Warm-up your winter wear with Tweed

As the days continue to be short, dark, wet and cold, we are all bringing our knits and woollens out but behold, there is a fabric that is rather rich and has a varied history you might need to add to your winter wear – Tweed!image.jpegPhoto: Courtesy of Vicky Garnett Photography

As soon as you hear ‘tweed’, your mind might have raced to the royals, Dr Who, nerdy professors, Sherlock Holmes, politicians or those aging men in Harris or Donegal tweed hats in your local pub. Whatever your associations with it, tweed redefines the complex history of gender, class and fashion from the 19th century until now. It had functional characteristics that were attractive to 19th century gentlemen and aristocrats who had an interest in virtually every sport and adventure activity – shooting, hunting, fishing, golf, cycling, motoring and mountain climbing.image                                             Dr Who in tweed jacket

In the 1890s British tweed became popular when it was included in ‘tailor made’ garments for women which consisted of a jacket and long skirt. They were warm, functional, durable and were the ‘power dress’ for contemporary office women.

By the 1920s Coco Chanel was simplifying fashion with her innovative forward looking ideas on female clothes. She borrowed items normally worn by men and transformed them into pared down stylish female apparel, for example simple jersey and tweed suits.114822515.jpgThe Time Lifestyle Magazine – 1960s Chanel tweed suits 

Although tweed might be associated with old-fashioned values and upper-class country sportswear, fashion houses have made it popular again by adding new lighter tweed weaves that are perfect for modern street wear.imagePhoto: Courtesy of Vicky Garnett Photography

It might look like an itchy, stuffy and heavy fabric but tweed is practical, warm, versatile…….and classically stylish. Perfect central heating for those winter walks!!

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Pygama Pants? Let’s go back to the 1930s

Mo, you’re still wearing your pyjamas!” That’s what a male friend, with a big smile, said to me this week at work. I looked down at myself, as if for the first time ,and I had to agree that the colourfulness and width of my trousers may have led him to mistaking them for pyjama bottoms………but it didn’t rattle me, I adored them!

image.jpegLess than a century ago it was daring and rather scandalous for women to be seen wearing trousers. Wide leg trousers first began as lounge pants, becoming increasing popular as ‘beach pyjamas’ or resort clothing in the late 1920s. By 1930s the wide leg trousers took a more practical purpose as sports attire and women adopted this new set of clothing regardless of whether they played sport or not. Despite the popularity of the fashion trend, it was still unacceptable to wear them in public, apart from when playing sports or vacationing.

imageSource – Beach pajamas 1930s

imageBeach pyjamas featured in a German fashion magazine in 1931

Things changed in the late 1930s and 1940s thanks to actresses such as Katharine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich, whose then-ridiculed outfit choices paved the way to women’s freedom to wear pants.

imageKatharine Hepburn posing in a pair of wide leg trousers in 1930 – Source

When I laid my eyes on these Roxy trousers for the first time, I fell in love. It was the only pair left in the shop. The discounted price was very enticing, the colours were dazzling and when I tried them on they were perfect fit. I was just like someone who have found true love, I felt it was only the best thing ever!!imageAs a break from my usual outfits made up of skinny trousers, dresses and skirts, I usually wear these trousers in winter as they are corduroy fabric. They are warm, comfortable, sleeky, easy to wear and they are so colourful that they cheer up the dark evenings. The colours also makes it easier for me to choose a top to wear them with. Every colour top goes with the trousers and that’s one less headache if you’re in a hurry.

If you ever decide to buy a wide leg trousers in the future, here are some helpful tips:

  • Wide leg trousers looks great when worn with heels and certainly look better when they slightly hide your high heels
  • For a classic look, wear them with a well fitted top as it creates a lovely silhouette….especially if you are ‘heavy on top’.
  • If you are short, wearing striped wide leg trousers can give you the look of longer legs and even add a perceived few inches.image

So while my friend saw my wide leg colourful corduroy trousers as pyjamas, I saw them as a ‘love at first sight’ fashion statement!

Christmas jumper revolution!

Since that scene of Mark Darcy’s ugly Christmas jumper in Bridget Jones Diary movie , I have never looked at Christmas jumpers the same way. Who would want to wear something so cheesy and hideous I thought? How I was wrong!! Walking on the streets of Dublin the days towards Christmas was like re-living that movie scene hundred times over.

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What is it that is making Christmas jumpers so popular each year? Fashionable, trendy or just people trying to be different? Most of the people I saw wearing Christmas jumpers were going to parties, so I would assume this is the new Christmas party look and a lot of people want to be part of it.

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I admire people who can rock those jumpers but here is why a jumper with Christmas trees, santas, reindeers, tinsels and lights won’t be on my shopping list anytime soon.

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Reason #1: I want to get my money’s worth. Why should you spend your money on a jumper you can only wear once a year?  I will be inclined to buy a jumper that is timeless and practical which can be worn off season too.

Reason #2: It’s nice to be different but great to look unique. It won’t matter whether your Christmas jumper is from Primark or John Lewis, what matters is that 10 or more people are also wearing the same jumper decorations as you, so it end up feeling like you are wearing a uniform!

It will be interesting to see how the Christmas jumpers revolution will do this year, as for me I will stick to my neutral winter jumpers.

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Wishing you a Happy 2016!