How to care for wool

It’s probably the most popular fabric of all time. But most of us have no idea how to care for wool. In fact, maintaining woollen garments can be an absolute nightmare. But if you know how to look after it, your favourite jumper or cardigan can last a lifetime.

Here are a few of our favourite tips on how to care for wool year-round.

Dealing with stains

First of all, don’t panic. If you catch it quickly, you should be able to dab or delicately rinse the affected area with water. If the stain is particularly stubborn, there are a number of techniques to try. The worst marks can be handled with a combination of alcohol and white vinegar. This potent mix will take care of coffee, blood, and even oil-based paints, without damaging the fibres of the wool.

Just make sure you don’t iron the garment before the stain has been fully removed, as the heat will seal the mark into the fabric.

Drying wool

All woollen items should be washed inside-out to protect their outer layer. As soon as they come out of the washing machine, lay the item flat on a dry towel. Roll the towel up and gently squeeze it, to extract any excess moisture from the wool. Then lay the item out flat over a drying rack, and allow it to dry naturally over the next few hours. Don’t be tempted to put it on the radiator, as the uneven distribution of heat could warp the wool and change the shape of your item.

Packing and storage

Avoid tight packing when you’re putting woollen items into storage. After a wash, be sure to ‘rest’ the item form for 24 hours on a hanger. This help the fibres fall back in places so the garment can regain its original shape.

Before you pack away your wools, put them through a preventative wool wash, and try to splash out on dedicated ‘delicates’ washing liquid.

To help keep pests away, place the items in a thick container, sealed in a bag or wrapping paper. And adding sprigs of dried lavender will help ward off creepy crawlies and will make your clothes feel fresh, even after a long spell in the attic!

Choosing your perfect winter coat

It’s the most important item you’ll buy this winter. But choosing your perfect winter coat is no small task. Your winter coat should be warm, stylish and versatile enough to wear to the pub or the office. And ideally, it will last longer than just one season.

Before you hit the shops, make sure you have read our five rules for finding your perfect winter coat.

1. Check the composition

For winter, you need something that will last at least a few months in some of the year’s harshest weather conditions. This means you need to look for a coat that is made from insulating fabrics such as wool or cashmere. Choose a style that has a little extra space inside so that you can layer up your sweaters and knitwear. And make sure any buttons/zips are not just decorative – you don’t want to be clinging to your lapels when the winter winds hit.

2. See if it’s adaptable

Ideally, your winter coat should be suitable for a number of different occasions. Does it suit a mizzly morning? A freezing afternoon? Or a lashing night out? And does it accessorise well with your current wardrobe? Look for a coat that can be dressed up or down with the right accessories.

3. Think about your silhouette

Like everything in fashion, the silhouette is everything. If you are tall and slim, add curves with a belted coat. If you are curvy, choose a slimming single-breasted coat in a dark colour. Shorter ladies should look for mid-length coats; while tall women can experiment with unusual shapes like the cocoon coat. Whatever you choose, make sure it works with your figure, and not against it.

4. Take it for a road-test

It’s easy to take a coat for a spin in a store, but to get a realistic view, you need to take it outside. Luckily, just about every store has a generous returns policy, so you can buy and return if it doesn’t feel right. Remember, you’ll be wearing your winter coat almost every day. Some fabrics can feel scratchy, tight or warm when you’re moving around, but catch them early and you’ll have time to find a new coat.

5. Think about the details

Everyone wants something different from their winter coat. You might want deep pockets to keep your hands warm; a hood that keeps the rain off; or a fur trim that gives you a daily shot of glamour. Think about the one detail that you can’t live without, and narrow down your search accordingly. Then all you have to do is choose the coat that makes you look good, and you’ll be ready for the snow!

Five ways to keep wearing your summer clothes in winter

It happens every year. You invest in an amazing summer wardrobe, then it basically rains for the rest of the year. But there are a few ways to keep wearing your summer clothes in winter. And you won’t be surprised to learn that layering plays a big part…

Read on for our five favourite ways to keep wearing your summer clothes in winter.

1. The slip dress

The 90s revival has given us a lot of great summer looks, but none have really taken off like the slip dress. Everyone from Gigi Hadid to Rihanna has been spotted in some version of a slip dress this year. The delicate spaghetti straps and light material make it the perfect sundress for fashionistas. But it’s not the most practical outfit for winter.

Wear it for longer by layering a polo-neck sweater in a contrasting colour underneath the dress. Black tights and chunky ankle boots will finish off the look.

2. Gingham

A stealth trend of the summer; gingham is rapidly overtaking plaid as the ‘off-duty pop star’ pattern of choice.
Luckily, it’s easy to wear in any weather. Wear your gingham shirt with denim shorts in the summer, and with jeans in the winter. Layer a simple cashmere sweater over the top for that preppy all-American vibe.

3. Florals

Floral prints are a hit every single summer. And this year’s best-selling floral prints have come in slightly darker hues that make them perfect for winter wear.

Grunge up your summer florals with black tights, platform boots, and an oversized woollen cardi.

4. The pleated midi skirt

The pleated midi skirt made a big comeback in 2017. In pinks, pastels, brights or metallics – they have been spotted at just about every party, festival and wedding this year.

Luckily, it’s easy to keep wearing your midi throughout the winter. To begin with, just swap out your vest top for a plain white shirt (tucked into the waistband, of course), or a slouchy sweater. Then add a ¾ length coat and a reasonably sized heel and you’re good to go!

5. Chiffon

Blame the Kardashian-Jenners for this one. See-through dresses threatened to go mainstream in 2017, while chiffon panelling suddenly appeared on all our clothes.

However, this is a surprisingly easy trend to alter for winter. And the secret is – you guessed it – layering! Try layering a plain t-shirt under a chiffon top, or wear a chiffon dress underneath a your favourite ‘going out’ dress to give it an instant update.

The colour that looks amazing on everyone

Call it mustard, call it chartreuse, call it plain old yellow. However you choose to describe it, this is somehow the colour that looks amazing on everyone. At least according to style maven Rachel Zoe.

“Yellow is one of those colours that intimidates people,” she said, on her style blog The Zoe Report. “It’s bright as can be and can feel challenging to pull off. Likely the last shade one with a predilection for neutrals would reach for, it’s also often overlooked by colour fanatics who instead reach for safer bolds like red or cobalt.

“The reality, however, is that yellow has the potential to look incredible on everyone – we’re talking all the skin tones – and it happens to be a major trend for summer.”

Zoe says there is a shade for every complexion. Fair-skinned fashionistas should go for a pastel shade in pale lemon or sharp sorbet. Pair white accessories for an ethereal look.

Medium and olive complexions look amazing against warm, golden tones. Think sunshine yellow, or glowy apricot shades that almost veer into ‘orange’ territory. These colours are surprisingly versatile and look great with primary coloured accessories. Add a bright green bag, chunky blue bangles, or a statement necklace and watch those heads turn.

For darker complexions, go for the most vibrant yellows money can buy. Chartreuse is always a winner, while acid-washed neon yellow is one of the hottest shades of 2017.

The right shade of yellow will brighten up the most ordinary outfit, making it perfect for those rainy summer days that Britain is famous for. What’s more, once you find your perfect hue, it will complement your skin tone to give you a summery glow that no amount of make-up can reproduce.

So what are you waiting for? Follow the lead of Rachel Zoe and the rest of the fashion set and start trawling the rails in search of the colour that looks amazing on everyone.

Are high heels dead?

It’s the sort of question that 2017 Carrie Bradshaw might ask in her column… are high heels dead?

After decades of towering stilettos, flatforms, and even armadillo heels (thank you McQueen…), we are trading in couture for comfort. Yep – flats are finally ‘in’. At least according to Harling Ross at Man Repeller.

Are high heels dead?

“I blame the sneaker craze of 2014,” says Ross. “Well actually, “blame” is the wrong word. “Credit” is better, because I’m grateful the craze occurred. To recap: Sometime around 2014, street-style stars and high-end brands magically colluded (a.k.a. it was a chicken-and-egg situation — I’m not quite sure who had the idea first, although Isabel Marant’s wedge sneakers might very well have been the embryo) to enforce the concept of wearing gym sneakers with non-athletic attire. All of a sudden, sneakers were not only acceptable every-occasion footwear, but they were also COOL.

“Up until then, fashionable footwear and comfort were treated as mutually exclusive, so it makes perfect sense why the trend caught on so quickly and so universally. The comfort was addicting. Walking ten blocks didn’t feel like an experiment in pain tolerance. Bunions were no longer de rigeur.

“The sneaker trend had a good run (pun intended), but it maxed out after a couple of years. It was inevitable, given how homogeneous it became. The habituated comfort of forgoing high heels, however, was seared permanently into our psyches. How could it not be? It felt so good!!

“Other high heel-less shoe trends trotted in to fill sneakers’ place. Slides have been a predominant contender of late, but loafers, ballet flats and espadrille wedges form a solid supporting cast of comfortable footwear options.

“We’re fortunate to live in a time when designers are producing an abundance of cool shoes that don’t have high heels — casual ones, fancy ones, in-between ones — leaving us with comfortable and attractive options for almost any circumstance, from leading a board meeting to going out to a fancy dinner. They’re responding to a consistent, consumer-driven demand, no doubt — because now that we’ve tasted the sweet, smooth, buttercream frosting of shoes that not only get you from point A to point B pain-free but also look great simultaneously, why would we ever go back to fondant?”

So should you ditch your Manolos?

Ross makes a good point, but here at A Perfect Look, it will take a lot more than a pretty ballet shoe to wean us off our heels. However, there is no denying the fact that women deserve to have more choice when it comes to our footwear. After all, even Carrie broke the odd heel while running for a cab…

The secrets of a Primark employee

It’s popular for its instant fashion fixes and infamous for its t-shirt-strewn floors. But have you ever wondered what its really like to work at Primark? Read on to learn the secrets of a Primark employee

1. Heading voices

You know that familiar voice that tells you which till to pay at? Well Primark employees actually have control over whether their till announcement is in a male, or female voice. According to former staffer George Allen, the male voice is “louder and more effective”.

2. No bargains

The only time employees get staff discount, is at Christmas and even then it’s only 10%.

3. Discount rules

But apparently customers can easily get 10% knocked off their shopping without debate if there is a fault, or mark on the item.

4. The Book of Faces

They keep a ‘Book of Faces’ behind the customer services desk, which is Primark’s equivalent to a Burn book, as it’s filled with CCTV close-ups of badly behaved/thieving customers.

5. Clothes folding pros

You get a 10-minute crash course in clothes folding on your first day. Yeah, if that pile of crumpled T-shirts makes you cry, imagine how the staff feel.

6. What’s a code two?

Apparently “urine and faeces” on the shop floor is “pretty common”. With cleaning staff having special announcements so they know what to expect, i.e: “cleaner to menswear, code two.”

7. Avoid the stockroom

There’s pretty much no point in asking the staff to look for your size in the stockroom. Apparently it’s a massive room, filled with cardboard boxes and no one knows where anything is.

Despite all this, George said there were a few upsides to working at Primark. He claimed that the staff are the best he’s ever worked with, and pointed out that every minute of overtime is added to your pay cheque.

However, some might say that’s the least you could ask for when you’re dealing with mountains of dirty clothes, irate customers and the odd “code two”.

 

Are polka dots cool again?

Some of the most iconic outfits of all time have been covered in polka dots. Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman; Marilyn Monroe in the Seven Year Itch; and 1950s Audrey Hepburn, to name just a few. But it’s been a while since polka dots were actually in fashion. But are polka dots cool again?

According to a recent article on Refinery 29, they absolutely are.

Are polka dots cool again?

“Polka dots become a massive fashion trend every five years or so, given the push-and-pull nature of our relationship with femininity, writes Connie Wang on Refinery 29. “Sometimes, we embrace it — from the recent apex of the Pinterest aesthetic to that brown dress from Pretty Woman, it’s trendy for women to perform as females. Polka dots come in fit-and-flared dresses and low-cut swiss dot blouses, swiftly providing us that sweet Provence look that’s quirky enough to not be boring. Other times, we like to skewer the notion that women should dress like ladies. That’s when you’ll see polka dots worn with tattoos and combat boots, or on giant clown-pant culottes and muumuu-like tent dresses.

“Which brings us to now — when “acting like a woman” means something beyond just the personal,” adds Wang. “The people we elect, the work we seek, the freedoms we flex, and the protections we assume depend on us claiming and protecting the things that make us women. The reactions have been all over the place; polka dots have been too. Reformation’s reinventions of vintage classics feel sexy, but also commanding; Jacquemus’ deconstructed pastoral peasant blouses and dresses are sweet, but also sinister. Some polka dots are 100% ladylike. Others are decidedly not. But as far as spots and femininity go, all manifestations are fair game in 2017.”

So there you have it – this year’s polka dots are not only cool again, they’re an investment in future trends as well.

What is jetleisure?

Just as we were all getting used to athleisure, another fashion term comes along to confuse us and spike our interest. But what is jetleisure?

Coined by Grazia writers (the same people who popularised the term athleisure to begin with), jetleisure is the latest fashion buzzword. It reers to the most insta-worthy clothing iteams that you could possibly pack for your holidays. Practicality is out, and bold colours, sculptural shapes and slogans are in.

Want to get on board with the trend? Here are the key items you need to find before you book your plane ticket.

The Beach Dress

Every blogger knows that finding the right beach dress for potential Instagram snaps is crucial. Whether they’re planning on using Santorini’s VSCO-effect views as a backdrop or Bali’s ‘#nofilter’ beaches, the dress is a must.

The Sun Hat

The sun hat is undoubtedly one of the most important accessories when it comes to perfecting the beach look this season. And one of brands to look out for is Eugenia Kim. With slogan-embroidered straw hats aplenty, there’s never been a more Instagrammable accessory.

The ‘It’ Swimsuit

We’re looking at Instagram heavyweights Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner. Never has there been such hype surrounding thigh-cut one-piece swimsuits (well, since the eighties anyway). So much so, that someone has searched for the cult garment every five minutes this year.

The Basket Bag

Yes, we’re still blabbing on about the basket bag. But who can blame us? While browsing the Internet for potential buys, words such as ‘fun’ and ‘bright’ crop up quite often so make sure to bag a basket number complete with pompoms and embroidered wording.

OK, so you’ve probably figured out by now that jetleisure is really just another word for ‘holiday clothing’. But the good news is that this is one trend that you can commit to without re-stocking your entire wardrobe. Just remember – it’s all about getting that perfect holiday snap. So plan your outfits around your surroundings, choose at least one stand-out piece, and pose, pose, pose.

The best petite lines on the high street right now

Sometimes it feels like designers have forgotten that short women exist. Waistbands are too high, trouser legs are too long, and midi skirts are maxi skirts when you’re 5 foot nothing. We’re always looking for the best petite lines on the high street. The lines which don’t sacrifice style for practicality, and don’t just run limited versions of the main collection.

Here is our pick of the bunch…

Topshop

Topshop was one of the first high street stores to offer a petite collection, and it has been expanded over the years. It caters to women who are 5’ 3” or shorter, and includes everything from jeans to coats, and even petite bodysuits. We particularly love Topshop’s petite jumpsuits and playsuits – a notoriously difficult product to get right for the petite market.

Asos

For sheer choice, it’s hard to beat Asos. When we last checked, there were more than 1400 different petite items in stock – each one more desirable than the last! The collection is topped up every week, so it’s perfect for serious shopping addicts.

Missguided

Missguided prides itself on its fast fashion. As soon as a new trend rolls around, Missguided has a cut-price version on its website. The brand is brilliant for cocktail dresses and ‘going out’ outfits, as well as up to the minute fashions. The only downside is that its petite collection only goes up to a size 14, which means it isn’t going to work for women with curves.

Next

The Next sale is popular for a reason. Year after year, this store delivers high quality clothes for a massive range of different body types – including petite. Great for work clothes or everyday basics, this is the place to go for perfectly-cut trousers of every description.

J.Crew

This American brand has only recently arrived in the UK, but it already has a cult following. Especially among petite women. J.Crew is a master of chic tailoring, and its petite collection more or less mirrors its main collection. If you want to find the perfect white shirt, or an impeccably cut trouser suit – look no further.

Choose the right shoes to wear with a jumpsuit

Love them or hate them, jumpsuits have entered the mainstream. But do you know the right shoes to wear with a jumpsuit?

Whether you are dressing to impress at a fancy wedding, or nailing the smart casual look at the office, it is crucial that you choose the right footwear. So read on for our guide to jumpsuits and shoes.

With work clothes…

If you are wearing a jumpsuit to work, it’s probably going to be either tailored and chic, or loose and modern.

Tailored jumpsuits look great with simple court shoes or stilettos. For wide-leg jumpsuits, block heels work best. Alternatively, hide a comfy flat shoe underneath a swishy hem a la Sam Taylor-Johnson.

At a wedding…

A jumpsuit is a great choice for a wedding. It’s different enough to stand out from the sea of floral dresses, but smart enough to suit the most formal dress code.

At a summer wedding, show off your pedi in the most OTT strappy sandals you can find. And in winter, go for sparkly, embellished or quirky heels that will help you light up the dancefloor.

At the bar…

There is an endless selection of club-ready jumpsuits on the high street at the moment. Think jumpsuits with ruffles, Bardot necklines, lace inserts, and sheer panelling – sometimes all at once! A loud jumpsuit needs minimal accessories. Invest in a pair of nude or black heels that you know you can walk in.

At the park…

It’s easy to dress up a jumpsuit, but not so easy to dress them down. However, the rising popularity of dungarees and pinafore trousers has made it more acceptable than ever to rock a jumpsuit at the park (or on the school run, or wherever you usually wear joggers or jeans!).

Choose a relaxed fit and pair with statement sneakers such as Adidas Superstar or Converse.