Town and country checks
Checks have a bit of a checkered history...

 One of Beryl's schoolfriend's mothers used to amuse her self in church by calculating the size of her fellow worshipers bottoms: this was achieved by counting the number and size of the checks across their generous posteriors. But this season, checks have dusted off their frumpy old image and are officially fun. Jane and Beryl have hit the high street and the country lanes to explore the ways in which the WOACA (Woman Of A Certain Age) can sport a check. 

As we know, life is not easy for the middle-aged fashionista. Dress in classic clothes and shapes and you are accused of being 'frumpy', dress in 'trendy' fashion conscious clothes and you are accused of 'trying too hard', try to shave off a few years and you're labelled 'mutton dressed as lamb'.

Here, Beryl has tried to confuse everyone, by 'mixing it up', fashion speak for wearing things that do not really go together. This involves pattern clashing, (paisley top and checked jacket) and sticking a posh jacket with jeans and boots. Trying not to co-ordinate your clothes is a bit like trying to playing draughts backwards and certainly a challenge to those raised on matching handbags and shoes. The jacket is from Laura Ashley and came via the charity shop for £15. Beryl rather likes it, but only wears it with jeans as it suddenly goes a bit Barbara Woodhouse when worn with a skirt. The jeans are Denim and Supply ($98) by Ralph Lauren and the red block heel boots are (£79) from Zara.  

Jane loves to have her moment on the city streets pretending to be a bone fide urbanite. She is wearing her bargain check jacket from last season (£70 reduced from £200, Cadogan in Winchester, nice lining and detailing), with her green M&S trousers (as seen in Vogue) also from last season which were complimented thrice on this particular shopping trip, what a bargain at £45!

This cape comes from Joules and costs £245. How much! screamed our experienced but somewhat bemused shoppers. It is fair to say that Jane and Beryl do not really get the Joules vibe, beloved apparently of a young country set, but for £245 they would like something noticeably better quality. 
Beware the fake fur collar where no fake fur should be: they cannot disguise a rather dull item.

Jane and Beryl ventured into Jigsaw in their usual trepidatious way (it's all grungy colours and over-enthusiastic vendeuses). However, they were pleasantly surprised: the assistants kept themselves to themselves, and the merchandise was on better form than usual. Jane found this check pea coat and began to practice languidly sitting on a button back - only the glass of champagne is missing. A bit pricey at £198, and Jane was not enthusiastic enough to part with her filthy lucre, but a nice nipped in shape, if a bit itchy on the neck (often an issue with wool).

Searching for a check dress, Jane and Beryl found many and varied options all cut on the pinafore line. They were not at all keen: every one required way too much commitment for the menopausal duo and made them feel hot just to look at them, especially this one from Hobbs which couldn't have been made of thicker woollier fabric if it had still been the fleece on the sheep.

Jane is not looking any happier with this coat from LK Bennett: for its price tag of £350, Jane couldn't get excited about its bag shape and washed out colour, and just wanted to go home. On this occasion, Beryl agreed and was happy to venture into the countryside to try out checks from hers and Jane's wardrobe there. You can take the girl out of Shropshire... as the saying goes. 

Beryl is trying her hardest here to fulfil her friend's bucolic fantasy and pose on a style. Ok the style was about two miles away and not even Beryl is prepared to ponse about the English countryside in a pink tutu, so a gate had to do.                                            
Beryl has been lusting after a tutuesque skirt ever since she spied the Valentino advertisement. 
This one is from Aspire and cost £49. The purple checked jacket is from Droopy and Brown (long gone) and cost a full seven quid in Save The Children and the cherry Hunters hailed from the Chelsea Flower Show one very cold May. Yes Jane and Beryl know that sensible grown up women across the nation are probably saying 'really who would wear that?' but we know who, and she is going for a walk with a cat.

Digging deep, Jane found that she had once, not so very long ago, over dosed on check shirts (and this from a woman who NEVER wears shirts - they look strange about the neck area). Top Shop did a fine range and Jane had this feeling that they were somehow making her look 10 years younger: while that was clearly wishful thinking, what they did achieve was a good inter seasonal option which can be layered up or down and so are great in the eternal search for something to wear which is cool enough when the temperature is a freezing but Jane is still hot.

Here Beryl has popped into a lovely plaid bodice made by Marsha at Velvet Rose in Whitchurch, Hampshire, which she is wearing with her £40 knife pleat culottes from Miss Sugar. As the colder weather approaches she plans to wear this with a white shirt.
Cheltenham Tote Bag, Crew £99.

1 comment

  1. And never wear checks in church has stayed with me ever since. Judi





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