Thursday, 17 August 2017

Orphan clothes

Do you have items of clothing in your wardrobe that don't go with anything else there? You know, the ones that sit there month after month (or year after year!). They could be there because they were part of an outfit for a wedding or other occasion or maybe someone bought you something for your birthday or Christmas and it is in a colour or style that isn't quite right for you. Whatever the reason, you look at those items every day and think maybe you should wear them but then dismiss them. 

I've had orphan clothing in my wardrobe on several occasions in the past. I once had a really nice blouse which I wore with a skirt a couple of times. It felt too 'dressy' to wear regularly (as I thought then) so it just got left forlornly in my wardrobe. After a few years I got rid of it because I'd had it for so long that it had lost its appeal! What a waste of money.

Here are some things you can do to ensure you wear your orphan clothes:

1. Make sure you buy clothes in colours that suit you and fit you properly. I can help you with this.

2. Before you buy anything new, think whether it will go with at least 3 other items in your wardrobe.

3. If it is a top or jacket that is 'dressy' why not wear it with jeans? These days anything can go with jeans.

4. If you are finding a coloured item of clothing difficult to match, a top or bottom in the correct neutral colour for you is a good option, or a patterned top or bottom containing one of the colours would go well.

5. Maybe you have coloured shoes that don't go with anything? Try wearing them with neutral colours in your wardrobe or, again, jeans.

6. Finally, only buy clothes that you really love and need. That way you won't be left with clothes that gather dust day on day! Then orphan clothes will be a thing of the past.

However, if you find that you really can't make an item of clothing work, then maybe it is time to donate it or sell it to someone else who could make use of it.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Looking after your clothes

You've sorted and edited your wardrobe and kept only the clothes that make you look and feel good. However, it's all very well having a wardrobe full of beautiful clothes but how well do you take care of them? If you just drop them on the floor at night or leave clothes screwed up in a ball in a corner, they are not going to look great and it could shorten their life!

Here's what works for me when it comes to looking after clothes:

1. When you take your clothes off, hang them on the outside of your wardrobe for a while before putting them away. This enables them to 'breathe' and cool down after being worn all day and also helps any creases to drop out.

2. Try to buy the correct coathangers for your clothes. The thin, flock covered ones are good and take up less space than wooden hangers. I do use wooden hangers, however, for heavy winter coats. Get rid of any wire hangers from the dry cleaners or any plastic store hangers with ridges which can make bumps or marks in your clothes. It's fine to use smooth plastic coathangers.

3. Heavy jumpers and cardigans should be folded rather than hung on hangers because their weight on the hanger will pull them out of shape. The same applies to knitted dresses if they are particularly thick or heavy.

4. Be sure to read the washing labels on your clothes re washing temperature or whether to hand wash or not and check whether your washing machine has the appropriate settings. A few months ago I washed a wool jumper in the washing machine on what I thought was a wool setting but unfortunately it shrunk and the wool matted. When in doubt about wool garments, wash by hand in lukewarm to cold water. This applies to silk and cashmere too.

5. Winter coats and jackets that are dry clean only can be taken to the cleaners at the end of the winter season so that they are ready to wear again when it gets cold.

6. To repel moths - lavender bags, cedar hangers or balls or moth sachets should be put in the wardrobe. To stop spiders taking refuge in your wardrobe put a few conkers in there (Autumn).

7. Shoes. Fairly obvious but regular cleaning with shoe polish that matches the colour of the shoe will help prolong their life. If the heels are worn down take them to a cobbler to get reheeled. Again, leave them outside the wardrobe to air a bit before you put them away.

8. Bags. Clean out your bag once a week and take out all the receipts etc that are in there. Dust or wipe the outside of your bag at the same time!

I hope you find these tips useful. There is also the subject of how to store your clothes and accessories, which I will tackle another time.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Maxi and Midi Skirts

Every summer for the past probably 10 years or more, maxi dresses come out in full force in the shops. That's fine - all ages can wear one and they can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. When it comes, however, to maxi skirts and now this year's popular skirt length, the midi, there's a risk for those of us over 50 to look frumpy! Here are a few tips on how to wear maxi and midi skirts:

Maxi Skirts

If you have a larger hip to waist ratio, it's best to not have a maxi skirt that is too full with gathers around the waist, which will make you look larger:

 An A line skirt such as this one, which skims the hips, is better:

If you are petite (under 5' 3"), a pattern such as the one above will be too large for you, so if you want a pattern, stick to small scale ones.

With a maxi skirt, it's ok to wear a top outside of the waistband, provided the top is not too long, otherwise tuck it in to the skirt but be careful it doesn't add bulk where you don't need it!

You can wear almost any shoe with a maxi skirt as they are not that obvious under the length of the skirt, so flat sandals, wedges, trainer type shoes or ballet flats are all fine.

Midi Skirts

Midi skirts are a little trickier to wear than maxis because of where the hemline finishes. Try not to end the hemline at the widest part of your leg, which is usually mid-calf, so just below the knee or lower than mid-calf are better. 

Proportionately, tucking your top into the waistband of the skirt with a belt on top if your waist is slim enough is better than wearing it outside, as it looks neater and helps to avoid the frump factor of a long top (or a baggy one!) over a long skirt.

For shoes, trainers or trainer-type shoes (as in the photo above) are popular to wear with midi skirts in the summer but I would avoid them if you have thick ankles. Ditto for ankle strap shoes, which add another horizontal line across your foot/leg, thereby giving the effect of shortening your leg.

In winter you can wear knee length boots or ankle boots with matching tights to the boots. If your midi skirt is on the 'shorter' side then heels look better than flats as they elongate the leg. 

This blogpost by Amber McNaught of Forever Amber is a great mine of information on the subject of how to wear a midi skirt