Tulip Garden, by Beryl White MFA

Jane and Beryl are champing at the bit to ditch anything elasticated and wear some actual joyous, grown up, mood-enhancing, lady-person clothes. You remember those, garments with cuffs, buttons and linings and hems.  Spring is in the air, with its promise of better times to come, and our gals are grabbing any signs of positivity from crocuses to brightly coloured dresses, bought from, 'the world-wide-web', as Jane so quaintly insists on calling it, and now from real life shops on a real life high street. 

Dress, £43, Ghost (sale), boots, M&S, £72

Jane only really loves to shop on-line from her old favourites, and this is no exception as it hails from Ghost. Their charming virtual sale rail is usually full of XS and very little else, so imagine Jane's excitement when she found an L. She instantly ordered it... even though it was the dreaded shirt waister which makes her look like Sponge Bob ie. square. Of course, it was a mistake and had to  go back, but full of springiness all for £43.

Kitty Midi dress £119 and pink Cassie espadrilles £80, both Boden 

Cue Beryl's shameless raid of the Boden catalog, no wonder Jonny Boden says hello personally when she logs in. Beryl and Jane reckon that most women, by the time they are fifty-something, have worked out which dress shapes suit them, and what they like to wear.  Beryl will nail her colours to the flag here, for she is a stumpy little hourglass, who likes a shirtdress. If you are in any doubt about your shape, or indeed your shape has changed, there is a great website called The Concept Wardrobe that helps determine your body shape and offers marvellous little silhouettes to keep you on the straight and narrow. 

The eye likes balance, so our Bezza looks her best  in a very voluminous shirt-waister. This dress is made from 100 per cent sustainable cotton, and wonder of wonder sits on her natural waist. She has ordered the other pattern way and is eyeing a third, if Jane does not restrain her in a half Nelson, first.   

Shirt, £55, Ghost (sale), trousers, £80, Ghost (sale), jacket, pre-loved £25

Once again as 2021 dawns ('We're actually a quarter of the way through it, Jane,' huffs Beryl. 'But we haven't written a blog since I don't know when,' retorts Jane, 'isn't this our first one of the year?'), Jane is trying to rein in her natural shopping urges and buy only second hand or sustainable kit. Last year, she had a modicum of success and only purchased six new items all year (smug face). This year, hmm, with all the restrictions on life in general, maybe this all time top score for Jane will not be beaten. However, she's off to a pretty good spring start by shopping her own wardrobe. Here, she finds her Ghost sale items - trousers and shirt - look rather spiffing with a really ancient pre-loved jacket. Get those clashing colours on the go, says Jane.

 Boden dress £140, espadrilles £85, charity shop belt £1

Dress as before, past season Alice Temperley jacket £150

You may have noticed a complete absence of norm -core on this blog, that is because Beryl and Jane have both desperately, tried being normal, wanted to be normal... but just cannot seem to manage it. Beryl and Jane's world is lit up by pattern and colour. Jane, as a child, was once given a hand me down camel coat, which precipitated a full on screaming, raging tantrum, as her mother tried to man-handle her into it.  So, no change there then. The very mention of camel still produces a similar effect.
In contrast, Beryl's second sortie into Mr Boden's charming catalog, has brought forth this item, a parrot festooned maxi dress, with matching parrot motif espadrilles. Women, Jane and Beryl have discovered largely fall into two camps, camels or parrots so to speak. 
 Mint Velvet linen blazer, sale rail £29,
Who'da thought that a pre-loved £7 Primark skirt could have given Jane so much joy? Beryl found it in a charity shop and gave it to Jane for a birthday at least seven years ago; surprise, surprise, these pleated maxis are all the thing again this season, and Jane has found a new use for it every year with a different jacket and shoes. It hasn't looked out of place at some surprisingly chic occasions too, namely Henley.
                             Jigsaw Trousers past season £98, Ivylee boots £55 sale Coat La-Season, Paris 


Like Jane, every spring Beryl has a good old rummage, stock take and rethink of her wardrobe. She loves this coat, but has struggled to find much to wear it with. Well, hello and thank you to the gods of style. Beryl bought these linen trousers from Jigsaw last summer and clearly failed to notice that they were the exact same colour as the, 'can't find anything to match it coat'. And they say women of over fifty are invisible!

Jumpsuit, £55, Ghost (sale)

Jane cannot believe it - in the year when there was no shopping to be had, she found the jumpsuit that actually fitted her! This has been a very long and increasingly desperate search, Jane isn't quite sure why, but there it is. And it's a wrap over, two things Jane never thought she'd achieve sartorially. Just goes to show, never say never.

Precis jacket of 8 years ago, worn with handmade trousers. 
Jane's sewing machine has been humming away all lockdown. Beryl is generally a very happy recipient of things that Jane makes. However, she is slightly suspicious that the pleasure Jane takes in this is a little bit like making clothes for her dolly. Jane's daughters it seems, have had one dancing mushroom costume too many, and told her where to get off. These trousers from last year are a triumph from Jane's sewing room. Made from Jane's Granny's 1950s fabric, they fit our Bezza a treat. Look at that pattern matching across Beryl's bottom, little wonder Jane made it through the first round of the Great British Sewing Bee!  


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