Spring-cleaning your clothes part 2: Hosiery help (tights, socks & stockings)

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.

Happy folding!

*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.

Spring cleaning your clothes: Part 1. Shoes, boots &

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!

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