I thought we’d round up another frankly crappy year with a little bit of positive talk. About clothes, obvs, as that’s what I’m here for on a Sunday. Certainly not here to moan about the rest of life right now; let’s face it, we’d be here all day and you’d all leave a little more downcast than when you arrived, and that is definitely NOT what we are here for. So I’ve had a little think about some of the purchases I’ve made this year and come up with the things I think I have worn the most and will continue to wear for years to come.
I’ll admit it, some of these items are not cheap, but I do find that, when you really think about what you are buying, some of them will be a more expensive outlay but for a great return in the ‘cost per wear’ stakes. As ever, I will try to find some more purse-friendly alternatives to the expensive shit. Let’s have a look at what I’ve picked for my best buys of 2021.
CHUNKY 1970 BELLA FREUD JUMPER
When I saw that Bella Freud had brought out her iconic 1970 jumper in a new chunky knit, I HAD to get one. The price is not cheap (to put it mildly), so I had to sell two of my older jumpers, and a few more things besides, to justify this purchase. But I know I will wear it again and again. It’s just the perfect jumper to wear every day with jeans during the winter. It’s an updated classic design and, if something has already been around for over 10 years, you know it’s not going out of style anytime soon.
1. Black White Denim — Bella Freud black wool oversized jumper
2. Weekday recycled wool check jacket
3. Raey Dad organic boyfriend jeans
4. Rock & Ruby navy Josie wool socks
5. Esska Billie chunky green leather boots
I was influenced by my friend Arlene into getting these Grenson loafers; she had a pair and I tried them on and the level of comfort got me right away. As I should have known because Grensons do very well on the comfort scale and that is a MAJOR selling point for me these days. Don’t worry, I’m not ready for ‘Hotter’ shoes or anything out of the back of the Sunday supplement magazine just yet. Or ever. I don’t own many ‘smart’ shoes as I’m very much a ‘trainers and boots’ girl. Can I call myself a ‘girl’ when I’m nearly 50? Probably not, but I’m certainly no ‘lady’, and ‘woman’ feels too matronly. But these loafers give me a slightly smarter edge and I can wear them with trousers and socks or with a mini skirt and tights.
1. Kin curved hem corduroy shirt
2. Mulberry green leather Alexa bag
3. Monki soft knit cable tank top
4. Whistles washed black Hollie jeans
5. Grenson Phillipa leather loafers
MORE JOY SWEATSHIRT
This was my birthday present to myself last January and it’s probably been worn almost every week since. I’m not even sure why I like it so much, it’s just a basic sweatshirt with a slogan on it, but that is its selling point. It’s easy to wear, comfortable and looks cool. They are quite oversized but I did put mine in the dryer by mistake so it shrunk a little bit and is more regular-sized now. We can be a bit heavy-handed with the tumble drying in this house.
The worst example of that was when the boys were tiny and one of them (won’t say which) didn’t make it home in time for a poo so there was an accident in the trousers on the doorstep. I duly got rid of the offending turd and washed the trousers, then put them straight in the dryer. What I failed to realise was that there was another sneaky little shit still trapped inside said trousers. So it went through the wash AND then got baked in the dryer. You can image the smell. For weeks on end. You’d think that would teach us to check what should go in the dryer and what shouldn’t, but no…
1. Christopher Kane More Joy sweatshirt (mens version on sale)
2. Martinez Grillo Antiques Vintage gold swallow pendant necklace
3. Warehouse knit back double breasted boyfriend coat
4. White Stuff corduroy A line mini skirt
5. Dr Martens Kensington Flora Chelsea Boots
ALBARY JEANS & BIRKENSTOCK BOSTON SLIPPERS
Not that I always wear these two together but I wanted to mention them both. I have a LOT of jeans and I probably wear them more than any other item of clothing. I’ve listed all my current favourites on this post, but special mention to new brand Albaray who came up with some excellent denim this year. My favourite is this boyfriend style – nice and loose, great length, good quality denim and a very reasonable price point. As I’m at home a lot more these days than I was in the past, these Birkenstock Boston shearling slippers have paid for themselves four times over in price per wear. Plus they can be worn for nipping to the shops or the coffee shop without feeling too much like Waynetta Slob. Just remember to take your dressing gown off first.
1. Hush Petra cashmere cardigan
2. Loel & Co gold plated belcher necklace
3. Whistles breton cotton top
4. Alabray dark blue boyfriend jeans
5. Birkenstock Boston shearling lined clogs
SPANX ‘LOOK AT ME NOW’ LEGGINGS
This one was a revelation for me, as I haven’t been a ‘leggings and DM boots’ girl since about 1989 when I was going through the classic ‘suburban goth’ phase. Hands up who was with me. Shaved the side of your hair? Spent all your money on All About Eve albums, patchouli oil, Rimmel black eyeliner and purple paisley shirts from Kensington Market? Then you are my people. The discovery of these Spanx ‘Look At Me Now’ leggings has reinvigorated my love of this look. My only issue is the lack of pockets. We didn’t have mobile phones in 1988 and it was easy to tuck your 10 Silk Cuts, 2 fivers and a lighter into the waistband…
1. Whistles cashmere roll neck jumper (I have this too and love it)
2. Navy Grey wool beanie hat
3. Warehouse borg hybrid padded jacket
4. Spanx Look at Me Now leggings
5. Dr Martens combs tech boots
MANGO QUILTED JACKET & HI TOPS
This Mango number has, hands down, been the most-worn jacket of the past four months. I went for a large as I fancied the more oversized look. Warm, but not TOO warm, looks as good buttoned up as it does undone. Nice and roomy to accommodate a chunky knit. It’s been an all-round great buy. And quick mention to hi-top trainers. I’ve always been keen on them but this year Nike, Adidas and Golden Goose all came up with the goods, so I definitely had to add a pair to this list.
1. Mango khaki quilted jacket
2. Black.co.uk cashmere wrist warmers
3. Cos Multicolor cropped jumper
4. Hush Vendome corduroy dungarees
5. Nike Blazer mid 77 E
JOHANNA SANDS CORDUROY DRESS
I know, I only bought this Johanna Sands dress last week – it arrived on Tuesday and was straight on and out the door for lunch. I actually feel sorry for all my other dresses as this one is now my favourite and I envisage it will get a lot of outings in the months and years to come. Those outings may well be just to the field over the canal the rate we are going, but I shall not let that stop me. Repeat after me – DO NOT SAVE THINGS FOR BEST.
I wish everyone a very Happy Christmas, whatever form that may take. At the very least, get yourself some Quality Street, a huge wheel of cheese and ‘Elf’ on repeat.