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).
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
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).