Kicking up your granny heels…

It is with some trepidation that Jane and Beryl open the dressing up box this week on the delights of what the fashion pundits have named 'Granny chic.' While there is no denying that many grannies are indeed chic, it is the dressing up box where most of the accoutrements of this style are to be found: Dame Edna glasses, bits of old lace and fur, ancient handbags of a style not seen since God was a girl, marcasite jewellery, small hats… Can the Woman Of A Certain Age really pull this look off, without looking well, simply granny? Perhaps, if a few guidelines are taken on board. And naturally, Jane and Beryl love nothing more than a dressing up box…

Here we have Auntie Beryl humming Do Re Me from the Sound of Music in a vintage dress obviously made from the playroom curtains (£55). Now Jane and Beryl can hear you muttering, they know that you are saying, "If I try this it would certainly be more granny than chic," but bear with. Granny Chic has certain advantages: firstly, you can wear your strange old eccentric clothes and get away with it, and secondly, you can combine them in new ways which will make your friends and daughters think you have a new wardrobe. The trick in Beryl and Jane's humble opinion is not to overdose on the vintage. Here, our Beryl is wearing the floral frock with a this season's bright orange jacket from Precis, which she stalked until she found it on sale for £75. The shoes are Karen Millen and cost £125. Pricey, she knows, but so glamourous that she is singing a happy tune. Other items are a second hand Mulberry belt £60, and charity shop basket for £5.

Jane's take on Granny Chic is a veritable cornucopia of rag-bag items. The skirt is by Mark Williamson  and was £15 from Age UK in Alresford, Hampshire (they have a very fine class of charity shop there). She has put it with an Esprit vest top (£9 in the sale last year), an M&S jacket (Beryl's cast off), granny boots from Jones the Bootmaker, also in the sale about three years ago, and a mock croc handbag picked up in New Zealand, however unlikely that is, accessorised with her actual granny's scarf. Rock on Granny Grace!

In non Granny Chic times Beryl thinks that this Paul Smith suit which she bought second-hand for £150, is a bit much when worn together, and therefore tends to wear it as separates: however, this is its sartorial moment, as houndstooth is a major player in this trend. Here, she is wearing it with a genuine Hermes scarf which she found in a second-hand clothing warehouse for £1.50, and red LK Bennett heals, (they are her only little weakness).

Jane has always rather favoured the Land Girl look, circa 1943 (in fact, she has the whole outfit tucked away complete with hat and genuine enamel badge, but we won't go into that just now), and this outfit has something of that vibe about it. The trousers came from Daisy May in Frome and were cut from an original 1920s pattern, all for £20. The blouse was from Top Shop and has lovely lacy eccentric sleeves, and the jacket was a startling bargain at £70 reduced from £200 at Cadogan, Winchester: it is the epitome of Granny Chic.

Beryl is channeling a cross between the French resistance, and her favourite royal, Princess Margaret. The dress, which was £22, came from The Gallery in Penzance and has slip dress qualities but with more coverage. The pink coat, which has beaded sleeves, came from Poot in Frome for £40. The velvet shoes (£17) were a winter purchase but are the perfect colour with the dress. Granny Chic is all about mixing sumptuous textures. Beryl will of course ditch the pink 1960's Jaeger beret and the scarf the moment that she escapes Jane's clutches, making the whole outfit wearable for normal people. All items were second-hand including charity shop bag £3.50.


Jane is trying to look winsome in her Libelula dress bought at a much-reduced price in a sale, and Orla Keily bag (half price also in a sale). She bunged on her usual plimsoles, a wooly pully and lace gloves which are also a relic from an elderly relation which she can't bring herself to get rid of (too sentimental by half, says Beryl, about rubbishy bits of tat).

And to cap it all, Jane tries to get the whole pyjamas-as-outerwear look under her belt: can she really take tea in the drawing rooms of Hampshire dressed like this? These traditional silk PJs were £50 in a local sale, and Jane says, frankly, she doesn't give a damn what they look like, they're the most comfortable outfit on the planet.

This outfit was inspired by a genuine elderly lady who Beryl spied outside a block of flats with her zimmer frame clearly waiting for a mini-bus. She was wearing a flowery shirt with checked trousers and Beryl thought she looked rather fetching and fashionable. The blazer came from the Top Shop sale rail for a tenner, and is a colour only found in 1960's blancmange packets. Jane thinks it is hideous but Beryl is rebelling and taking no notice. Here, Beryl is wearing it with a gorgeous bit of Top Shop £35, a blouse with shooting stars and Zara checked trousers £29. To convince members of the public that she meant to wear this concoction and that it wasn't just a senior moment, she has teamed it with her Karen Millen shoes: viva Granny Chic.

1 comment

  1. Loving the cerise pink Princess Margo look! Keep the beret.X





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