Do Not Adjust Your Set:
 Jane and Beryl in Black and White

Every year those boffins at the Ministry of Fashion try and sell us black and white in some shape or form, and this year is no different. There are, however, notable pitfalls: Beryl was once decked out in a very expensive monochrome outfit at a wedding, only to be mistaken by a fellow guest for a waitress. White shirts and black skirts are therefore probably best left to choirs. Also, too graphic black and white stripes or patterns can be a little hard edged on the Woman of A Certain Age and migraine inducing 

This jumpsuit was bought in a sale for £99, from Fifi & Moose in Newbury, and has a lovely Studio 54 vibe. Beryl often wears it on aeroplanes to hot climes, so not that often then really. This item is remarkably versatile; here it is shown with a linen M&S jacket which was £59 last year, gold sandals from Miss KG, and a J Crew wicker clutch bag which was a present. It is also sometimes worn with a black jacket option and also looks good with a colour pop card and shoes.     

Jane is loving Beryl's jumpsuit and is feeling envious of her many versions when she has none of her very own… However, making the best of things, here she is in a voluminous Nana Mouskuri top from a local boutique (about £45 if memory serves, which it probably doesn't). It is great when the weather warms up though, and has the cut out shoulder so beloved of the designers this season. She is wearing it with Oasis black, white and grey trousers which came via Debenhams some time ago, and white Converses. 


Still in the land of the baggy top, Beryl is sporting snow leopard print accessorised with a black dog. This sorts out the what to wear to the pub on a Friday night sort of slot in her life. It was £35 and came from Mash in Penzance. Here, it is worn with snakeskin LK Bennett shoes (£120 in the sale), and the Russell and Bromley handbag was £25 second hand, and comes out every summer. Beryl's husband, who is internationally renowned for his fashion sense, maintains that snake should not be worn with leopard, but as you see,  Beryl is not losing any sleep over it. 

 This shirt is quite elderly in Jane's wardrobe and has had many incarnations: with jeans, with white trousers… This time round she is wearing it over a dress to show off the lovely laciness of the thing. It came from Mint Velvet and was about £69; the dress is even more elderly and came from Ghost circa 2000. At £120 Jane was staggered by the price at the time but cost per wear, it has been brilliant. 

These spotty trousers have been a tour de force in Beryl's closet. They cost £60 and came from Banana Republic. These are worn with all colours of the rainbow, and trot off to all sorts of events with high shoes, exhibit A, or comfy flats. A good vest top is hard to find and this one came from In Town for £25: it has lots of elastane, which helps reduce the lumps and bumps. The spotty necklace, £15, came from a craftshop, and is one of the most frequently worn pieces in Beryl's jewellery box. Jane and Beryl both think that the key to monochrome dressing is to avoid the predictable wedding guest dress in favour of workable separates. 

Despite an increasingly high wind, Jane was determined to rock the St Tropez look, and continued to mince about her garden looking like an extra from My Fair Lady. The wild hat is a Patricia Underwood from Fenwick's in 1994 (the year of Four Weddings and a Funeral); the off-the-shoulder top was £10 from River Island in Winchester, sadly no more, and the trousers were £17 from Zara. Stripy, with a rope belt, they are possibly the widest trousers in the world, but also the most fabulous. 

This is Beryl's budget outfit. The black top is second-hand Anne Klein, and cost £25 from the House of  Galet in Winchester's Molly's Den. The Monsoon skirt, which follows this season's sheer trend, was a whole £5 from the magnificent Red Cross, who work in all war zones. The shoes, which are two-tone with an ankle strap, look really expensive but were £15 in an M&S sale (who knew that such lovely things could be found in an M&S sale). This entire ensemble cost £45, pretty good going, Beryl thinks, who is also eccentrically wearing her reading glasses on her head. 

Jane, in yet another cut-out shoulder top, which Beryl and Jane think are great on a Woman of A Certain Age as they reveal a bit of wrinkle-free flesh. This inexpensive one is in a black marl stretchy fabric and came from a  local boutique, and as it has a sleeve, it covers up Jane's dodgy arms too: win win all round. She is wearing it with Citizens of Humanity white jeans bought in a sale (perhaps £60 or £70). 


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