Typical – I spend ages planning a ‘what to wear when you’re back in the office’ post only for the edict to come out that we’re all to base ourselves at home again. So instead I’m answering the clamour of requests from people who mourn their work wardrobes. Today’s post is going to include a few ideas for working from home – elevating the basics. Like so many of you, Alison summed it up in an email when she said “I really miss my work clothes, they hang there like spectres of the busy office life I had and all that it entailed. I don’t want to wear jeans or joggers when I’m working from home and I don’t feel good in droopy pleated skirts with slippers because I look like Barbara Woodhouse but I don’t know what else to try, can you help?”

Oh Barbara Woodhouse – that made me smile! For overseas readers, Barbara Woodhouse made a whole new career for herself when she was in her 70s. She trained dogs and in the 1980s she became a TV sensation so she was a pioneer really and an example to us all when we think about starting a new chapter in midlife. She even had a signature look which is what Alison alludes to: a pleated skirt with sensible shoes and a crew necked jumper.

Working from home - elevating the basics

As far as skirts are concerned, I find them hard to balance too. My favourite winter skirt look is satin with cashmere but I’m not sure if I’ll wear it for a day at home with Teddy around this winter – rough paws and all that.

Midlifechic satin skirt and cashmere

Instead I’ll be more likely to focus on slimline crops worn with tights and then I’ll focus on the detail that goes with them to elevate them slightly.

Working from home – elevating the basics

The basics on this ideas board are simple and could be worn at the weekend with jeans but I’ve added small touches to make them Zoomable and help you to feel a little more dressed.

Working from home - elevating the basics

Detachable collar to wear with jumpers: this is what I mean by elevating simple looks. If you quite like the current trend for statement collars but don’t want the laundering faff that a full white blouse entails, this is a really easy way round it. So much less ironing and a quick way of adding interest to any crew neck jumper.

Slimline cropped trousers: made from double jersey so they should hang well, Wear them with trainers or loafers now and boots when it gets cold. Five star reviews consistently rate them for their comfort and versatility, also available in black.

Grey merino jumper: a very well priced simple merino jumper, lightweight so perfect for wearing now and then layering when it gets colder. Available in lots of different colours.

Camel merino jumper: another well priced merino option with a different range of colours on offer.

Soft pink jumper: this wool blend jumper has a lovely ripple stitch detail and is also available in cobalt blue and a deep forest green. A looser cut for anyone who prefers it.

Fitted boots: Lot of people said that they loved the fitted suede boots I featured a couple of weeks ago but couldn’t run to the budget (by the way they have 20% off at the moment). These are faux suede but they have a similar feel. They work well to add structure to the leg when worn with trousers or skirts with more volume.

Layering tee: now I know this is a bit pricey for something you wear underneath another layer but it’s another elevating trick thanks to the fancy cuffs. It has a jersey body which means you can layer without the bulk of a shirt underneath a jumper so no ugly lines and none of the restrictions of a cotton shirt. Plus of course it means less ironing again as you only need to do the cuffs. Another option dropped today with a broderie collar and cuffs.

On trend earrings: 80s jewellery is back and so these are a low priced wardrobe update, also available in a gold finish.

I’ve just spotted that these velour wide leg crops have arrived today on pre-order and they’d be a great addition to your winter collection if, like me, you already have plain black and navy. They’d be enough to elevate your outfit on their own so all you need to do is add a cashmere jumper.

navy velvet culottes

Navy velour wide leg crops

Working from home – elevating the basics try on

So the wide leg cropped trouser approach is, in my view, the easiest way to do elevate the basics when you’re working from home but as I already have those, I thought I’d try a few other options. They arrived just before we left for Newcastle so I loaded the boxes into the car before we went and took some quick photos outside the apartment we were staying in.

Skirt and jumper

Utility skirts are a trend this year and this one is in soft cord that isn’t bulky. No pleats and it’s a bit more hard wearing than satin, it’s described as midi but I’d say it falls just below the knee so it covers the top of knee length boots. I’ve paired it with a jumper that is the softest knit ever. I had to check the label because it feels like very expensive cashmere but it’s actually made from a wool, yak, acrylic and elastane blend. I’ve belted it because although it’s true to size, it’s quite a loose cut so it would be lovely worn as it hangs with jeans. The green is selling fast but it’s also available in ice blue or charcoal. The belt is the one I loved last year, the extra detail of the buckle really finishes an outfit off.

Working from home - elevating the basics

Soft knit jumper; cord skirt; leather belt; boots (more stock here)

Winter shirtdress

You know how I love a shirtdress, especially this slimline cut so I was looking forward to trying this. I hadn’t read the description properly so I was surprised when it arrived and wasn’t navy as I expected but a bluey green petrol shade. I can’t decide whether I like the colour or not but I do like the cut and the slimming detail of the metallic buttons down the front. The pockets have also been placed high up so they won’t overemphasise a larger bust.

Midlifechic cord shirtdress AW20

Cord shirtdress; suede boots

Buffet dress

I’m laughing in these photos because Mr MC was perplexed by this dress. He just doesn’t like the loose, relaxed look and when I explained it was called a buffet dress his response was ‘you just wear it so you can eat more pies then?’ So from that moment on he referred to it as the pie-muncher dress.

Anyway I like it. I dressed it up here with heels…

Midlifechic buffet dress

Dress; boots (currently in the sale, gifted AW20)

… and down here with trainers. Again it would be very easy for wearing at home and you could layer it with a jersey polo neck underneath when it gets colder and then add a cardigan on top.

Midlifechic cobalt zebra dress

Dress; trainers

Happy birthday to an old friend

I had a lovely surprise waiting at home when we got back from Newcastle. As you know I have a particular passion for Bendicks Bittermints and you may remember me mentioning them back in May when I was hoping that someone in the house would produce a box to lift my lockdown birthday celebrations. As it happened Bendicks picked up on that too and to celebrate their own 90th birthday they sent me a little more than just one box. I’m not sure what the collective term would be for a hamper of your favourite chocolates – a Bliss of Bendicks maybe…

Bendicks 90th birthday

Anyway as I say, this month they’re celebrating their 90th birthday having being founded in Kensington back in 1930 and I’m clearly in good company because they’ve been able to display the Royal Warrant on their packaging since 1962. What I realise now is that I haven’t actually been eating them right because they’re supposed to be an after dinner mint served with cheese, coffee and port whereas I just like to eat them as they are… at any time of day. In fact at Christmas they’re an indulgence with a cup of tea in bed first thing in the morning… just one. The pleasure for me lies in the texture and the contrast of the strong mint centre with chocolate that’s so dark it’s almost too rich.

So happy birthday Bendicks, I believe that the Bittermint itself isn’t actually 90 until next year so if you need any more good wishes I’ll be happy to accept more any time – in the meantime you’ll find me buried under a sea of green foil wrappers!

Midlifechic Bendicks Bittermints

You can find out more about Bendicks on their new website: www.bendicks.co.uk

Getting over myself with Sally

And so with all of that chocolate in the house it’s good that I have a friend who’s keeping an eye on my exercise. For anyone who wanted to watch but couldn’t find it, here’s my early morning video workout with Sally from last Friday… which Sally is now calling Posh and Babs (you can decide for yourself who’s who!). My goodness I hate seeing myself on video – I had a puffy 7am face, no lipstick and far from perfect form when it came to my plank but… however bad it was I did hold it for 60 seconds.

It’s exciting to see that it’s had 22,000 views on her Facebook page and I’d love to help her get the YouTube figures up because that’s the channel she’s trying to build next so if you click on this you’ll help to do that. Thank you to everyone who’s watched it, I’m so pleased that we can support another midlife woman who’s encouraging others to feel positive about this new chapter in our lives. We’re thinking about doing a podcast together if we can find the time. You never know… I’ve told her that if we do, she most certainly won’t get her wish of calling it ‘midlifeshite’!

That’s everything for today other than to say Arket have a fantastic mid-season sale coming up with some great AW pieces already reduced – you can preview it here. And Hush had a new drop this morning – you can find all of the new arrivals together here. I’m ramping up the twice weekly posts again so I’ll be back on Friday with a denim try on for one of our favourite brands. Have a good week and I’ll see you then.

Disclosure: ‘Working from home – elevating the basics’ is not a sponsored post.

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