It’s that time of year when all the television ads are about self-improvement: detox plans, vitamin tablets, exercise gear, herbal tea. January has become the month of health and wellbeing. And if my Christmas was anything to go by, a bit of healthy eating is welcome at this juncture after the endless Christmas meals full of rich food and accompanying drinks.

January is also a good time to take a look at your clothes collection, and start to think about what clothes to wear in the new year. Do you want to stick with the same style, or try something new?

With the VAT on clothes now up to 20%, there will be more focus on value in 2011, and people are also likely to think a bit longer before purchasing new clothes. It doesn’t look like it will be a year for impulse buying a £300 coat just for the fun of it, at any rate.

I don’t know when this trend started – possibly with Kate Moss doing a clothes range. The first thing that marked Moss’s (successful) venture out was that it wasn’t a vanity exercise: it was a commercial endeavour. The second thing that Kate Moss’s stuff was well priced and aimed at real people with an interest in fashion rather than some exclusive club who can spend £2500 on a jacket.

Pearl Lowe may not have been as famous as Moss, having worked in music before she got into fashion, but her work with the Peacocks chain has definitely brought acclaim from all quarters. Helped in no small measure by the star quality of the model for her collection, daughter Daisy, Pearl Lowe has also made stylish clothes for the affordable end of the market – which is where the interesting things are happening right now.

Other notable individuals who are part of the new designers phenomenon are Fearne Cotton, who made her name as a television presenter and DJ, and now has a successful clothing range. And who could forget Pete Doherty of The Libertines and later Babyshambles, who recently unleashed his Albion Trinketry range of jewellery in collaboration with jeweller Hannah Martin.

The success of the new designers depends not on their ‘celeb’ status but on the quality and pricing of the clothing (and accessories). And so far it all looks like it’s going very well.

With some UK cities experiencing a drop in the mercury so low that it’s actually properly cold rather than just a bit parky, we though we’d do a quick round up of essential gear for the next few days:

A mega hat

Wellies - not stylish, granted. But keeps out the snow.

Thick scarf

What else? A heavy coat, waterproof trousers, and maybe some mountain climbing grade gloves.

Roll on the thaw.

Lowe Update!


Back in…when was it again? … late October, we posted about the new Pearl Lowe collection for Peacocks.

Well, the new collection finally launched on Sunday and it looks like it’s gone viral in the national press – just about every major title has either featured the range or at the very least shown a few pictures of it. I think it’s a three way thing – Pearl Lowe’s designs, the intelligent pricing of the clothes in the range, and last but not least the face of the range, Daisy Lowe, who is fast becoming a real star in an understated and very cool kind of a way.

The Peacocks range is also making waves across the Irish sea by the looks of it, with the Belfast store opening as the chains flagship Irish branch. According to the report in the Belfast Telegraph, the new store will create upwards of 15 jobs in the city and the branch will be opened by none other than Miss Northern Ireland herself, Lori Moore.

Looks like Pearl Lowe is our story of the year so far – will update again before Christmas as there’s bound to be more on this one.

Here at What Clothes To Wear we are today awarding our Best Dressed of 2010 prize. The prize consists of, err. a mention on this page. Drum roll please:



Always ultra-stylish, never dull, and an inspiration to quality dressers everywhere.



The Modfather. Still cool after all these years.


Thank you.

The main difference between mens shoes and womens shoes is in the amount of pairs owned. Most blokes will have maybe 3 or 4 pairs of shoes/ boots. maybe a work pair, trainers, heavy boots for winter and maybe something else. Women on the other hand generally have on average fifteen thousand two hundred and eighty three pairs of shoes.

The next difference between men’s and womens shoes is design – men’s shoes generally are built for durability, even those weird brogue style dress shoes for wearing with a kilt outfit are made for decades’ use. whereas women’s shoes are often built to look unusual – with some heels looking like the wearer might be at risk of altitude sickness if they stood up too long.

Wow. Can it really be only ten years ago that we all dressed like this? Check the mobile phone at the end as well – so accurate a representation of a Y2K mobile phone that you wonder if the dude is maybe a time traveller. It’s surely got to be a Motorola c520!

Love this video on how to repurpose old t-shirts. Definitely more creative than using them as dusters.

Some cool coverage in some of the highest profile newspaper and magazine titles this week, Peacocks’ value fashion offer continues to be a big hit with the nation’s fashion editors as well the fashion-buying public.
Peacocks’ brilliant week in the fashion limelight was given a boost with an some eye-catching item from Pearl Lowe featuring in The Sun’s popular ‘wish list’ regular column.
The widely read Real people magazine carries a feature this week on how to smarten up, with an appearance by Peacocks stylish and understated court shoes – perfect for any occasion where a little ‘shoe decorum’ is required, or just for the fun of putting real style in your step.
Young clothes conscious weekly magazine Style has a big recommend this week in the shape of Peacocks patterned leggings, signalled as a must have of the season. And some great coverage in Wales and the North West of England, with the Wigan Evening Post and the South Wales echo clearly feeling the Pearl Lowe effect : the headlines Impressed By Budget Dress and Pearl’s Dress Is A Real Gem pretty much say it all! This item has swept the board since its launch just over a week ago at the London Connaught – and caught the imagination of everyone in the UK and even, reportedly, a famous name from across the Atlantic – rock musician Courtney Love.
And finally Peacocks military-inspired coat got a big salute from the Halifax Evening Courier in its fashion pages, with the item shown to its maximum gorgeous effect.
A bumper week in the magazines and fashion pages from Peacocks, and with the part season just about to begin, we expect more great coverage to appear in the coming weeks!

Sometimes only brand will do. A favourite make of something where you feel that nothing else comes close. Some people would only ever eat Kellogg’s cornflakes. Me, I prefer the cheap ones, as I actually can’t tell much difference between them and the value brands. Or what difference there is between doesn’t necessarily make the brand ones better. And so it is with clothes – some people only buy M&S pants. I never buy M&S pants- they may be the nations favourite underwear but I never go into M&S unless it’s to buy pies, so I get my grundies from elsewhere.

In his book Bonfire of the Brands, author Neil Boorman went as far as rejecting branded goods completely. It might be an extreme measure, but it doesn’t half make an intersting video. Before going brand-free, Boorman burns all his branded goods. This bit is painful to watch, but the way he addresses his Blackberry before carbonizing it is hilarious: