Enjoy the peace of your own haven by dressing in the natural luxury of cashmere, silk and cotton. Stephanie Smith seeks out clothes worthy of ‘the chill-zone’.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year for parties and dressing up, for carolling and catching up with friends and family, sandwiched in-between working and shopping and decorating and wrapping and cooking and flapping and manically crashing about, as if this might be the last Christmas ever.
Oh yes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year ... but, sometimes, all we really want to do is stay at home, close the doors, calm down and hibernate a little, to catch our breath, gather our thoughts and garner the energy to carry on with the festivities.
With no one around – except immediate family, the postie and the odd neighbour – the temptation is to descend into slobbishness of the “old trackie bottoms” variety, free of make-up, hair product or the slightest degree of dress sense.
This is not the way – look terrible and, soon enough, that is exactly how we will feel. Of course, we can’t all live as if we are starring in some sort of reality TV show, cameras ever-present, but there ought to be standards, and a well-chosen, comfortable but flattering and stylish wardrobe helps to set the mood.
Soft, natural fabrics work best for at-home down-time – easy to wear but with an intrinsic quality and lustre that help add to an overall feeling of well-being and luxury.
Perhaps it’s a reaction to these iPod years, but there is a distinct yearning to return to a more simple way of life. Last weekend’s Country Living Christmas Fair in Harrogate confirmed to me that there is a growth in the number of businesses offering clothing made from natural fibres, especially cashmere. Cashmere Affair is a new brand, based in Huddersfield, but designed in New Zealand, offering simple but luxurious cashmere knitwear made from yarn spun in Yorkshire at Z Hinchcliffe & Sons, then knitted in Scotland by Johnston’s of Elgin. These are easy-wear pieces, classic with a twist, combining traditional craft with New World bright colour, although there are soft neutrals too, perfect for the calm of the home.
Meanwhile, Halifax-based Heritage Cashmere offers gorgeous classic knitwear for men and women (check out the shawl-neck cardigans and cable sweaters); Harrogate-based Pure Collection has beautiful, must-have pieces in cleverly chosen colours; and Cheshire-based Cashmere & Cotton has lovely kimonos, oversize sweatshirts, ponchos and boyfriend cardis.
Cotton, silk and cashmere all work so well together, layering, flowing and draping to create an overall feeling of luxury and comfort.
Team fleecy, sport-inspired pieces such as cashmere joggers and hoodies with silk and cotton tees and vest tops, layer a cotton long-sleeve tee with a cashmere tunic, wear some luxurious, lustrous silk PJs with a cosy cashmere cardigan.
These are clothes that can make feel better and look wonderful, so that you can make the most of that precious down-time at home.
NB: They would make excellent Christmas gifts too (but better get your online orders in now).