I confess that I have always struggled with the month of January. So much so that we set our wedding date for 10th February so that I would have something to keep looking forward to during the darkest month. Although I love living where I do, the absence of bright city lights is something that I really notice at this time of year. The usually stunning vista of wide open skies is bleak and grey.
Now that I’ve been blogging for nearly 3 years, I’ve become very aware of the way that I cycle the colours I wear through the year. In January, after the sparkle and glitter of December, I veer towards soft, calm colours. Like most people, I try to give my bank balance a bit of time to recover from Christmas shopping but find sometimes a little wardrobe update can give you a lift. So I’ve given myself permission to look at some of the lower priced pieces that are arriving in the shops.
Starting with jumpers, low price usually means that they are not wool. I find I prefer chunky jumpers to be made from a softer man-made fibre anyway. They are less irritating to the skin and they hang better, giving you more shape. The risk with a chunky woollen jumper is that it makes you look exactly that – chunky – whereas an acrylic mix moves better with your body.
A jumper with architecture always looks better. So think about dipped hems, ribbing or contrasting sections. These are the best I’ve found at a low price.
What to wear in January
The cosy jumper
This one is my favourite, somehow with its simple lines and soft colour it just encapsulates ‘fresh, clean new year.’ I have lingered over it in store and I suspect it may be mine before too long.
These are my favourite low cost chunky jumpers, I have a few of them and even though they don’t look it, they are very flattering when you try them on. The neck is particularly good, it doesn’t hug so you don’t overheat but it gives a neater look then a cowl neck. These are the new colours that have been released.
When I first saw this featured in a magazine I expected it to be from Jigsaw. It looks so much more expensive than it is. This navy and rust colour palette was a new trend for Autumn 16 and will remain strong through to 2018.
Funnel neck jumper in block colours
Despite Pantone announcing that the colour for the season will be mint green, the fashion world has declared that it is, in fact, pink again. Pink will be everywhere in all shades. The structure of this jumper stops it being too ‘fondant fancy.’
Funnel neck jumper in this season’s pink
The block heeled boots
Now, the block heeled boot. Ankle boots are being worn much higher up the shin because they are no longer accommodating long skinny jeans. Instead they are designed to work with a 7/8 length trouser. These boots are a high quality safe choice.
If you are really aiming to be on trend though you need to look for a ‘sock boot’ which has soft leather that hugs the ankle and shin. It has been difficult finding stores that have had early stock deliveries but these have just arrived.
Or if you prefer a slightly lower heel, you could try these.
If you’re after something snazzy, these boots are great.
Or there is always my perennial favourite, The Elmworth collection; form and function in a single boot.
The Elmworth collection – various colours available here
So, we talked about jeans briefly before Christmas and I had so many emails and messages from people saying how much the new looser cropped length had updated their wardrobe that I thought I should track some more down. Remember though, I am on a mission to try to find low cost items. I saw these on the M&S website, they looked great but I wanted to try them before recommending them because jeans can be so hit and miss. Also the reviews varied, however I think they were mostly from older M&S customers who weren’t aiming for the cropped trend.
Button fly straight leg jeans – blue
Button fly straight leg jeans – grey
As you can see, jeans are referencing the late 80s / early 90s – remember Nick Kamen and the Levi’s launderette? Think back to when you scoured the earth for the perfect air of second hand Levi’s, allegedly fresh from a cowboy’s saddle! We’re going to be moving into lighter washes for spring along with button flies.
So, here they are on me, worn with an H&M jumper as seen above. Whilst I was ordering them, I also spotted the simple grey coat that I’ve been searching for over the last few Winters so I added that to my basket (my hair is too long by the way, it will be cut next week).
Jeans; Jumper; Coat; Sock boots – sold out
I really like them – trust me, once you make the move you’ll wonder how you ever tolerated the tyranny of skinny jeans, these are so much more comfortable to wear and far more forgiving. I’ve bought them in both colours, the one thing I would say is that the fit is generous so if you’re in between sizes it may be worth ordering a couple of options to play around with. They’re my happy January bargain.
I now have cropped jeans in indigo, mid blue, grey and black so I’m set for the rest of the Winter. For nights out, you can wear them with block heeled shoes but you can also wear them with pointed courts which were starting to look dated when worn with skinnies but now look fresh again.
As you can see, they even have gentle distressing at the hem.
The best of the end of the Winter sales
If you look carefully, you can see that there are now a few great things to buy at the end of the sale. I’ve been picking up items that I see as being outfit changers but which I can never quite justify at full price. Starting with a real bargain:
The grey one that you often see me wearing (and which I paid full price for) is a steal too. Whistles hats are fabulous quality and they are great for days when your hair is not behaving or for adding a little twist to an otherwise dull outfit. Plus Whistles offer free delivery on everything which makes it a no brainer but the sale ends on Monday night (16th Jan).
I have also ordered this navy one which cost a bit more. However fedoras seem to have transcended fashion and become iconic items so I know I’ll wear them for years to come.
I’ve had my eye on this bag since the Autumn. It’s one of those pieces that mean you can go out for an evening dressed in something simple like black jeans and a top, adding this to give your outfit all of the oomph it needs. It has now come down to its final sale price and it is winging its way to me. This bronzey gold looks just as good in summer as it does in winter so it is a 12 month purchase.
I really like the roll top which adds a feeling of luxury but if you prefer something simpler, the leather pouches are even more of a bargain.
Large leather pouch – the small version here is now reduced to the same price as 3 glossy magazines!
I have been looking for a new black tote for work as the straps on my Whistles one are starting to look shabby but I haven’t managed to find one in the sale. However I have bought this navy one which is glossy and lovely and at the moment there is an extra 10% off all sale stock including this if you use EXTRA10.
Navy leather tote, now 50% off.
Lastly I just wanted to show you these bags which I noticed in my hunt for a black tote. I haven’t seen them in real life but they look to be amazing value from a brand that is really reinventing itself at the moment. They’re also available at an even lower price in berry and dark green.
If you’re looking for navy or grey, there is a leather and suede version in the sale.
The sale includes clutches and cross body bags too which are all great value – here’s the sale page for bags.
What I’ve been wearing
I’ve been busy with lots of meetings so I’ve only managed a couple of photos. I have an office at the bottom of the garden where I find I am spending more and more of my time, a bit like a gnome I suppose. From the windows at the other side, I have a view of the sea and the Lakeland hills which are currently covered in snow.
Winser merino cardigan; Inès de la Fressange at Uniqlo tux fronted shirt; Hush leather leggings; Clarks boots – all past season.
And here’s an outfit from last weekend when we were busy buying new school shoes – somehow the boys have gone through them in a single term.
Whistles sweatshirt; Gap layering breton (just seen); Helene Berman peacoat; Boden jeans; M&S boots – all last season. Whistles tote; Whistles fedora
Midlife in the twenty-tens
I have been overwhelmed by your response to my last post trying to define midlife. In fact a few of the comments have caused me to shed a tear because they expressed so well some of the things I have been feeling. I am so grateful for this friendship we have, even though it is just online. I thank you for your candour and your thoughtful responses. It is also great to see people interacting and helping each other out in the comments section.
The next post that I am going to do in this series will focus more on the physical changes that people are experiencing. I thought it would be useful to do a survey first, so that we have real live data that shows us which are the most common. I’ll work on that over the weekend and publish it next week.
It will give me something to take my mind off the fact that we dropped the eldest back off at university last night which means I have that nagging feeling that something is missing all of the time. I’ll get used to it but it feels worse than usual because he will only be home for a fortnight at Easter and then that will be the last long break he will have until Summer 2018 because he will (hopefully) be down in London on an industrial placement for a year.
I took him out for coffee and cake yesterday afternoon and had a go at conveying how I feel. I said that for most of his life my role has been a big one – I’ve felt like the sun. Every day I have been able to warm him, nurture him and help him grow. It’s hard accepting that I am now a smaller star in his galaxy, but I’m twinkling as brightly as I can!
He squirmed a bit but I think he got it. If he didn’t, at least I will have given him a new ‘my mum is losing it’ anecdote to share with his girlfriend…
I wish you a relaxing, cosy January weekend and if you have any thoughts to share on the ‘What is Midlife in the twenty-tens‘ post please do. The conversations in the comments have become much more interesting than the original post and they are clearly helping so many of us to feel less alone in this particular life phase. I’ll be back on Tuesday.