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!

Your essential guide to hygge fashion

The hygge trend is inescapable, and hygge fashion is set to be the Next Big Thing.

Pronounced ‘hue-ga’, it refers to the Danish concept of obtaining happiness in simple pleasures – a fluffy blanket on a cold day; the flicker of candlelight on a dark night; or the company of loved ones. If it makes you feel good, its hygge.

So how does this cosy, comfort-first ideology work when it comes to the decidedly uncomfortable world of fashion?

Hygge fashion explained

Feel-good fashion can mean different things to different people, depending on your mood, your schedule and your surroundings. Staying in for the night? Your idea of hygge fashion might mean flannel PJs or a fleece-lined onesie. Prepping for a hot date? Hygge fashion could involve your favourite pair of stilettos and a flattering LBD.

However, if you’re really not sure how hygge fashion works, we have three feel-good tips to get you started!

Invest in great knitwear

A big, fluffy jumper can be worn with anything, and will give you that comfy, cuddly feeling all day long. However, when it comes to knitwear, quality is key. Choose natural fibres such as wool and cashmere, and go for a relaxed fit which will allow you

Choose calming colours

Beige, cream and oatmeal are classics of the Scandi-chic movement, as they are warm and calming (and look amazing in candlelight). Marylin Monroe once said that she always wore a cream silk scarf as the soft tones had a luminous effect in photos. Take a leaf out of her book and swathe yourself in romantic hues that make you look and feel good.

Wear finer fabrics

There is nothing hygge about itchy, polyester clothing. To feel truly good inside your clothing, opt for softer fabrics such as silk, cotton and cashmere, which allow your skin to breathe. Yes, they are more expensive than polyester-mix, but its that feeling of pure luxury that gives you that hygge feeling.

What to wear to a winter wedding

Summer weddings are easy to prepare for. But fashion magazines don’t tend to tell you what to wear to a winter wedding. After all, floaty dresses and strappy sandals are no match for a sudden rain storm or a spot of frost.

Like it or not, winter weddings are getting more and more popular. So follow these tips to ensure that you look the part at your next winter wonderland wedding.

The shoes

Your choice of shoes will depend very much on the location of the wedding. If there is even the most remote risk of ice, mud or wet sand – avoid the stilettos. Instead, look for a chic pair of wedge heels or chunky platforms, which have a bit of grip on the sole to avoid slipping.

Boots are only an option if they are brand new and super-chic. Same goes for flats. This is a wedding, not a day at the office.

The coat

Arguably the most important piece of your outfit. This coat has to be pretty enough to be worn in photographs, and warm enough to keep the winter weather at bay. A faux fur-lined cashmere trench is a great investment for occasions like this, and cape-coat hybrids are having a bit of a fashion moment this year. Whatever you chose, make sure your coat matches the other colours of your outfit, and always opt for a tailored silhouette that doesn’t swamp your figure.

The clothing

Dark colours look amazing against the pale background of winter. Think deep purple, burgundy, forest green and royal blue. Choose a good quality fabric that will keep you warm without looking frumpy. Lace, velvet, and brocade always look elegant (and expensive!), and work particularly well with bold hues.

The accessories

Unlike summer weddings, winter wedding accessories have to be practical as well as pretty. When you are outside, you need your accessories to provide a little extra warmth, but you should be able to remove and discard them when you move into a warmer setting. This means faux fur stoles; leather gloves; and stylish birdcage umbrellas. Invest now and wear these pieces again and again.