Growing up - gracefully or disgracefully?

As I'm torn between the desire to grow old either gracefully or disgracefully, I have come up with a plan for the year that I think will allow me to do both. 

Gracefully... means buying quality.  It means buying classics and it means buying less.

But a wardrobe full of classics... well.  There is the risk that it could be all a bit.. dare I say dull?  Of course it's not dull, it's timeless and chic.  But that doesn't account for the disgracefully bit.  The inner fashion victim that over the years, hasn't grown up. 

I'm sure most of you are far too mature to have anyone like this hanging around in your psyche, but I fear that I an inner part of me thinks she's still 29.  Definitely refusing to acknowledge that she's nearly 44 (DEAR GOD - or hang on, am I only going to be 43... I think it might be the latter actually).  And why should she?  I prefer to see her less of a victim and more of an experimenter.  So in that case:-

Disgracefully... means buying the odd thing as a wardrobe lifter.  It shouldn't be expensive as the chances are, it's going to be a one season wonder.  And if you wear it only once, as you've caught a glimpse of yourself in a shop window or seen a 14yr old at the bus stop in the same garment and realise you actually don't look cool in it, you look like a tit, then you can bin it.  Or donate it to your daughter... (actually a pretty good rule of thumb is that if a daughter laughs when you come out dressed in it, it's perhaps not a great idea.  Ignore husbands).

But that is clearly for the more random "out there" fashion items (dungarees which I only spent £25 on for two pairs, I'm looking at you.  You owe me nothing.  Your work here is done).

It can beg the question though - what is the right mix?  And I've been thinking about this and basically how long is a piece of string?  I do think though that it does come to individual style.  Some prefer to have the majority of classic items in their wardrobe and then just throw in a subtle "fashion victim/on trend/current/use whichever naff saying you like" item.  Others prefer to add a couple.  Personally I clearly try to curb my "desperate to escape Chung" (although I fear she's more Grayson Perry meets Bonham Carter after a couple of sherries) and do try to stick to one seasonal item at a time (disclaimer - I'm sure there are many many times when I have flouted this.... I did say "try"). 

We then have the thorny subject of what is a classic and what is an on trend item?  As I'm typing I'm thinking of my trainers I own... which clearly aren't classic at all, yet they weren't cheap.  But I love them and wear them A Lot - much more so than the far more elegant loafers and ballet pumps I have in my wardrobe.  This perhaps isn't going to be as easy or clear cut as I first thought it would be... There perhaps need to be Classics, On Trend Bonkers, and On Trend I've Embraced - or something of that ilk.. clear as mud? (I've also just remembered my expensive fringed handbag - which lots did say was a classic.  I fear it's not but I have used it so much and it will still be worn regularly this year too... that obviously falls into the newly created latter category.  Or when does a trend become a classic.... We need a Hall of Fame I feel).

So without trying to make this more complicated than I feel it should be, what I thought it would be a good idea to tackle in January, are the bare bones of a classic wardrobe - some of which we can make merry with in the sales.  The dregs of the sales can often throw up some great bargains. 

And then have other posts which explore "fashun" items and how to wear them.  Even the ones I won't be doing... (ie ones I won't be doing until everyone has done them and I've changed my mind and eaten my hat).

Maybe a Hall of Classic Fame, a Hall of Current Fame and just random stuff we like?

But starting with a classic and I don't think there's anything that makes me feel as grown up as cashmere (apart from when someone calls you Madame, except that makes me feel less grown up and more old and knackered).

Ted Baker Meera cashmere jumper was £179 now £90

Other roll neck jumpers that I can't recommend highly enough are from Cocoa Cashmere.  I was sent these to try way back at the beginning of the season, in August and have worn them constantly throughout.  They're the perfect length to wear with skirts (I have worn mine with my midi leather skirts) but are long and loose enough to cover the muffin and encase your dignity in cashmere.  And I can also testify that after months of wear they don't bobble, At All (which alas, I can't say for the more expensive Whistles jumper dress which I bought... bobbletastic.  Ugh). 

Essential Roll Neck from Cocoa Cashmere was £165 now £115 I would say these come up small.  I have the large and I would say that's a Medium or 12 elsewhere. 

And the black again now £115 in the sale

I have the oversized boyfriend jumper from hush but for into the Spring, I definitely prefer something more fitted and a crew neck jumper would be absolutely ideal.  Now I don't have the cashmere ones, I have the merino versions from Uniqlo (male ones) which are so great, I haven't bothered replacing them (details at the bottom).  

But if you're feeling like a treat and you will honestly get so much wear out of these, then they're on special offer at the moment. 

This is the same colour as my (sold out and again not cashmere) Adele jumper and I have been surprised at how versatile the charcoal has been.  It's that little bit softer than a matt black yet gives the same illusion whilst being more flattering.  As greys go, this is as "unschool uniform" a shade as you can get. 

Cashmere Crew Neck Jumper was £160 now £128

Also available in the cloud 

Another cream version, again in the sale and this, underneath a blazer with a huge scarf now for warmth but with some cropped jeans in the Spring, would be a great wardrobe addition.  Not one for a spag bol/glass of red wine meal... 

Roll-edge fine-knit cashmere sweater was £195 now £136 (drooling at the length of those sleeves....)

V neck now and again, perfect to take you into the Spring.  I love a v neck layered now with a shirt underneath (and yes, I do have a shirt blog coming up shortly.  It's the one thing in my wardrobe - along with a blasted black coat that I can't seem to master) but alternatively a long sleeved tee would work.  Also thin enough to layer under a blazer for Spring or with a chunky knit cardigan for now.  Classic shades of a pale and charcoal grey. 

Carlos Sweater from MaxMara Studio was £240 now £168

And I know that people rave about the Uniqlo cashmere and personally I love the male versions as, having arms like an orang-utan, I find they fit better.  If I get the small, they're still fitted but have just the right amount of slouch.  

I've found a bargain in blue which isn't going to be for everyone but this, with navys and greys would be a lovely Spring addition. 

Men 100% cashmere crew neck was £79 now £39

Another perhaps unusual colour at M&S. They call this lilac but it's a definite pinky lilac.  Like the above, would look great with greys and navys and there's nothing to say that, just because it's not a neutral, doesn't mean it's not a classic. 

Pure Cashmere Round Neck Cashmere Perforated Jumper was £119 now £58

In a variety of colours, I've found the Uniqlo polo necks ideal.  Again, I would say a Small is a size 10/12.  In cashmere.  Perfect.   I tried this on in the red earlier in the season with a friend and it was fantastic.

Men 100% cashmere polo necks in navy was £89 now £69.90

Love the pale grey but they also have black and charcoal - all available in a Small and a Medium for £69.90 instead of £89

Other great options at Uniqlo (if you're not a giant like me and need extra length in the arms) are the women's v neck cashmere jumpers.  Possibly the biggest selection of colours on the market and as far as I'm aware, can't be beaten for price. 

100% Women cashmere v neck jumpers £69.90 (which they do also do in mens although they're £89.90)

But like I said, I am the biggest fan of the classic Extra Fine Merino which, whilst not being cashmere, I still think ticks the classic box and as far as quality goes, I have had mine for two years now, wear them all year round and are still non bobbly, non stretched and look pretty darn good. 

Men Extra Fine Merino Crew Neck Jumper £24.90.  They do a women's version as well but it's not gathered at the bottom and personally I prefer the latter.

Finishing with the ultimate in luxury which I have worn so so so many times since I got it back in November.  The arm length is sublime, absolutely not one iota of bobbling.  Top of my wishlist for January is the blush version.  Alas, not in the sale (at the moment.. but there must be a good code around soon?!) 

Cashmere slouchy jumper in grey marl £198 from Me+Em

And in the blush.  Which I've just seen has sold out in most sizes.  Well bang goes that plan!  I am going to beg them to do a black version for next year....

And here I am on New Year's Day for a brunch party with the aforementioned grey cashmere slouchy jumper.  Usually I wear layered under the grey Me+Em blazer but I for a more Wintery look (it was colder... finally...) with a loose wrap coat.


Grey cashmere jumper - Me+Em

Black leather leggings - hush
Red Edie pumps - Jemima Vine
Grey reversible coat - Whistles 
Black fringed Mario bag - Jerome Dreyfuss 

I hope everyone else has had a good start to the New Year.  We had a weekend totally empty - the first days "off" in the whole holiday and we were so so looking forward to doing absolutely nothing.   A complete pyjama fest.  We did manage a long walk yesterday with friends which was lucky, as late afternoon, both the husband and I started throwing up.  He (way too much information) had it both ends whereas I was just very very sick.  Today feel like a ghost - on the upside, we didn't have any plans (well, bar visiting family this avo but we're seeing them next weekend) and are managing to just be still.  Whilst the children are obviously feral...  They got up at 9.44am.  Tomorrow morning for school is going to be "interesting" on any analysis. 

Wishing everyone else luck with the school run tomorrow...  Zombies-R-Us?! 

PS - thank you so so much for all your pointers on what you'd like to see different/the same on the blog and I hopefully have managed to label this so you can search it.. if anyone wants to try.  I did say "hopefully have managed"... I have about as much technical ability as a sea urchin.  I just tagged (or labelled as apparently they call it on Blogger) cashmere, knitwear, jumper.  (I think.. fingers crossed).

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26 comentarios:

  1. Lovely lovely jumpers, I've treated myself to this one and it is lovely! very soft and gorgeous and you introduced me to them! Thanks x

    1. I haven't dared look in the Plumo sale as I know I will cave on EVERYTHING. And a lot of what I would like, would probably come under the Disgracefully heading...!

  2. Glad u featured the hush cashmere in charcoal... I just ordered the cloud one this morning at 20% off! Wanted to wait to see if reduced further but scared I might miss out so went for it! Also the White Etoile tee... Got some bits in the MV sale too, now looking at Atterley!

    1. Their cashmere is lovely and again unbobbly. Problem is with hush stuff is that if you don't buy it, it does sell out. I'm an IDIOT and didn't order the jumpsuit and now it's sold out. GAH. Just seeing if one comes back into stock.... And ordered a grey one in the meantime. Only two items in the sale (well three if I keep the boots... but I might keep the Jensens) which I think's pretty good going. Although having said that, I'm sure the grey one will look like crap as in my head it's going to look amazing. Always a recipe for disaster..!

  3. If you're reading this in the US I encourage you to try Everlane's cashmere too - it is beautiful and great value. Happy New Year Kat - see you in February :) xxx

    1. I thnk they might ship to the UK but the whole returns/customs thing makes it a mare for us here. Lucky you guys though! And yes, really looking forward to it love xxx

  4. Love the Hush ones may have to check them out, find their sizing a bit odd. Have bought a fab grey high neck from Pure £49 reduced from £99.

    1. I find their sizing mostly ok actually... I often size up as I like some of their things larger but for a snug fit, a small or medium on me (size 10 often a 12 on top) works really well.

  5. Forgot to say know exactly what you mean about classic dressing am having the current same struggle

    1. It's a line that gets more blurred every year. The older I get, the more I'm attracted to FASHUN. Must. Resist...

  6. This blog really made me laugh, I allso bought dungarees which I doubt will see the light of day again this year.
    Love a bit of cashmere. Sitting here in a winter white polo that my dad surprised me with at Christmas! He's been well trained! I keep telling myself I don't need any more clothes and should wear what's in my wardrobe but then I read your blog and suddenly I can't live without just slipping in a little purchase! So far this week I've clicked buy on boots, a jumper, a faux fur Whistles gilet, 3 pairs of Boden jeans and For all Mankind skinnies!! Hoping they look awful so I can send back!
    Happy new year to you and hope you're soon feeling much better.

    1. Oh my goodness that is some sales haul! I had a massive purge of my wardrobe (it's all in bags, still wondering what to do with it - most of it is rather old to be honest with you..!) and definitely want to just have in it, what I actually wear. I've got half of it that I definitely wear and half which errr I don't. I don't think that's too bad but clearly I need to just work out what to do with teh stuff I don't wear. And why I don't wear it.. or just bin it!

      Sometimes though, it does take one new addition to breathe life into old clothes... something else for me to explore!

      Hope (or not as the case may be...) your recent purchases work out.

      Have survived on (a lot of) toast today and hopefully will feel much much better tomorrow. Thank you xxx

    2. I think I need a good clear out. I keep things I no longer wear, out of work, thinking I'll wear in work! But they often look wrong. I'm off work tomorrow and might just start the new year with a ruthless clear out. Thanks for the inspiration. X

    3. I can imagine it's even more hard having a work/non work wardrobe? Well for a start, lots of the classics can be worn for both. A classic cashmere crewneck with a pair of cigarette trousers, perfect no? (of course it does depend on what you do.....) Certainly tomorrow's blog definitely covers something for both. Watch this space!

  7. Think I fall in the Classic category (didn't do dungas, and not done fringeing for instance!) But I do think some trends become classics - such as jumpsuits and oversize shirts? And Stans - which I love (thank you Kat...would never have tried them had it not been for you!) Been looking at my wardrobe and thinking I have nothing to wear...time for a clear out. I am a big fan of Uniqlo cashmere and merino. In fact I am going to buy the men's merino jumpers you've got - I have the women's v neck versions but they are more like sweater tops rather than jumpers. And I am fancying a looser fit. And I love love love Me&Em. I have ordered the black longline blazer in the sale, praying it's a good fit because I have just binned my very old Zara one and the Hush one sadly does nothing for me. Also ordered some Kurt Geiger biker boots from Shoeaholics - low on the ankle - a cross biker/Chelsea boot really. But rounded toes, not pointed - and after reading your blog on pointed toe Chelsea boots I now want a pair of them too! Think perhaps the Geigers would fall in to the classic category??? Hope you are feeling better btw. We've had a busy end to the Xmas hols - hosted our final lunch at home today. Feel shattered. Now to getting through January (without wine...)

    1. Oh GOD is their black longline one now in the sale as well? I might try and make do with my old Topshop and hush ones and see what they bring out in the Spring...

      The Men's jumpers are amazing from Uniqlo. Although I did just get the charcoal one but I'm going to take it back as it's just that little bit more schooly jumper.. the black and navy ones can't be beaten. I'm just going to wear them into the ground!

      Geiger boots sound gorgeous. And we're not doing totally dry January but only drink on certain days... so basically binge drinking.. hmmm not sure that's any better at all! But it is my birthday at the end of Jan!! Think it's only two occasions anyway!

  8. I am trying very hard to add some classic pieces to my wardrobe that should become staples. latest purchase is a camel coat with a good sales reduction that should stand the test of time. I know when i am going completely down the wrong road when shopping with the 17 year old daughter and i pick something and her comment is "you do mean for me don't you" with a look in her eye that tells me i would look a complete fool if i go ahead with it.

    1. hmm you see I think it's harder the older they get as they clearly don't want you wearing the same thing as you (Fergie & her daughters on the town is an image burned in my head) when you may actually want to wear it! But that's not to say you'd style it in the same way... still doesn't stop them NOT wanting you to have it! Haven't got that problem with an 11yr old yet!

  9. Oh no, please drag out the dungarees again this year - I bought a pair (having snorted with derision at the beginning of the season - the done a predictable about face, caved in the sales, worn once - in the house....), was REALLY hoping I hadn't just had a massive fail!! Love that Me&Em jumper, unfortunately think my bank manager might hunt me down if I bought it. Happy New Year, looking forward to another year of being entertained and inspired by your blog, keep up the good work & thank you! :)

    1. ha ha ha! Hmm I think I might have done it last year. Especially as the last time I tried to wear my cream £14.99 ones...(not sure why I'm surprised by this..) the bloody button fell... I suppose I could attempt to the uber Pinterest one shoulder wonder but I'm going with perhaps not..! Having said that, I still have the black ones and thinking about it now.. with a black and white breton and black blazer and my red shoes.. that might work for a day in the Spring!

      And that Me+Em jumper is sold out in so many sizes already. Someone had a good Christmas!

  10. Great post! At some point every year I resolve to do the gracefully thing but I get bored so easily and purge my wardrobe regularly... about the only thing I keep is my wedding ring!
    Disgracefully is more fun but I agree that the basics should be good quality to build on.
    I sometimes think the classic items trotted out in books and magazines are not always that flattering. E.g. I have massive boobs and a pasty face- a beige double breasted trenchcoat makes me look like a weeble!

    1. oh lord completely! There is also the added issue of trying to find "your style" which again, I'm hoping I can help with in the coming months. But at the end of the day, it does depend on both personal taste and what suits you. I've never spent much money on a trench as, as much I love the look on other people and theoretically with small boobs (although yes, I do have a pasty face!) I can never quite make it work. Although as I'm saying that - breton, classic jeans/cropped trews and a pair of ankle boots, sneakers or flats - why wouldn't that look amazing? I love the idea, put in on and think.. meh. I always need to add something disgraceful to it!!! Have to say, I did love my dungarees with my trench last year.... hmmmmm!!! Perfect with ballet flats.

    2. I love the breton/boots/skinnies/trench on others but on me I just feel 'meh' like you say. I think it's because it seems very grown up and despite being a responsible grown up the other side of 35, I'm still the slightly edgy, black-clothes-loving 17 year old in my head! (Realise 'edgy' is poncey, can't think of a better term!)

  11. Haha! I definitely do the gracefully/disgracefully thing too. You are not alone! I think I don't have a very classic style as those things can look frumpy on me. I can do classic with a twist, though. Some of the things I get lots of wear out of are not necessarily plain. One of my most commented on coats is an aubergine purple velvet one that comes out every winter. It really lifts jeans, jumpers, boots.

    Thank you for all the jumper info. I have a knitwear-sized hole in my wardrobe and have been looking at the uniqlo mens jumpers debating on which size fora optimum slouch. I have one of their cotton cashmere ones for spring in pale grey and and it is lovely quality. Now which colour?

    I hope you are feeling better, sickness is soooo grim.

    1. Now you see - I sort of fit into a more middle ground I think as yes, I definitely agree - lots of classic things which look great on other people, can look super frumptastic on me. But then anything too way out, I fear I look rather mad! TIs a fine line (which I cross either way frequently, but hey ho, we all learn from our mistakes.)

      On me, the Small is the perfect size - not too small and not too large, but if you are after an oversized look then definitely size up.


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