accessories

How to care for your wardrobe

From moth solutions to the best hangers, we asked Julia Dee, founder of Total Wardrobe Care, to share her secrets for keeping your clothes pristine all year round

 What would you recommend for tackling a moth problem?

A few moths flying around is not an epidemic. But for the price of a lunch, a moth box, which is a sticky pheromone moth trap, monitors the problem and should be kept in each room throughout the year. The moth season is May to October but once the moths have got a hold they will happily live throughout the year in your wardrobes. They eat keratin in natural fabrics and fibres, which include your clothes, carpets, blankets, upholstery and fur and sheepskin. If that happens to have skin and hair particles, a bit of food or baby sick combined with dog hair then it’s a smorgasbord of delight for the moth. The female is programed to eat mate and lay eggs preferably in a dark and undisturbed area with a food source. The male just wants to mate. Then the baby (larvae) eats his way out of his cocoon and chomps into your clothes.

So….

Keep clothes clean and protected.

Keep wardrobe and drawers closed.

If it’s a walk-in wardrobe keep doors and windows closed.

Put jumpers into knitwear bags.

Add natural fragrances to the wardrobe to repel, i.e. hanging moth sachet (the female moth doesn’t like strong smells.)

Keep a sticky moth trap in every room.

If you start to get more than five or so moths in your moth trap… call us and we can talk you through the next stages.

 Is it best to organise a wardrobe by colour or outfit? 

In my experience, the easiest way is to put clothes into happy families – i.e. trousers together, jackets together, etc, and then colour coordinate. If outfits are put together you may miss a new and interesting combination. So when you open your wardrobe in the morning to get dressed, you may think I really want to wear that skirt, then you take it out and match it up against tops and jackets and something different may jump out at you. Then it always goes back in the same place.

What hangers should I use? Are there specific ones for different items of clothing?

Hangers are very important to keep your clothes pristine in the wardrobe, so that even after six months of hanging there, once you pull them out to wear they won’t need ironing and there are no funny creases in the middle of your skits or lines across the knees of your trousers, or stretched areas in the sleeve head of your Kettlewell top.

Jackets need a wider shoulder area to fill out the sleeve and mimic your shoulders.

Trousers ideally should be hung from the waist with peg hangers. If you don’t have the hanging length in your wardrobe then a trouser hanger with a good padded hanging bar so you don’t get the knee crease.

Skirts also need the peg hanger, and should definitely not be hung from the hanging loops at the sides, as the skirt will dip in the middle and be squashed and have horrible yawning creases down the front.

What are your tips for caring for cashmere?

Try to keep it as clean and protected as possible.

Gentle hand wash.

Put in to shape and dry flat if possible. Light steam iron if necessary.

Use the cashmere comb to de-bobble, don’t use scissors or an electric de-bobbler as these can both slip and, ooops, a hole!

 

If they are to be hung use the rubber non slip coat hanger that is 38cm wide and curved so that it doesn’t leave misshapen shoulders.

If they are not being worn, then store out of season knits in a knitwear bag.

Is there any wardrobe maintenance I should be doing throughout the year?

Twice a year, in spring and autumn, have a mini detox. Take everything out, re-evaluate, get any repairs done, take to charity or sell anything that is not wanted. Check everything is hung correctly on the right hanger and that everything is in order. Have a big clean of the inside of drawers and cupboards, then spray an anti-moth linen spray on the wood and replace all anti moth scented sachets,

 Can you share any helpful ironing tips?

  • Invest in a good steam iron.
  • Test on the inside of the garment for temperature.
  • Do read all care labels before you cut them out.
  • To stop shine, take a tea towel and wet it and wring it out so its damp all over, put this on top of the garment and then press gently, this will stop any shine.
  • To steam only, hang the garment on a hanger and on a hook, then put the iron into the upright position and gently guide the steam over the garment, almost stroking it, this can help gentle fabrics drop their creases.
  • Let the garment cool before it’s folded or put back into the wardrobe.

 What should I do with any unwanted clothes?

Find a local charity shop. Visit them before landing on them with a large box to see what they are collecting. If the clothes have a well-known desired label, try selling in a second- hand shop, or on ebay. If it’s an expensive designer piece, try Rebelle, Hardly Ever worn it, Vestiaire, or ShonaMac – websites that have a good following and might achieve a better price. Then any money raised can be put towards a new key piece or be given to charity.

 Is it best to leave alterations to the professionals or is it ever worth trying yourself?

I have run an alterations business for 25 years and this is how I learn about my clients’ needs for wardrobe-care products. A good seamstress is like a good hairdresser or beautician – hang on to them. It’s best to get a personal recommendation.

Try to get the garment fitted by the alteration professional – sit down, wear the correct shoes and underwear and ask to see the back view.

There is nothing to stop anyone doing their own alterations if they have good sewing skills. You know who you are!

 How should I go about doing a wardrobe edit? How do I decide what goes and what stays?

The first step is an image overhaul. Find a good consultant to do your colours and style, which will give you the blue print for your wardrobe, a job that is quite daunting and hard to do on your own. I would also recommend taking advice from a wardrobe buddy (or your stylist). Commit to do it for each other – get rid of the kids, switch off the mobiles, get the rations in and then go for it. It will need your best buddy to say to you, “How many ugly cardies do you really need?”, “How many gardening jeans is it necessary to have?”, ‘Really would you want the man of your dreams seeing you in that matted old dressing gown?” A friend will ask pertinent questions you know deep down. It’s also worth reading Marie Kondo’s Magic Art of Tidying. My rule is: Does it spark joy? Or as William Morris said: “Do not have anything in your home that you do not believe to be useful or beautiful.”

What is the best way to store shoes? 

This really depends on space. Oh, for a lovely shoe cupboard built with slightly slanting shelves or drawers that pull out. Most people don’t have this luxury, so other options include the bottom of the wardrobe, under the bed, or perhaps even an old book case.

 I never seem to get it right when it comes to packing for a weekend break. Any words of advice? 

This really depends on where you are going and what you are going to do. Is it a quick weekend city break in Europe with 10 kilos or packing the car and driving off?

I have invested in a collapsing two-foot garment rail from Morplan. Then I hang all the clothes I really want to take and then cull, until you have the correct number for the days and nights. Bearing in mind that garments can be worn twice or more and rinsed out.

There are lots of lovely packing lists on line to get you going!

Any other tips for prolonging the lifespan of my wardrobe?

I think if possible have a good mix of some investment key pieces and some cheap and cheerful which can be updated every season. Then general care, dry clean or launder, alter or repair and a good hanger.

 Total Wardrobe Care is offering Kettlewell customers 20% off products on its website until September 30 2017 using the code TWC17

 

Arctic aircon vs sunny afternoons – summer layering sorted

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you will no doubt have noticed that I have a bit of a vendetta against over-enthusiastic air conditioning, especially in the summer, in Britain. With the best will in the world, it’s not often that it’s so scorchingly hot outside that stepping into an office, store, train or plane cooled to the approximate temperature of an industrial fridge is a huge relief.

However, I gather that my one woman campaign to get the air conditioning turned down to ‘warmer than the actual arctic’ isn’t going terribly well (although I’m pleased to report that Kettlewell HQ has always maintained a perfectly normal temperature), so meanwhile we all need to plan our outfits to manage that endless summer dichotomy of beautiful warm sunshine and chilly air conditioned environment.

Top tips for managing changeable summer temperatures:

  1. Layers are your friend; a sleeveless top  with a cardigan or blazer layered over the top maintains a professional appearance with the ability to cool down when necessary.
  2. Don’t neglect your neck; a luxurious lightweight Cashmere Gauze Stole or a slimline Florence or Willow scarf will easily slip into your bag when you don’t need it, but is an essential defence against that nasty draft down the back of the neck.
  3. When in doubt, go for a dress; pretty, functional, stylish and with no gap between top and bottom when you sit down, a dress with an a-line skirt like the Arabella dress will be flippy enough to keep you cool when you’re out and about in the (possibly) sunshine, but layered up with a camisole and a cardigan will keep you comfortable in the artificially chilled air.
  4. Closed toe shoes; leather or suede will breathe when you go outside, but prevent you getting chilly feet while you’re sat back at your desk, when blood to the extremities can slow down somewhat from lack of exertion.

Start with a Print Arabella Cap Sleeve dress shown here in Cassis/Pink Violet, wear with an Ice Pink Camisole underneath, a Cassis Mid Cascade on top and finish off with an Ice Pink Willow Scarf.

Start with a Soft Square Vest in Blue Moon worn with a Bright Navy Jersey Pencil Skirt. Add a Milan Knit Cardigan in True Blue Marl and a Florence Infinity Scarf in Heliotrope.

Start with a Daphne Blouse in Iced Aqua worn with a pair of Marie Trousers in Silver. Add a Cotton Blazer in Blue Teal and carry a Cashmere Gauze Stole in Soft Aqua.

From work to evening out – styling the Daphne top from day to night

It’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s a cliché for a reason. Going straight from office to an evening out is a perennial dilemma, and one which often seems to result in a morning clothing crisis and a dozen discarded garments, before giving up and toting an entire additional outfit to work.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if a genuine day to night outfit existed? One where you really could just change an accessory or two before heading out for the evening? Well, funnily enough, I’ve found the solution (because it would have been a little cruel to lead you on this far and then tell you you’re on your own, wouldn’t it?).

Step forward, the Daphne blouse. Silky, lightweight, super-flattering and available in a selection of vibrant colours and delectable prints. Of course, it takes more than just a blouse to make an outfit, but with our simple style rules, transitioning from day to night will not longer mean half an hour spend hopping round the ladies loos trying to squeeze into an entirely new outfit.

Kettlewell items shown: Cotton Blazer in Oatmeal Melange, Print Daphne Blouse in Pastel & Aqua, Jersey Pencil Skirt in Bright Navy,  Cashmere Gauze Stole in Soft Aqua, Multi Wrap Bracelet in Pastel Aqua, Metallic Leather Clutch in Silver.

Kettlewell items shown: Mid Cascade Wrap in Flamingo Pink, Daphne Blouse in Pastel Rose, Short Ruched Skirt in Pebble Grey, Ballerina Pumps in Light Gold, Cashmere Gauze Stole in Peach Blossom, Zig Zag Scarf in Multi Brights, Metallic Leather Clutch in Platino.

Four simple rules to make your Daphne blouse your day-to-night hero:

  1. Pair it with a pencil skirt – the fitted style will look super sleek with the silky Daphne blouse, and will suit either a work or a party environment.
  2. Layer up with an easy blazer and simple flats for office chic. Adding an extra layer is a great way to add authority and impact for work, as well as protecting against the inevitable arctic office aircon.
  3. Come 6pm, remove the blazer, grab your clutch out of your laptop bag (which is staying locked in the office for the evening – you can manage one night without checking your emails at home, right?), add some heels and off you go. A cashmere gauze stole is another ideal extra if you’re worried about an evening chill later on.
  4. Enjoy your newfound mastery of day to night style.

Wedding season ready – add your splash!

It’s that time of year again; The invitations arrive, the outfit panic begins. Wedding season is upon us.

If you’re an experienced wedding goer, you’ll be familiar with the effort involved to simultaneously not spend a small fortune, look like you’ve made an effort, not wear the same thing as you wore to the last three weddings within the same social circle and, often in distant last place on the priority list, actually feel good about your appearance.

Luckily for you, the solution is at hand. Three simple steps to wedding guest perfection…

First

One of the easiest way to boost your wedding outfit confidence is to wear colours that you know make your skin glow and your eyes sparkle. So get your colours sorted pronto. Find your nearest consultant and book in for a colour analysis or, if you’re panicking about a wedding next week, take Kettlewell’s online quiz as a first step to get you on your way.

Second

Buy an investment basic outfit in one of your favourite neutrals, either a simple dress or trousers and top. For ideas on the best neutrals for your season, check out this recent blog post. Keep this outfit simple and flattering – you’re going to be adding the wow in a minute.

Kettewell items shown: Simone Cowl in Pastel Rose and Soft Square Vest in Bright Navy. Other items from John Lewis.

Third

Add your splash! The brights are what people will remember from your outfit, so adding a few carefully chosen brights will uplift and change your outfit for every occasion. And best of all, you can mix and match the basic outfit and the brights within your wardrobe to make a million and one outfits for other occasions in the future.

 

Add a Short Cascade Wrap in Flamingo Pink, a Suede Tassel Clutch in Ginger and a Single Wrap Bracelet in Biscuit/Gold

Add a Mid Cascade Wrap in Canary Yellow, Metallic Leather Clutch in Silver and a Tassel Necklace in Aqua Multi

Add a Cashmere Gauze Stole in Soft Aqua, Metallic Leather Clutch in Platino and a Tassel Necklace in Aqua Multi

Add a Milan Knit Cardi in Strawberry, a Tassel Necklace in Azure Blue, a Suede Tassel Clutch in Cobalt Blue

Or… make the dress the splash!

Go bold with your basic dress. Here we show the Arabella Cap Sleeve Dress in Canary Yellow.  Accessories can be bright or neutral, depending on your mood and the occasion!

Go neutral: add a Milan Knit Cardigan in Cream, a Tassel Necklace in Savannah and a Metallic Leather Clutch in Platino

Go bright: add a Milan Knit Cardigan in True Blue Marl, a Tassel Necklace in Azure Blue, a Suede Tassel Clutch in Cobalt Blue and a pair of Ballerina Pumps in Blue/Neon Coral

 

Meet the accessories

I’ve shown you a few sneak peeks, but I thought it was time we took a proper look at the accessories that Kettlewell have added to their essential collection of wardrobe basics.

For me, Kettlewell has always been about providing wardrobe foundation blocks in a rainbow of colours, and I think the accessories are the next logical step in that process. The new range offers a fab selection of accessories which can mix and match with your Kettlewell basics and other pieces in your wardrobe to provide either a splash of colour or a harmonious neutral.

As well as scarves (print and plain), you can now choose bags, necklaces (coloured and plain metal), bracelets and even shoes in your best shades. Getting your core wardrobe pieces in your best shades has seriously never been easier.

While we’re on the subject, don’t under-estimate the impact of getting your accessories right. They can bring an everyday outfit to life, or add the finishing touch to an elegant evening look, and getting them in the right shade will give your outfit that effortless put together look that we all love.

Still not convinced? See what Kettlewell’s capsule accessory collection can add to an outfit…

Items shown: Silky V Neck, Tassel Necklace, Single wrap bracelet, Zig zag scarf, Ballerina pumps

Items shown: Daphne blouse, Jersey Pencil Skirt, Leaf Charm Necklace, Single Wrap Bracelet, Suede Tassel Clutch, Ballerina Pumps

Items shown : Arabella Dress, Mid Cascade Wrap, Coin Pendant Necklace, Suede Tassel Clutch, Ballerina Pumps

 

Flawless festive style, whatever your palette – by Jo

header_aAre you a dresser upper or a dresser downer? A Boxing Day walker or a firmly glued to the TVer? Is your New Year’s Eve all sparkles and champagne or tea and  Jools Holland’s Hootenanny? Whatever your plans, having a great (and comfortable) wardrobe of outfits over the Christmas period definitely puts the holly on the Christmas pudding. However, so many of us find ourselves stressing about how to dress up for Christmas dinner while still feeling comfortable, feeling confident while facing 3,000 family members at the annual boxing day lunch or looking our best at a glamorous New Year’s Eve party.

If you know your personal colour palette, simply click on the links below to go to your own seasonal inspiration post. If you don’t know your personal colour palette, you can still have an amazing Christmas rocking your best outfits, just keep reading below for inspiration for all.

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Sticking to the more universal colours and neutrals will give you a fabulous and flattering festive wardrobe, even if you don’t know your exact palette. Go for true reds, navy blue, mole, pebble grey, soft white, teal and aqua. Aim to base your outfits around one or two neutrals and a bright colour, or go top to toe bright.

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Christmas Day

Christmas Day is all about mixing glamour with comfort (assuming that you, look me, intend to eat your own body weight in roast dinner and then again in chocolate in front of the TV). I love mixing Kettlewell’s sparkle tops with super comfy bottom halves.

Wear a Sparkle Tunic in Silver, Bella Trousers in  Dark Navy, Tassel Necklace in Midnight Crystal – all from Kettlewell. Add some silver ballet flats for that final shimmer.

Boxing Day

Off for a walk to burn off some calories? Keep cosy and stylish in a Jenna Merino Swing Tunic in Chocolate Marl worn with a Florence Infinity Scarf in Mallard and top off with an Alpaca Shawl in Oatmeal worn with jeans and boots.

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New Year’s Eve

The one night of the year when we can go for full on glamour! Wear a Sparkle Crossover in Silver with a Ruched Skirt (available in two lengths) in Fig, add a Metallic Leather Clutch Bag in Tin and add some killer heels and you are good to go.

New Year’s Day

If you feel like having a relaxing day after all the festivities, there’s nothing nicer than slipping into a Cosy Cotton Stripe Top (shown here in Lipstick Pink and Grey Marl) and some Jersey Trousers in Bright Navy, top off with a Florence Infinity Scarf in Lobelia and a pair of sneakers.

 

If you want to know a little more about the colours that will work for you, you can either find a consultant or take our free colour quiz.

Perfect party wear

 

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I always make a big point of mentioning on any capsule wardrobe or outfit post that the strength in Kettlewell’s clothing is as the basis of a wardrobe, not its entirety – you need other pieces to add texture and interest alongside the colour that Kettlewell brings.

Well, ignore all of that. When it comes to party season 2016, Kettlewell is officially your one stop shop. The jersey party dresses are as flattering and forgiving as ever, I love this season’s foray into seasonally coded accessories, and Kettlewell have also thoughtfully introduced the ultimate elegant evening cover up. And if your Christmas party is more office lunch than cocktail party, there’s even a little something I can throw together for that. In fact, I reckon I can solve 99% of party outfit crisis points by using 99% Kettlewell products this season, which is rather pleasing (and makes life very simple). You may have to provide your own shoes though (although… watch this space in 2017 for exciting news on that front).

The All Out Evening Do

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Kettlewell items shown:  Lola Sparkle  Dress in Black worn with Coin Pendant Necklace in Silver, Wrap Bracelet in Silver, Metallic Leather Clutch in Tin and an Alpaca Shawl in Dark Grey Marl.

The Annual Office Lunch

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Kettlewell items shown: Botanical Arabella Dress in Magenta and Teal worn with a Silver Leaf Charm Necklace, Silver Metallic Leather Clutch and a Merino Sasha Belted Cardigan in Blackberry Marl.

The Mince Pies and Mulled Wine Open House

 

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Kettlewell items shown: Sparkle Tunic in Antique Teal Sparkle with a Crystal Teal Tassel Necklace, Silver Wrap Bracelet, Suede Tassel Clutch in Fig and a Cashmere Gauze Stole in Deep Seagreen.

pssst: and if you want to get ahead on party dressing, there’s 20% off sparkle here!