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Should you dress your age?

Should you dress your age?

Written by Fiona Ingham
jump suit

The latest from our House of Colour blogger Fiona Ingham

Should Jill Biden avoid fishnet tights despite having ‘great legs for her age.’ Should a woman of over 60 wear a jumpsuit? Should we wait until we are ‘old’ to dare ‘wear purple’?

We can dismiss these questions as outdated and ridiculous but many women ask for help to discover what works ‘for my age’, which can be anything from 40 upwards. Instead we explore how to dress their individuality. After discovering their colour season I work out their Clothing Personality based on body shape, personality and lifestyle. This gives guidance for all aspects of the wardrobe. There are twelve Clothing Personalities but in a nutshell the basic ones are Dramatic, Classic, Natural, Gamine ( boyish) Ingenue (pretty) and Romantic (glamorous) As an example take a look at the Bandana Healthy Back Bag: the small pretty flowers complement an Ingenue’s look whereas Romantics might prefer the larger florals and rounded patterns of Pop Art Floral. Dramatics and Gamines could go instead for the angular Urban Zebra print and the gorgeous Lush Palms would flourish in a Natural’s wardrobe. The patterns we are drawn to can give a clue to our Clothing Personality.

THE SHAPE OF YOU

As the decades pass our body outline might change, with a redistribution of weight or lessening of space between shoulders and waist. The jawline sometimes softens and if we aren’t Anna Wintour our upper arms might no longer be our greatest asset. Consequently we might wish to change the detail of our clothes. As a Classic Gamine short tailored skirts work for me, but I’ve gradually descended from micro minis in the 60s to a mid knee length. Longer is frumpy for me. In contrast some body shapes are flattered by longer line skirts, whatever their age.

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TOP TO BOTTOM

A regular reassessment of hair is an excellent plan. Is the style current? If the texture has changed are those flowing locks still a crowning glory? New products or a different cut can work wonders at any stage of life. Is the added colour right for the skin tones? Might the increasingly popular Silver Vixen look work well for you?

Clients often tell me that updating their make-up colours and application works like a tonic. A bright lipstick brings back contrast to the colouring. Forget the dated adage only ‘lips or eyes’. Do both. Especially on Zoom!

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DRESSING DOWN

After months of comfort dressing the current look is relaxed. Too much formality can look dated. Shop in your wardrobe and mix that smart jacket with jeans. A change of footwear can be a great way of updating the look. Be aware of trends but go only for those that work for you. Do the current long, unstructured jackets, slouchy coats and ultrawide legged trousers swamp you as they do me? Though over 60 my utility jumpsuits and denim jacket work just as well now as they did the first time around. On trend dungarees were a favourite in the 70s but I don’t like the look of them on me now. I have always looked and felt boring in the wrap dresses recommended as flattering for women of my age so I’ll continue to avoid them and also the current pretty, floaty florals which look like a nightdress on my body shape.

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ITS A JOURNEY

Clients of all ages are delighted when they learn what looks work for their colouring, body shape and personality and most importantly make them feel good. This evolves but doesn’t drastically change over time. Beware of advice and rules which dictate what to wear during the decades of your life. Look in that all important full length mirror and dress your individuality!

GET YOUR FREE GUIDE

To receive a Free Illustrated Guide of Spring/Summer 2021 Trend Colours just email me. Request either the general one or if you have been colour analysed, the one specific to your colour season.

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FIONA INGHAM

Consistent holder of the House of Colour Star Consultant award each year since 1991 plus the new Double and Triple Star Consultant award for 2019. Winner of the Business Development Award and Team Productivity Award and also a 2017 Livewire Innovation and Excellence Award.

Colour Analysis can be a Private Individual Session (two hours) with a group of friends or joining a group (both half day). If you did your Colours some time ago Fiona recommends the Advanced Colour session for further inspiration.

For the time being Fiona is running her sessions virtually. For ‘Individual Personal Style on Zoom’ sessions and how to look good ‘Across a Crowded Zoom’ mini workshops contact Fiona directly with the details below.

Contact details: Fiona.ingham@houseofcolour.co.uk  07791 507534

DON’T FORGET YOUR BAG!

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Spring into colour!

SPRING INTO COLOUR!

Written by Fiona Ingham
stripey dress and blusher copy

The latest from our House of Colour blogger Fiona Ingham

Spring has sprung with designers offering a rainbow of colour designed to incite optimism and encourage transitioning from those dull grey jogging bottoms and sweatshirts into bright colours and perhaps celebrate the thrill of al fresco dining.

So here we go! Greens are good for you. And a huge trend. I have many from the zingiest limes through fresh grass to soft moss and rich deep greens. A favourite jump suit in dark olive ticks a trend box and can be teamed with boots, colourful kitten heels, or when the weather warms up, embellished sandals. My pistachio baglett completes the outfit. Look out for vibrant emeralds sparkling on the rails when the shops open. Green in judgement? Certainly not. But colleagues might be green with envy when you join that Zoom meeting wearing a chic green top or statement necklace.

MELLOW YELLOW

Yellow, a top trend this season, from mellow and soft to sharp and vibrant, will brighten any outfit. Its popularity has exploded, from that joyous La La Land dress of 2016, then adopted as occasion wear by two duchesses and Amal Clooney. Now shining bright as the Pantone Colour of 2021, Illuminating Anything goes, from soft pastel primroses to bright buttercups and golden tulips. Bring a sparkle to any neutral including the current greige or true grey, navy or black. Be bold and take it to the limit paired with neons, maybe an optimistic orange.

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PAINT THE TOWN RED

A red dress is a great addition to any wardrobe. Energising, cheering, centre of attention red. Its iterations include tasty tomato, watermelon or cherry. Choose fit and flare, a midi shirt dress, a tea dress or a cover- all maxi to chime with the current relaxed vibe. If your thermals won’t fit underneath try shapewear to keep you cosy when an icy blast blows in over lunch. Make a statement in red ultra-wide leg, high-waisted trousers or an oversized deconstructed jacket. If the full Lady in Red look is scary try stripes, neat and ordered or madly clashing. Or wear a splash in large tropical prints maybe including on-trend fuchsias or magenta pinks.

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CONTRASTING IDEAS

In contrast you might love dainty florals in blouses or full skirts wafting in chiffon or tulle pastels: soft pinks, blues, aquas and lavenders. Add a pretty pointelle cardigan. Formal/casual mixes stalked the catwalks so feel free to break rules and toughen up this girly look with chunky boots, a denim or biker jacket and heavy chain necklace. Alternatively dress up to the nines with skyscraper strappy sandals, provided you can still remember how to walk in them!

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TRUE BLUE

Make sure you’ve got the blues. Think of the Mediterranean or cool glacial aquas and everything in between. Don’t neglect the peacocks and kingfishers. Return to nature and add shells, pearls, a raffia bag, a straw hat and gladiator sandals. We’re all going on a summer holiday!

GET YOUR FREE GUIDE

To receive a Free Illustrated Guide of Spring/Summer 2021 Trend Colours just email me. Request either the general one or if you have been colour analysed, the one specific to your colour season.

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FIONA INGHAM

Consistent holder of the House of Colour Star Consultant award each year since 1991 plus the new Double and Triple Star Consultant award for 2019. Winner of the Business Development Award and Team Productivity Award and also a 2017 Livewire Innovation and Excellence Award.

Colour Analysis can be a Private Individual Session (two hours) with a group of friends or joining a group (both half day). If you did your Colours some time ago Fiona recommends the Advanced Colour session for further inspiration.

For the time being Fiona is running her sessions virtually. For ‘Individual Personal Style on Zoom’ sessions and how to look good ‘Across a Crowded Zoom’ mini workshops contact Fiona directly with the details below.

Contact details: Fiona.ingham@houseofcolour.co.uk  07791 507534

DON’T FORGET YOUR BAG!

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Will You Wear the Pantone Colours of 2021?

Will You Wear the Pantone Colours of 2021?

Written by Fiona Ingham
stripey dress and blusher copy

The latest from our House of Colour blogger Fiona Ingham

Article first published on House of Colour website (www.houseofcolour.co.uk) December 2020. Edited for HBB blog January 2021

Since early in the 20th century various forecasting agencies have predicted colour trends. In 2000 the American company, Pantone Color Institute, decided to choose a colour for each year. They research film, travel, design, technology, sport, art, fashion to name but a few! Global trends and public mood are put into the mix to find a hue expressive of the times. The choice is a reaction but also a predictor. What is certain is that the chosen one will become ubiquitous in 2021 fashion and design.

For only the second time two colours have been honoured. They are Illuminating – a zingy yellow, and Ultimate Gray – a mid grey.

Tell the world!

Announcing the colour, Leatrice Eiseman Executive Director of Pantone evoked connotations of yellow sunlight, joyfulness and optimism balanced by the rock-like reassurance, reliability and strength of grey. She adds in a lighter reference to grey sweatpants, a WFH trend! This colour duo has already graced catwalks, including Prada Spring/Summer 2021.

But what does this mean for our HoC seasons? It should bring joy to Springs and Autumns who can sparkle in their buttercup yellows. Hopefully they can shop in their wardrobes. As an Autumn I’m a yellow addict and am delighted to discover that my Uniqlo cashmere turtleneck is bang on trend! It certainly sparkled with my metallic faux leather bronze midi skirt over the festive break.

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Where to wear?

Winters, do check your colour rating. Illuminating is near your acid yellow but a nod to it in a pattern, trim or accessory may suffice. This vibrant yellow is not for Summers. Try a dash of a softer hue, more buttermilk than buttercup.

Ultimate Gray, I hear whoops of delight at this choice! This neutral, undemanding mid grey works for all except Autumns. My warning is that although it may symbolise the afore-mentioned reliability, when worn on its own or with other neutrals it just might invoke dreary, depressing days. We’ve had enough of those! It’s a great neutral for investment pieces but please brighten it up!  Autumn’s grey has a yellow tinge so if there is an urge to paint the town, well, greyish, check out the Dulux Colour of 2021, Brave Ground, an equivalent neutral located between a warm grey and khaki.

A blusher and strong lipstick enhance all neutrals. When masking and unmasking lip liner smudged over the lips works well. Check out the on trend eye shadows, HoC Yellow 26, Dark Grey, Flat Mid Grey, Lizard Grey.

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Out with the old...

So, let’s say a fond farewell to Pantone’s Classic Blue of 2020. Its popularity was assured as blue is the favourite colour worldwide. Ultimate Gray will also have an easy ride. I urge Springs and Autumns to give a warm welcome to Illuminating. You will feel sunny, look good and definitely cheer up and illuminate the room. Or at least the Zoom…

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FIONA INGHAM

Consistent holder of the House of Colour Star Consultant award each year since 1991 plus the new Double and Triple Star Consultant award for 2019. Winner of the Business Development Award and Team Productivity Award and also a 2017 Livewire Innovation and Excellence Award.

Colour Analysis can be a Private Individual Session (two hours) with a group of friends or joining a group (both half day). If you did your Colours some time ago Fiona recommends the Advanced Colour session for further inspiration.

For the time being Fiona is running her sessions virtually. For ‘Individual Personal Style on Zoom’ sessions and how to look good ‘Across a Crowded Zoom’ mini workshops contact Fiona directly with the details below.

Contact details: Fiona.ingham@houseofcolour.co.uk  07791 507534

DON’T FORGET YOUR BAG!

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Dress up to cheer up!

DRESS UP TO CHEER UP!

Written by Fiona Ingham
stripey dress and blusher copy

The latest from our House of Colour blogger Fiona Ingham

The first lockdown led to dress down. Comfort became paramount. A casual dress code replaced smart casual, to the dismay of some and delight of others. Tee shirts, hoodies and leggings were WFH wear.

Now’s a good time to review the wardrobe, so in this second lockdown and through to the Christmas season, when restrictions may be eased, what do we actually need?

Where to begin?

Back in summertime the living was easy. We could socialise outdoors in comfort. Winter will bring a different tale. I choose to embrace the maxim ‘there’s no bad weather only bad clothes’ and am preparing accordingly.

We might want to meet in a park with a socially distanced takeaway coffee or maybe by Christmas enjoy a winter picnic with a chosen few.

With that in mind a heat tech vest is my closest friend. Large, cosy, colourful Scandi sweaters fit the bill. Heat tech or cashmere leggings work well under my boot cut jeans. I bought a long, hooded duvet coat, graded DWR (durable water repellent) in a size up to accommodate layers.

My fleece lined Peruvian hat with earflaps will be invaluable as the temperature plunges as will fingerless gloves. On trend fake fur gilets and slim puffer body warmers layer well as do the current waistcoats, tank tops and even the cardigans with a strange resemblance to one I chose as my Dad’s Christmas present circa 1971!

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Having happy feet...

I’ve splashed out on delicious chocolate Ugg boots for dry cold and have some old red wellies for rain and mud. They will complete my effortlessly chic look aka Michelin Man meets gnome. But if I’m cosy who cares!

My mask, glasses, credit cards, keys, hand sanitiser, shopping bag and of course my rust lipstick go in one of my Healthy Back Bags, Dark Olive or Terracotta, depending on my mood. Practical and perfect to jazz up my look, and I’m ready to go!

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It's not all outdoors

Indoors we will want comfort, consequently stylish luxury pyjamas are on offer claiming bed to dinner appropriateness! Shackets and coatigans are the latest relaxed hybrids.

At some point there might be opportunities to dress up. A sparkly top for a virtual office party or if we’re socialising IRL (in real life) a relaxed midi dress, plain or patterned, to which a fine roll neck or the aforementioned fake fur gilet can be added, will put ‘festive’ into the ‘Festive Season’. Probably worn with trainers, boots or flats or maybe the excitement of getting out those heels!

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From a distance...

A Zoom Boom in cosmetic procedures has been reported because women, even in the first flush of youth, don’t like their look on screen. Why not first try out the difference a great lipstick and a blusher can make?

‘Waist up’ ‘Above the keyboard’ dressing calls for colourful tops and interesting necklines or a statement necklace to make impact amidst the grey squares of video conferencing. A jacket can confer authority and aid confidence in the WFH setting. Its formality separates work from home which can be helpful if the two have become blurred. No need to buy if there’s a suitable one or three lurking in the wardrobe.

The power of clothing is immense. Let’s harness our wardrobes to bring some comfort and Joy at this time.

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FIONA INGHAM

Consistent holder of the House of Colour Star Consultant award each year since 1991 plus the new Double and Triple Star Consultant award for 2019. Winner of the Business Development Award and Team Productivity Award and also a 2017 Livewire Innovation and Excellence Award.

Colour Analysis can be a Private Individual Session (two hours) with a group of friends or joining a group (both half day). If you did your Colours some time ago Fiona recommends the Advanced Colour session for further inspiration.

For the time being Fiona is running her sessions virtually. For ‘Individual Personal Style on Zoom’ sessions and how to look good ‘Across a Crowded Zoom’ mini workshops contact Fiona directly with the details below.

Contact details: Fiona.ingham@houseofcolour.co.uk  07791 507534

DON’T FORGET YOUR BAG!

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7 things we grew this summer

7 things we grew this summer

Written by Clare Elson

I think we’ve all had some free time recently, and we have all tried to keep our sanity in check in various different ways. Our team took to their inner gardeners to grow some wonderfully diverse produce, straight from their own homes!

1. Anthurium Clarinervium

We weren’t entirely sure what Darcy, our Digital Marketing Manager, meant when he mentioned he’d been growing this over the summer but his plant is a bit of a show stopper. Also known as ‘Flamingo Flower’ it has striking heart-shaped leaves and a velvety texture. The plant originates from Mexico but clearly is quite happy at home with Darcy and his housemates in East London.

2. Tomatoes

Who doesn’t love home grown tomatoes? Easy to grow in a sunny corner or on a windowsill, they have been brightening up summer salads in Clare’s house. The green ones can be made into green tomato chutney and stored for the autumn when a little summer burst of flavour is needed.

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3. Avocado plants

The most extraordinary things to grow. You’d imagine only the hottest climates would produce Avocados but apparently not. Just take a regular avocado stone, suspend one end in water and just wait for it to sprout roots and start growing. You can buy special avocado vases to do this or just improvise with a jam jar and a few cocktail sticks and enjoy watching as the plant springs to life. Then just plant it in soil and watch it grow and grow.

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4. Lemon verbena

Priscilla has a rather impressive herb garden and aside from the more well known Rosemary, Sage and Mint, she grows Lemon Verbena. Easy to grow in the garden, a plant pot or a sunny window box it’s a perfect for flavouring all kinds of dishes, it can also be used as a herbal tea. An excellent way to detox after a summer of lockdown snacking!

5. Potatoes

Helene is known for her green fingers and spends most weekends at her allotment. She also grows potatoes in sacks in her back garden. Easy to grow, you simply fill an old bin, a grow bag or an old sack half full with compost and plant a couple of whole potatoes inside. Once you start to see the green shoots emerge above the soil, cover with a bit more compost, wait until they emerge again and then repeat. Easy!

6. Strawberries

Karen’s been growing strawberries in hanging baskets. A perfect addition to breakfast cereal, porridge or in a cocktail, her top tip is to make sure they don’t get too waterlogged. And they look so pretty too!

7. Celery

Beate’s growing tip this summer is celery. Amazingly easy to grow – you just put the root of an existing head of celery once you’ve eaten it in shallow water (use cocktail sticks to suspend it like the avocado plant) and after about a week a new head will emerge. Plant it in a pot of soil and within a few weeks you’ll have your very own celery!

Not everyone has green fingers...

This was going to be a list of 8 different things we’ve grown, but then we asked Jack. It turns out that although he may be a digital wizard, plants wilt at his mere presence! It just goes to show that not everyone is suited to the good life.

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Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Written by Fiona Ingham

The latest from our House of Colour blogger Fiona Ingham

Wise words from Oscar de la Renta:
‘Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself’.

Part of a Zoom Personal Style session involves me analysing your Clothing Personality so the clothes truly express who you are. It’s a complex process but in a nutshell there are twelve archetypes including Dramatic, Classic, Natural, Gamine (boyish) Ingenue (pretty) and Romantic. Our Clothing Personality is frequently a combination of two. For example mine is Classic Gamine.

Over the years I’ve become fascinated by the link between clothing personality and our décor choices.

Movie Stylists, production directors and authors, being aware of this, use both clothes and surroundings to project character. Jean Cocteau put it succinctly ‘Style is a simple way of saying complicated things’ The language of our chosen habitat just like our clothes, can speak loudly about who we are, or wish to be.

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Home stylings...

I have a friend who is petite and pretty, a fleet – footed ballroom dancer, suiting lace trim, small scale jewellery, tiny sprig flower prints and Victorian high necks. Guess what? Her neat home has floral curtains with frills tied back by satin bows. We sip tea from vintage cups, eating mini cupcakes. Dainty and pretty, perfectly describe this Ingenue’s home!

A Classic’s clothes embody structure, quality and tailoring . These elegant clothes mirror smart, minimalist decor. For a casual look a Classic woman might wear a striped Breton tee, neat slacks, loafers and a fine leather belt, medium scale necklace and earrings. The home, immaculate of course, with perhaps a structured white sofa encouraging good posture and in my case a dread of spilling coffee or sullying the glass and chrome coffee table with greasy fingerprints!

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The other side of the coin

If that vibe scares you, then maybe you would prefer a visit to a friend who’s an outdoorsy, laid back Natural. She embraces Boho, Scandi, 70s, overscale and unstructured, in both clothes and décor. Comfort and natural fibres are paramount. Coffee comes in a chunky pottery mug and her linen sofa is a serviceable dark taupe so any coffee spilling anxiety is eliminated. A dog and newspaper or two are usually spread around.

If you have Romantic in your Clothing Personality you might enjoy art nouveau, baroque, sparkle, luxurious fabrics, sheen, luxury and soft rounded florals in both wardrobe and décor. Romantics can never have too much adornment on themselves or in their surroundings.

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Closing words

Has nothing resonated yet? How about an eclectic look, with bright colour splashes, fun retro prints, maybe small spots and stripes. If Gamine is your thing then the buzz words could be quirky, fun and 60s.

Let’s end with Drama where both décor and clothes can be totally OTT, ultramodern, high fashion and large scale.

So take a look around you. Your decor might give more clues to your Clothing Personality and your Colour season than your wardrobe does!

Fiona Ingham

FIONA INGHAM

Consistent holder of the House of Colour Star Consultant award each year since 1991 plus the new Double and Triple Star Consultant award for 2019. Winner of the Business Development Award and Team Productivity Award and also a 2017 Livewire Innovation and Excellence Award.

Colour Analysis can be a Private Individual Session (two hours) with a group of friends or joining a group (both half day). If you did your Colours some time ago Fiona recommends the Advanced Colour session for further inspiration.

Contact details: Fiona.ingham@houseofcolour.co.uk  07791 507534

DON’T FORGET YOUR BAG!

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Fashion & Sustainability

FASHION & SUSTAINABILITY

Written by Fiona Ingham

The latest from our House of Colour blogger Fiona Ingham

Just prior to lockdown I wrote a piece about the fashion industry. At that time production and transport were estimated to cause 10% of global carbon emissions and 20% of water waste. A 2017 report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation reported that a garbage truck worth of textiles was wasted every second, with landfill clothes releasing chemical waste. Working conditions in the fashion industry at worst involved slave labour. Production, particularly of cotton and denim, competed for scarce water. Synthetic microfibres ended up in fish.

That feel good feeling...

As a believer in clothes as providing not just ‘warmth and decency’ but as having the ability to contribute to wellbeing and confidence I’m glad to read that a 2019 Euromonitor International consumer survey found that 64% of people now try to have a positive effect on the environment. Maybe this desire has increased during lockdown and certainly the statistics will have changed. By necessity clothes buying has slowed and it’s sad to see the devastating effect on many brands but people have discovered that less is needed, they can ‘shop in their own closet’ for less formal, comfortable clothes. It’s suggested that habits might be permanently changed. Many clients report they want to rein back, buy less, increase each garment’s longevity. Choices were driven largely by aesthetics and price but now eco–credentials are important. The #30wearschallenge makes us ask ‘Will I wear it 30 times?’ before buying. Fast fashion is fading. Second hand is ‘ pre-loved’. Upcycling of fabrics and buying from charity shops or vintage fairs is popular. Brands at all price points offer credit for used clothing. Swishing events recycle and websites such as ‘Rent the Runway’ offer designer hire, whereas Generation Z favours the app Depop to trade clothes.

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Patch-and-go

There’s renewed interest in learning the skills of embellishing that moth-holed cashmere sweater or upcycling that loved but dated dress. Princess Beatrice demonstrated that with minor alterations granny’s pretty dress could look fab and reflect the zeitgeist. With the ’ Make do and Mend’ ethos of the austere 40s being revisited, less frequent dry cleaning, washing clothes at lower temperatures and drying them naturally reduces pollution and synthetic fibres in the oceans, and extends the life of the clothing.

Transparency around a brand’s ethical credentials is increasingly demanded. The App Good on You gives scores, currently for 2500 brands, on: workers’ conditions, effect on the planet, use of animal products. Commitment to UNO Sustainable Development Goals can be checked, or Bureau Veritas, an independent certification agency, rates a brand’s sustainability credentials.

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Looking back

A quick mention of my profession’s contribution to helping eliminate waste. Consider this:  30% of clothes in UK wardrobes hung unworn during 2019! After Colour Analysis clients shop mindfully so that everything is loved and worn. To be able to ‘Dress for Success’ once motivated people to book a session; now it is more likely to be the desire to create a sustainable wardrobe.

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Closing words

Early in 2020 the catwalks in Milan and Paris favoured recycled fabrics and 90% of the materials used in Prada’s catwalk collection were sustainable. Miuccia Prada commented:

‘Sustainability is a buzz subject in our company now. Every time I do something, everybody asks ‘Is it sustainable?’ And it’s incredible how in one year it became kind of a normal thing, so I’m very optimistic at the moment’.
Similar ideas are present in brands at all price points, reacting to consumers wishes. It looks like times really are a changing in the wonderful, complex world of Fashion.

Fiona Ingham

FIONA INGHAM

Consistent holder of the House of Colour Star Consultant award each year since 1991 plus the new Double and Triple Star Consultant award for 2019. Winner of the Business Development Award and Team Productivity Award and also a 2017 Livewire Innovation and Excellence Award.

Colour Analysis can be a Private Individual Session (two hours) with a group of friends or joining a group (both half day). If you did your Colours some time ago Fiona recommends the Advanced Colour session for further inspiration.

Contact details: Fiona.ingham@houseofcolour.co.uk  07791 507534

DON’T FORGET YOUR BAG!

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Our Core Classics are more than meets the eye…

Our Core Classics are more than meets the eye...

Written by Clare Elson

It’s often easy to assume that our customers know exactly what they want in a Healthy Back Bag and that when we talk about our core range, our Textured Nylon and Microfibre bags pop up at the top of any list.

Of course, many of our HBB’ers are avid fans with some of you the proud owners of multiple bags making our job very easy however it’s an assumption that we try not to make and especially for our newer customers, working out which of the 300+ bags we offer can sometimes be rather overwhelming. We thought it would be useful to offer up some insider info on these two best-selling ranges.

So what exactly is our core range?

Our Textured Nylon and Microfibre bags have been with us since year dot…well almost. Introduced in 1996 just a couple of years after the original leather HBB was launched, Textured Nylon and Microfibre versions of the bags were a welcome addition to the range.

Not only did it mean cheaper options for our customers but they opened up a whole palette of colour possibilities and meant that it wasn’t all about leather. Textured Nylon has a slightly more casual look, Microfibre has a sleeker finish. They quickly became best-sellers and since then, they are always at the core of our range. Always in stock, always plenty of colours to choose from and always popular.

What’s the difference between the two fabrics?

Textured Nylon is tough. Hardwearing, hardworking, water-resistant and machine washable, these bags can withstand the toughest of treatments. Take them travelling, take them camping, take them to the beach, throw them around a bit, they’re pretty indestructible. That’s why we make our Big and Baby Bags out of Textured Nylon.

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Textured Nylon Fig Large Baglett

They’re lightweight too. With our standard Small size weighing in at just 354g, it makes them some of the lightest bags we sell. The fabric is slightly pebbled, hence the ‘Textured’ bit of the name and this gives the colour a gentle tumbled effect which in our view makes them perfect for a casual everyday look.

Our Microfibre bags are also ultra-strong. Though don’t be fooled by their sophisticated good looks. Made from hundreds of thousands of the finest of fibres, these bags are built to withstand some tough love, they’re easily cleaned and water-repellent and incredibly soft to the touch. The fibres also mean that colour saturates the material bringing a richness of tone and density of colour difficult to achieve in other fabrics. This is why our customers love the slightly smarter look and feel of Microfibre for work or going out. And weighing in at 425g also means they are lightweight – great for your back and shoulders all round!

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Microfibre Dove Grey Small

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Microfibre Neo Mint

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Textured Nylon Sage Small

How do we keep them up to date?

Twice a year we carefully plan colour updates to these two ranges which reflect latest trends. Based on research which starts 18 months before each of our two seasonal collections drop, we add new colours to the line ups. We are careful to introduce colours which first and foremost our customers want, colours which are current and trend-led which at the same time complement our existing ranges. Our Textured Nylon and Microfibre ranges therefore will always give you an extensive colour choice across a wide range of sizes.

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Packing for the Weekend

PACKING FOR A WEEKEND AWAY

Written by Fiona Ingham

The latest from our House of Colour blogger Fiona Ingham

I’m not planning a major break away this Summer, but I’m getting quite excited about packing clothes for a long weekend in the UK.

My aim is to pack the minimum but, being ever hopeful, having options for most events: sight-seeing, walking, enjoying a sunny beach or being blown along a windswept one, casual suppers, maybe a more dressed- up dinner.

Where to start?

Packing is greatly simplified with a limited colour palette. If you’re a House of Colour client you know your Colours so it’s easy! If you haven’t done colour analysis, then decide on a neutral palette, either a warm one of creams through beiges, camels, coffees and chocolate browns or a cool palette of white through silvers and greys to black. If you choose two or three dark neutrals and a pale neutral from one of these palettes they will mix and match with everything. You might also want to add denim as a useful neutral.

I’m an Autumn so I might choose warm camel, coffee and cream with kingfisher, geranium red and buttercup yellow. If you favour a cool palette consider grey, charcoal and white with perhaps cobalt blue, royal purple and cherry red. For simplicity I tend to keep bottom halves to neutrals. Lay everything out to check that the colours and accessories work together in any combination for maximum variety.

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Comfort over style...

After weeks of wearing Pilates-ready gear I’m looking forward to the orange and cream striped dress purchased recently from an on-line sale. A lightweight dress in a non- crease fabric is a girl’s best travelling companion this summer, with plenty of options in midi and maxi lengths. It provides a wonderful opportunity to introduce colour and pattern with no worries about coordinating top and bottom halves. The current frocks with high necklines and statement sleeves will work well even if the temperature drops, when a cashmere cardigan or denim jacket can be added. I don’t envisage a stampede back to high heels and a dress this season as we’ve become so used to relaxed dressing, but sandals and trainers, both as ugly as you like, are of the moment. I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of a pair of orange patent Madrid Birkenstocks and hoping I can get a pedicure soon, so as to do them justice. Wedges can work for evening as they feel slightly more dressed up but still appropriate for the current laidback vibe.

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Adding a flourish

I’ve become a hands-free fanatic during lockdown so my small Healthy Back Bag has replaced a handbag. It holds everything for a day out including my lightweight rain jacket and pashmina. My petite Baglett works well when only keys, credit cards, glasses, lipstick and a colour coordinated mask are needed.

Accessories are vital to change the look from day to evening or casual to smart casual while taking up little space in the suitcase. Consider a luxe scarf or statement necklace to brighten up the face.

‘Layering’ is essential for a staycation in this green and pleasant land. Be prepared! My secret weapon is a long -sleeved red thermal which passes as a smart top if well accessorised but is also comfortable worn under a sweater. Another is a body shaper slip which adds warmth and makes me feel cosy in the flimsiest dress.

I’m looking forward to the opportunity to dress up a bit more on that weekend, but I’m wondering will I really manage not to slip my new uniform of hoodie and leggings into the case? I’ll try not to, but I can’t promise!

Travel:
  • Camisole
  • Long sleeved top
  • Jacket
  • Pashmina
  • Flat shoes/trainers
  • Jeans/casual trousers
  • Small Healthy Back Bag
Pack:
  • Sandals, wedges/smarter flats
  • 1 casual trousers/skirt
  • 4 tops
  • 1 smart trousers/skirt
  • Cardigan/sweater
  • Dress in light weight non- crease fabric
  • Luxurious scarf ( velvet, metallic thread, silk)
  • 1 set each of casual and glitzy jewellery
  • Lightweight rain jacket
  • Underwear, tights, socks
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Gloves
Fiona Ingham

FIONA INGHAM

Consistent holder of the House of Colour Star Consultant award each year since 1991 plus the new Double and Triple Star Consultant award for 2019. Winner of the Business Development Award and Team Productivity Award.also a 2017 Livewire Innovation and Excellence Award.

Colour Analysis can be a Private Individual Session (two hours) with a group of friends or joining a group (both half day). If you did your Colours some time ago Fiona recommends the Advanced Colour session for further inspiration.

Contact details: Fiona.ingham@houseofcolour.co.uk  07791 507534

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The Inside Story

THE INSIDE STORY

Written by Clare Elson

Have you ever wondered what goes on inside a Healthy Back Bag?

It’s not just a bag with a silver lining… behind that iconic teardrop shape Healthy Back Bags contain a wealth of cleverly designed pocketing inside and out.

Most of us are familiar with the external pockets, after all, it’s what we see in the images on the website or what we test out when the bags are hanging in a shop. And who doesn’t love a perfectly sized spine pocket for a water bottle, or the satisfying click of the magnetic flap pocket as you slip your phone safely out of harms reach?

It’s the inside story however which reveals a few surprises.

TAKING A CLOSER LOOK

Firstly, there’s the secure tech pocket. Tucked seamlessly between the main zip and the bag lining, the pocket is easily identified by its red zipper pull. Open it and a full sized, padded pocket is revealed ready to secrete away all manner of gadgets, valuables or travel documents.

Next up is the key hook. This is an all-time favourite of HBB’ers. Never again will you lose your keys which can be detached with a flick of the hand although at a stretch, if you’re feeling really lazy, the elastic attachment means you don’t even have to remove them at all to open the front door.

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NEED A NEW BAG FOR WORK?

A plethora of pen pockets are useful for nail files too, while two additional pockets, one zipped, one open, serve as ideal storage for headphones, make up, tissues, travel cards and even face mask and hand sanitiser in these Corona-times.

The interior angled pockets mean that you can simply slide your hand in and grab contents without having to take the bag off and then there’s the D-Ring. Sometimes for clipping a coin purse to, sometimes spare keys or maybe just a lucky charm… because we love a D-Ring.

AND THERE'S MORE...

The big secret though? As if by magic, using all these pockets to keep your stuff organised, safe and secure, the bag becomes better balanced. They are cleverly designed to distribute the weight around the bag making it feel lighter across the back, it doesn’t drag on the shoulder and it leaves you free to get on with the more important things in life. G&T anyone?

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