Beauty & Fashion

Heading towards summer – Boden try-on

Heading towards summer – Boden try-on

I’m busy playing catch-up and so my Boden edit for April is running a little bit late but at least it’s now warmer than when we took these photographs last weekend. We were in Newcastle with a bitter east wind blowing and I’ve assimilated to Geordie life pretty well but not their capacity for short sleeves and sandals in sub zero temperatures so some of the outfits had to be kept inside! It’s a great feeling knowing we’ve finally made it through to May now though, I always find it’s the month when life opens up again after the closed down nature of winter. There are long sunny days just within reach so, let me talk you through the pieces that caught my eye from the latest collection. As they continue with their plan to focus on doing what they’ve always done best I was pleased to see the return of some reissued classics that have already stood the test of time in my wardrobe along with new styles. Heading towards summer – Boden try-on

Heading towards summer – Boden try-on

New versions of the classics

Starting with a reissued classic – when I first showed this jumpsuit on the blog back in the strange summer that was 2020, it sold out straightaway. It continues to be one of the most versatile summer options in my wardrobe.

Heading towards summer - Boden try-on

This year they’ve reissued it in a shorter version and it’s the sort of thing that you’ll wear time and time again, especially on holiday. You could dress it up for evening as I have here (there’s always the option of adding a wide belt to the shirred waist if you want a little more detail)… or you could throw it over a bikini on the beach… or wear it with sandals for sightseeing. It’s made from soft, drapey jersey, I’m wearing it in a 12 Long and it’s true to size. I felt the extra length made it more versatile for evenings but actually the regular length would have been fine too, there’s plenty of room in the body. I’ve opted for the plain navy but there are three other patterned versions available as well.

As you can see I’ve added a lovely rainbow clutch which would be great for packing because it would go with so many outfits, either picking up a brighter colour or working to lift something more neutral like this. The sandals do a good job of leg-lengthening, they have a low platform for a 70s vibe and a chunky block heel that makes them easy to walk in. So this is a simple outfit that’s high on comfort and I wanted to show it to you now before it sells out.

Heading towards summer - Boden try-on

Short jumpsuit; raffia clutch; leather sandals

Double cloth

Now, we need to talk about Boden’s double cloth (or cheesecloth as you may have called it in the 70s) because it was absolutely brilliant in the heat of Thailand. I had hardly any time to look for anything new before I left but at the last minute I bought these double cloth shorts and unfortunately this is the only picture I have of them (the downside of travelling without Mal). They didn’t need ironing and they were so light and comfortable that I wore them a lot – here they’d survived a dinghy landing in waist deep water and they’d already dried out. The thing is that ‘double’ cloth makes you think it’s going to be heavy but it isn’t, it’s light and airy – especially good for high heat and humidity. They’ve sold out in this pink colourway now but they’re still available in four other colours…

Heading towards summer - Boden try-on

Double cloth shorts

… and if you prefer a dress, this has just been restocked in four colours. I’ve gone for navy here because it was the only option available as a sample last week but I’m now going to buy the green because I can see that it’s going to be great  for summer at home and on holiday. It’s the kind of thing that you put on when the weather’s warm but you still want to look pulled together – and yes, those days will come! I can imagine wearing it in town for shopping or with trainers for a dog walk as well as on my way to a beach. I like the fact that it has a waistband but isn’t too tight because it’s shirred at the back. I’m wearing a 12 long, it’s true to size and it hits just above the knee; if you prefer a midi length there are five colours available here and for something looser, look at this one. You can find the full collection of easy care double cloth cotton here. I’ve added this raffia tote which, like the clutch, is so cleverly thought through because it pulls together all of the key colours in Boden’s summer range this year.

Nikki Garnett, Midlifechic

Double cloth dress (available in four colours); rainbow raffia tote; leather sandals

Protective swimwear

Here’s another recent purchase that I’m keen to recommend. This rash vest was great for avoiding sunburn during a long day of snorkelling and the others on the boat ordered one as soon as they saw it. I sized up to a 14 after reading reviews saying it comes up tight but I don’t think it was necessary, as you can see it was quite loose. Bear in mind that there’s no support and it’s unlined so it’s up to you whether you wear a bikini top underneath, I found it was more comfortable without one. This version is about to be restocked so it’s on pre-order only but it’s also available in a navy and green or three patterned versions. There’s a sleeveless or long-sleeved swimsuit version as well if you’re not a bikini lover.

Nikki Garnett, Midlifechic, swimwear for women over 50

Rash vest; bikini bottoms

Elevated tops

Another much-loved piece from my summer wardrobe is this linen blouse, I find it works  really well with shorts like this or with jeans – it’s just a more elevated look than a t-shirt. I pull it out every year and people want to know where they can buy one – now it’s been reissued…

Nikki Garnett, Midlifechic, shorts for women over 50

Boden blouse, shorts and shoes (all past season)

… so here’s a new version. The advantage of a linen blouse like this one with elbow length sleeves is that you can achieve the light linen look without the worst of the creasing. I’m wearing a 12 here and it’s loose, a 10 would probably have been fine – there are eight different colours and patterns available and some are in the sale.

Heading towards summer - Boden try-on

Yellow linen blouse

Here’s another option that’s as easy to wear as a t-shirt but a bit more interesting. Crochet is still hugely popular this year although it’s moving away from the multi-coloured patchwork effect towards a simpler iteration. This is cotton so it’s breathable for summer and the button front means you can style it however you want to. It comes in ivory or orange but I went for the gingerbread colour that will work so well with my beloved tan suede accessories. I found it comes up a bit big though – I’d probably go down by one or two sizes for the fit I prefer.

Heading towards summer - Boden try-on

Crochet cardigan

The last of the tops I want to show you is another piece I’ve bought this season because it goes with so many things I already have. This simple vest with its red stitching is so much nicer than the plain ones I own. Those of you who avoid racer tops because of bra strap issues will find this works better for you because it isn’t too cut away so it covers without you needing a strapless bra. As you can see it works perfectly with the linen trousers which I loved so much that I had to brave the bitter cold for a better photo…

Heading towards summer - Boden try-on

Vest top with red stitching detail; linen trousers

… and here they are with the matching waistcoat. I was laughing because a passerby was asking if I had heatstroke – even the locals were finding it cold! However, any day now this outfit will come into its own – with trainers for a relaxed lunch or dressed up like this for something more special.

Nikki Garnett, Midlifechic, Newcastle

Linen waistcoat; linen trousers

The waistcoat will be good with jeans for a night out and the trousers will work with a matching t-shirt like the one above, a crisp shirt, a linen blouse or just a plain white tee. The red stripe makes them stand apart from the many other pink linen trousers that are in the shops this season and the nod to sportiness that it adds makes them easier to dress down.

Nikki Garnett, Midlifechic, Newcastle

Linen waistcoat; linen trousers

And here it is with the matching linen jacket – this is the sort of outfit I’d choose for a graduation, summer wedding or the races, it has so much more chutzpah than a floaty floral frock in my view. I found the jacket was tight when buttoned up, I wouldn’t wear it that way but if you’re ordering it to wear closed, you may want to try a couple of different sizes. The trousers come in eleven different colours and patterns and the jacket in eight so there are lots of variations on this outfit if pink’s not your colour.

Midlifechic summer style for women over 50

Linen blazer; Linen waistcoat; Linen trousers

So that’s my heading towards summer – Boden try-on of the latest drop, the full collection is here and at the moment they have 15% off all new in with code H3Q3. There’s also a 30% off summer sale which includes quite a bit of swimwear – you can find it all here.

Midlife lately

I’m sure you’ve noticed that the good thing about having an early Easter this year is that the bank holidays feel well spaced apart so there’s lots of opportunity to plan wonderful things. Saying that, we’ve had to cancel everything this weekend because Mal’s elbow isn’t healing as it should and this week he’s been the sickest I’ve ever seen him. He finally agreed to see the GP on Wednesday and as soon as they saw it, they drew trace markings for sepsis so it’s all been a bit alarming. However he’s two days into a whacking great dose of antibiotics and things seem to be starting to improve. Tonight I think I’ll sleep better because his fever has gone and I don’t need to check things as often.

It’s just one of a string of unexpected life events recently that’s served as a reminder to me that you’re never as in control of your life as you like to think – and when you see how your certainties can change so very quickly, it’s deeply unsettling. I’m only telling you this because I know I often find it helpful to read that other people’s lives aren’t always running as smoothly as it appears from the outside. As always, my response to things going wrong is to blame myself for not doing anything well enough. Apparently all humans have a negative bias and because life events feel out of control, the voice in my head is on high alert at the moment, telling me to work harder, exercise harder, eat more carefully, spend more time with the people who matter and generally just do better at everything all of the time.

So if Mal’s arm keeps going in the right direction this weekend I’m hoping to try to get a grip by controlling the things I can. I’m having a quiet coffee with a friend, a trip to the optician, a physio session to try to sort out a two-month-old injury to my back and I’ll spend a bit of time working out how I’m going to get my eating and exercise back to where it was. My birthday comes along later this month and I know I can either hit it in a positive or negative frame of mind – it’s up to me.

My psychotherapist brother would call it self-parenting, something we all need to do every now and again, especially in midlife when so many of us no longer have parents to help us to think things through. One of the many good conversations I had on the trip with my new midlife friends was about the pressure our generation puts on itself to lean in and do it all. The others all had daughters and they talked about how they’d made sure they didn’t convey the same message to them but they agreed that they still couldn’t change it for themselves.

I was reading Emma Gannon’s The Success Myth recently (a brilliant book for any woman with a tendency to put pressure on herself) and she talks about the amygdala or lizard brain that controls the scolding voice and sends us self-destructive messages. She finds that wearing a bracelet with a lizard on it helps to remind her when it’s the amygdala talking rather than the voice of reason. By stroking it she can quell the negative thinking and she suggests that others do the same, giving it a name too (she calls hers Allegra). I thought about it but a lizard doesn’t do it for me, the creature in my brain is a squirrel that chases around with a bushy tail and beady eyes, chattering away. So for my birthday I’m hoping for a squirrel bracelet (let’s hope Mal will read this). I haven’t found a name for it yet but I hope I’ll know it when I see it!

I’m no doubt leaving you wondering whether I’m going slightly mad this week but it’s been such a long winter that I suspect I’m not the only one who feels a bit ragged. This sudden arrival of warm spring sunshine should give us all a boost of much needed energy and fear not, normal service will resume after my restorative weekend. I need to be on good form because we have ITV coming to film here next week – I’m working with them on a documentary about spiking (more about that soon).  I’ll be back with another try-on next Friday and then finally I’ll have time to tell you about my trip. Have a great bank holiday – I hope the sun shines for you, whatever you’re doing.

Disclosure: ‘Heading towards summer – Boden try-on’ was commissioned by Boden but as always, outfit choices and reviews are all my own

Recent posts you may have missed

Cornucopia – beauty, accessories and travel tips

New styles for spring from John Lewis

The best capsule pieces – new M&S collection 2024

A trip through the Valencia region and reflections on this midpoint of life

Spring 24 – first thoughts about the trends

Finding the right bra for your breast shape

Spring wardrobe lifts that work now

A midwinter midlife lately

Midlife – the time for trying new things

Midlife skincare – the products I buy because they work

Midlife – the rough comes with the smooth and how to handle it

The quest for midlife mojo

Happy new 2024 – an investment buy round-up

Read More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button