of the Baltic Gallery. The youngest is either busy with his shifts at Burger King or out with his girlfriend and so increasingly we’re finding ourselves with unplanned empty evenings – hence a cinema trip. We saw Free Guy – Mr MC’s choice but I quite enjoyed the dystopian nature of it (even though the apparently hilarious gaming references went right over my head).
Yes – football! A client of ours sponsors Morecambe FC who had a meteoric rise to League One at the end of the last season so they’re particularly pleased that they’ve backed them. They invited us along to a match and it’s always difficult knowing what to wear when you have a hospitality dinner first, moving into the stands later but I felt I got the balance right with my jumpsuit. This is the one item in my wardrobe that takes me anywhere, it was an investment but worth every penny.
Me&Em jumpsuit (AW19)
The only problem was that it was warm when we set off but I’d forgotten about the sharp winds that blow in from Morecambe Bay so by the time we were due to go outside I knew I was going to freeze. My kind husband dashed to the club shop to buy a team scarf and sweatshirt (but omitted to tell me that in the rush I’d put it on upside down).
It was a brilliant evening because the atmosphere truly was electric. I’ve always enjoyed watching live sport but even though it was a small local game this felt particularly special, I think it was the roar of the crowd and the joy of collective effervescence that we’ve missed so much.
Will signing trip
I was just going to do an outfit shot when we went to our solicitor to sign our updated wills…
Hush shirtdress SS19; Boden shoes SS18
… but thinking about how much changes at this time of life I wondered if this might give you a nudge you need. Suddenly our boys are old enough to be executors so the eldest took his place alongside my brother instead of one of our friends. And of course we no longer need to name guardians or have complicated plans for the boys’ care if we die… and there are items to be included in a letter of wishes so at least it’s all done now for another few years. We know somebody who died recently without a will and the extra pain it’s caused his wife and children is immense. So I’m going to be bossy and say if you haven’t looked at your will for a while, dig it out… and if you don’t have one then make an appointment now!
Ah poor Mr MC – he had so many plans for his two year presidency of the Chamber of Commerce and just as he was getting going, Covid hit. It’s now come to an end but one success was raising a good amount of money for The Trussell Trust food banks. Here we were at the beginning of the barbecue to celebrate his term, obviously we’ll still go to lots of the events but without the feeling of responsibility.
Finery jumpsuit SS16
I don’t think he was remotely sorry to part with the chain of honour that you’ll remember he hated wearing and here you can see he’s happily handed it over to his successor from Lancaster University who I think might enjoy it a little more.
Law firm launch party
This was the day that we’d dashed down to Manchester to take photos of the Inès clothes that you saw last week. There was traffic on the motorway so we were running late for a party to launch a new law firm which means this is a bit of a frantic photo on a windy bridge. It’s the first chance I’ve had to wear this jumpsuit but just as I expected it was perfect for a late summer evening when despite the blue skies, it suddenly got chilly.
Boden jumpsuit SS21 (gifted); Boden shoes SS18
London Bank Holiday Weekend
And as you know, last weekend we went down to London to celebrate an old friend’s wedding. Although I’ve been up and down for meetings, we haven’t stayed there overnight since Christmas. Last time a few people asked me for a little more detail on what we do when we’re down there; obviously it’s a city we know well so I don’t know if these suggestions will work for someone going to London for the first time but if you’re a regular visitor looking for a new angle it might give you a few ideas.
Friday night in London
We’d booked to travel in the quiet zone of the train but we found it full of young Glaswegians making their way to the Creamfields festival in Warrington. They were in high spirits, fuelled by a boombox and copious bottles of Peroni washed down with Irn Bru (yes really). Even so they kept us entertained for the first hour of the journey as they worked hard to persuade the daughter of a midlife woman sitting at the next table to cancel plans to go to a 60th birthday party with her mum and go off with them instead. I felt sorry for the mum who nobly let her go, saying, “‘you’ve already missed out on 18 months of adventure,” – I’m not sure I’d have been able to approach the situation quite so bravely. So by the time they got off the train at 11.30 we already felt like we’d watched an adventure!
I do everything I can to avoid tube travel so we walked to our hotel from Euston, meandering through the streets north of Oxford Street from Fitzrovia to Marylebone. We passed a quiet little Vietnamese noodle bar Banh Mi Bay and stopped for soup on the way – it was great and I’d highly recommend it if you’re in that part of town. We then checked in to The Mandeville which is somewhere we often stay because it’s so close to our old stomping ground around Selfridges. It’s always been a chic, quirky little place but that mood doesn’t adapt well to things like perspex screens so it’s lost a little of its charm post-Covid but it can’t be helped.
We usually eat in Soho when we stay in this part of town but last time it was so crowded that we thought we’d go somewhere different. We headed for a gently buzzing Charlotte Street instead and stopped for a cocktail at The Queen Charlotte on the way.
Hush dress SS20, Stories sandals SS19
We ate at Siam Central which was good (and in particular a great price for a Charlotte Street restaurant) and then walked back slowly, stopping at a couple of historical London pubs along the way. It’s been years since we’ve had a casual, unplanned evening in London like that and so it felt special, particularly after our experiences of the city during lockdown when it had no soul.
The next morning we were up bright and early for breakfast at Danish café Ole & Steen on Wigmore Street where the pastries, as you can imagine, were spectacular.
I couldn’t resist spending a while in John Bell & Croyden which is the closest UK experience to a big French pharmacy that I know.
Then (and this is going to sound a bit odd) we went out to Chiswick to look at a sofa. I mentioned a while ago that since we did our place in Newcastle, our real home feels a bit shabby and so I thought I’d give us a deadline to work to by ordering a sofa to arrive before Christmas. It’s for our extension and thinking about the way we’ve brought the outside in in Newcastle, I want to do the same here. As a result I’ve been trying to find one in moss green velvet and it’s harder than you’d think unless you want to spend upwards of £6k… which we don’t.
Anyway I’d found one online but didn’t want to order it without trying it first and so we did – and we bought it – which made for a rather expensive Saturday morning! We don’t usually make big decisions as quickly as that so we had lunch nearby until we felt sure we didn’t want to change our mind. And sorry Paris but I have to say that London now trumps you when it comes to a Croque Monsieur – or at least the High Road Brasserie does, both that and the chips were exquisite – VERY highly recommended.
And after that we moved on to The Design Museum which is somewhere we used to go to a lot when it was based on The South Bank but Kensington isn’t a part of London we often visit.
Boden dress SS20
We only had time for one exhibition and it was between Charlotte Perriand and Sneakers Unboxed. Sneakers won on lots of fronts, particularly as it helped to bring us up to speed with the eldest’s passion and we enjoyed playing sneaker bingo as we went round spotting the rare pairs that he owns and tells us are valuable. We believe him now!
Look at all the different ways streetstylers lace their trainers…
Is it worth visiting? Yes if you’re interested in what makes style tick, in the history and the social aspect to it. Trainers are now so well established that it’s worth understanding where the line between hype and technology is drawn. Plus of course there’s the design aspect to it as well – it’s on until the end of October.
In the end we spent so long there that we had to rush back to our hotel to get ready for the party – and of course there were delays on the District Line. Nothing ever changes.
Saturday night joy – what to wear for a wedding over 50
So I had a mad panic to get ready and race across town but we got there just in time. Somebody on Instagram kindly said I was looking serene – I wasn’t feeling it! However I was excited. I hadn’t planned to buy a new outfit but when I saw this I knew it was one that I’d wear a lot, it satisfies my love of column dressing but it’s actually a top and trousers so I’ll get more wear out of it than a jumpsuit. I’m always being asked about what to wear for a wedding over 50 and my advice is always the same – go for a jumpsuit or trouser co-ord outfit if you can and I’d happily wear any of the jumpsuits you’ve seen in this post for a wedding. I much prefer wearing trousers to any kind of formal event, it always gives you a bit of standout amongst a sea of dresses and I’m at my most confident when I don’t look too girly.
Halter top (sold out – Uterque); Trousers; And Other Stories Sandals (SS18)
You may remember that my friend Glyn was one of the very last people I had lunch with in London on the Friday before the first lockdown. He used to be in charge of client contracts for the fashion and home titles at IPC such as Marie Claire and Homes & Gardens so at Selfridges I was one of his key accounts but he’s always been much more to me than that. When I first started at Selfridges in 1993 they assumed that because I’d come from a magazine background at the BBC, I’d be used to managing photoshoots. However the titles I worked on there were all about travel so we sourced our imagery from photo libraries and agencies. It meant that when I had to go on my first shoot just a few days into the job I felt quite literally sick but Glyn was there – and over the next few months he taught me everything I needed to know.
That very first shoot we did together was a baptism of fire. We were working with a young model called Penny Lancaster who, as an aspiring photographer herself, very quickly upset the professional team by critiquing their skills – to the extent that the well known photographer we’d booked was on the brink of walking out. I watched as Glyn used gentle wit to get them to spark off each other and that’s one of many skills I’ve used throughout my career. I’m assuming that you know what Penny Lancaster went on to do… marry Rod Stewart and, of course, become a personality in her own right.
Over the years Glyn and I travelled all over the world on shoots and we had some crazy adventures but it wasn’t just a friendship built on good times. He was there for me when we were stuck in a blizzard for days in a tiny town in Iceland. My first marriage had broken down and we’d just sold our beautiful house but the transaction going through depended rather urgently on my signature which wasn’t easy to supply from a distance like that in 1998, cut off from the world by relentless snow. Glyn was the gentle hand in the small of my back as I tried to put on a professional face in front of the crew we were working with, even though my world was crumbling around me.
I met Glyn’s partner early on and so it was no secret to me that he was gay but even so, in those days he kept it quiet because he felt it could have an impact on him professionally. They’ve been together for over 40 years now and so when, pre-lockdown, they announced their plans to marry a ripple of joy went through everyone who knew them. Of course Covid put a stop to their hopes for a big ceremony and only eleven people could attend…
… but this weekend they finally got to have their big celebration with all of their friends and family around them. It’s ages since I’ve been to the wedding of a friend and I remembered how lovely it is to meet their family and fill in that gap of their lives that you’ve heard about but can’t quite picture. The party was held at Soho House in the old BBC TV Centre (where I used to work) and it had a spectacular Burlesque theme with performers from Ooh La La Burlesque…
… which is produced by this lady below, Miss Suzy Saucepot who only started Burlesque dancing in her 50s so she really does serve as an inspiration to us all here.
Glyn’s Auntie Tina who had travelled from the Welsh valleys was so inspired that she was joyfully unstoppable in her determination to join in!
There were very moving speeches where we heard that in their early days, they had to use the code “1,2,3” to say “I love you” in case anybody overheard. Of course the whole room was moved by that and before we knew it, everyone was up on their feet stamping and shouting “1,2,3.” It was an incredible moment and I saw the grooms falter as they stood on the stage together and watched the outpouring of love and strength.
It was great catching up with people I hadn’t seen for 20 years and I confess it was like stepping into a warm bath when they kept on exclaiming “oh it’s Nikki from Selfridges.” I’d forgotten how it feels to have the prestige of an important title on a business card to hide behind – and on the way home I remembered rather wistfully how hard it was at the time to let it go.
The cabaret was followed by the giddy pleasure of a wedding disco which in my book even beats a kitchen disco – mixed generations dancing to cheesy tunes is just bliss. Before we knew it we were more or less the last ones there and it was time to go – as you can tell the grooms were feeling a bit sad about everybody leaving and their long awaited party being over. Glyn and Gareth I know you’ll read this so I wish you all the happiness you deserve and lots and lots of years to enjoy being ‘old marrieds’ in.
Bank Holiday Monday
Back down to earth with a bump, we travelled home on Sunday (I forgot to take an outfit shot but I was wearing the navy Boden jersey jumpsuit so you know what I looked like). Bank Holiday Monday was all about catching up with jobs in the morning and then popping out to buy food, stopping for a quick BH canalside stop in the afternoon. I always feel odd when we walk along this path, I look up at the windows of my parents’ retirement apartment and wonder who’s living there now.
I was wearing a couple of pieces from my first autumn edit because it had suddenly turned colder.
I can get away with this white blouse at the moment because I have a bit of a runner’s t-shirt tan but as I get paler I’ll be pairing it with warm coloured knits like this. Note how the cardigan is just the right length for the perfect outfit ‘rule of thirds.’
The blouse is a stunner; made from heavy organic cotton, the puffed sleeves make it less masculine than a classic white shirt and the collar is deep so it’s going to work beautifully with jumpers and cardigans all through the winter.
This week has been far less eventful with most of it spent at my desk but we have a festival ahead this weekend that we’re going to pop in and out of. Just a quick note on the Inès de la Fressange at Uniqlo shots I said I’d do – when the samples arrived quite a few were missing and the ones that came were already sold out so there’s no point in featuring them. Having looked at the full collection in London though I do think it’s one of the best in terms of quality and fit so if there’s something you’ve been wondering about it’s worth ordering it – you can see what’s still available here. I know this has been a long post so if you’ve got to this point, thank you so much for reading. I’ll be back next Friday when we’ll be launching the website for our apartment too so if you’re in the mood for an autumn city break, please do think of us.
Disclosure: “What to wear for a wedding over 50 – and other outfits!” is not a sponsored post
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