Hello everyone, how are you? After dedicating the comments to the kindness competition last week I feel a bit out of touch with you all. Mind you we’re getting used to that feeling of general disconnection now aren’t we? I’ve had a few emails from people asking for more ideas for working from home chic, especially now that we seem (fingers crossed) to have moved firmly into a rather lovely British spring/summer. As I mentioned last week, Boden kindly invited me to put together a few outfits from their new collection so it made sense to combine the two.
Before I start I must just say how lovely it is to get a delivery these days – have you noticed? It’s like confirmation that the world outside your immediate radius does still exist. As we emerge from this I’m determined to continue with a pattern of more thoughtful ordering so that each parcel really does spark joy and it’s getting easier to do. I’ve found that as I’ve mostly stayed away from Instagram and blogger events since the end of last year, my ‘eye’ has rested and I can focus on exactly what works for me without going down rabbit holes purely because I’ve seen a new trend that I feel I should try. Don’t worry, I still have a tracker on style forecasts and I’ll keep you up to date on here, I’m just being more selective about the sources I refer to.
Working from home chic – new ideas
So, working from home chic, let’s get into the detail. I’m still going down to the office every day. Mr MC is furloughed so I’m keeping both of our businesses running – or at least trying to – and I like the structure it gives me. As someone who loathes video I try to avoid video calls as much as I can but every day holds the potential for one so I’m dressing in anticipation of it happening. What do I mean by that? I’m focusing on good colours that suit my skintone and more pattern than usual – perhaps because I don’t have as many things to juggle at the moment I find it doesn’t have the dizzying effect on me that it normally does. I’m keeping my jewellery simple and I’m going to start painting my nails again soon – I’ve been keeping them short and giving them a break from polish.
As far as haircare goes, I’ve been doing my best just to keep the undercut thinned and the ends trimmed but it’s getting longer and longer – and I’m hoping there will be a specific agenda for hairdressers in the big Boris broadcast on Sunday night! My other focus has been on skincare and as I’ve already mentioned I’m really pleased with the results of the retinol treatment I’ve been using, it’s the best I’ve tried and pairing it with a morning antioxidant is giving good results. By the way they’ve just reintroduced the special edition pack that I bought on Black Friday which although expensive, is better value.
As far as clothes are concerned, my focus obviously is on the top half and so more than ever I’m thinking about flattering necklines. Because I have broad shoulders I make sure that everything has a good fit with no dropped shoulders to add width and I look for sleeves that are relatively fitted to keep the outline neat. Although I’m more aware of it with video calls, this focus on silhouette is something I’ve always looked at carefully as you know – I understand my weak points and how to work around them.
So, having whizzed through all of that, most of which is obvious really, let me show you the three outfits I put together from Boden. It made sense to choose pieces that are going to work for a season that I suspect will be spent almost entirely at home. I wanted them to be comfortable and versatile as well as impactful.
Working from home chic – shirtdress and espadrilles
I’m pleased that shirtdresses are a trend again this year as an antidote to the Little Bo Peep dresses that are everywhere. I understand the concept behind ‘big energy’ dresses and I’m sure they feel very comfortable to wear but they wouldn’t work for my figure and even if they did, I know I’d feel daft wearing one – but that’s just me. I prefer the minimalist cut of a shirtdress that moves with your body and the definition at the waist.
This navy and white one has a shirred waist and I’d usually put a belt with it but I left it plain for you to see. It’s made from viscose using raw wood harvested from sustainably managed forests so it’s breathable, easy to wash and it doesn’t crease. There are splits up the side that aren’t too high and it’s easy to move in. I photographed this when it arrived last Saturday morning but ended up wearing it all day purely because it was so comfortable. Of course the boys aren’t used to seeing me in pattern and I did get a wry “ah, Mum’s come as a zebra today.”
I bought a pair of these espadrilles in yellow last year for our trip to the French Riviera and wore them all summer so I was really pleased to be able to add another pair to my collection. They’ve been out of stock in the navy but a new delivery has just arrived. Why are they so good? They’re the perfect height (5cm) so they elongate your legs but they’re still walkable in. They’re made from suede which doesn’t end up fading and looking dusty like the canvas ones do. And did you know that the Spaniards initially designed espadrilles with ribbon ties because feet and ankles often swell in the heat making a buckled strap harder to fasten?
Working from home chic – silk shirt and relaxed trousers
I think this neckline is overtaking my preferred mandarin collar in the love stakes. I usually have to order it from Sézane and it screams Parisian elegance to me so I was delighted to see that Boden had introduced it this season. I know that for some it resembles a pyjama top but it actually makes me think of an alluring woman in a candlelit left bank bistro – and yes these are the journeys that my lockdown brain is taking.
Anyway, no candlelight for me but bright sunshine is just as welcome. This outfit is a classic WFH ruse, a comfy bottom half in no iron crinkle viscose with a shirred waist and an elevated top in washable silk. Of course at this time of year I’d usually be suggesting these trousers for throwing on over a swimsuit before you head to a bar for lunch – and later this summer, maybe… just maybe… that’s what they’ll do. They’re a really flattering fit and just so easy to wear. That isn’t a pattern on the blouse by the way, it’s just the shadow from the olive tree – which amazingly two years on is still alive.
The shoes are perfect for slipping on and off when you’re going in and out of the house – and then of course for wearing out when we finally have somewhere to go. Boden have completely re-engineered the strap at the back of the slingback this year, it’s wider, softer elasticated suede and it doesn’t dig into the soft tendon at the back of your heel.
Working from home chic – jazzy blouse and jeans
For the final look I thought I’d do a jazzy blouse and jeans with options for different budgets. This first one has a deep revere collar like the cream silk blouse above. It sold out completely when it was released in the first colourway and this is the design from the new drop. There are matching shorts and swimsuits in this print too. Again the blouse is made from washable viscose so it’s breathable and easy to wear.
I was having a catch-up with my trainer from the gym who surprised me by being dismayed that I’ve started running – he’s all about muscle and he feels I’m being distracted from my January goals.
And I’ve saved my absolute favourite for last – the bobby dazzler. I’ve always been a sucker for Pucci prints and this is the perfect tribute to them. It has all of my favourite colours in it and it’s silk which makes it feel even more luxurious. It was my working from home chic for a morning call yesterday and it woke everyone up – and made them smile; bright colours really do lift everyone’s spirits. I thought it might be hard to style but it works with so many trousers and skirts in my wardrobe as well as ordinary jeans.
Here though I’ve paired it with the new ecru crops from Boden. Ecru jeans can feel easier to wear than white which have that pristine Liz Hurley vibe that’s hard to maintain when you live an ordinary life. In a regular I found them to be exactly the right length and the wider cut at the ankle is an update on my old ecru skinnies.
Last year’s trend for barely there sandals has continued into this year. These are made from soft suede so although they look to be uncomfortable across the toes, they aren’t. They have a low kitten heel and they’ll elevate any jeans outfit in summer as well as working with dresses. And yes, they have me dreaming of holiday nights once again.
Actually on a more serious note even if you’re living in slippers at the moment it is worth putting proper shoes on for an hour or two every so often. Not only does it stop you losing the ability to manage a hard sole and a low heel but I find it gives me a lift in spirits and makes me feel like less of a blob for a while.
And that’s it from me for today – working from home chic – new ideas, it felt good to have a break from the coronavirus diaries and blog about something a little more normal. This isn’t a sponsored post, it’s just my way of helping out the brands that I want to survive this. We need to keep supporting our favourite retailers, there’s a myth that big brands won’t fail but as I’ve been saying on here for a while, they’ve been absorbing escalating costs since the last recession by cutting their margins and reserves. You’ll have seen the list of the retailers that have hit the ground already and others who are stumbling: Oasis, Warehouse, Cath Kidston, Debenhams, Laura Ashley, Beales, J Crew, Fenwick, Ted Baker, LK Bennett, New Look, Mothercare…
I’m obviously not saying that Boden is one of those, just that as well as thinking about retailers at the small end of the scale, we need to keep our bigger favourites turning over too if we can. They have 25% off different categories each day at the moment but when I placed an order yesterday I found I got 20% off other things as well with code G9Q6. What did I buy? These halternecks – I have some from the early noughties that I wear every summer and people always ask where they’re from. I told Boden this so I like to think that I’m part of the reason that they’ve brought them back – although why they haven’t done a white one I don’t know. Anyway, they’re especially good for minimising broad shoulders.
And one last retail gem, John Lewis & Partners are starting a gradual summer clearance and there’s 30% off Levi’s at the moment as well as Barbour and of some of their own brands. If you’ve ever wanted to try my all time favourite jeans, now’s a good time to buy. Full details of 30% off clearance here.
There’s great excitement outside the office because the sand has finally arrived so there’s a human chain going on to shift it down to the canal where they have a concrete mixer to play with. It’s so nice to see my boys all working happily together in the sunshine. I don’t know about you but I can sense that lockdown is going to start easing before too long so now feels like a good time for us all to start taking stock and thinking about what we’ll miss about it.
One thing I’ve loved is having everyone together with nowhere to go, as we did when they were little. It isn’t something I can hold on to so I’m trying to savour it while I can. It’s really nice being able to say ‘we’ll have a VE Day party on Friday’ and not being met with resistance. Of course they’ve made their ‘that’s so boomer’ comments but actually I can feel a small ripple of enthusiasm for a sausage sizzle on the half made jetty with some card games – we’ll imagine we’re away camping.
I might put another quick post together before Friday, it depends on how the rest of the week goes but if not, thank you for still being here and reading. Enjoy your Bank Holiday weekend, savour the lack of ‘busyness’ if you can – and I’ll be back next week.
Disclosure: ‘Working from home chic – new ideas’ is not a sponsored post
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