I feel like we’ve been focusing quite a lot of late on the smarter end of our outfits, so today I’m going ‘outdoors without looking too outdoorsy’. There are better options out there than diving headfirst into the Cotswold Outdoor shop, or worse, picking up a fluffy gilet in the garden centre, because you got carried away along with the weed removal tool you’ve used once and the bird feeder that no birds ever visit because of the cat that watches over it relentlessly. Step away from Garden Centre Clothes. It’s a slippery slope. It won’t be long before you’re wearing those ‘just for the garden’ plastic look-a-like Crocs to the shops, then to the pub, and then – before you know it – that’s just who you are now. You wear plastic gardening shoes everywhere.
This week, let’s focus on some waterproof jackets and coats that can be worn anywhere, some decent wellies and boots for dog walks and maybe even some fleeces that don’t make you look like Jeremy Clarkson – let’s think more Monty Don. Being honest, we all like to think about Monty Don occasionally don’t we?. Although to be fair we did love the ‘Clarkson’s Farm’ programme on Amazon in our house. So much in fact that we went to visit it earlier this year and spent FAR too much money on a candle that ‘Smells Like My Bollocks’. I thought it was a joke and it would be a nice scent when lit, NO. It genuinely smells like sweaty groin and piss. It went straight in the bin.
I’m hoping that these are some looks that can take you from a dog walk to the pub, or help out on the school run if the heavens suddenly open, or just for a nice weekend stroll.
BRING OUT THE BARBOUR
It’s the ultimate outdoors brand, is it not? A classic, waxed Barbour jacket will literally last you a lifetime as they can repair and rewax it for you when it starts to wear out. Note – the jackets are so hardy that they take ages to wear out and the more you wear, the better they get. I wouldn’t be without mine. Properly waterproof too. Coggles have the new Barbour x Alexa Chung collection in right now and they’ve given me a 25% discount on ALL Barbour. Use code KATE25 at checkout. I love this new, short, fleece-lined version and the longer coat version that will really protect you from the elements!
Side note: the Barbour Wilton wellies are my top dog-walk boot recommendation. They are comfortable, true to size and will keep your feet dry, so long as you’re not wading through deep water. In that case, get a pair of full-length Hunters.
SUNNY SUNDAY STROLL
Ok, so this isn’t really an all-weather outfit, but it felt a little bit ‘Countryfile’ with the cord trousers, wool cardi and faux tweed jacket so I’m running with it just because I really like it and will totally be wearing something similar very soon. I LOVE corduroy. I have to avert my eyes when I see a new cord item come on the market as I find it VERY hard not to add more to my collection. I did the summer/winter wardrobe switchover last weekend and I have five pairs of cord trousers, two skirts, seven dresses and 2 jumpsuits. Note to self – I. DO. NOT. NEED. ANYMORE. CORDUROY.
This is me most days. I take Thomas Frank out in the afternoon and it’s just like it was in my school-run days: it can be perfectly nice all day and yet the moment you leave the house and go outside, the heavens will open. Then, as soon as you get back, the sun will come out again. So I make sure I always wear a waterproof just in case. And I take my bucket hat. More on that later. If I’m not in my Barbour, it will be my Protected Species jacket as it’s fully waterproof too. I’ve also heard great things about Rains and Ilse Jacobsen. And I steer clear of jeans when it’s really wet and wear my Spanx leggings. I love those leggings. Yet to find a better pair.
MIGHT RAIN, MIGHT NOT
If it’s one of those days where if could rain at any minute but you’re not stomping around a field in your wellies, then you might need a stylish rain-proof jacket with a hood. Boden does a great one as does Joules (don’t turn your nose up, they’re actually good and not as ‘mumsie’ as you might think, honest). On another note, Kin at John Lewis have brought back my favourite balloon-leg jeans, this time in a softer denim. They’re super comfy and a great shape.
Fleeces are having a moment this season. They are everywhere. With winter looming, it may be the time to take the plunge. I might wear one around the house as that could potentially be cheaper than actually turning the heating on this year. Side bar – I’ve also ordered a pair of sheepskin booties to wear at home. It’s only a matter of time before I get some kind of rechargeable heated gilet to go with them. I just made that up, then googled it. Lo and behold, it does actually exist! On Amazon, of course.
EMERGENCY BUCKET HAT
Do not discount the bucket hat. It is a wet-weather hero. I keep one about my person at all times from around now until about May. It’s easier to carry than an umbrella and, unlike a hood, it won’t fall off your head if there’s a small breeze. You can just pop it in your pocket and you are covered if there is a shower. Your bucket should be nylon or waxed cotton to keep your hair dry. Let’s be honest, it’s our hair we worry about most when it comes to the rain, isn’t it? Just tuck it all into your hat. Job done.
I’ve had a lot of calls to do a winter coat edit. Is it too soon? Or would you rather boots next week? Or maybe a mix of the two? Or even dresses? Let me know. I’m veering towards Autumn dresses myself.