keep moth infestation at bay with lavender

Moth Infestation? How To Win The War

You know that beautiful cashmere jumper you put back in the wardrobe after Christmas?

You’ve been looking forward to wearing it to a family lunch. You take it out of the wardrobe and pull it on to admire yourself in the mirror.  Imagine your horror when you find the moths have been making short work of your precious jumper.

So what can you do about it? Sadly not a lot about the cashmere jumper but the good news is that you can eliminate a moth infestation from your wardrobe and home with a few simple steps that I’ll take you through in today’s blog.

Rapid Rise Of Moth Infestations

Last summer there were several reports that suggested that moth infestations were on the rise.  The weather was blamed but in fact the Butterfly Conservation charity suggests that moth infestations have been on the rise over the last 20-30 years.

Rentokil and English Heritage both report an huge increase in moth infestations too.

They are more likely to occur in houses built before 1950s.  These properties have more access to the outside (fireplaces, attics larders etc).

Alarming Rise Of Moth Infestations – Why?

There are a couple of reasons cited why there are more clothing moth infestations:

  1. Centrally Heated Houses – our homes are always warm, providing an attractive breeding environment for moths.
  2. Natural Fibres – ironically our move towards more natural fibres and away from nylon and polyester in clothing is more attractive to moths.
  3. Laundering At Lower Temperatures – moth larvae is killed off at 55oC – how often do you wash your clothes at this temperature?

dealing with a moth infestation

How Do You Deal With A Moth Epidemic?

The simple answer is that you need to eliminate the infestation and then take steps to prevent the moths coming back.  This is how:

Deep Clean Your Wardrobe

You need to deep clean your wardrobe and the only way to do this is remove everything.

Once you’ve removed everything you need to vacuum your your wardrobe – remember to do all the corners and drawers.

Wipe down the inside of your wardrobe with vinegar and water solution or soap and water.

Launder Everything

Wash or dry-clean all of your clothes.  Alternatively if you have the space you can put your clothes in plastic bags and freeze them for 48-hours.   You need to do this to kill off all the larvae.

Spring Clean Your Bedroom

Hoover and clean carpets and floors thoroughly.  Although moth infestations breed in your wardrobe larvae can get into carpets and surrounding areas.

Use Garment Bags For Out Of Season Clothes

When you no longer need your jumpers and warmer clothes store these in garment bags with cedar wood sticks.  Use cotton garment bags to avoid the risk of mould and discolouration.  Cotton garment bags allow your clothes to breathe.

Keep Moths At Bay The Natural Way

Moths hate thyme, lavender, cloves, mint and bay leaves.

Why not make your own natural repellent?  The added bonus is that it will also smell lovely in your wardrobe.

Place dried rosemary, thyme, cloves, lavender or bay leaves into a small cloth bag and hang them in your wardrobe and place them in your drawers.

You can also use an essential oil diffuser with a blend of these oils in your room.

keep moth infestation at bay with lavender

Another Great Trick

Use cedar wood products in your drawers and wardrobes.  Clothes hangers, wooden balls for your drawers or discs to hang on clothes hangers are all great ways to prevent moths returning.

If you’re unlucky enough to have suffered a moth infestation then hopefully this blog will help you to get rid of the moths and stop them returning.

Beware Vintage

Vintage clothes, particularly this in the natural fibres that moths love may be a source of moth larvae.   If in doubt then it’s best to launder or dry clean your vintage purchases before you add to your wardrobe collection.

While You’re Here!

One way to ensure you reduce the risk of moths is to give them less opportunity to breed and feed on your clothes.  If you have less clothes in your wardrobe then the larvae has less to get its teeth into!  Why not take the opportunity to declutter your wardrobe either as a prevention against moths or simply as part of your wardrobe de-infestation.    Not sure where to start?  Why not join my FREE Wardrobe Challenge starting on 13th March – Clutter to Wardrobe Harmony in 7-days?  All you need to do is sign up here.

 

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look and feel fabulous

What Has Love Got To Do With It?

To really look and feel fabulous you have got to love what you are wearing.  It increases our confidence tenfold (at least). If what you’re wearing doesn’t make you look and feel fabulous you’re missing out on an opportunity.look and feel fabulous

One of the first questions I ask my clients is what is your favourite outfit, piece of jewellery or item of clothing.

When they tell me, I ask them more about it.  Initially without them showing me because I want them to help me understand why it’s special.

  1. Is it the colour?
  2. Or the shape?
  3. Do you look and feel fabulous when you wear it?
  4. Does it evoke happy memories?
  5. Did you buy it for a special occasion?
  6. Was it an investment piece?
  7. Do you receive lots of compliments whenever you wear it?

Finally – how often do you wear it? Very often this will reveal that the item is hardly ever worn because it’s special.   While I’m an advocate of not keeping things for best I accept that not everything is suitable for everyday.

But the reason we do the exercise is to draw out the answers. When you know what it is that makes you look and feel fabulous beyond ‘this dress’ it’s so much easier to replicate.

So let me show you an example of my own go to piece that makes me look and feel fabulous every time I wear it.

The Necklace That Makes Me Look And Feel Fabulousthe necklace that makes me feel amazing

The Colour

I love the colour because it goes with anything.  When it catches the light it changes colour.   Because it’s a cool colour this helps my features stand out. So the colour really does make me look and feel fabulous.

The Shape

The shape certainly is an influencer because it hits most of my style keywords: dramatic, quirky, fun and passionate.  You can’t fail to notice it and it represents who I am and what my brand is about.

Does It Make Me Look And Feel Fabulous?

Oh hell yes!  Every time I wear it I feel a million dollars and for that reason it was worth every darn penny I spent on it.

I also bought a bracelet and earrings with the necklace.  I love the bracelet too and have worn it so often that I had to have it restrung.

Does It Evoke Happy Memories?do I receive lots of compliments when I wear my favourite piece

Not that I specifically attach to the necklace.

Did I Buy It For A Special Occasion?

No it was an impulse purchase at an exhibition of a jewellery designer I’d been introduced to. She had an open house.  I went along with the approach that I’d feel morally obliged to spend money.

Was It An Investment Piece?

At the time it was an investment. I’d recently finished my corporate career, had no money coming in.  I felt quite guilty about spending the money.  I even agonized over whether I should ask the designer for a refund!

Do I Receive Lots Of Compliments When I Wear It?

Yes I do and I take from this that it’s not simply the necklace, but it’s the way it makes me look and feel fabulous.   It ensures I feel more confident and that’s going to impact the way I walk in a room and present myself.

 

But What If You Don’t Wear Your Favourite Piece Very Often

The aim of this exercise is to see what it is about the item or outfit that makes it special.    With clothing in particular break it down further to include:

  1. Fabric – texture, print
  2. Details about the shape – hemline, sleeve length, neckline, the cut
  3. Details of the garment – trims, quality of manufacture

Then take a look in your wardrobe and see if there is anything else that is similar. Perhaps with a bit of help from a seamstress you could make it more like your favourite piece?   Or if it’s the colour and you don’t have anything else the same colour would you be able to use accessories to replicate the colour with other clothes?

But even if the answer is still I haven’t got anything else, what you have now got is a blueprint and a very clear idea of what makes you look and feel fabulous.  This is so important when you are shopping and helps you to avoid mistakes.  It doesn’t mean you have to clone your favourite outfit when you shop! But it does mean you have a better understand of what really works for you.

So that’s what love has got to do with it!  Happy Valentines!

 

If You Want To Look & Feel Fabulous Try This Exercise Yourself

Download my checklist to help you determine what is your favourite piece in your wardrobe.

Download My Free Guide Look & Feel Fabulous

Download My Free Guide

add colour to your winter wardrobe with your footwear

How To Re-Boost Your Winter Wardrobe In February

Are you sick of your winter wardrobe?  It’s about this time of year when the first shoots of spring appear, which is when I start thinking about changing my look.  I don’t have a huge collection of clothes, preferring instead to play around with different combinations.  So this makes me more aware of the value of accessories to help create different looks.  It’s key to think outside the box and experiment especially when you’re starting to get fed up with your winter wardrobe.

Spring Summer clothes are starting to make an appearance online and offline but the weather’s not right to wear them yet.  Of course the next round of fashion weeks is about to start and showcase what we’ll be wearing in SS20!

So what can you do to give your winter wardrobe a boost of sunshine?  In this week’s blog we look at some quick tips to help you feel that spring really is just round the corner.

Swap Your Handbagwinter wardrobe add a colourful handbag

Around 34% of women have lots of handbags, but tend to stick to the same one all the time. Why? They’re afraid of forgetting something if they keep changing handbags.

The best way to avoid this is to get yourself a bag liner that is big enough for all your essentials and fits in your bags.  Then make sure all the less valuable but nonetheless essential items are in each of your bags (tissues, pen, lipstick, business cards etc).

But I digress it’s my guess that you may have opted for a dark colour handbag for winter to blend in to your outfits.  Why not swap to a lovely bright colour bag or a beautiful pastel shade.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t match/blend in with your outfit.  So long as you’re not self-conscious about it, just make a statement instead!

Add A Belt To Your Look

Hands up if you don’t wear a belt because you think it will draw attention to the wrong part of your body?  28% of women don’t wear belts for exactly that reason!   But the irony is that a belt can help you create curves and definition to enhance your figure.

A belt is also a great way to change the look of a dress or top.  By wearing something with a belt that you don’t normally it will create a different look.   A sweater dress with a belt, tights and ankle boots is a great way to create a new look for example.  This helps you to extend your winter wardrobe.

Give Your Winter Wardrobe A Boost With A Brooch

How many of us wear brooches these days?  Not many I’ll guess.  We tend to think of brooches as a bit old-fashioned.  We associate them as accessories our grandmothers or aging aunts used to wear.

But if you are getting fed up with wearing your winter coat, adding a brooch is a great way to give it a new lease of life.  Add a pop of colour and statement sparkle to your look.   Check out your local charity shops or vintage stores.   Etsy also has a great collection of brooches.

Add Some Colour To Your Footwearadd colour to your winter wardrobe with your footwear

Most of us gravitate to dark footwear in the winter.   Lots of black, browns and dark greys.  It doesn’t show the mud or matter if it gets splashed so much as brighter colours.

But how about adding a pair of coloured ankle boots to jeans? Make them a feature of your outfit. I have a gorgeous pair of pink satin ankle boots that admittedly I wouldn’t wear outside this time of year. But I love wearing them so much that I’ll happily put them in a bag and take them with me to change into for events.

Bright colours are a great way to cheer yourself up.

Change Your Jewellery With Your Winter Outfits

I bet that you’ve got lots of necklaces you don’t wear in winter?

Either because you think the colours ‘aren’t right’ or you associate them with summer.  Well try a bit of mix and matching.    Add a more summery style of necklace to a winter outfit and see how it looks.

Add pastel colours to black brown or grey.  Just see how different they make your outfit look.use accessories to add colour to your winter outfit

Or taking from one of my tips last week.  If the weather does turn cold again, ditch the metal jewellery in favour of acrylic or plastic jewellery.  The metal will conduct the cold outside temperatures.  I found this out when we used to ski and I’d insist on wearing metal earrings and wonder why my ears were cold!

Accessories Are The Key

Hopefully these ideas are useful and may even inspire you to create some new looks and breath some fresh styles into your winter outfits?

The ideas I’ve suggested all involve accessories but if you’re not confident about choosing and wearing accessories you may be interested in my online course Accessorise with Style & Confidence.  Where you will learn how to choose and use accessories to suit you personally.  Learn how to create more outfits without buying more clothes.

Keep Warm In Style With A Pashmina

How To Keep Warm In Style

Hands up I’ve been the idiot who has tried to made the effort to Keep Warm in Style and got it all wrong.  Keep Warm In Style

Like the time we went to Norfolk in December when I insisted on wearing a furry jacket for a beach walk.  It looked glam but was no match for the horizontal wind coming off the North Sea!  Or the ski pants from the designer Italian boutique which looked fabulous but had zero wind protection especially on the chairlifts!

But I’m no good at the Teletubby look, buried beneath tons of layers.  It might be practical but it makes me feel rubbish and that’s never going to work!   So that’s why I love to use accessories and base layers to Keep Warm in Style without sacrificing either comfort or my look. Here are my top tips, hope you find them useful.

Keep Warm In Style With Inside and Outside Scarves!

Why wear one scarf when you can wear at least two?

I like to wear a scarf to complete my outfit and then add another heavy outdoor scarf when I’m heading outside.   This works really well when I’m out at meetings and not sure about the venue.

Top tip to keep warm in style: I also add a necklace.  If I get overheated I can take the inside scarf off and still feel accessorized. , so that if I do get overheated then I can remove the ‘inside scarf’ and still feel accessorized!

 

Think Thermal!Keep Warm In Style Bella di Notte Thermal Vest

Gone are the days when thermal meant looking old and frumpy!  I firmly believe that the rise in popularity of skiing holidays helped to take thermal fashion to another level.

Merino wool or pure silk thermals were perfect when Mark and I skied every winter.  But in the UK I’m going to overheat wearing those base layers.   But if you do feel the chill there are some fabulous styles available.  I particularly love this one from Bella di Notte. I find that simply wearing a light camisole as an extra base layer works for me on the top.

Top Tip To Keep Warm in Style: To keep my legs warm and toasty invest in a pair of fleece-lined leggings.  You only need to pay around £10 to get a really warm pair.

Gloves + Hand Warmers = Toast!

Seriously I’m the worst about wearing gloves.  I have really dry skin and am outside a lot with the dogs, but wearing normal gloves doesn’t work for me.   I also have very small hands and fingers so find that gloves always feel too cumbersome.

Flexibility is key with the dogs, clipping and unclipping leads, getting treats out (essential for dog walking!).  Gloves don’t do this and mittens are a disaster, so I wear fingerless gloves.   However, this doesn’t solve the problem of cold fingers!

Top Tip To Keep Warm In Style: By a pair of reusable hand warmers to put in your coat or jacket pockets.

I have a set that you activate by clicking the metal disc inside the hand warmer. The gel in the pack starts to crystallise and heat up.

They stay warm for up to around 30 minutes. This is enough time for me to get my body temperature up.   When you get home simply immerse in boiling water for 15 minutes and the crystals will become liquid again. Wait for the hand warmer to cool and it is ready to reuse!  The fact that they’re reusable, non-toxic makes them a winner in terms of their eco-credentials.

Who Else Hates Wearing Tights Under Trousers?

Wearing tights with trousers is a no-no for me. I hate the feeling of being warm and sweaty around my belly – sorry if too much information!

If you’re out and about in Winter particularly if you’re waiting for public transport trousers aren’t always warm enough.

Top tip to Keep Warm In Style: wear hold ups not tights under trousers. This will keep you warm in style and you won’t end up with a hot belly or worse still another layer to manage in the bathroom!

You can also try wearing hold ups under leggings for an extra base layer.

Keep Warm In Style But Don’t Overheat!

If you suffer from irregular body temperature such as menopausal hot flushes this one is for you.

You’re better to keep your base layer the smartest sassiest layer.  What do I mean by that?  Simply wear additional layers that you can take off and still look and feel fabulous.

You want to avoid ending up a hot and sticky mess!  Then you have the dilemma of do I go to the toilet to take everything off and re-dress without the base layer? Or do you brave it out and end up feeling really self-conscious?

Top tip to Keep Warm In Style:  Shawl scarves and/or pashminas are perfect for this.  Wear over your winter coat to finish off your look.  Then you have an extra layer should you need it indoors.   If you tend to wear a lot of dark colours in the winter then a brightly coloured pashmina there’s an amazing range at Absolute Exclusive very reasonably priced.

What are your top tips for keeping warm in style?

I’d love to hear them! Please pop them in the comments below.

 

Accessorise With Style & Confidence

Would you love to create more outfits from your wardrobe without buying more clothes?  Feel more confident about choosing and using accessories?

Acccessorise With Style & Confidence is a head to toe course, giving you the tools you need to transform your look from the ordinary to the extraordinary with accessories to suit your personal shape and style.

Built in bite-sized modules to help you look and feel fabulous every time you get dressed.

 

Kate Cherry Personal Brand

How To Show Up As Your Amazing Personal Brand

Whether we like it or not we all have a personal brand.    How to choose to show up as our own personal brand is really down to us.

personal brand small business ownerI want to look at personal brand from the perspective of a small business owner. More specifically let’s consider those who sell their expertise and time.  You are your brand and it doesn’t get much more personal than that!

But even if we work as part of another organisation there’s a good chance our personal brand aligns with the business brand values.

Let’s take the example of someone while self-employed is part of an established brand as a distributor/consultant.  It’s highly unlikely you would put effort into selling and marketing this business unless your personal values were aligned with the company’s brand values.

For those of us who run our own businesses being aligned with our brand is crucial. It’s our passion, our raison d’être as we live and breathe our brand.     If we show up and are not aligned with our brand our prospective clients will be confused.    It’s not enough to simply talk the talk if we’re not aligned in the way we present ourselves.

If you are your brand it’s important to represent it in a way that aligns with its values in every way that we communicate:

  1. Our website/social media/online marketing
  2. Offline marketing – networking, events
  3. Working with clients

Lets Use Kate As An ExampleKate Cherry Personal Brand

I’d like to use Kate as an example.  Kate has successfully built a business with Arbonne a health and wellness company. Arbonne’s brand values are:

Promote balance and live a pure, healthy lifestyle that encourages others to do the same. Support the Arbonne products and culture with knowledge and relentless passion. Lead by supporting others with professionalism, compassion, respect and integrity.

Okay so let’s take 5 personal values out of that statement:

  • Knowledge
  • Passion
  • Professionalism
  • Compassion
  • Integrity

Those values are stamped through Kate like Brighton Rock, if you meet Kate you will realize that she lives and breathes those values.  They are her personal brand as much as Arbonne’s brand values.

Given that only 7% of our communication is verbal how else can Kate communicate those values?  One way is through her appearance.   Consciously or sub-consciously Kate thinks about those values when she gets dressed in the mornings.    She walks the walk.

Personal Brand And Our Business Brand

It’s about the three Cs

Confidence

If you know you look and feel fabulous that will shine from the inside.

Your inner confidence will be conveyed to everyone you meet.   You will be able to easily communicate your message and it will be understood.

Equally have you ever turned up to an event and felt self-conscious about an aspect of your outfit?   How successful was that event for you?

This is also about accepting that your appearance will not appeal to everyone, any more than you or your business will.   This doesn’t mean you have to completely embrace the idea of dressing for your audience (see consistency).  But it does mean being true to yourself and your values in the way you dress.

Consistency

This isn’t about wearing a uniform, but it is about being consistent in the way you dress.   Let me give you an exampleGet the colours right Hitchin style coach

If I’m out networking I’ll pile on the accessories.  I want to be remembered by the people in the room for what I’m wearing. I’ll wear a bold scarf, a statement necklace and often a chunky bracelet.

However, if I’m working with a client then this look is very much toned down.  Often I’ll wear black, a smaller necklace and sometimes jeans.  Why? Well I’ve asked my client not to wear makeup, to wear an outfit that shows her body shape.  I’m aware she may not feel very comfortable without her normal look. I don’t want her to feel intimidated so will not overpower her with what I wear.

You may wish to create a signature look that helps you to create that consistency.

Accessories are a fantastic way to create a signature look and identify your personal brand.  Alternatively you can do this with the style of clothes you wear.

Credibility

It probably goes without saying that we want to be known as credible and authentic?

It’s an integral part of building a business and establishing a know, like, trust relationship with our clients.

As I’m so fond of quoting: Style is a way of saying who we are without having to speak (Rachel Zoe).  So being seen as credible and authentic in the way we dress helps to reinforce this message.

If we show up in an outfit that doesn’t really represent who we are and our values, then we may find our credibility has suffered.

Remember that we all have a message that we portray to the world on a daily basis.  You can control what the message is saying.   Alternatively you allow others to make assumptions about who you are and what you stand for.

Within seconds, people can and will formulate opinions about who they believe you are. Everyone has a personal brand, whether you have consciously thought about it or not.

 

Oh and there is a 4thone….

ColourKate Cherry Get The Colours Right

Getting your colours right.  Wear the right colours and you will have a healthy glow, the wrong colours and you’ll look tired/overwhelmed.

Special note that if you’re having a photo shoot for your business or you are using video, think about colour.

If you wear the right colours for you, the final images will be much better.  Wear the wrong colours and it will show in images and on video.

It is also a good idea to incorporate your brand colour(s) into the photo shoot. Not necessarily as your entire outfit, you can include your brand colour as an accent colour (accessories, colour in a fabric).

The caveat is that the colours need to be in the right tone/shade for you.  If this is not in true alignment of your brand colours it’s not a big deal.  No one is going to be looking for that level of detail.

So In Summary

Think about your personal values.  Ask yourself if these are in alignment with your business values.    Then consider if the clothes you wear are an expression of these and if not what could you do to ensure more congruence.  If you’re still not sure, why not book a 30-minute no obligation call with me to get clarity on your personal brand and how to show up as yourself?

Winter Coat Invest In The Perfect Style For You

A good winter coat should keep you nice and toasty but you also want a style to flatter your figure.  A coat is an investment piece so take the time to choose the right one for you.  I’d suggest buying a coat that you really look forward to wearing.  My own winter faux fur coat is at least 20 years old.  I still feel a million dollars every time I wear it.  It’s a classic shape that won’t date or go out of style but equally looks modern and sassy.

So what should you look for when you choose a coat?

Winter Coat Styles For Your Body Shape

Pear Shaped BodyDebenhams Winter Coat With Fur Collar

You want to show off your waist and add some volume to your top half.

Choose double breasted and wide lapels.  If you can’t find both in a style you like go for wide lapels in a faux fur finish.  The texture and pile of the fabric will give you volume.  It goes without saying that your winter coat should be belted as well to show off your waist.

Debenhams – Grey Fur Collar Coat

winter coat for hourglass body shape

Hour Glass Shape Body

You want to flatter your curves, but keep things in proportion.  A great style for you is a single breasted coat with a belt.    If you are a petite hourglass figure just be careful not to choose a winter coat that is too bulky.

Hobbs – Camel Coat

 

Athletic Body Shapewarehouse winter coat funnel collar

You will find you can wear a number of styles of winter coat.  If you are tall then an A line with a funnel neck will look amazing.  You can also wear a winter coat that’s belted to give you some curves.  Puffa jackets will also look fabulous on your slender frame and will add some curves to your top half.

Warehouse – Funnel Coat

 

 

Lipsy Winter CoatInverted Triangle Body Shape

You want to soften your shoulders and add some volume to your bottom half.  You can do this with a slightly fitted coat with soft shoulders.

Lipsy – Red Coat

 

 

Apple Body ShapeWinter Coat Chesca Wrap Style

You want to avoid anything that is too bulky and lacks definition.  Look for  some structure in a winter coat.  You can wear either a waterfall style jacket or coat that you can wear open and finish with a scarf. Alternatively look for a winter coat that has a wrapped look.

Chesca Wrap Coat

 

 

winter coat for petite womanPetite Body

While not a body shape, anyone who is petite needs to avoid overly big and bulky styles.  A winter coat for you needs to be more figure hugging otherwise the fabric may overwhelm you.

A shorter coat (finishing around your knees) will make your legs look longer.  Alternatively look for a winter coat with an asymmetric hemline

Joe Browns Coat

 

Big BustWinter Coat Single Breasted

You may find that buying a winter coat to fit your bust will mean it’s too big everywhere else.  Do not be tempted to swamp yourself in a poncho it will simply draw attention to your bust.  A good option is linear style single- breasted coat. This style will be simple and figure flattering especially with a deep v.neck.

Reiss Single Breasted Coat

 

Don’t worry if you’re not sure what body shape you are, download my free body shape guide to find out.

 

 

 

Wardrobe DeTox Tips

How To Save Money On Clothes

You can save money on clothes and still have lots to wear.  How?  Well, you can spend hours browsing charity shops, dress agencies or browsing on eBay. Or if that sounds like your idea of hell why not use accessories to maximize your outfit potential?

There are so many advantages to wearing accessories and my favourites are:

Create More Outfits From Less ClothesAccessories save money on clothes

You do not need a wardrobe full of clothes to create more outfits!  I know it sounds like an oxymoron but it’s true.

Save Money On Clothes

Wearing costume jewellery and scarves is a lot cheaper than buying a new outfit because you’re bored with your wardrobe.

Avoid Packing Nightmares

Heading off for a short break and don’t want to check in luggage.  Use accessories to maximize your wardrobe choices.   They take up less space and give flexibility.   Another bonus:  your clothes are less crumpled when you arrive at your destination.

Rescue Outfits In The Wrong Colours

You can ‘rescue’ outfits in the wrong colours by wearing scarves and necklaces in your colour palette.

If you’ve recently had a colour analysis done, a few scarves and necklaces is a lot cheaper than getting rid of clothes you love.

Repurpose An OutfitAccessories Save Money On Clothes

Transform an outfit from day to night.  With Christmas party time approaching and after work drinks invitations this is invaluable.  So much easier than having to carry a change of clothes!

Dress Down An Outfit

Use accessories to dress down a smart look into something more casual.  Wear an ethnic style necklace with a smart dress for example.

Create A Signature Look

If you are running your own business and are attending a lot of networking events accessories can help to identify you. They can also become a talking point.

Do You Really Save Money On Clothes?

You may argue that by buying a few scarves and necklaces your clothing budget has not reduced that much.  Well that does depend where you shop.  If you buy designer labels.  I’d agree you might struggle to save money on clothes!

But I’d recommend popping into the various charity shops – you’ll find scarves and necklaces at ridiculously cheap prices.  Okay so they may not be designer labels but it will help you build a wide selection at great prices.  Most charity shops organize accessories in colours.  This makes it so easy to check if they have anything in your palette.

Just A Word About Belts

I’ve mentioned scarves and necklaces at length, but belts are another way to transform an outfit.

Many women worry that belts will draw attention to the wrong part of your body.  But in fact belts can be a great way to create definition and draw attention to the bits of your body you love.

Wear a top with a belt and then again without and you’ve already got two different looks for the same top.   If you have narrow hips then wear a belt slung low across your hips to add definition to this area.  A great bust and defined waist, wear a belt higher to show off your upper torso.

Just To Show You What I Mean

Here’s a case study of how I used accessories and a jacket to create a series of different looks from a couple of dresses.

If You’re Still Not Sure…

If you love accessories but are not sure how to use them to best effect?  I’m about to launch an online course to help you to accessorize with style and confidence.

 

 

 

 

 

new pair of jeans skinny jeans

You Are Passionate About A New Pair Of Jeans?

When you find a new pair of jeans that work for you it feels like a dream come true? While we might find it a nightmare to shop for a new pair of jeans we love denim.  Let’s face jeans are versatile and convenient.  They can be dressed up or down and are staple items of clothing in many wardrobes.  But when we buy a new pair of jeans we need to think not just about the style, but the environmental cost too.

environmental impact of a new pair of jeans

Facts about denim

  • 8000 litres of water to make one new pair of jeans!
  • Harmful chemicals that are used in the dyeing process of denim
  • Distressed jeans – are sometimes sandblasted to create the worn look

But it isn’t all bad news and many brands are doing a lot to work on their eco-credentials. So when you buy a new pair of jeans consider some of the following brands.

Brands With Good Eco Credentials

M&S

Supports the Better Cotton Initiative and works with Jeanologia, which specializes in sustainable and efficient technologies to reduce chemicals, water and energy in production.

MUD

Have very high eco-credentials and are the only brand that works with a truly circular economy.  Using recycled fibres, recycled water in production and a carbon offsetting program. They also offer a ‘lease a jean’ program where you can lease a pair of jeans for a year and then effectively swap them out for a new pair.

Re/done

This innovative brand re-purposes Levis vintage denim.  Taking the pre-loved jeans apart at the seams and making into new jeans.  The jeans are manufactured in LA using water conserving techniques and no harsh chemicals. Because the jeans are made from repurposed denim every pair is unique.  They offer free global shipping.

People Tree

People Tree were pioneers of ethical fashion before most of us had started to consider it!

They source from Fair Trade suppliers who produce ethical and eco fashion clothing.   People Tree developed the first integrated supply chain for organic cotton from farm to final product.

Asos Recycled Denim

In 2017 Asos partnered with REMO (the Recycle Movement) to use a mixture of recycled cotton and cotton made in Africa for their Recycled range.

 

A New Pair Of Jeans By Body Shapenew pair of jeans finishing process uses chemicals

It can sometimes help to have a quick guide on what to look for according to your shape. So I’ve put together a brief summary on what styles to look for:

Pear Shaped Body

If you have large hips and thighs with a small-defined waist jeans are probably a nightmare!   You need to buy for your hips and thighs but this means a new pair of jeans rarely fits on your hips?

If you’re tall you can get away with wider legged trousers.  With jeans be careful about looking at flares unless you are very tall as the weight of the denim may mean you have too boxy a shape.   If you are petite definitely stay away from flared styles as they will not work for you, making you look ‘bottom heavy’.

Regular or straight jeans are going to look good.  If you like wearing longer tops or tunics you can also get away with skinny. More than most body shapes you will want jeans that really do cater to the feminine figure and have a more curvy style.

Hourglass Shape Body

You have a gorgeous silhouette with bust and hips pretty much equal and a well-defined waist.  But like pear shaped bodies you sometimes struggle to find a new pair of jeans that fit on your waist.  Again look for jeans for curvy women and styles with an element of elastane.

Skinny will look great on you and show off your hourglass curves providing you are not petite.  If you’re petite you should choose regular or straight styles.

A tall hourglass figure will look great in flares or wide legged jeans.  A petite hourglass will not be able to carry off these styles, as they will make you look shorter.

Apple Shaped Body

If you have no defined waist, a tummy and fabulous arms and legs you are very likely an apple shaped body.

You are looking to create some definition and shape.  But don’t be misled into thinking that you should hide yourself behind the widest flares you can find.

An apple has great legs and so a bootcut style will look good.  Following the line of your legs and then flaring out slightly. This flare at the bottom will create balance and take attention away from your midsection.

Athletic Body Shapenew pair of jeans skinny jeans

Your bust and hips are pretty much in alignment and you don’t really have a defined waist.   While you may wish you had more curves, when it comes to a new pair of jeans you are the lucky one!

You have a wide choice in terms of styles.  Go for whatever style you like from skinny to wide legged jeans.

If you are a petite athletic body shape beware of jeans that are too flared as they will make you look shorter with too much width at the bottom.

Love skinny jeans – add some volume to your top half with a top or blouse to create some shape and make your legs look even better!

Inverted Triangle Shape

Your shoulders are broad and your hips are slim.  You have a bit of a waist, but it’s not really that well defined.

You want to add balance to your bottom half and so wider legs will look great. Bootcut jeans will also look fabulous and add some width at your feet to balance your shape.

If you want to wear skinny jeans then you really need to do this with a top that you can belt and add definition to your waist area.  Alternatively a long tunic with an asymmetric hemline would be an option, but you need some shape and definition around your waist.

But don’t forget that charity shops and dress agencies can be a fantastic source of pre-loved jeans.   They will be a new pair of jeans for your wardrobe even if they’re not brand new.  You will often find designer labels and expensive brands at unbeatable prices.  Okay so you’re a chance on styles and sizes but it’s always worth a look!

If you are not sure what body shape you are or would simply like more information about clothes for your body shape, then why not take a look a my body shape guide.

 

 

cashmere and its eco credentials

Let’s Talk About Cashmere And Its Eco Credentials

As the weather starts to feel a bit colder (well at least in the mornings!) we begin to think about warmer clothing.   Cashmere is one of the most luxurious fabrics to wear.  But what about cashmere and its eco credentials?  Once the prerogative of those with deep pockets, cashmere is available in budget conscious brands.

Should we take advantage of these cheaper options?  Personally I think we should think twice before buying cheaper cashmere. We need to first understand what it means to cashmere and its eco credentials.

cashmere and its eco credentials

What Is Cashmere?

Cashmere has an incredibly soft feeling.  It comes from the neck and underbelly of the Kashmir Goats.  Kashmir Goats are indigenous to remote regions of Mongolia.  They are exposed to an extremely harsh climate and develop an undercoat of fine hair that they shed in the spring.

 

Why Is Cashmere So Expensive?

The hair is combed from the goats.  We’ll get on to shearing later.  It takes the hair collected from 4 goats to make one sweater.     There is then a lengthy and complex process to manufacture.  You may already be starting to question cashmere and its eco credentials.

 

So What About Cheap Cashmere?cashmere and its eco credentials

Demand started to grow dramatically from 1990s.  This is when cashmere and its eco credentials started to fall apart.

  • Farmers increased the size of herds. More animals needed more grazing.  Over grazing led to destruction of the landscape.  Goats eat the roots as well as the grass and vegetation.   The hard ground of the mountainous deserts meant they were destroying their own food resources.
  • The demand for more cashmere led to dubious practices of shearing goats, rather than combing them. If this wasn’t bad enough goats were being shorn in the wrong weather and consequently many died.

Brands like Asos are now putting a stake in the ground and refusing to stock cashmere from 2019.

 

Is The Eco Price Is Too High?cashmere and its eco credentials

So should we simply say that cashmere and its eco credentials mean we should stop buying cashmere?

We could, but that approach means we destroy the livelihoods of those depend on goat herding and collecting the fibers.  The landscape and climate where the goat herders live is remote and not suitable for other ways to earn a living.

Companies like Naadam are focused on a truly sustainable approach.   The founders also helped to found an NGO in Mongolia called the Gobi Revival Fund. This NGO helps the people of the region to sustain and promote their unique identity.

British Brands like N.Peal take a responsible approach and can trace their cashmere back to the individual herders.

Bigger brands like John Lewis ask their suppliers to sign a code of practice.  But do admit that this relies on suppliers being responsible and self-regulating.

 

How Do Tell If Your Cashmere And Its Eco Credentials Are High?

  • Price is a guide.  It’s not going to be the only way to tell if your cashmere is responsibly sourced.
  • The percentage of cashmere in a garment is another indicator.   More cashmere and less other fibres is a positive indicator.
  • Tighter knits.  A tighter knit is indicative of 2-ply yarn and a better quality.
  • Look at the brand.  Do they state how they source and verify their suppliers?  Many brands claim to be transparent and source ethically.  In our fast paced hectic lifestyles we may be too ready to take this at face value.  But maybe dig a little deeper?

Buy from responsible brands and consider that buying something made in cashmere is a real investment piece.  Buy something you will love and treasure for years to come.  Ensure that you care for it in the best way possible.  Even pure cashmere may suffer from pilling if it’s subject to friction (seat belt, rough clothing etc).  But with pure cashmere pilling only occurs once.   Avoid washing in a washing machine.  I have my husband’s socks that now just about fit me to prove this doesn’t work!  Instead hand wash in baby shampoo.

Environmentally Conscious Buying

If you want to shop more ethically, why not download a copy of my free guide to Environmentally Friendly Brands?

How To Layer And Look Stunningly Stylish

How To Layer And Look Stunningly Stylish

It’s that time of year again!   I call September the How To Layer Month!  When it’s starting to feel a bit chillier in the mornings and evenings but the middle of the day can still feel really warm.

You can pull on a jacket over your summer wardrobe, which will work.  But there’s a sense many of us feel, that September marks a new beginning.  It’s the start of the academic year and that means a new term.  We want to mark that in our wardrobe as much as we loved new pencil cases as a child!

For me I’ve got to the point where I want to ring the changes with my style. Equally I don’t want to feel too hot in heavier clothes.  Transitional dressing has become a recognized ‘season’ in the fashion industry as the traditional seasons have become less distinct.

Layering is one of the easiest options.  This enables you to extend the life of your summer wardrobe and still be a bit warmer at the chiller ends of the day.  The question I’m asked most about transitional dressing is how to layer.

Chunky jumpers slung over cute summer dresses look fabulous on tall slender women. But the art of how to layer for most of us is about not adding bulk to our body shape.  It’s also about creating a coordinated stylish look that doesn’t look as though you’re simply recycling your summer wardrobe!

Here are my top tips for how to layer

 

Colour PaletteHow To Layer With Colour

Keep it simple.  Stick to either a monochromatic look (same colour in different tones).  If this feels too restrictive then stick to 2-3 colours at the most.

If you want to wear prints and patterns keep this to one layer only and make it a feature of your outfit.

Why? With the column of colour principle you will look taller and more slender.  This will help to detract from extra layers you may be adding.

Pop On A Waistcoat

Gareth Southgate did a fantastic job of making the waistcoat popular again this summer.  But for autumn a slightly different take on the waistcoat may be a good plan.

Sleeveless jackets and gilets are a great example of how to layer. Add a stylish touch and a bit of extra warmth.

With the faux fur trend being so huge why not add a faux fur gilet to get that extra warmth.  This will look fantastic over a dress or jeans and top combination?

Why?  A gilet will add warmth without helping you to overheat!

Add A Camisole

Remember when your mum nagged you to wear a vest?  How uncool was that!  But in fact Mum was not so far wrong!  The most obvious way of how to layer your clothing is to add a discreet base layer.

You can add a camisole under a favourite lightweight summer dress.   Just be mindful of textures and weight of fabric.  I’d recommend silk or viscose.  Worried about getting too hot? Look for a lightweight bamboo top.  Bamboo has natural wicking properties so that any moisture is dispersed and you’ll feel less hot.

Why?  Adding a camisole will extend the season of a summer dress.

Change Sandals For Boots

A pair of boots can look amazing with a flimsy dress or skirt. Add a leather or denim jacket and if boho is your thing, you’re there!

If Boho isn’t your style consider swapping sandals for ankle boots with trousers or jeans.  I appreciate this is not strictly how to layer but it’s another great way of adding a touch of warmth.

Just be mindful of wearing natural breathable fabrics.  If it does get hot in the middle of the day, full on winter boots are going to be much too hot.

Alternative footwear options at this time of year are shoe boots. Think ankle boots with cut out toes and sometimes ankles.  If you’re not sure what style of boots then check out my post.

Why? If your feet are warm enough then you’ll be able to wear lighter weight clothes for longer.

AccessoriseHow To Layer With Accessories

My favourite way of how to layer is to use accessories.  Seriously adding a scarf to an outfit can definitely turn a summer outfit into a transitional one.

You may want to throw on a pashmina or oversized scarf as an alternative to a jacket or coat.  These can be quickly removed and don’t add bulk.   Especially useful if you’re commuting and get overheated (as I do) on public transport!

If like me you’re likely to want to tear the scarf off halfway through the day, then wear a necklace underneath.

Why? You will still feel your outfit’s complete and accessorized if you remove your scarf.

So Now You Know How To Layer

Hopefully this post has given you a few ideas of how to:

  • Extend your summer wardrobe when it’s too warm for autumn clothes
  • Avoid overheating in September
  • Create some fresh looks for September

 

Online Accessories Course

I’m considering setting up an Online Accessories Course.   In the first instance I’m asking for feedback so I can plan the content.  A minute of your time to complete a quick survey would be amazing.  There’s no obligation beyond that.   The survey’s anonymous.  But if you add your name in the comments to say you’ve done it then I’ll be saying thank you with a gift!