Spring clean your wardrobe and spring into summer

Clothes and shoes that are looked after are clothes and shoes that are a good investment because they’ll do you justice for so much longer. Here’s how to keep everything in great shape for seasons to come – plus our roundup of the key trends for spring/summer 16 to replace the stuff you decide to ditch.

Clean up your wardrobe

Looking after your wardrobe needn’t take much time or effort – if you know how. Little and often is the way to go.

Give your suit a quick brush and air it after each wear. Are there any marks? You can try to 15get rid of them with a stain remover but remember to work from the outside in towards the centre of the stain to avoid leaving rings on the fabric. Otherwise, it’s off to the dry cleaners. At least that way, your suits will be returned protectively wrapped up and ready to be stored away over the summer.

Dust can damage a good quality suit as the millions of tiny particles become entrapped in the weave, so shake out and brush down your suit. Always hang on a wooden hanger as plastic hangers are robust enough and your suit jacket will lose its shape.

Get woollens dry cleaned (or wash on a short, cold wash – but check the care label first). Store away winter jumpers – especially cashmere – in zipped plastic clothes bags and protect against moths with cedar cubes or lavender sachets (which smell nicer anyway).

Shoes needn’t be polished to a brilliant shine all the time – a little TLC with shoe cream or wax from time to time will do. Clean them with a brush to remover any dirt then apply wax polish using a soft brush or a soft cloth with a circular motion to obtain a high shine. For suede shoes, simply use a special suede brush to get rid of any dirt. Remember to use shoe trees after every wear to maintain shape. Now’s the time to get heavier winter shoes and boots re-heeled and re-soled (which also means they’ll be polished for you too).

Clear out your wardrobe

A good rule of thumb is to never keep anything you’ve not worn for the last few years. AnUntitled-19 easy way to work this out is to have hangers all facing the same way and then turn them the other way once you’ve worm a particular shirt or suit. You’ll be able to see at a glance the items that are too now old or too tired or too boring for you.

Be ruthless about getting rid of any stragglers such as underpants with holes or socks that lost their other halves months ago or five white T-shirts that now look grey. It’s time to treat yourself to new ones.

Create three piles:  a good pile, an unwanted pile and a pile you’re not sure about. Go through this last one and try everything on then weed out anything you really, really don’t need. Bag up all the unwanted stuff and take it to your nearest charity shop. Never be tempted to hang on to anything that’s now a size smaller and you think you may fit into in a few months’ time. Just bin it.

Well done – you’ve now made room for some great new additions…

And treat yourself

So, what’s on trend for spring summer 16?

Grey is set to be a popular colour in the coming months and is easily enlivened with pops Untitled-119of colour, whether a brightly coloured sweater or pair of natty leather loafers. Desert shades (khaki, olive, beige) are also key, but don’t feel you have to go head to toe as if heading out on safari though. Work the look with a double-pocket shirt or jacket or combat-style trousers.

Think wide. Trousers shapes have changed over the last few seasons and a loose-fitting or
baggy shape was popular on the catwalk. Think relaxed and slouchy – from jeans to work wear. It’s certainly an easier style for when temperatures start to climb. Talking of which, no need to save white chinos for holidays. Create a Mediterranean feel at home by pairing with navy or dress down with brown boots.

Stripes are definitely in and we’re not just talking shirts. Go bold so you don’t look like you’re wearing PJs. And avoid wearing vertical stripes if your build is on the large-side.

Bomber jackets are big for the new season. This versatile zip up is easy to carry off, and great in any fabric from cotton to suede.

Step up leisure. Smart casual is now casual smart. Trainers have moved up a gear and the really cool ones are deemed smart enough to pair with a suit, with a lightweight nylon anorak at hand for rainy days.

And let’s not forget key accessories……backpacks have moved away from school days and many high end designers have created their own versions to store anything from briefcases to gym kit. Your backpack needn’t be worn Tom Brown-style, but casually carried by the handle instead. A baseball cap is also big for summer, whether or not the sun is shining or you even play it. Just don’t wear it Charlie Brown style.

Ahoy, there

Oh, a life on the ocean wave/river/canal….if you’re thinking about taking a nautical outing this spring or summer, our tips will help you decide where to set sail.

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Have fun on a canal boat

Nothing is more calming than a leisurely longboat trip along a canal. It’s thirsty work (naturally!), so having pubs dotted every few miles along certainly adds up to an attractive few days out.

The Oxford Canal, from Oxford to Napton, has to be one of Britain’s loveliest canals. Leavecanal-boat.jpg
the city of dreaming spires behind and chug along towards the old village of Thrupp with The Jolly Boatman pub where you can moor right outside. Then gently glide though fields and woods, passing Shipton under Cherwell, a lovely little village with its church near the banks.

Next stop: Lower Heyford with The Bell Inn, a short walk from the canal. Feeling lazy though? Then hang on until reaching the village of Aynho, a mile away, with its canalside pub, the Great Western Arms. Pass through the centre of Banbury, a medieval market town (also famous for its nursery rhyme), heading for the typically English village of Cropedy with its thatched Red Lion Pub. Fortify yourself because there are five locks afterwards (but there’s also the reward of The Wharf Inn at the delightfully named village of Fenny Compton). 11 miles on and 9 locks later, you’ll arrive at Napton Bottom Lock with The Folly Inn (do sample the Hook Norton) next to the canal for a well-earned night’s rest in one of the most picturesque parts of England.

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Relax on a Caribbean cruise

There’s no better or more relaxing way to enjoy amazing weather, picture postcard beaches and some wonderful on-shore excursions. What takes your fancy? Jamaica, with its clear blue waters of Montego Bay? St Lucia, where you can take a taxi to Marie’s Fish Shack in Rodney Bay for the freshest-ever fish cooked outside on the grill and some locally made spiced rum? The sun-kissed island of Barbados, with its laid-back charm? Or how about the glamourous islands of St Kitts and Antigua?

cruiseMost Caribbean cruises last 7 days though you could opt for a longer holiday and spend a few days before and after in a hotel in Florida. There are always three things to bear in mind with any cruise:

How much to spend? There are always lots of extras (mainly optional sightseeing trips) to consider and you can pay anything from another 25% – 100% for these in addition to your flights and cruise fare.

How much to tip? Years ago, you’d find a set of envelopes in your cabin at the end of the cruise with the name of each crewmember to tip. Nowadays, some liners charge a set amount daily to each passenger’s onboard account while others leave you to tip at your discretion.

What to wear at dinner? Every cruise line has a dress code of some type, usually stating ‘cruise casual’ and with the occasional formal night requiring black tie (who knows – you may even be invited to dine at the Captain’s table!)

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Try your hand at punting

Pack a picnic and spend a romantic day punting on the River Cam. Punting was introduced in Edwardian times and has become one of the most popular ways to see Cambridge’s famous bridges and colleges.

The flat-bottomed punt is a bit like a Venetian gondola (try to resist singing ‘Just onecambridge1.jpg Cornetto’). It doesn’t have a keel so is steered with a 10-foot long pole. You need to stand on the platform at the back of the punt and push the pole against the river bed to move it. Drop the pole straight down and repeat the move as often as you need to (the pole has two metal prongs on it in case you get stuck).

The main thing is to keep your balance by wearing sensible footwear, to keep hold of the pole and to try not to splash whoever’s in the punt with you. Sound easy? Hmmm. If you don’t fancy playing at being captain yourself, you can book a chauffeured punt for 6 or 12, or a private tour instead. Wise. Very wise.

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Sun and history with a gulet holiday

The Turkish Riviera is aptly nicknamed the ‘Turquoise coast’, and what better way to explore it than on a wooden gulet? Traditionally used for sponge diving and fishing, gulets can be privately chartered or booked as a cabin charter (larger boats have about 12 cabins). Gulets usually sail between Bodrum and Antalya where the coastline is uninhabited, with lovely coves, bays and off-shore islands as perfect and quiet mooring spots.

boatriveriaSunbathe, swim and snorkel – most gulets even come equipped with a windsurfer and a canoe. Feeling in need of adventure? Visit coastal resorts, explore sleepy fishing villages and take in ancient historical sites (remember to pack sensible footwear other than flip flops!), or spend the afternoon rolling around in the mud baths at Dalyan.

At night, take a water taxi to visit the nearest bar. But instead of your ensuite cabin, why not choose to sleep on deck under the stars, being lulled by the lapping of the waves and the hypnotic creaking of the wooden hull.

Set sail for spring. Shop boat shoes >