Thursday, 21 May 2015

Easy Styling Secrets

I carry a small wheelie suitcase with me to each wardrobe sorting appointment and have to reassure the client that I'm not moving in, just bringing some kit with me to help their appointment go more smoothly. I thought I'd share what I use to help clients style and look after their clothes - I've been doing The Wardrobe Angel job for nearly 4 years now and these bad boys have stood the test of wardrobe time:

1. M&S Stain Remover Wipes - my Mum bought me these as a joke one Christmas. Well Cathy Roper the joke is on you: these wipes are immense at stain removal and a must if you look after young kids who wipe snot/food/paint on you as you attempt to leave for work. Buy them in the food section by the tills, 2 packets for £1.50.

2. A Bic razor - some knitwear bobbles. Even Brora cashmere has been known to bobble. A jumper will be more prone to bobbling the more fabrics that are included in it: say Cotton, Wool, Acrylic and Viscose. This is because as more fabrics are added to the mix the fabrics begin to lose their original properties thus weakening them and Hello Bobbles! A quick shave with a razor will remove the bobbles and relieve your jumper of its scruffy state. If the jumper in question isn't that bobbled try a velcro roller to remove fluff instead; it's a bit more gentle.

3. Bulldog clips - if you are thinking of getting a garment shortened or taken in but it is a delicate fabric like silk (and a pin mark will show through) or a really heavy fabric like gaberdine (so a pin won't stay in it) then clipping the fabric with a bulldog clip holds the fabric in place. You can also use hair grips if you don't have pins - they won't mark your garment either.

4. Scissors - there's nowt worse than those pesky loose threads and labels ruining the look of garments. I always cut the labels out of sheer garments.

5. Masking tape and sellotape - great for removing fluff and bits from clothing if you don't have a clothes brush to hand.

6. Ecover spray and a cloth - when cleaning out a wardrobe the last thing I want to do is damage clothes with a bleach spray. This is a gentle formula with no parabens which I have successfully cleaned the shelves, rails and corners of many-a-wardrobe.

7. Labels - a useful tool for labelling clothes that need to be altered, dry-cleaned or washed so that the client doesn't have to remember what all those clothes piled up on the chair are for after I've left the building. They are also great for labelling an outfit to give you a jolt of inspiration in a morning.

8. Spare buttons - I take a bag of these with me in case buttons need replacing or changing. I also take thread and heel replacements for shoes. What a well prepared Girl Guide I am!!

9. Bin Bags - an essential for any wardrobe clear out. The most I've ever removed from a client's wardrobe was 18 bin bags. A good day for the charity shop!

10. Calibri Anti-moth - All cashmere needs protecting with this stuff; it's an odd smelling insurance policy against moths!

11. Dylon Dye - if a client wears a lot of black clothing this stuff is essential. Black can wash out at varying degrees so you can end up with a grey/black top and black trousers which can cheapen your look. Cheaper than buying new clothes, I often recommend Dylon Dye instead.

12. And then there's my contacts. A client emailed today saying

"I have some amazing Citizens of Humanity flares, but they are too long. Is there a shop/way/person who can take them up without losing the flare?"

I sent her to The Denim Doctor in Manchester. Click here to see the website. Michael has repaired all of my jeans and turned a pair of heavily flared Diesel jeans into boyfriend jeans for me a couple of years ago. As jeans go, he is beyond talented at fixing, re-styling and patching up.

13. And finally a recommendation I leave with clients - to carry some extra jewellery, spray deodorant and foot spray with them. I have a make-up bag under the front seat of my car with all of the above packed away in it. Extra jewellery because sometimes you just need a little more ooomph, spray deodorant and foot spray to keep everything peachy fresh. A must with summer just around the corner!

Til next time...x

Monday, 11 May 2015

My favourite bits off of the internet this week...

I spend a fair amount of time rolling around on the internet looking at clothes, blogs, articles and tea in no particular order. I've been really inspired and motivated by what I've been reading recently so I thought I'd share some cracking links with you:

1. Not feeling good enough - we've all had those days/weeks/months when stuff is just pants and putting one foot in front of the other seems like too much hard work. Janet articulates this issue with real sincerity and refreshing honesty. 

2. How to put together an outfit in 5 minutes - I don't know about you but when I'm in a rush my decision making skills aren't as sharp - I tend to over think, then falter, then make a bad choice. After reading this article on getting dressed in 5 minutes you'll hopefully save yourself from a bad wardrobe decision.

3. Men have changed - well, when it comes to fashion Mario Testino thinks so. And I'd have to agree. It's such a joy to behold a well-dressed guy who has wardrobe nouce. 

4. My favourite websites for all things next, new and now - Cool Hunting and Trend Hunter

5. What it's like being a dog owner - seriously mad cute gifs to feast your eyes on!

6. The Best of Bafta fashion - including some grey beard gratification courtesy of The Guardian and a black dress round-up via The Huffington Post.

7. Win a gorgeous set of colouring books for adults over on Pouting in Heels.  (Not adult colouring books - that's a whole different ball game!)

8. 40 things to do before you're 40 - I've nailed finding my red lipstick (thanks be to Maybelline 24 Super Stay), number 3 on the list. How many can you check off?

9. Watch Community - I cannot recommend this highly enough. Rich and I have raced through series 1 and are now midway through series 2. Just hilarous. 

10. The Life & Style of Iris Apfel  

“Life is grey and dull; you may as well have a little fun when you dress and amuse people.”

Well said! Have a great week! 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

#Oxclusive Oxfam Sustainable Fashion Event

Ever wondered what happens to your clothes after you've dropped them off at Oxfam? Last week I had the chance to find out. Situated in Batley, Oxfam have a HUGE warehouse where clothing magic happens. On a huge conveyor belt, 25 grades of stock are sorted on a daily basis. Items which have been donated in clothing bins and unsold items from charity shops are separated. Between 9 - 12 tonnes of handbags and shoes are sorted each week alongside separating out vintage and on-trend clothing for the Oxfam shop and creating bales of clothing to sell to ethical clothing traders in Africa. It's fair to say no other charity sorts your second-hand clothing like Oxfam does.

Oxfam is all about sustainable living and squeezes every penny out of each donation; nothing goes into landfill. 

I can't even begin to describe the sheer scale of the operation.
After a tour of the warehouse we were treated to a fashion show showcasing all the awesome stock which the online shop sells. The fashion show ratcheted up an impressive trend round-up including denim and 1970's glamour which are all hanging out on a high street near you as we speak.

Suede? TICK. Fringing? TICK. That's 2 key new season trends right there!

Place your pre-conceptions at the door - just because it is a second-hand shop doesn't mean the stock isn't bang-on-trend. 

I spotted Whistles shoes and clothing amongst the stock plus we all recognise these red soles don't we....

One thing that really impressed me was the grass roots customer segregation which Oxfam has completely nailed. They have a dedicated festival shop which tours the country visiting Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds and Bestival to name a few. They also have a stall at the Clothes Show. The stock is rotated and customised for the specific festival they are at - talk about customer segmentation! Savvy!

Follow the team from the online shop over on twitter  and check out the Oxfam Online Shop by clicking here.