Getting your weekend look right generally means being yourself rather than looking as though you wished you were someone else. That’s Anne Hathaway being very much her own woman and rocking Paige Denim’s beautiful Kylie Crop jeans. If you’re after her boots too, we can also furnish you with those: ASH’s buckle trainers. It’s great that we’re on the same wavelength as such an awesome actress but we can’t pretend that, like her, we’ve got it all – sadly we can’t provide the handsome husband or gorgeous dog.
Colour is at the heart of really great summer dressing. Tomato, citrus, sky blue and grass green – they’re all the hues of hot weather and an outdoors lifestyle. This year there’s an entire colour wheel to choose from regardless of whether you’re lazing on the beach or working up a sweat in the gym.
It’s the move towards colour in the gym and the yoga studio over the last couple of years that has really made a difference to the health club landscape. Brands including Wellicious and Casall have really put a zing and a pop into our exercise wardrobes. Casall, the Scandi activewear giant, has gone as far as to create a highlighter yellow for layering under black or simply as the zingiest colour out there. It’s a techie shade for women who love their urban workouts and want to push the hot neon trend.
Wellicious has also gone bright but has selected the tropical shades that suit their delicious jersey fabrics. Pops of hot pink and yellow sits beautifully beside their soft and flattering Dove Blue – a gentle, dusky shade that suits every skin tone. The great thing about this collection is its crossover ability to partner jeans and skirts so a Wellicious top with a built-in bra can be just as brilliant at the weekend as it is in the Pilates studio.
Striders Edge has given Lovestretch a whole new dimension when it comes to premium gym kit. The British brand has spent the last couple of years perfecting its technical activewear. Colour features throughout with hot turquoise blue and summer coral a fabulous start to building a brand new exercise look.
Whether you favour softer hues or want to make a statement with eye-popping brights, there has never been a better time to try out colourful dressing.
There’s never a time when I’m not wrapped up in a scarf. In the winter the fabrics are cosy, in the summer they’re fine and floaty. I’m not alone. In the last two years we’ve become a nation of scarf wearers again with weekend scarves becoming the hottest accessory as handbags have retreated from centre stage. Gwyneth Paltrow, Miley Cyrus and Gisele Bündchen are a few of the scarf’s celebrity fans rarely seen without theirs, and let’s not forget the Duchess of Cambridge who has perfected her own fully accessorized look over the past two years.
Luscious patterns and prints have become the best way to add a dash of colour and detail to a simple look. Picture the plainest tee and then wrap a coordinating scarf around its neckline – it’s as easy as that. Codello has a stupendous range of prints in a variety of fabrics. The European accessories powerhouse has developed a range of designs that manage to combine a multitude of colours without overwhelming the wearer. Pastels and neons are mixed masterfully to create some of the most exciting prints out there.
Interestingly, we’ve also become much better at sampling different fabrics. Asquith sells plain and simple bamboo and organic cotton wraps that are deliciously big and comforting for post-yoga and ideal as a travel companion. American Vintage, too, excels at creating plain jersey wraps that are soft and versatile for whole-year use. EMU Australia, more famous for its gorgeous sheepskin boots, has produced its own very lovely, super-fine merino wool scarves which can work as beach cover-ups or as delicious pieces for pairing with a summer dress or jeans.
From one scarf fan to anyone out there who ‘fesses to being one too, this really is the season to stock up on this versatile, go-anywhere accessory.
‘I like quirky kit. I also like kit that does the job and does it well, and because of this I have been known to spend perhaps a little more than I should on gym/training clobber.
But £225 on some leggings, I hear you say? I agree, they’d have to be some pretty special leggings. Cue the Lexington Leggings from Lucas Hugh.
These leggings are pretty special, but whether you’d be prepared to spend £225 on them unfortunately is hard for me to say. I’ve never had the option of spending that sort of figure on fitness kit, but assure you that if I did, these leggings would be top of the list. Here’s what Sportsister thought when we put them through their paces, even taking on a half-marathon along the way for good measure…
The first thing I noticed about these leggings is that they are, well, noticeable! And that’s why I like them. I trained for and took part in this year’s Reading Half Marathon in the Lexington Leggings and received lots of positive comments on how stylish they are. Proper fitness fashion! I was a little concerned when I agreed to test this product that it would be more focused on fashion, rather than function, but that’s certainly not been the case. Having seen me through sleet storms, wind, rain and a bit of sun too, these leggings have certainly been put though their paces and they fared very well…’
If you haven’t been there yet, don’t forget to raid the sale section for your summer basics. We’re having a spring clean so everything is 80% or more off original prices. Lounge Lover, American Vintage, Paige Denim, MiH, Wellicious, Casall, Lola Rose and Codello are a few of the brands you’ll find there. My personal favourites are the jersey layers that last throughout the seasons – I have neat stacks of American Vintage pieces and they never fail me. Also, the last of the winter cover-ups are heading out of the door so don’t miss out.
I could go on but that’s just cutting into your shopping time… So before you start to get your spring look together in earnest, go to the sale section pronto!
Come and join us at the Vitality Show in London’s Earl’s Court from March 21-14. You’ll find us on stand Y244. Vitality Virgin? Here’s a few of the great reasons (apart from coming to see us, of course):
Over 30 free yoga classes and the chance to try your hand at Table Tennis, chase a shuttlecock or reacquaint yourself with Rounders.
Over 60 hours of expert health and nutrition advice.
Over 30 specialist life and career coaches will help you conquer your confidence issues and realise your dreams.
Never fear…like, ever again – at the fear and phobia clinic where you can get priceless advice and help from celebrity favourites Ali Campbell and Phil Parker.
The Lovestretch team hopes to see you there!
Those bods over at Mintel never rest for Christmas. Their latest research has looked into the sales of diet control food and discovered that it has slowed to nothing over the last year. Good thing, we think. The best way to lose weight is with a balanced mix of whole foods which are specific to person’s own tolerances and preferences rather than artificially sweetened and bulked processed products. Here are the facts:
As a new year begins, the thoughts of many Brits will be on how to shed the excesses of the festive season and using the new year as a catalyst to realise their ambitions of a fitter self.However, while we may be growing larger as a nation, with one in three (31%) Brits on a more or less permanent diet, new research from Mintel finds sales of diet and weight control food stagnating.
Indeed, latest research from Mintel sees sales of weight control foods having risen by a conservative 10% to £1.6 billion between 2007 and 2012, with the market at a standstill in 2012. What is more, the number of consumers looking out for light or diet food and drink products has progressively slipped, albeit at a slow rate. Around one in five (19%) Brits use diet food and drink, the number of users having dropped from 21% in 2008, meanwhile, just 5% of Brits use diet products, such as appetite controllers and meal replacements.
Today, the top five ways Brits choose to manage weight are – 1. Exercise more 60%, 2. Eat small portions 55%, 3. Cut back on fatty foods 53%, 4. Cut back on sugary foods and drink 54% and 5. Cut back on desserts 46%. Meanwhile, just three in ten (30%) Brits opt for more diet foods to try to lose weight.
Overall, just over half (52%) of Brits have tried to lose weight in the past year (42% of men versus 63% of women). Almost a fifth (18%) try to maintain their current weight. Almost one in five (17%) sometimes think about their weight but don’t do anything about it, while one in ten (10%) never think about their weight and 3% are trying to put weight on.
Emma Clifford, Senior Food Analyst at Mintel said:
“The troubles of the diet and weight control market cannot be attributed to consumers lacking interest in losing weight, in fact, quite the contrary. The majority of Britons have tried to lose or manage their weight in the last year, and the number of persistent dieters continues to edge up. The turbulent economic landscape, squeezed disposable incomes and low consumer confidence have stifled growth in the market, as financially straightened Britons turned to cheaper methods of weight management, such as eating smaller portions and cutting back on certain types of food.”
When asked about light and low-fat foods, the overriding perception held by three quarters of the population (76%) is that diet products are overpriced. Also presenting a challenge to the market is the widespread scepticism over the health credentials of foods labelled as diet, low fat or low calorie. Indeed, while seven in ten (71%) feel it is difficult to know how healthy these products genuinely are, half (51%) of Britons actively distrust them, driven by concerns which linger over the ingredients or sweeteners they contain.
Competition from products which are naturally lower in calories is a major issue for the market, and almost half (48%) of adults prefer these products over reduced calorie alternatives. The top health claims consumers look for are low fat (52%), part of my five a day (49%), unprocessed 43%, low sugar 43% and low calorie (40%). Almost one in ten (8%) admit they do not buy healthy food.
“Despite rising levels of obesity and the large swathes of the population who are trying to lose weight, the diet and weight control food market is stagnating. Although the overriding perception that ‘light’ products are overpriced is undoubtedly limiting their appeal, consumers’ scepticism over their healthiness is also a major barrier. In order to win consumers’ trust and compete with naturally low-calorie foods it is vital that manufacturers offer consumers greater transparency in terms of their ingredients and what constitutes them being ‘diet.’ continues Emma.
Within the market, biscuits (which include cereal bars) account for the largest share of the identified diet and weight control food sales, accounting for 31p in every £1 spent on these, and this segment is expected to grow by an impressive 9% in 2012. The diet and weight control yogurt sector has seen sales slip in 2012 to an estimated £334 million related to ramped-up competition from more indulgent yogurts and functional yogurts. The most notable declines are estimated to be witnessed in the chilled and frozen ready meals segments, which are forecast to decline by 17% and 14% year on year respectively.
Overall, the diet and weight control foods market is made up of biscuits (31%), yogurt (21%), yellow fats (13%), breakfast cereal (7%), salad dressings (6%) bread (6%) chilled ready meals (6%), frozen ready meals (4%) artificial sweeteners (4%) and ice cream (2%).Looking at dieting schemes used by Brits, the top three schemes are – 1. Keeping a food diary (13%), 2. Using diet apps (10%) and 3. Joining diet clubs or programmes (7%).
“It is likely that more diet apps will continue to flood onto the market, and the popularity of these will grow. Consumers are becoming more data-driven and consumers are increasingly turning to technology to build ‘personal dashboards’. These can lend consumers a sense of control over the many facets of their busy lives, with the ultimate aim of self-betterment.” Emma concludes.
We’re fans of lots of fellow bloggers but one of the most instructive is Fashion Bomb (check it out). We found this great piece the other day which explains just how to wear colour… great if you’re putting together a colourful party look in the next few weeks and vital for the next season, the brightest for years. We’ll all be needing this useful advice…
The color wheel is an excellent wardrobe tool! In fact it was one of the first things I learned about back when I studied Image Consulting at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Figuring it out isn’t too complicated. Here’s a quick breakdown:
1. Colors directly next to each other (i.e. yellow and yellow-orange; yellow and yellow-green; violet and blue-violet, etc.)
2. Colors that form right (90 degree) angles with each other (i.e. yellow and red-orange; blue and violet-red; green and orange, etc.)
3. Colors directly across from each other (i.e. yellow and violet; blue and orange; red and green, etc.)
4. Colors that form a T (i.e. blue, orange, and violet-red; yellow, violet, and red-orange; yellow, blue-green, and red-orange, etc.)
5. Colors that form an X (i.e. blue, orange, violet-red, and yellow, violet, blue-green, and red-orange, etc.)
Since brown is a neutral, it will go with virtually any color on the color wheel. I love to pair a chocolate brown with cobalt blue or fuchsia or bright red—such a fun and bold combo. Of course white, black, and the hues of blue found in denim are also neutrals that go with just about anything.
Colors that are a part of a “color family” also apply. So for instance, you can substitute pink with red and still be able to pull off the combos based on the color wheel. Get it? Good.
As for accessories, I’m definitely not a fan of colored jewelry or belts, but go crazy with colored hats, bags, shoes, or scarves. When choosing jewelry, pair gold (or gold-toned) jewelry with your warm colored outfits. Warm colors have a yellow, gold, or orange undertone to them. Wear silver (or silver-toned) jewelry with your cool colored outfits. Cool colors have a blue, pink, or red undertone to them. Since colors are broken down by hue, temperature, intensity, and tone any single hue can be either warm or cool. Just look at the undertones.
You can also use the color wheel when coming up with color combinations for your makeup. It can help you decide which makeup color to wear so that you don’t match your eyeshadow with your outfit.
And there you go—a breakdown of how to use color combinations to spruce up your wardrobe. You’ll be looking more fab in no time.