In these days of beautiful appearances on the red carpet, there’s one little secret behind the wonderful looks that we would like to share with you; there are no perfect bodies and no amazing dress that fit like a glove! Having myself fitted many A-listers in their red carpet outfits, you quickly realise that it is not what you wear but how it fits that makes all the difference.
Behind every red carpet appearance there are, apart from the stylist and the designers, the fitters and the tailors and before they have finished working their magic no one would step on to the red carpet.
While watching this year’s Bafta goers dressed in the sombre black of the Times up movement, the right hem length and sleeve length is even more noticeable. Someone who knows her figure only too well and always has her garments fitted to perfection is Salma Hayek, she’s not a classic size by any means but often seen in Gucci as on the Bafta evening, thanks to a perfect fit makes it look like child’s play to get dressed to perfection. The Duchess of Cambridge’s bump would have needed a carefully measured hem to keep an even length. And Rebecca Fergusson’s Stella McCartney train would have been altered to compliment the hem length.
But apart from the obvious hems, many times have I done a series of other alterations too, uneven shoulders, and wide hips, big ribcages etc. make for their own tweaks and tailoring solutions. The beautiful people are not only beautiful they are also normal!
This is a rule that you don’t need to be an A-list celebrity to follow. In fact many are the men who are sartorially savvy enough to have their trouser and sleeve lengths altered so why not nip in the waist on a jacket or lift the strap on a dress. Small tweaks could make the world of difference to our wardrobes.
Most people use alterations as a mending service but how about using it as tool for a beautifully turned out wardrobe. Less items but with a better fit. The savvy shops on the high street and has it fitted. The cash rich shop the fashion brands but still has it fitted! The secret to a glamourous look is in the fit.
As you sit looking at the perfectly hand finished hem of your newly altered dress or the overlocked edge hiding under the lining, there’s a story hiding within these stitches.
The industrial revolution brought the sewing and garment making from the dimly lit crammed private rooms of women (1846 the sewing machine was invented) into the factories.
The textile industry became the biggest employer of women. As families moved in from the country, women became cogs in the factory machinery. They were often labelled ‘the unskilled’ workforce behind the shirt making machinery or laundry tubs, they suffered long working hours but their meagre wages were invaluable to their often growing families.
As the ready to wear industry took off factories produced garments such as coats, petticoats, shirts, trousers, gloves, hats and footwear.
The invention of department stores such as Selfridges spurred on the mass produced goods. Soon the department stores offered made up garments in the latest fashion. Although the novelty of the beautiful shopping experience with tea rooms and restaurants attracted a new crowd, the middle class women often tried on but then let their own seamstress copy the latest fashion. Meanwhile the ladies working the factory floors couldn’t even dream of paying for a cup of tea in the new department stores, the working hours were between 9-12hrs and the pay were even lower than their male counterparts. The conditions were gruelling, the air was filled with floating fibres that caused respiratory problems and the dyes were toxic and flammable.
As the introduction of machinery in the garment industry boosted production and drew down the cost price it also undermined the skills and art of garment making, that we today after decades of a buy and throw away culture revere so highly. Haute couture is once again popular among the ones who can afford it.
There’s now days an appreciation for the skilled woman behind the hand finished hem and the beauty of a perfectly altered garment. And today we are soberly prepared to pay a price reflective of the skill and talent involved. Although it might have been the educated middle classes that drove the suffragette movement forward it was these working women , the foundation of the textile and garment industry in this country and their conditions, that spurred some of the suffragettes on to fight for the right of women.
So when we look at a hem or the seams of our garments next time let’s t remember the history behind them and be grateful to the women who fought to alter the female conditions a 100 years ago.
Here at The Wardrobe Curator we adore the Chelsea Flower Show and the rippling effect it has over our beloved SW London.
Here are a few of our favourite floral displays from Chelsea In Bloom this year.
“If it’s too hot to wear your fur- it’s time to store it!”
Many fur coats are tucked at the back of the wardrobe for more than 8 months a year. Our simple rule is if it’s too hot to wear it, it must be put in the cold to store it. Cold storage prolongs the life of fur so the longer it’s in cold storage, the better.
Keep the life and glamour in your furs by protecting them from moth damage and from drying out. We maintain the condition of your furs by keeping them in a constant temperature controlled environment to protect them from factors that can harm them when not stored correctly.
As the temperature decreases, molecules slow down and the less molecular activity the slower the bio-degradation process, therefore this keeps the skins supple and stops them drying out and losing their fur. The same principle applies to the natural oils, the cooler the garment the slower the natural oils evaporate and these are necessary to keep the skins soft and supple. Once the oils are depleted from the fur or leather, it can tear as easily as tissue paper.
When transported to and from clients’ houses and the storage facility, the garments are always carried in a breathable garment bag as fur should never be packaged in plastic as this crushes the fur and can lead to shedding. When in cold storage, the furs are stored freely without garment bags to maximise the benefits cold storage provides.
5 Facts about our Cold Storage:
STORE YOUR FUR
CARE FOR YOUR FUR
Do you know what? A lot of it comes down to good grooming. So many people walk around with their sleeves too long or their cuffs frayed. It’s about how much attention you pay to detail, how much time you’re prepared to put in. If it’s right, you never have to worry about it. You buy an article of clothing, you spend a few minutes trying it on at home and really looking at it. You make any changes necessary and bang, you don’t have to worry about it again. You don’t go to get it out of your wardrobe and think ‘Oh no, the buttons are loose on that jacket, the hem’s coming down on that skirt, that shirt never suited me anyway’.
If you are doing that, your wardrobe is full of dead wood, stuff you will never use. So think about it. Why don’t you use it? Can something be done? If not, get rid of it. If it can, it’s a relatively small amount of effort to make everything in there serviceable. Here’s a tip: don’t buy anything to put in your wardrobe unless it’s perfect or you’re going to make it perfect.
I know an exceptionally articulate and intelligent woman who said she stood up for a presentation one morning, wearing a suit she felt uncomfortable and lousy in. It affected her performance. ‘I know I fluffed my presentation not because I didn’t know what I was talking about, but because I knew I looked bad,’ she explained, ‘I just found it incredibly distracting’.
It’s not only distracting for the speaker, don’t forget, it’s distracting for the audience, as well. I went to a lecture recently where the guy was a bit sloppy. The lecture was okay, but he didn’t look sharp. He didn’t come across as particularly impressive. That’s what bugs me about politicians, particularly in this country. Bill Clinton, when he stood up on stage, looked excellent. So does Dubya. But look at Tony next to him on those walkabouts and he looked a mess. And he was one of our better ones. Saying this, they have improved enormously as both David Cameron and Barack Obama have been styled.
Within the dark corners of your wardrobe, tucked between drawers and hiding in-between cashmeres, all is not is not what it seems...
The female clothes moth, is busy laying 40 to 50 minute eggs between a course of 4 to 21 days which are poised ready to hatch into destructive invaders and commence the downward slope of wardrobe disintegration.
The life cycle of a moth revolves around the laying of eggs- survival of the fittest. Once mating has occurred, the females lay 40 to 50 eggs that hatch into eating machine larvae. These live for an unusually long period of 50 days before they pupate by wrapping themselves in a silken case sealed with excrement and fibre. Whilst pupating they drag their bodies along in their silk turban, eating as they go. Holes appear as the larvae annoyingly choose to eat clean-cut holes rather than spin a web of silk over the food material. Once metamorphosed, the life cycle repeats and the adult moths soon die. The life cycle lasts for about 65 to 90 days, with the female adult moths living for about 30 days and potentially laying up to 300 eggs. Alot of hungry larvae! Unwashed damp clothes don’t have a chance.
The larvae that hatch from the eggs are the ones to target, as the adult moths known as ‘millers’ pose no threat to your cashmeres. It is the larvae that are notorious for feeding on wool, hair, leather, cotton, and linens, silk and synthetic fibres. Practically anything they can get their mouths onto. They do not drink water, so depend on their meal of jumper sleeve for moisture. The dirtier the better, clothing moths adore fabric containing human sweat or liquid spillages as it will provide a perfect feeding site for their hungry hatchlings. The larvae also convert the protein keratin that is present in hair and wool to useful nutrients. Not only do they munch away holes, but also leave their silken cases, silken threads and faecal pellets all over the surface or your garment.
If you do find an un-expecting hole your jumper, chances are that the larvae are at work. To identify them look for moths with white heads and wings about 2 cm wide with a black and cream front and pale grey on the hind. These moths rarely fly infact it is only the males that flutter around locating females that prefer to hop around trying to find food and hideouts. The Larvae are distinguished as cream caterpillars with black heads.
Persistent total wardrobe care is imperative to keep the moths away, however, if you do have an infestation, it is only by destroying the eggs, and disrupting the vicious life cycle that the problem can be solved long term.
If you would like to come and meet Julia and her team in person you can come down to Spirit of Christmas this November. Come and smell some of the gorgeous Total Wardrobe Care products www.totalwardrobecare.co.uk as well as have any of your wardrobe care questions answered!
Also we are offering a 10% discount if you print out this voucher and bring it a long to the fair!
We hope to see you there!
The Fair is perfectly tailored for you to uncover extraordinary gifts of style, design and elegance, with an exciting new collection of independent boutiques, all hand-picked by our expert team and approved by House & Garden. Discover exclusive winter collections the most stylish and unique gift ideas and gain invaluable festive inspiration for the perfect Christmas. So join us to celebrate the festive season at the home of Christmas shopping...
You may have spent many years collecting the ultimate clothing collection that you adore. Until one day you have noticed a small hole in your favourite cashmere coat or your favourite beaded gown has faded. I have devised a list of "wardrobe enemies" and given you my top advise on just how to prevent them and in the worst case scenario, cure them.
Ironing clothes can be a counterproductive task if it isn't done properly. Follow my handy tips for ironing:
If you want to add even more freshness to your clothes then a great product to try is the Floral Ironing Water from Total Wardrobe Care. The Floral Ironing Water can be used to refresh linens when ironing. It leaves garments and bed linens fresh and it can also be put into steamers and irons for a fragrant steam. It can be used with the steamer to refresh any worn clothing and to kill moths and moth larvae. Ingredients: Natural lemongrass and orange blossom floral water in a handy spray bottle.
Donate your unwanted designer clothes, shoes, bags and jewellery to Women's cancer charity 'Silence No More'
If you would like to grab a donated designer item you can find them at the Nearly New Designer Charity Clothes Sale!
Thursday, 9th of October 2014 at Grace Belgravia 8.30am-8.00pm
For information on how to get there please visit: http://www.gracebelgravia.com/
See you there!