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Fashion

How to do winter layering

14th June, 2020

The one thing I really love about winter dressing is the ability to layer different pieces for a warm and cosy look. I love experimenting with textures and big statement pieces such as a coat or boots to create an outfit that will easily withstand cooler temperatures without compromising on style. Effective winter layering requires consideration of the whole look from top to bottom including colours to avoid looking like you just threw on everything in your wardrobe! Over the years I’ve managed to refine my layering formula to a few key things…

Start with the basics

I always start with a cotton singlet or t-shirt underneath as a foundation especially if I’m going to wear a jumper or some sort of knit. Also I find wearing multiple lightweight layers provides ample warmth without your outfit feeling too bulky and cumbersome. I will always finish the look off with a big coat or jacket – this is a great opportunity to make a statement by opting for outerwear in a strong pattern or colour. If it’s especially cold outside I wear a big scarf, my favourite being an oversized Louis Vuitton scarf which makes for a nice (and warm) finishing touch. One thing to be mindful of when layering is to watch out for materials rubbing together, sometimes certain fabrics don’t work well against each other and can end up getting damaged or causing pilling.

Mix textures

One of the things I always do when it comes to winter layering is mixing different fabrics and textures. I find this adds a bit of depth to your look and helps to break it up. I normally do a cotton t-shirt, a knit and then I’ll do a wool coat or a leather jacket or denim jacket.

Choose a base colour

Great winter layering for me requires wearing similar tones. I might choose to go with various shades of grey or stick to neutral tones. If I’m wearing black I won’t do all black, I’ll actually add another piece such as a charcoal knit to help break up what I’m wearing. The same with camel colours – I might do beiges or cream and mix the tones up. Whilst I’ll play with various shades I’ll always ensure that there’s one base colour to ensure the whole look works together.

Finish with a great coat

The final finishing flourish of any winter look is a great coat. It’s easily one of the first things people see but it’s often relegated as an afterthought, so I’ve always tried to build up a few go-to coats throughout the cooler months. I always go for a statement coat, and then some plain, failsafe options in black, navy, cream or camel—I’ve found these to be so effective at finishing off a look, and also maintaining cohesion from top to bottom.

What are some of your tips for winter layering?
Fashion

How to care for your winter knits according to an expert

17th May, 2020

Penelope Cohen is the director and designer of Skin and Threads, the premium label that focuses on simple, polished basics and beautiful luxe knitwear. Now that winter is upon us and it’s time to start introducing our knits back into our wardrobe it’s important to master how to care for them to ensure they stay in pristine condition. Here Cohen shares her top tips for doing just that.

How should we store jumpers?

I always prefer to store my jumpers folded as it prevent them from stretching while on a hanger and becoming too big or misshapen. Discourage the moths by using moth balls or I prefer to fill a little cloth bag full of lavender which smells lovely and discourages the pests.

What are the best fabrics to go for?

I am a big believer in natural yarns.  They always feel the best and also have the best breathability. Merino wool, washes and wears beautifully as does cashmere if you treat it with a little bit of care.

How often should you wash jumpers and how?

Put simply, if it’s not dirty, don’t wash it. Air them on a clothes horse or spot clean them as much as you can rather than immersing them in water. It’s better for the yarn and of course a little friendlier on the environment. Oh – and always use a wool and cashmere specialised detergent in cold water when do you have to wash them!

How do you suggest we avoid pilling?

Pilling occurs when the fibres rub together and most commonly occurs under your arms, on the side where you wear your handbag or when you consistently wear your sweaters under jackets. For cashmere, this is a natural process and not necessarily a sign of poor quality. De-pill your sweaters gently by using a fine de-pilling comb. You should not have to de-pill it regularly and the pilling should settle down after a couple of washes.

Do you have a favourite jumper in your current collection?

Knitwear is my downfall… Our cashmere boyfriend is a classic but the navy funnel neck and matching mini is probably my favourite look for the season.

Which winter trends are you are loving at the moment?

Long line cardigans worn as your outer layer and of course mixing my silk blouses with my chunky knitwear and leather leggings is always a constant love.

Fashion

5 questions I always ask myself before buying anything

26th April, 2020

When I’m shopping for anything I always make sure that what I’m buying will be a worthwhile and practical addition to my wardrobe. Sounds easy enough, right? I’m the first to admit that in the past I’ve been guilty of buying something because I just like how it looks but have found that it hasn’t really worked with what I already own. There’s really no point wasting money on something that won’t necessarily be used all that much and will just end up gathering dust in my closet. I’m all about maximising the use of everything in my wardrobe and to ensure this happens there are five questions that I always ask myself before I even consider buying anything. By going through this mental checklist I’m sure I’ve saved myself from buyer’s remorse many times!

What will this go with?

It’s important that I can immediately think of a minimum of 10 pieces that I can pair a possible purchase with. And they have to be 10 pieces that I already wear a lot so I know that it will definitely have plenty of outings.

How can I dress it up or down?

Versatility is key when it comes to anything I own so I have to make sure that I can dress something up or down quite easily. I need to guarantee that I will get multiple wears out of it so it has to be able to have many outfit incarnations.

Is it going to last the test of time?

On trend pieces are great here and there but generally I always make sure that the bulk of my wardrobe is comprised of things that I can see myself wearing years down the track. Classics will always last so I can justify spending the money on it. Also with the question I consider whether it is suitable for work and when I’m off duty so I know how much wear I’ll realistically get from it.

Fabrication is a key consideration for me when making any purchase

Is it good quality?

I take into account what materials something is made from and how well it has been made. Construction is important as I don’t want to end up buying something and only wearing it a handful of times because it’s falling apart. Also quality materials such as cashmere or silk may cost a little more initially but it wears a lot better over time so I’m not having to replace a garment soon after buying it.

How many times will I wear it?

I always visualise how many times I’ll wear an item and how often but even more so when I’m thinking of buying something that’s a bit pricey. It’s all about cost per wear so I want to ensure that I’m getting value for my fashion dollar.

What’s the best purchase you’ve ever made?
Fashion, Shop

My trick for ensuring I always make a good purchase and avoid buyer’s remorse

18th April, 2020

Over the years I’ve done my fair share of shopping expeditions and as a result I’ve also walked away with buyer’s remorse a time or two (or ten). And as I hated the feeling so much it was something that I wanted to work on curbing. It’s a waste of money and I really hate the idea of something going unused because I just wasn’t 100 per cent sure about it. I need to ensure that I always make a good purchase whenever I shop.

I do most of my shopping online so I know how easy it can be to make an impulse purchase when you’re sitting at home, enjoying a glass of wine and trawling through your fave clothing site. When you’re looking at something in real life it’s easier to gauge whether it’s definitely something you’ll wear or if it’s just an of the moment item that will end up just spending its days gathering dust in the back of your wardrobe. When you’re shopping on screen it can be a little trickier as everything looks great when professionally photographed. This is why it’s often a good idea to research a potential purchase quite thoroughly before buying it as you’re often taking a slight leap of faith when you’re relying purely on what you’re seeing on a website.

Regret-free shopping is all about asking yourself the right questions

I often get asked my tips for shopping, particularly online shopping and without a doubt the biggest one is that I will leave something I am thinking of buying in my cart for 24 hours. For online shopping, the action of adding it to cart is enough to satisfy my shopping whim but by not buying it immediately I give myself enough time to think about whether I really want it or not. I apply a similar principal to shopping in real life which works just as well. Usually I’ll see something when I’m out shopping with the girls and I won’t try it on right away (mostly because have you ever tried to try something on with two kids in tow?) but instead I’ll leave it a day or two. If I’m still thinking about it I’ll go back on my own and try it on. However this gives me a bit of time to consider whether I really want it or it was just a fleeting interest.

My general rule is that if I’m still thinking about something the next day then it’s something I really want as opposed to just getting caught up in the moment. By delaying buying it it gives me time to research the item further. I suggest Googling what you’re thinking of purchasing and seeing what it looks like on other sites as sometimes the colour or texture can look really different. It also allows me to consider how it’s going to work with the rest of my wardrobe and ask myself the key questions I’ve told myself I need to ask before any purchase. If all the boxes are ticked then I know I’m making a good purchase.

Tell me—What are some of your favourite shopping tricks?  
Beauty, Fashion

Super quick styling tips to help you out of a fashion rut

5th April, 2020

There’s nothing worse than being faced with a wardrobe full of clothes and feeling like you have absolutely nothing to wear. The answer isn’t jumping online and ordering a new outfit to arrive by lunchtime (although that can sometimes be fun) it’s about learning to accessorise or rework items in your wardrobe to give them a fresh new feel. If this sounds familiar, here are some of my super quick styling tips to help you pull together a “new” outfit quicker than you can click add to cart. Your bank balance will certainly breathe a sigh of relief!

Choose a bold accessory

If my outfit is feeling a bit flat I find a great way to inject a bit more energy into it is by adding a bold accessory. You don’t always have to opt for a bag, you could also try a pair of eye-catching drop earrings or a layering a few necklaces (all faves of mine) to breathe some new like into an outfit you’ve worn time and again.

Roll it, tie it or cuff it

You can totally rejig an existing outfit with a few simple styling tweaks. For a tired pair of jeans try cuffing the bottom and pairing with a pair of bold flats or heels for a look that feels instantly fresher. You could try tying a button down shirt and pairing it with everything from a pair of shorts and skirt for an outfit that takes a classic look and makes it feel a little more undone. Or experiment with rolling your sleeves whether it be on a shirt, a dress or even a jacket to create an entirely new silhouette.

Add a touch of colour

Having fun with colour is one way to make an outfit feel new again. The best bit about this is that you can do it in so many different ways. You could work it into an outfit in a small way such as a pair of shoes in a standout shade. You could go all out and layer multiple hues of the same colour family like this, or choose one ultra bright colour to take centre stage such as the above look and keep the rest of your outfit a little more subdued to really let it pop.

Enlist the help of a scarf

I wrote about how scarves have become a favourite accessory of everyone from celebs to fashion and beauty bloggers late as they’re so versatile. You can fashion it into a headband, tie it around your neck or use it as a hair tie. Find one scarf in a vintage print and you’ll be able to revive many tired looks with it. Alternatively it also serves the extremely handy purpose of hiding dirty hair in a stylish way when you really can’t be bothered to wash it!

Polish your digits

It requires a bit more effort but painting your nails in a really bright colour can often make any outfit feel new. It also has the added benefit of giving you a more polished look overall. Give yourself a mani at the beginning of the week and watch it elevate your outfits for the next few days without you having to do anything at all.

Try a belt

You’ll be surprised at the sartorial power of a belt when it comes to reworking an existing look. An easy one is wearing a belt with an oversized buckle with jeans or a denim skirt for a look that plays into the current 90s trend. You could also try Olivia Palermo’s favourite styling trick of belting a jacket such as a blazer or coat.

What are some of your styling hacks for getting out of a wardrobe rut?

Fashion, Lifestyle

How to declutter your wardrobe

26th March, 2020

One of the things I commit to doing fairly regularly is going through my closet and reorganising. However one thing I commit to at the start of every season is doing a big decluttering session. That means I go through everything to properly reorganise and take stock of what’s in there, and I’m constantly surprised at what a small percentage of my wardrobe I end up wearing simply because I’ve forgotten about pieces I own.

With a little extra time up our sleeves at home right now there’s no better time to do a complete wardrobe overhaul. I’ve always found there’s something quite cathartic about cleaning out one’s closet as it allows you to take stock of what you own and pinpoint what might be missing from your wardrobe. So, are you ready to clean?

Take out everything

Firstly in order to thoroughly do a thorough stocktake make sure you take out everything in your wardrobe so you can inspect every single garment. This process will obviously take quite awhile so be prepared to devote plenty of time to it in order to do it properly (I promise you’ll feel better afterwards!).

Be ruthless

My husband is notorious for hanging onto things like t-shirts that he never wears with a million holes through it and I’m always the one who says it has to go! I don’t have a very big place so space is a big commodity and I know the importance of a good edit as far as my wardrobe goes.

I have one basic rule I stick to: if I haven’t worn something in over a year then it has got to go. I think that’s a really good indication of how crucial something is to your wardrobe; if you’ve made it through all four seasons you haven’t once taken it out once then there’s usually a 100 per cent likelihood that you won’t wear it again.

Also if something is damaged and beyond repair or is looking really tatty it’s probably time to say goodbye to it. You want your wardrobe to be filled with pieces that you love and are functional.

Divide and conquer

As you’re decluttering separate your clothes into piles: one to keep, one to donate to charity and one to alter or fix. Take the time to try on everything and be brutally honest about its place in your wardrobe. Don’t rush this part as this is often how you will end up hoarding things rather than parting with garments that aren’t getting used as you’re not thoroughly going through your closet.

Organise and categorise

I will pair like with like so skirts with skirts, dresses with dresses, t-shirts with t-shirts and so forth. I also have a small section in my wardrobe specifically for the clothes that I wear all the time so things like my jeans, favourite leather pants and go-to tees. This is so I don’t have to rifle through everything else each time I’m looking for something and mess my wardrobe up.

See what needs fixing

Now is also the time to check out your shoes to see if they need resoling or fixing. Along with your shoes gather all the garments that need to be altered or fixed and do it all in ONE go. It’s important to do it at once because if you try to do it gradually it will become quite a tedious process and what should be an easy exercise will just drag on and you risk ending up with a pile of clothes that you’ll get to eventually and it will in turn just eat up valuable space. The upside of doing this is that you’ve essentially got new pieces in your wardrobe.

Rotate your wardrobe according to seasons

If you have the luxury of other space in your home then pull out pieces that currently aren’t in season and store them away. I pop things in space saver bags and stack them up in another closet. Once it’s time to bring them back I pull those clothes out and replace them with other clothes that are no longer in season. This helps free up space and also means I don’t have to wade through super summery dresses in order to get to my winter jumpers.

However if you’ve got no space to do this, I would recommend just reorganising so that the current season’s clothes are more accessible. Put all the things you need to access easily at the front and move the things you don’t currently need towards the back. This will make figuring out what to wear so much easier in the morning.

What are some of your tips for doing a wardrobe spring clean?

Fashion

How to get more wear out of your wardrobe

22nd March, 2020

Have you ever bought something only to find that you wear it once and it ends up collecting dust in your wardrobe? It’s easy to fall into this trap when we’re flooded with options and an impulse purchase is so easy to make. If you’re in the situation of having an overflowing wardrobe with absolutely nothing to wear then it might be time to rethink your shopping strategy. I’ve managed to hone mine down over the years to pinpoint the purchases that I know will have multiple outings. If you want to avoid buying something that’s a one hit wonder it pays to keep a few things in mind—it’s what I use when I’m considering buying something and I guarantee it works…

Stick to neutral tones

I always try to keep items like dresses and staples like coats in neutral tones. With dresses I’ll always opt for a little black dress, a white dress, denim or khaki. And with a staple like a blazer or coat I always opt for black because it’s a colour that’s really versatile. When it comes to basics (my everyday wear such as t-shirts and jumpers) I always stick to neutrals. Whilst a pink t-shirt is fun I’m guarantee to get more than a few wears out of a plain white tee. Also if you want to add a bit of colour to your wardrobe it’s easier to work back with a simple muted colour palette than try to work with multiple bold hues.

Buy separates

I think separates are always a really good option because you can mix and match them. It’s much easier to wear something like a quality silk blouse or a great skirt in various ways as you can just switch out the top or bottom when you want to change up your look. One thing I’m loving is that more and more labels are releasing matching separates which not only look chic when paired together but are great when worn with other pieces too.

Keep statement pieces on top

If you find something that’s a bit of a showstopper, find something that sits on top such as a jacket or coat, which you can throw on over an outfit. Everyone remembers if you wear a really bold dress but if you wear a striking  jacket you could mix and match it and nobody would really even notice if you wear it multiple times. I’m a fan of pieces that have a bit of personality and are a standout piece but if I want to guarantee maximum wear out of it then outerwear is the best way to incorporate it into my look.

Don’t be a slave to trends

There are multiple trends each season and while it’s fun to try them you don’t always have to wear a trend from head to toe. You can incorporate a trend into your look with a really great jacket or small accessories. For example if you want to get into the 70s, buy one trend piece such as a pair of flared jeans. It doesn’t mean that you have to look like you stepped off the set of Saturday Night Fever. Exercise a bit of restraint when it comes to trends as invariably they will come and go.

Avoid too much embellishment

If you want certain pieces to last season after season avoid having too much embellishment on it. Having a lot of detail on a particular garment makes it more difficult to work back with other items in your wardrobe. Not only that, it also it makes it easily identifiable so it’s harder to have it be a chameleon piece that can be worn for multiple occasions. If you look at the celebs who tend to outfit repeat, they’re always wearing a classic piece that’s simple and streamlined.

What are some ways you get more wear out of pieces in your wardrobe?

Fashion

The wardrobe lessons I’ve learned from working in fashion

22nd February, 2020

Working in the fashion industry has meant that I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by lots of amazingly stylish and knowledgeable people who have all managed to teach me a thing or two about style. From stylists to magazine editors to fashion designers, working with these key fashion players has given me invaluable knowledge. There are some big lessons I’ve learned that have helped me hone my own personal style and some practical tricks that have helped save me from the brink of a wardrobe disaster or two. Here’s what’s always stuck with me…

Not everything has to be designer

Wearing head-to-toe designer doesn’t automatically mean an outfit is fashionable. Fashion is all about creating a unique look which means adding your own personal touches to it. It also means being able to mix and match from various labels to give it your own individual spin. So often I’ll admire someone’s outfit and if I ask them what they’re wearing they’ll say they’ve mixed a really inexpensive t-shirt or scarf with something designer. It’s all about mastering the high-low combination.

Don’t be afraid to experiment

Being stylish isn’t just about having a look that’s straight off the runway. It’s about taking a look and injecting some of your personality into it so go ahead and try out different styles. I’ve found that the majority of people in the industry are all about having fun and experimenting. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and get things wrong, it’s just clothes at the end of the day.

Being on set at shoots and working with fashion editors or stylists has unearthed so many great fashion tips over the years

Find yourself a good tailor

The way clothes fit will often dictate how well they present so where possible tailor pieces in your wardrobe specifically to your body shape. Case in point: on shoots stylists will often use clips on the back of everything from dresses, tops or jackets to nip it in to perfectly sit on someone’s body as it photographs better. An outfit looks so much better when it’s perfectly tailored to your body. So if there’s a blazer that you love that’s just a tiny bit too big or a skirt that’s a little too long for your height, find a reputable tailor and have it fixed to suit you.

Makeup wipes are a lifesaver

It’s a real pain getting makeup on your clothes and often this can happen on a shoot with so many outfit changes taking place. I’ve learned from stylists that to get makeup off, dab at the stain with a makeup remover wipe and it should help lift the stain.

Attending fashion shows and working with designers has given me plenty of great knowledge along the way

Get creative

There’s nothing worse than lint getting on your clothes right before a big meeting or event. I’ve learned that to get it off quickly, you can fashion a lint roller from masking tape. Just wrap the tape around your hands so the sticky side is facing up and use it to wipe the lint off. Easy!

Keep a sewing kit with you

Ask any fashion editor what’s always with them on a shoot and it has to be their tool kit. Inside is everything they could possibly need to fix a fashion disaster such as a hem that’s fallen down or a button that’s come loose. I’ve adopted this principle myself by always having a small sewing kit with me just in case. I always take the mini sewing kits in hotel rooms as I find they’re really easy to carry around in my bag and are great to have on hand should I need to mend something on the run.

Take a pic of your outfit

Stylists always take pics of a look whenever they do a fitting and I’ve found it’s a great thing to adopt whenever you’re trying to piece a new ensemble together. Seeing a picture always offers a different point of view to simply trying it on and looking in a mirror as you can see more closely if it’s sitting the right way and what might need adjusting.

What’s the most valuable piece of fashion advice you’ve ever been given?

Fashion

What I ask myself to ensure I’m making a good purchase

19th February, 2020

I’ve always tried to work towards a wardrobe that’s versatile as it makes pulling outfits together every day a little easier. This requires some major editing and also some savvy shopping. When faced with so many gorgeous things in a store it can be easy to get caught up in the moment and just purchase something purely because you like it but I think it pays to ask yourself a few questions before buying anything as it can help you avoid wasting money on an item of clothing that won’t get much use. These are the five questions I always ask myself before I buy anything.

How will this work with the rest of my wardrobe?

I always think about how I will be able to wear something with other items I already own. To do this imagine your wardrobe and identify at least five outfits that you’ll be able to wear with a potential purchase. A cohesive wardrobe that can be mixed and matched in different ways will extend the number of outfits you can make as opposed to buying one item, for one purpose and having it sit in your wardrobe gathering dust.

How many times will I wear this?

If something is expensive I’ll think about how many times I’ll wear it and how many seasons it is going to last. I aways consider cost per wear. If I think “I will wear these shoes the whole year, and they’re something that I will keep in my collection for years to come”, I consider them an investment. If I’m only going to wear something once and it’s outrageously expensive I won’t buy it because it just doesn’t make sense to spend so much on something with minimal wear.

Is this adding to my wardrobe?

I sometimes fall into the trap of buying too many black shoes. And while I do wear black shoes quite often, if I find a pair of shoes that I like but I have five other pairs like it I won’t buy them. The same approach applies to the rest of my wardrobe. If I buy something it’s got to add to my wardrobe by bringing in a new element rather than just purely adding to my wardrobe.

Is the fabric and make a good quality?

I always look at something and consider the fabric and how well it’s made. I believe if you spend a little more on good fabrics and good construction then you’ll be able to have something for many years to come and get plenty of use out of it. Where possible always look for natural fabrics such as cotton, wool and silk.

Do I really need this?

Most women will identify with this question! And often the answer to this question will negate all the other questions before this one. While there will always be exceptions (a girl can never have too many bags, right?) generally if you answer this question honestly you’ll be able to stop yourself from buying something that you’re not really going to use.

What do you consider before making a big purchase?

Fashion

What to do when you have nothing to wear

9th February, 2020

This is a dilemma most women have encountered at one point or another. If you’ve ever stared into your closet, filled to the brim with clothes yet still yielding nothing to wear then you’ll know the frustration it can cause. However all is not lost. Instead of tearing your hair out and hitting the shops to buy yet another outfit to add to the pile, you can employ a few tricks to help you unearth a look you’ll love. These are strategies I’ve used from time to time and I can guarantee that they’ve helped me break out of my momentary wardrobe rut, get dressed and walk out the door in no time.

Look for external fashion inspo

Staring at your clothes for ages won’t magically make a new outfit appear. You’ve got to get the styling juices flowing. To do this have a quick scroll through Instagram to see what your fave stylish ladies are wearing. Alternatively hit up your favourite online stores and check out their lookbooks or ‘new in’ section to see what’s trending. By seeing what’s new, it could ignite an idea or two for a look you could pull together.

Set yourself a theme

Having seemingly endless options but feeling bored of all of them is a major cause of being stumped for an outfit. So why not narrow it down to make it easier? For example you could tell yourself that today is stripe day and that you need to incorporate a striped piece into your ensemble. By giving yourself some parameters to work with it becomes less overwhelming and more manageable.

Work a new colour combination

We all have our favourite colour combinations which is great but sometimes in order to overcome an ‘I have nothing to wear’ situation you need to think outside the box. For example try working an unexpected colour combination like pink and red — by exploring pieces in those shades, you’ll inadvertently force yourself to look beyond your usual favourite items and expand to the rest of your wardrobe.

Help a favourite make new friends

We all have favourite pieces in our closet but we tend to work them back with the same things over and over again. This can exacerbate a nothing to wear situation as you see reliable staples but are also uninspired by them because you’ve already got your go-to pairings in mind. So the next time this happens, take an old fave but make an effort to pair it with something different. It could be that you wear a particular jacket with a certain pair of pants all the time. So instead, why not pop on the jacket over a dress, which instantly gives it a different vibe. This allows you to still get plenty of use out of things you love but overcome your style boredom too.

What are some strategies you use to overcome an ‘I have nothing to wear’ problem?