April 26, 2011 § Leave a comment
I hope you enjoyed the first part of my current ‘Spring-cleaning’ your wardrobe series; a light-hearted insight into caring for your clothes from shoes upwards. If you haven’t yet read the first part, check it our here. We’ve covered boot, shoes and other now the spotlight’s on hosiery. We’re talking all garments worn on your feet and legs encompassing leggings, socks, stockings and tights!
The easiest way to avoid hosiery depreciation – according to various tight manufacturers – is to handle with care. Some suggest washing bags and protective gloves as a precautionary measure! Realistically, who has time to handle hoisery gently, I know I don’t. Usually my mornings are spent desperately seeking out a pair of tights that A. Don’t have any holes in the crotch B. Don’t have ladders which are far beyond the realms of a coat of clear nail varnish and C. Oh, so I now have NO tights. Great. I decided to sort out my tight/sock drawer to avoid these morning issues and use the extra time to tend to my blooming flowers. Yep, Im growing flowers in my room which will eventually (if they continue to grow) be replanted into bigger vessels and displayed beautifully on my window sill just in time for Summer. If anyone knows where I might find rustic terracotta, possibly chipped, round plant pots please let me know! So that’s what i’ll be doing instead of searching for a pair of matching socks. What will you do with the extra time in the morning??
I began by sorting through a mountain of colours & an array of patterns and discovered that a serious scale-down was in order. Im getting rid of any garishly printed socks as they have no use for me now. I don’t need to consult my socks to determine the day of the week, whether or not I’ve ‘popped my cherry’ or for anyone else to discover who my favourite cartoon character is. Leave those numbers for nearby Dads!!
I’ve kept 3 pairs of trainer socks for exercise, which I have been partaking in a lot of late since joining Edinburgh City Bootcamps which I can highly recommend to anyone keen on fast fitness and renewed motivation! I also kept 3 pairs of short socks (ranging from grey t0 black in shade), 4 pairs of knee high socks (grey, navy, black, orange), 3 quirky pairs (black lace, black fishnet, white with lace trim) and 5 pairs of 100 denier tights. I’ve figured that if I don’t do any washing for 2 weeks, I’m covered. What will I do with the socks which didn’t qualify I hear you say? I’ll be keeping a few odd socks for dusting purposes – they are brilliant because you can simply pop them over your hand and clean an array of surfaces – fits like a glove! The rest I’ll pop into my local clothing bank as well as keeping 1 pair of inadequate tights for daylight robbery AKA driving lessons, train journeys, petrol etc…
I did come across one useful tip to take into consideration when caring for your tights, “do not dry on or near direct heat” ie the radiator, something which I have always done because I love the feeling of putting on warm tights in the morning, this is a habit I’m willing t kick if it means one less pair of tights to replace! With socks, the key is to put them into their pairs as soon as they’re dry so you don’t end up with mismatched pairs, if this is something you can’t favthom you might want to consider purchasing THROX, the foolish idea from Edwin Heaven, “if tyres come with a spare, why not socks?” Hmmmm. Moving away from pratticalities and back to practicalities – socks and tights are supposed to be folded as opposed to tied in a knot, the elasticity becomes weaker when using this method so it’s not advisable!! There you have it.
If you have nothing left to wear on your feet it might just be time to invest in some beautiful new leg-wear. With tights you definitely get what you pay for, I find they hold their elasticity for longer, remain opaque and snag-free and don’t end up around your ankles. I would recommend John Lewis’s own brand of 80-100 denier* tights but having recently splashed out on Wolford’s 80 denier matt opaque tights there’s no going back. I have washed and washed those bad boys and they truly remain perfect – walk away from the £2 multi pack, you’ll not regret it! On the web, my personal favourites are Henry Holland’s new fringed hold-ups, Asos’s mildly unwearable yet confusingly satisfying tabaco tights and Jonathan Aston’s sweet rose anklets.
*Denier: Technically denier relates to the weight or thickness of the yarn from which the tights are woven. The lower the denier the sheerer the appearance and the more likely the material will snag. Denier ranges from ultra sheer (10 denier) to mega thick opaque (don’t think that’s the exact technical term) which is 100 denier and my personal denier of choice!. Tights are functional as well as asethically pleasing. Nope, not only do they serve the purpose of hiding hairy, white or bruised legs but they keep you cool, warm and can even make you slim! Wayhey! Look out for Scala Bio-Fir leggings and tights which claim to slim hips and thighs by as much as an inch and are available in John Lewis.
April 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
Inspiration is all around us and can be found in the most unlikely places, but sometimes it’s nice to recreate a look that’s right in front of you. I am particularly fond of this outfit because it can be so easily compiled using your existing wardrobe – which is what I’m all about! Bring together city shorts, a lace vest top or body, granny chic socks & ANY heels and a piece of wide ribbon or a chiffon scarf tied in a bow for your hair. Add some chunky accessories and wallah! If you have a plain wooden chunky bracelet why not paint your own design. The most unique aspect of this outfit is obviously the silk printed jacket which can be recreated using a short dressing gown or bed jacket – and if this is something you don’t have hanging around I found some here and here. Quick, quick, quick though as bidding ends soon! Another perfectly feasible idea might be to use a 100% silk men’s short sleeve printed shirt, something like this one! Using sharp scissors, start cutting from the hem of the shirt up button stand (about 2″ in), up and around the neck (removing the collar) and finally down the other side (cutting of the buttons). If said shirt doesn’t belong to you, just nip in at the waist using a safety pin and tuck the collar underneath. There’s a chance of course that your experimentation might go horribly wrong and you’ll end up somewhere between Miami Vice and Hawaii Five-O,- neither of which should ever be considered inspiring – but it’s worth a try! I may just have to try this myself and post a demonstration… Good Luck!
April 15, 2011 § 2 Comments
All this talk of another recession – mere months after the last one – has us shaking in our boots. So its high time we learnt how to make our boots last a lot longer with some tender love & care. This series of posts will be sourced from various books, websites & Grans (as well as using my own noggin) and neatly compiled into easy to read and hopefully enjoyable posts! Enjoy Part 1, I’m starting with shoes and working upwards to hats. Hopefully just in time for the royal wedding, if anyone’s lucky enough to be invited. Although I’d imagine a new hat would be required for such an occasion. Nevertheless, on we go.
Your shoes are stacked up high at the bottom of a cupboard, yeah? Thrown carelessly under the bed? Uh-huh. They’ve seen better days, right? This post is for you.
I have decided to get all my winter boots re-heeled this year, before stowing them away. It would be a great idea to have your boots fit and ready for next Autumn/Winter as you’re less likely to go straight out and new a new pair when the time comes. If your boots are losing height or flapping at the soles no DIY job will do, I’ve tried super strength shoe glue but their just ain’t no gripping! Take them to someone in the know. Now Timpson’s will do this effortlessly and there’s probably one on every street but try to find a local independent cobbler. However, if your boots are just looking a wee bit shoddy then a home-job will surpass. Begin with a good polish. Look for the correct colour tone and remember, shoe polish IS NOT a cleaning product so make sure your boots are pristine and dry as a bone before continuing! If you’re low on polish I’ve been told that banana peel can have the same effect. Also a useful alternative for yellow shoes, no? Seriously, if you do need yellow, shoe polish is now available in an array of colours. Once you’ve vigorously rubbed (easy) the polish over your shoes, allow to dry on newsprint then buff with a clean dry cloth. If your forearms are throbbing, you’ve done a good job. Stuff your boots with newsprint and store away in shoe boxes. Follow the same routine with your high heels and don’t leave it too late – the ‘crunch, crunch’ as you walk into a swanky bar is not attractive. I am guilty of this nonetheless.
Trainers, plimsolls and fabric based shoes are wonderful because you can simply throw them in a pillowcase and into the washing machine at 30 degrees. Take out the laces first and wash separately otherwise they’ll tangle around the shoes and fray, but if you’ve made this mistake already – tut-tut – not to worry, just pop in a fresh pair of laces for a nice ol’ change or some pretty ribbon. Burn the ends to stop them fraying, but please be careful!!
Next. What’s the point in having beautifully shiny shoes if they smell like crap inside… Use some lemon and bicarbonate soda, just kidding, don’t. Really. Otherwise your hard work vigorously polishing shoes will result in a foamy, lemony mess headed for the bin. The real shoe fresher in question has changed my life for the better and can be found here. I won’t spoil the surprise, but let’s just say all your shoe related bowling alley wishes will come true…
Did I forget anything? If you have any er, shoe related queries… please don’t hesitate to contact me!
April 14, 2011 § 2 Comments
I stumbled upon some interesting footwear while researching for the previous post:
April 7, 2011 § Leave a comment
Today I decided enough was enough. I’m through with winter and the hats, gloves, scarves and coats it has entailed. No longer will we cover our perfectly put together outfits with a big winter coat. The sun is shining and surely three days of wearing sunglasses in a row is as good an indication as any that Summer is here baby!! Plus, I saw a bee only yesterday, a sure sign.
Does everyone endure the yearly ritual of ousting winter apparel in favour of floral prints and playsuits, rattan and straw items deemed only suitable for Spring/Summer wearability?! I certainly do, and it’s jolly well exciting too. I reminisce over the life and times of each article as it’s placed neatly in drawers or suitably hung on vintage padded hangers. I feel like I’ve gained an entirely new wardrobe in a number of minutes. If you don’t partake in this systematic process, it’s time to begin! Trust me, as you nervously stow away the jumper that is definitely too thick for a warm summers day but might be suitably cosy around a camp fire – PUT IT AWAY, there are no ifs in this game. Think about how each piece has brought you joy, and PUT IT AWAY. You’ll feel better for it, forget about it and next year you’ll fall in love all over again. For example there’s the FAUX fur coat which I wore to death. It kept me warm on those cold and dark mornings and on one occasion got mild abuse from a passer-by in the street; “fur kills animals”. Erm… I think you’ll find firstly, that im not wearing real fur, and secondly that fur does not kill animals. No idea. Then there’s the collar, my one true love… I am cautious about stowing away this beauty, but over-worn is an understatement. There’s no point wasting valuable wardrobe space for items that probably wont be worn until the fist hint of snow, which in all honesty could be next week. Fingers crossed that isn’t the case.
Storage is key here so you may want to invest in vacuum pack bags or simply utilise an old trunk. And don’t use black bin liner – they are THE worst idea for both storage and transportation!! They take up huge amounts of pace and look bloody awful and can be mistaken for rubbish, which is what they’re for. So don’t use them, and I’ll tell you why… As I was heading back down to Uni after a Summer at home, I’d left all the bags I wanted to be packed away in the car at the top of the stairs for my Dad to move. The car was so full I had to leave a number of things behind which was rather annoying! Anyway, we arrived in Glasgow and began unpacking the car and I spotted a bin liner and a box which I didn’t recognise. It turned out to be utter rubbish, not belongings that were unessential in my new abode but literally RUBBISH! We’d driven 400 odd miles with rubbish that had taken up valuable space in the car. Ridiculous.
So, begin by packing away thick WOOLLEN CLOTHING ie jumpers, polo-necks, winter-knits, cardigans, knitted hotpants? They were around for a bit, no? It’s best they’re at the bottom so that the other items squash them flat. Aha. Next, pack away any LEATHER CLOTHING which you definitely won’t be wearing at the height of (a very sweaty) Summer! I have leather trousers, a skirt and shorts which will be sorely missed but i’ll have the pleasure of them next winter. Keep the leather jacket though! You may also want to put away any PRINTS such as brocade, tartan or anything that’s more suited to Christmas parties etc… Lastly pack away accessories such as scarves, winter hats, gloves, ear-warmers, muffs, ski-bands, thick legwarmers/tights. Obviously if you own any FUR garments, chuck em’ in there too! I tend to pack away very sparkly accessories too, which are more suited to Christmas time. Pop a couple of lavender bags in there to keep the moths at bay and you’re all set.
Of course it’s brilliant to have a wardrobe which takes you season through season and from day to night, but I pack away my things mostly for the excitement of opening them up again next year.
Is it too early to fish out my flip-flops? Yes, yes it is.
Next post: A guide to looking after your clothes…