The new neutrals. Not really new at all, but it’s a slightly snappier title than ‘Here are some good, beige-based outfits for you’. I could have gone for ‘Beige doesn’t have to be boring’, but even the use of the word ‘beige’ hints at pure dullness. Not even sure what other word you might use. Stone? Ivory? Sort-of-white-but-not-quite? The overall premise here is easy neutral tones that just look cool. These are the kind of outfits that in my minimalist head I’d like to see myself wearing all the time.
Unfortunately, I’m only really a minimalist in my head – on the outside, I’m a mess of clutter and can often be drawn to big patterns and stupid shoes. But for this week, I’m casting that aside and trying to be a little bit more grown up. I used to work for a woman who literally ONLY wore neutral-tone outfits. She was probably only about five years older than me, but she definitely acted like a much more fully formed woman. I feel like that was partly down to the clothes. And maybe the blow-dry. I realise I will never be the kind of high-powered bizzness woman who has someone else wash and blow-dry their hair for them three times a week.
Of course it would be very boring to never wear any colour, and it would also be very boring to act like a fully formed grown-up all the time too, but every now and then it’s nice to go for a chic, tonal look. Let’s have a peek at some options…
THE SMART LINEN LOOK
A pair of neutral-coloured trousers are almost as much of a wardrobe staple at this time of year as jeans are for the rest of the year. Ideally something loose-fitting and lightweight. We’ve established that linen isn’t for everyone, especially those who don’t like to look a bit creased. I don’t mind the creases myself, but then again I am a virtual stranger to an iron so I’ve got used to them. A clothes steamer is your friend when it comes to linen. You can have the crumples out in less than two minutes with a good stand-up steamer. I have this one. I can’t vouch for handheld versions though. I had one once and it was less than useless so I’ve never gone back down that route.
THE ELEVATED BEACH/POOL LOOK
I imagine this look being perfect somewhere along the Amalfi coast. Not that I’ve ever been there, but in my head I can see us taking a stroll, maybe stopping for a gelato or a negroni and then heading back to our VERY exclusive boutique hotel for a lounge around the pool with the hottest new fiction book. But I’m sure this would look equally as good at the Ruislip lido with a copy of Grazia, stopping off at the Northolt drive-through McDonald’s on the way home…
THE JUST ADD A BEIGE BLAZER LOOK
Instantly elevate your simple sundress with the addition of a nice linen blazer. Nothing says ‘Yes, it’s summer, but I still wish to have a little decorum and look smart’ more than a beige blazer. Also looks great with your white jeans (more on those in a sec), your regular blue jeans (I will do a post soon on my favourites again, as we all need good jeans recommendations. Let me know if you have a pair you really rate too), or go for the full Dickie Attenborough look by opting for a complete linen suit.
THE EASY FRENCH CHIC LOOK
OK, so this isn’t officially a beige-based look, but I do prefer my ‘white’ jeans to be more of an off-white colour. Kind of feels less Liz Hurley and more Jane Birkin. Although, God love her, Liz looks amazing – and don’t get me started on Damian. That boy looks like a living doll. Google him and tell me you don’t agree. A good off-white pair of jeans worn with your Breton and some fresh canvas trainers is a perennially chic French-girl look. Never goes out of style, and will take you anywhere.
THE BEIGE ISN’T BORING DRESS
More linen, because there’s a heatwave coming apparently and – as we’ve established – natural fabrics are way more preferable in the hot weather. This colour also looks great on darker skin tones and anyone lucky enough to catch a tan. Add a good cardi for the evening. Would this be a consideration for the ‘Coastal Grandma’ trend I keep hearing about? Apparently it’s a ‘thing’, defined as clothing that is ‘suitable for the life of an affluent older woman during the summer season’, someone found living in a quaint coastal town and enjoying a glass of chilled sauvignon blanc at midday, just because. I think we can totally get on board with that…
THE UK HOLIDAY LOOK
Finally, something a little more realistic. What happens when it’s warm and muggy with a chance of rain? Well, apart from my hair immediately going to shit, a pair of shorts worn with a showerproof jacket is the way to go. This is the kind of ensemble that could take you on a clifftop walk in Cornwall followed by a stop off at the pub for a pasty and a pint. What name would we give this look? Seaside Susan? Beachfront Barbara? Looks-like-rain-later Lizzie?
I hope this has shown you that beige really DOESN’T have to be boring, but fear not, if neutrals aren’t your thing next week we shall have some colour.