Well I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely felt the temperature drop dramatically over the last few days and there’s a real nip in the air.
Autumn is here.
But I’m not complaining as this current interlude between summer ending and autumn beginning is one of my favourite times of the year. When the skies are blue but the days are crisp, misty and fresh. When you can crunch through the fallen leaves while that warm winter sun shines down on you – it’s kind of magical.
And of course I can’t deny I’m pretty excited to start dressing for the new season too. As much as I’ll miss that one item outfitting rule that summer allows (especially in my preggo state when summer smock dresses have been all I’ve lived in), I really do love to layer. There’s something so satisfying about bundling up in giant cosy knits, bobbled hats and winter coats (although I am yet to tackle this with a baby bump so you may find me rectifying my opinion on that soon), at least until it gets to that bitterly cold stage when you have to layer so much you resemble the Michelin Man. So if the rain could just stay away, and these bright blue skies and crisp frosty mornings could stick around, I’d be one – well layered – happy girl.
For me, when the seasons hint at turning and the streets begin to become lined with red and brown leaves, my first thoughts fashion wise are always towards a new pair of winter boots (mainly for the satisfaction of being able to trample through the leaves and puddles without a care in the world). I don’t think I’m alone in this either – a good pair of boots are probably high on everyone’s list for the cold weather season – and unlike other shoe purchases, practicality probably becomes quite a big factor in this shopping decision. I’ve had various winter boots over the years, but generally I’ve found that the ones which have lasted me more than just one season and really been able to work across all walks of my life, have been those which are made from good quality leather, come in a classic (wear with anything) shape, and are able to work for both day and night seamlessly. These include classic black Chelsea boots, lace up biker boots and even block heel suede knee highs.
Marks and Spencer is always a go – to in the winter boot search, and being such a classic British brand it’s no surprise they know a thing or two about designing footwear that can really hold it’s own against a fearsome British winter. These days with all of us being so very busy, our footwear generally does have to work that bit harder and items which can easily be worn all day in comfort and still look stylish enough come evening, always rank pretty highly for me.
M&S believe that their autumn winter boot collection does just that, and to prove it they are challenging women from all walks of life to don a pair for a regular day in their lives and see just how far the humble pair of boots can take them. I was pretty chuffed to be asked to get involved and decided on these slightly grungy buckle tie flat biker boots. Different to anything else I had in my wardrobe and hoping that their flat yet sturdy shape and stylish patent design would carry me through winter, even with a growing baby belly and aching back, I was excited to try them out.
Day – the Frill Neck Knit
Being self employed, my working life rarely follows anything close to a routine (something I lament weekly). I never know what my schedule for the week is going to be until it actually begins, and on any given day I can find myself doing anything from working in a clients office all day, to pounding the streets of London for back to back events, to climbing on top of chairs at home to get the perfect food shot. It’s varied, it’s challenging, no two days are ever the same, and I love it. But it definitely is tiring and I do find the constant juggling act difficult at times. On extremely busy days, I can find myself out all day, jetting from place to place, trying to fit existing work projects in with sourcing new ones and meeting new people, and then often heading straight out to meet GB or friends in the evening. So of course, if I can make a minimal outfit change and keep the same shoes on for every task, it sure does help.
If I had to pick an average working day (and probably the ones I like best) it would include working from home for at least part of the day. I know it’s not for everyone, but I definitely find myself most productive in my own environment and I’m generally pretty disciplined when it comes to getting up and getting going in the mornings. I like my own little home office, the peace and quiet it provides and the fact that I can potter through to the kitchen to make a cup of tea when I need a break from the computer screen. I won’t lie, my working from home uniform can often be pretty lax, and comfort comes first. But sometimes, things come up at the last minute or I’ll need to pop out without much notice, so I generally try and find an outfit that is both easy and comfy for sitting at my desk, and polished enough that I can head straight out in a hurry (or just answer the door to the postman without looking like a total hobo).
For autumn I reckon that’s going to include a lot of knitwear, and right now (as jeans are proving tricky) I’m teaming my knits with high waisted skirts that still work with a bump. The Victoriana trend is going strong right now, and personally I love it. From the frilly blouses to the flared sleeve shirts and roll neck sweaters, there’s lots of ways to tackle it and this ribbed jumper with frill neck and sleeves from M&S is a subtle way to take on the trend and makes great cosy, comfy work wear. I wore it with one of one of my go-to floaty midi skirts and of course my new biker boots. The boots made sure that this outfit continued working when the heavens opened and I was kept cosy against the chill in this jumper.
When I feel myself starting to lose motivation at home, I force myself to go out and get some fresh air. Sometimes just a small change in scenery and an hour or so answering emails from a cafe can make all the difference to your mood. I’m lucky that my local area has plenty of cute cafes and deli’s so I never have to venture far to find a hot drink and a chocolate brownie. One of my favourites right now is the Deli at 80 on Stroud Green Road, and when the sun is shining, sitting at one of their outdoor tables people watching is a great way to take a break.
Night – the Velvet Slip Dress
After a morning working from home, my afternoon might involve going into town for a meeting, event or to meet up with some fellow bloggers or even heading in to the office of one of my freelance jobs. If I’ve got something on in the evening I’d rarely head back home first, so usually either need an outfit I can wear all day, or something where I can change a few pieces to create a whole new outfit for evening.
These days I’d say me and partying are on a bit of a break as ever since I got pregnant, I can honestly say I’ve probably not seen a time later than 11 pm. It’s tiring this growing a human malarkey, so evening socialising is limited to dinner and a few (soft drinks) as I struggle to hold a conversation because I’m dreaming of bed, or occasionally a cinema date night with GB when we’re feeling especially adventurous. I know – we’re so rock and roll.
This does mean however that my evening wear doesn’t need to be quite as dressy as it might have been in the past. I’m clinging on to a few pairs of comfy heels that I can still handle, but generally it’s flats all the way to combat the back ache and my pretty tulle skirts and fitted dresses have been relegated to the back of the wardrobe until such time when I no longer feel like a beached whale.
But that doesn’t mean that I want to go out feeling like I haven’t made any effort, and so I’ve been seeking looser items that still feel trendy. You probably don’t need me to tell you that velvet is THE fabric of the season and it’s cropping up in everything from dresses to coats to boots. This velvet slip dress caught my eye almost as soon as I spotted it on the M&S website, and despite me worrying about the lack of waist situation, this loose midi shape is actually super roomy for bump while still feeling really luxurious. I wore it over that flared sleeve blouse of mine again (that I’m kind of loving – didn’t I tell you I’d team it with a slip dress next?) and I think the juxtaposition of the luxe velvet with the grunge style of the boots, works really well.
These boots proved exactly the type of everyday footwear that I love – comfy enough to wear for a busy day of running around without having to compromise on looking stylish. I think the patent look and the abundance of detail with the buckles and zips makes them that bit dressier and means they don’t look out of place with glamourous dress or skirt, while still working alongside more casual pieces.
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Are you on the hunt for a new pair of winter boots? What style will you be going for this season?
This post was kindly sponsored by Marks and Spencer, but as always all words, styling and outfit choices are my own.