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Fashion, Shop

Update your activewear wardrobe with these key pieces

22nd November, 2020

Image: Instagram/@gigihadid

If lockdown had you embracing a new love of exercise, or you’ve been a longtime workout fan but simply want to start updating your activewear wardrobe there’s no better time than now. After all there’s nothing like new exercise gear to help motivate you to hit the gym. And the best bit? There are plenty of options to suit every style. You could opt for sleek separates in black and white, go crazy with prints and patterns or add a pop of colour a la Gigi Hadid. Now, all you need to do is get ready to train up a storm.

Update your activewear wardrobe with a few key pieces…

Fashion

How to buy jeans

7th November, 2020

Jeans are a cornerstone of my wardrobe

I can’t live without denim. It’s a key part of my wardrobe all year round so it’s key to find the perfect pair. I buy a lot of stuff online but I think jeans are one thing that you really need to go in store to try on to make sure the cut, fit and colour all work well. My key criteria is that it works with my body shape, has some flexibility and isn’t too stiff, isn’t too hipster and is generally high-waisted and has to be of a good quality so it lasts. When you find the perfect pair of jeans you just know! If you’re in the market for new jeans, follow my foolproof plan to find The One. Here’s how to buy jeans that are the perfect fit and style…

Buy the right size

It may sound obvious but I’ve been caught out before by the whole “it will stretch” claim. I’ve learned that you should always just buy a size that’s firm but not super tight. It should feel comfortably snug but not so much that you feel like you can’t breathe!

Take the time to try things on

Yes, you may have a pair of old faithfuls that have served you well but it pays to try on different cuts, styles, washes and brands when you’re buying jeans. It can be a tedious process, I know, but taking the time to actually try things on outside of your denim comfort zone may help you unearth a pair of jeans you never knew you always wanted.

Identify your go-to style

I used to favour skinny jeans over every other cut, but lately I’ve started embracing a high waisted straight leg. Occasionally I’ll still wear a skinny silhouette but I’m definitely favourite straight more and more. However your perfect match might come in the form of a wide leg or a boyfriend cut. The key is to try on as many different styles as you can and once you’ve found the perfect pair invest in a few different washes.

I've become a convert to the high waisted straight leg jean

Know your denim

A heavier denim has more durability than a lighter denim. So if you’re after a pair of jeans that will last a few seasons, it pays to go for something a little thicker. Also a heavier denim will generally offer better support than lighter, thinner denim which can be a little less forgiving. However if a stiff denim isn’t for you, look for a pair that is made up of around two per cent lycra and 98 per cent cotton—it’s got enough give to be really comfortable but is able to hold you in where you want it to.

Expand your denim wardrobe

I love light denim jeans but I also like black denim and white denim. I find that having all three shades in my wardrobe covers all the bases and allows me to have options for plenty of different outfit combinations. Also, know that some washes will show wear and tear a lot sooner than others. For example dark denim will show obvious “whiskering” a lot sooner than lighter denim so keep that in mind when choosing the colour of your next pair.

Don’t be a denim snob

I’m not too stuck on brands—I’ve bought jeans from ASOS and loved them as much as a designer pair, but the most important thing is how it fits. I’m picky when it comes to the colour or the cut but apart from that I’ll happily wear any denim label. Even if you’ve got your go-to brand, it’s a good idea to try on a few different brands each season in case you find another one that works better for your body. There’s SO much new denim each season that you need to keep on top of what’s out there in case there’s a new range that would perfectly suit you.

If you’re getting jeans hemmed, bring heels with you

If you’re going to get jeans tailored it should only ever be the length that you alter. You should keep looking until you find a pair that fit you around your bottom and your legs rather than trying to do anything with the waistband or legs. I’m not that tall so jeans can be quite long for me so I’ll take them to be professionally altered. I like my jeans to sit on my ankle bone. When I’m getting them hemmed I’ll normally take the heels I’d wear the most with them to the alterations place so I can be sure to get the correct length. I think if you get the right length for high heels they can work with sneakers, flats and most other shoes quite fine.

What are your favourite go-to denim brands?

Fashion

How to keep your clothes looking pristine

12th September, 2020

We all invest a fair amount of money on our clothes over time so it’s important to ensure they last season after season. If your clothes don’t tend to go the distance it may be time to tweak your clothes maintenance routine. Adopt some of these basics and you could well give your clothes a new lease on life.

Say goodbye to wire hangers

If you want to keep your clothes’ shape be sure to invest in wooden hangers or flocked hangers. Wire hangers tend to end up misshapen and don’t provide enough support so you’ll end up with wrinkled, bunched up clothes. Additionally you don’t want to have delicates such as a silk shirt snagging on a hanger. Plus when you’re flicking through your clothes rail it’s highly likely wire hangers will end up in a gnarly mess which will make it much harder to find what you’re looking for.

Folding and sorting

When it comes to closet organisation be sure to fold anything that can easily be stretched out such as t-shirts and knits. Hang garments that tend to wrinkle easily such as dresses and shirts.

Follow care instruction labels

Yes, they might be a pain to follow at times but going rogue when a garment clearly states dry clean only or throwing something in the washing machine when it specifies hand washing it will compromise the quality of a garment. If you want your clothes to stay in the same condition as when you first bought it it’s important to launder it as instructed.

Always separate your clothes into whites, brights and dark colours

Failing to separate your clothes will mean that your once bright white t-shirt may end up looking dull and grey as a lot of garments aren’t colourfast which means colour molecules will end up settling on lighter coloured garments.

Examine where you do the most damage to your clothes

Are you constantly damaging your clothes in the same spots? It’s time to look at how you can minimise it. For example if you’re always getting frayed hems it could mean that you need to hem your pants a little higher to avoid it dragging on the ground or alternatively you may need to limit the shoes you wear to a particular height. Pinpointing how you damage your clothes the most means you’re better able to avoid it.

Don’t ignore stains

Deal with a stain immediately to avoid it setting in. A baby wipe or soda water will help temporarily treat a stain if you’re out and about but be sure to dab it with a pre-stain treatment and wash immediately when you get home.

What are some ways you keep your clothes in great condition?

Fashion, Shop

What I will never scrimp on in my wardrobe

9th August, 2020

My wardrobe is an eclectic mix of different pieces at various price points but there are definitely special pieces that I have splurged on. I have always believed in being a discernible shopper and not just purchasing things on a whim so I’m quite strategic in my approach to shopping. I always do my research and will keep an eye out for sales both in store and online as there’s nothing quite like getting a piece you’ve been coveting at half price! That said, there are certain things that I will never scrimp on simply because these pieces are the workhorses of my wardrobe and need to be the best quality possible.

Shoes

Given how much time we spend in them I think shoes have always been a worthwhile investment. Finding good quality shoes will mean that they stand up to the daily wear and tear we put our footwear through and won’t require replacing or repairing as often. I’ve often rationalised that buying a slightly more expensive pair of shoes will often be better value for money than buying several cheaper pairs that will need to be replaced sooner.

Bags

I don’t buy them often so when I do I make sure that a bag is well made, from quality materials and of a style that will remain a classic for years to come. I’m all about quality not quantity in my wardrobe so I’d rather hang out for a slightly more expensive bag that I know will have plenty of longevity than go for an of-the-moment fix. For example I have a Chanel bag that I have had for years and that I still wear regularly and is still in great shape simply because of the craftsmanship that has gone into it. The same goes for my Givenchy bag (above) which I use all the time and I know because it’s so well made I’ll be able to wear it season after season.

Coats

I’ll happily scrimp on things like t-shirts and jeans but outerwear is something I will always willingly splurge on because of the number of times I’ll wear each item. Coats in particular are something I like to purchase each season and will wear throughout the cooler months so I always make sure it’s a classic style, made from a quality fabric such as wool as I will wear it day after day.

Jackets

I regularly wear jackets so I will make sure to buy the best quality that I can as I wear them so often. I have a Balmain blazer that I remember trawling the internet for for years before I finally snapped it up on sale but it’s the kind of strategic purchase I don’t regret one bit as I wear it to death. And yes, it’s definitely more expensive than your average blazer but I often think of things from a cost per wear basis and have definitely got value for money out of this particular buy.

What are some things in your wardrobe you’ll never scrimp on?

Fashion, Shop

How to make high street buys look expensive

11th July, 2020

I like to incorporate a high-low mix when it comes to my outfits. I’ll often mix pieces from my favourite chain stores with some of my go-to designer pieces to create a look that’s all my own. While I appreciate the convenience and price point of snapping up high street brands, it also pays to know how to choose the right garments to ensure that the end result of any look is polished. Here are some of my dos and don’ts:

Pay attention to how a garment is made

Buying clothes from chain stores is great as you can definitely stretch your budget further however you also get what you pay for. So it pays to be discerning when it comes to what you purchase. Examine a potential buy carefully and look at how its made. If the seams are not right or there are loose threads avoid it and keep searching for a better option.

Choose fabrics wisely

Where possible choose natural fabrics like cotton and wool when you’re shopping for high street pieces. Synthetic fabrics can look flimsy, pill, or become misshapen after a few wears so in turn can end up looking quite cheap.

Add one luxe item into the mix

By adding one gorgeous quality item to your outfit, by default, the rest of your look looks expensive by association. So whether it’s a beautiful buttery soft leather handbag or a nice pair of shoes you can elevate your favourite high street finds without having to do much at all.

Keep it simple

Chain stores are the ideal place to shop for great basics—think t-shirts, jeans and jumpers that are quite simple in design.They have an extensive range and if you shop around, the styles are comparable to what you’d find in some high end boutiques. Relegate garments with accoutrements such as sequins or beading as something that you might consider investing a little more in as often the finish might not be as precise.

Avoid embellishments

There’s a big difference between the finishing details used on designer handbags and accessories compared to less expensive chain store finds. There are some great options on the high street however if you want them to look luxe, then be sure to keep it simple and avoid things like chains, buckles, studs and gold or silver finishes which tend to tarnish. Instead go for plain styles as simple will always look chic.

Tell me—What’s been your most favourite high street buy?
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?