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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

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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!

  • Autumn Checks S

    £59.00
    Add to Bag
  • Azteca S

    £69.00
    Add to Bag
  • Bandana S

    £59.00
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  • Black Fleur Large Baglett

    £32.00 £25.00
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  • Chenille Red S

    £85.00 £49.00
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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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Read more of our blogs here

Dress up to cheer up!

DRESS UP TO CHEER UP! Written by Fiona Ingham The latest from our House of Colour blogger Fiona Ingham The first lockdown led to dress down. Comfort became paramount. A casual dress [...]

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 [...]

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. [...]

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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?

READY TO BUY YOURS?

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Fashion Myths

FASHION RULES & MYTHS

Written by Fiona Ingham

The latest from our House of Colour blogger Fiona Ingham

As a small child I was firmly told that ‘blue and green should never be seen’. I was puzzled. That combo looked great in nature so why couldn’t I team up my favourite sky- blue blouse and forest green skirt? Thankfully this rule is long gone with gorgeous blue/green mixes striding the catwalks Another rule recently deleted was that black shoes with a navy dress was a definite faux pas. This look is now the height of chic! Where did the commandment ’three colours should always be worn’ originate? A third can transform a look, but a single flattering colour head to toe with interesting detail and in a fabulous style can be extremely elegant. Equally a coat of many colours can be wonderful.

Getting seasonal

Winter meant darker clothes. Now colour is worn year-round as fashion is truly international. Colour sells clothes on-line. Instagram posts aren’t attractive in shades of grey so ‘influencers’ use attention – getting bright hues. Colour works better on video calls, amidst those grey squares. Research proves the huge morale and health boosting effects of colour and as a colour analyst I see these benefits as I hear about the increased confidence of clients when they wear flattering colours.

Times have moved on

Let’s consider the ‘Little Black Dress looks good on any woman” myth. Coco Chanel did wear black well, stating it “wipes out everything else around it!”. Hollywood black and white movies gave the LBD glamour. Black is deemed to be slimming. Darker colours can be but why not consider greys, navy, dark olive, burgundy or chocolate brown instead? If black is wrong for you it is truly draining and ageing. I never wear it.

It’s also hilarious that until the late 1980’s women couldn’t wear trousers in the business setting. In the early 1990’s I felt daring wearing a smart chocolate brown trouser suit to a House of Colour conference. There was even a discussion, did this meet dress code standards? Extraordinary. But thankfully we’ve moved on – I now have one in mock tartan and another in small check. Bright and soft colours abound. Wonderful!

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The rise of active wear!

Sports luxe has jogged from the gym into many workplaces, so change continues and it’s important to keep up. Stylish trainers can now be smart-casual, looking great with the current midi and maxi dresses. Currently more trainers than high heels are sold to women in the UK.

Don't be afraid of patterns

‘I can’t wear patterns’ is a familiar cry. Not true! We all can. They need to work with our face and body lines. Checks and stripes for angularity. Florals and swirls for softer lines. Always check in a full-length mirror. The scale needs to be right. Is the pattern taking you over?

Coco Chanel made wise comments regarding fashion such as ‘elegance is simplicity’ but her suggestion ‘before you leave the house look in the mirror and take one thing off’ isn’t necessarily so, because on the contrary, I often need to encourage clients to add accessories to create interest. Chanel’s advice ‘it’s always better to be underdressed than overdressed’ was doubtless correct when dress codes were more formal but now clients routinely seek help to up their look and put the’ Smart’ into ‘Smart casual’.

Certain fashion maxims remain perennially useful: ‘a bargain is often a vast extravagance’, ‘a stitch in time saves nine’, ‘you’re never fully dressed without a smile’, and importantly ‘rules are made to be broken’.

Isn’t that what fashion is all about?

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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Look Fab on Zoom!

LOOK FAB ON ZOOM

Written by Fiona Ingham

The latest from our House of Colour blogger Fiona Ingham

Suddenly we have had to become Zoom experts. I enjoy Pilates and chats with friends and am even dragged unwillingly to the weekly Zoom quiz! I can’t do Colour Analysis sessions but Zoom Make-up Demos for groups and Zoom Personal Style Individual Sessions work incredibly well. Many have booked as they now have the time, want some escapism, can be based anywhere, and importantly, because they want to look better under the scrutiny of Zoom.

By now we’re well versed in the basics: don’t clash with or have an embarrassing background. Angle the screen well and raise it. Be a distance from the laptop so the face doesn’t fill the screen. Maybe promote your intellectual side with carefully chosen books that you always meant to read. Ensure your partner won’t appear in a dressing gown. Don’t say anything negative in case you’re unmuted or haven’t actually left the meeting. Wear a suitable bottom half in case you need to stand up. Control the family noises off.

It's not just your clothes...

So, with all of that sorted let’s turn firstly to make-up. On my Zoom demos I talk about an Express Make-up which takes a couple of minutes. It’s the one for you if you are time-poor: foundation, blusher, mascara and importantly lipstick which adds contrast to the face. For a Zoom chat that suffices for me but for a professional consultation I prefer to go for a full Classic look where I add concealer, bronzer ( or powder), illuminator, eye brow pencil, eye shadows, eye pencil, lip pencil. Demonstrating and talking through this takes me an hour but left to my own devices it’s just 10 minutes, and well worth it! Lockdown is the best time and place to practice your make-up skills.

Don't be afraid of colour

I recommend wearing a coloured top rather than a neutral one as you’ll stand out more in that sea of neutral squares. If you know your colours it’s easy, if not here are some safe colours which work for all skin tones: Royal Purple, Primary Red, Sea Green, Kingfisher, Hyacinth Blue, Forest Green.  Beware Marmite colours such as Mustard, Coral, Burgundy or Fuchsia. Make sure the neckline you choose works well for your face shape and neck length. If you must wear a neutral maybe try a colourful scarf appropriately tied, or a necklace in the right scale for you. (See my Instagram for example of wrong and right scales). Patterns can be difficult so do take care.

It’s good to avoid anything moving about such as those wonderful dangling earrings which will distract from your words on screen, or the necklace you can’t help fiddling with. A nice watch and a bracelet which doesn’t clank on the table, can add interest as can a ring if your well-manicured hands will be seen.

Final touches

Lockdown hair! My Gamine crop has grown out and I find hair gel gives it the neat outline that I need. Hair grips and hair bands can give a new style. Maybe the hair pulled back or put up will work. It’s fun to experiment. Hair mascara produced by many brands will cover up the grey roots.

Looking good on Zoom lifts the spirits and getting our make-up right for Zoom will stand us in good stead for any future settings, whether on screen or in person, and whether at work or out on the town!

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
@houseofcolourfionaingham

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Colour Analysis – To do or not to do?

Colour Analysis – To do or not to do?

Written by Fiona Ingham

You probably already have a strong sense of which colours suit you best but if, like us, you really want to understand exactly which shades perfectly suit your skin tone, which are your best neutrals and what exactly are your ‘Wow!’ colours, then colour analysis could be for you.
House of Colour consultant and HBB blogger, Fiona Ingham answers some of our questions:

So why should you invest in colour analysis?

Firstly, because whatever your age or gender, wearing the right colours will make you look your best, with glowing skin, fine lines and dark circles reduced and the jawline defined. Your eye colour will look brighter and natural hair colour be enhanced. Clients are astonished to see the difference when draped in flattering colours.

How does it work?

Colour analysis discovers your best neutrals as a great basis to the wardrobe. For some this will be pure white through all the greys to charcoal and black, for me it’s cream through the beiges, camels, coffees to darkest chocolate. There is a specific navy in each section. You’ll be introduced to your bright colours too. It’s so easy to be adventurous and wear a splash of fuchsia or buttercup yellow if you’re certain it looks good. There’s no need to get rid of all ‘wrong’ colours, although some clients do, but you can just make a start by getting great colours around your face, maybe as a scarf or top.

What’s the benefit?

In the 90’s the desire to be simply the best, to Dress for Success was a major impetus in ‘doing Colours’ but now clients want a more sustainable wardrobe, which meets the #30wears challenge. They aim to buy smart and less, eliminating mistake buys, wearing everything and so trying to avoid contributing to global textile waste.
Hannah Betts of the Sunday Times Style Magazine discovered that jewel winter colours suited her best and wrote that wearing our right colours “gives a kind of superpower and visual charisma”

Clients report that they feel more confident and save time, stress and of course money by knowing exactly what works and disregarding the rest.

You use a ‘seasonal’ colour analysis system, how does this work?

The colour wheel is divided into four sections, given the seasons names as a shorthand description. You discover which section your colouring fits into. If your skin undertone, eyes and hair colour need warm colours you will be an Autumn or Spring. Winters and Summers colours are cool. There always are surprises so it’s wise not to self-diagnose or make assumptions in advance!

We work with specific contrasts from 144 precision dyed drapes. You can wear almost every colour but will discover the right hue. Make- up colours, including a range of lipstick colours are chosen. This is often a revelation for clients who suddenly discover a lipstick they love.

You don’t simply learn your season, but the best colours within that season, aka your Wow colours! You take away a leather wallet with colour swatches to make colour matching easy and an individualised booklet to ensure that you shop effectively.

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

Here are some of our favourite HBB’s sorted
into Fiona’s colour seasons:

SPRING

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SUMMER

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AUTUMN

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WINTER

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