As I've said, time and time again recently, it's a tricky old time of year. So when M&S asked me to choose my favourite pieces for "New Me", I decided to try a New Look instead.
It's really hard to even think about Spring at the moment, with the imminent threat of snow (promise according to my children - dear every weather forecaster on tv, if it doesn't snow, you have two very disappointed little boys sat here. I, on the other hand, could snog you for getting it - hopefully - wrong).
So instead of reinventing the wheel with an entirely new Spring look, I thought it would be a good idea to buy one new item that takes you slightly outside your comfort zone. That will work with your existing but is something that you've never tried before. A new shape of trouser, a different type of top or a new sort of skirt.
Nothing too drastic, but just something a bit exciting. (you can tell I don't get out much in January, can't you?!). I am actually over the moon (like I say, it doesn't take much), as I've found a couple of things that I'm really looking forward to wearing now and into Spring that will just add a little difference to your look - so not a whole New You but hopefully a New Look.
Breaking you in gently now with something that I've been wearing for a while so - yes, first up, personally I'm cheating. But I know they're something that others have been more reluctant to embrace, so I'm giving you an easy in here, as these are amazing.
I've already worn mine yesterday, and they are a complete hit. The crepe jogger.
Sports luxe is going nowhere. But this Spring, it's easier to wear than ever. And M&S have come up with the perfect trousers to ease you into a look you may have shied away from.
These are definitely on the smarter edge of sportswear. They are immaculately cut, come in three lengths and are a gazillion times cheaper and a hell of a lot more practical than the Equipment ones I've been eyeing up. You could easily wear these to work - the cuffed bottom a l'Equipment - gives it that tailored edge that many don't have. The fabric is also a flattering, quality feeling, heavy weight crepe that doesn't crease. I wore them all day yesterday and they definitely passed the crease test.
Drawstring Crepe Slim Leg Trousers in black £35
And here I am in the trousers which I am anticipating living in till it's time for shorts.
Or - and we're pushing the boundaries here.. how about a grey check pair. These would be so easily incorporated into a work wardrobe or dress down with a jumper and trainers.
Checked Slim Leg Joggers £35.00
Then we have a large step outside of my comfort zone. Wide leg in ochre. Or as the 12yr old said "yellow trousers mum?", with a look that lead me to believe she wasn't 100% impressed. Pah. These are amazing. They look so fabulous with black, with leopard print, with navy. It's a colour that I don't think I've ever worn before. But it goes with about 80% of my wardrobe which makes it an obvious addition. The perfect leap of faith opportunity.
M&S Collection Belted Wide Leg Trousers in Ochre £35
If you've not tried wide leg trousers before, then perhaps starting with a smaller step out of your comfort zone might be an idea. A pair which are easier to wear are a lower waist, more subtle colour in the form of the khaki wide leg trouseres from Autograph.
Autograph Single Pleated Wide Leg Trousers £45
However the winner for me bottoms wise for my New Look is in the form of a skirt. And a tulle version no less. So I have tried tulle in the past. And looked the extra from the back row of dancers at the panto. They haven't worked. At. All. This however - oh hello, gorgeous pleated number which has made my Spring so far.
Pleated tulle is genius. It's a subtle variation on a theme but a step out of the ordinary. Such an easy way to make the mundane just that little bit more fun.
Mesh A Line Skirt in Grey £35
So I'm going to go for dress down to begin with, but I shall absolutely be dressing this up for evenings with heels and a thin knit or blouse.
And now tops. For me - I'm going to stick my neck out and say that bottoms are a bigger challenge and a bigger pill to swallow when it comes to being brave.
But if you're looking perhaps for something to go with your new bottoms or want to try a new top shape to ease you into the new season gently, then I've got a couple of ideas which are worth considering.
First up - frills. These are everywhere. And I've shied away. I don't do *pretty* very well and I've never quite managed to make the more ubiquitous frill blouses and jumpers that are out there work on me. I love the look on other people but I've always veered towards the more pared back when it comes to tops. I've got on board with lace and I dabble in print but the frill has eluded me.
Which is why I'm going to give these a go.
Ruffle High Neck Long Sleeved £29.50 from Limited Collection
Absolutely love this.
And 60s style now but with a frill cuff.
Contrast Tipped High Neck Blouse by Autograph £39.50
Frilled cuff and collar again but I do think this is slightly easier to wear perhaps than the one above? Less statement in a weird way seeing as this is print and the other is monochrome? Maybe I mean more subtle. Would look amazing with a pair of jeans and tan boots and a mustard coat (which I handily own....). GORGEOUS blouse. Totally out of my comfort zone but totally wearable.
Floral Print Sculptured Sleeve Blouse from Autograph £49.50
So which of the three do you think is the best option? I keep changing my mind but am definitely veering towards the first. Or maybe the print one. Oh HELP! Nope, definitely the white one. Bought.
And I'm going to finish with a collection of blouses - boho inspired. As well as the sports luxe trend which has now become a wardrobe staple, boho, thanks to the likes of Marant, Velvet by Graham and Spencer, Maje and Iro amongst many, has become a style that is here to stay. If you've always shied away from boho in the Summer, how about putting a toe in the water with a Spring blouse.
These would come into their own for any nights out you have. When you look at your old clothes and want to weep but don't want to buy a whole new outfit - one of these Spring inspired blouses would be perfect with a pair of jeans and heels. Or black trousers. Into the warmer months, with cut offs (I'll leave it up to you and your legs to decide what length cut offs you want to go to) and sandals. In the meantime though, I'd be wearing one of these with jeans, ankle boots and a biker or a loose blazer for weekend dress down.
Pure Modal Embroidered Peasant Blouse £35
Floral Print Tassel Blouse from Indigo £29.50
The perfect throw on blouse. Layer with a thin polo underneath for cooler days.
Crepe Tassel Notch Neck Blouse from Indigo £19.50
Floral Print Ruffle Sleeve Blouse £29.50
Limited Edition Paisley Print Long Sleeve Blouse £29.50
Limited Edition Embroidered Notch Neck Blouse £35
But the best one I found I think, was the Long Sleeve Tassel Blouse at £29.50 Alas, you can't see the shirring detailing on the cuff. Really gorgeous.
It's so easy to tweak your look for the next month or so until we get completely into Spring mode with the addition of one or two new things. What would be your choice?
And yes, you've guessed it, the trousers are out again. I only wish they did them in navy...
Black 1970 Jumper - Bella Freud
Crepe Joggers - M&S
Hat - Penmayne
Coat - Warehouse
Susanna boots - Chloe
Black Mario bag - Jerome Dreyfuss
So I am sat here staring out at snow, which is getting heavier by the minute, the husband is trying to get home from having had an operation in London on both his feet and I can't get into town to pick him up as the traffic is so terrible because of the snow. The children are torn between being ecstatic at the thought of a snow day and devastated as the Sky box appears to have broken. I think I should just open wine, no?