This springtime I'm feeling the need to be crisp and smart.
One of the ideas I really liked in Sue Donnelly's lovely book Feel Fab at 50 was that of coming up with a new word for each year, to sum up the feeling you want to gain that year from your clothes and personal style.
Last year I was feeling cuddly, and I chose a soft colour scheme, with lots of pink in my clothes and in my bedroom, etc. It played into a need for femininity I felt last year, and I very much enjoyed wearing it.
This year It's taken me a while to think of my word for 2012, but I've decided, finally, that it's CRISP. That's what I want to be this season: crisper, cleaner, smarter, more pulled-together. I have in my mind navy blazers, Breton tees, polka-dot dresses and clean white shirts: summer in the sunshine by the sea in Brittany.
Because I'm going to be crisp, I've decided that my base colour will be navy. This is a less harsh colour than black, but just as smart, and I've already dyed quite a lot of my clothes navy over the past few years. This will be followed by white, grey, black, stone, beige and other shades of blue. And after that, pale pink, primrose, soft shades of aqua, and scarlet. The overall look I'm aiming for is quite coastal and fresh, but also comfortable and easy to wear. Brown, green and khaki will be banished from my wardrobe altogether, along with anything grungy or hippyish. As I get older and more haggard, I am definitely feeling the need to look smarter, though not in any way formal.
I am not a great lover of patterns, so I'll restrict myself to stripes and polka dots (I don't generally find I wear many other patterns in any case). I'm too short for checks other than quarter-inch gingham, and florals other than one colour on white leave me a bit cold. Maybe the odd dress can be floral, as these aren't so dependent on other items.
Once again, when thinking of new items for this season, I've looked towards Lands' End, which has pretty much become my go-to brand these days and which has been having THE most stonking sale. I don't need pants this year: I already have jeans, navy jeggings, navy chinos, grey chinos and white capris, so to top them, I've ordered some striped 'sailor' tees and longer striped crewnecks in soft cotton. Back in November, when this idea was percolating, I also bought a navy and white striped tee from Armor-Lux - the most money I've ever paid for a teeshirt, by a very long chalk. And these long tunic tees from Lands' End, with pockets, are ideal for my life of slouching around the place, lugging my laptop from pillar to post.
The two jackets pictured are Lands' End canvas field jackets. I bought one for the DH earlier this year, and just fell in love with its soft, thick brushed fabric. So this pale one and navy one, both with chocolate corduroy details, will do me as casual popovers (£15 each, reduced from £50). As a town coat I already have a navy Burberry polocoat and my navy blazer, and for the seaside - which we visit whenever we can - I've plumped for mineral yellow as a colour accent, in a lightweight parka, down jacket and wellies.