While the fad for easy-care clothing continues, I was recently intrigued by a new offering from a well-known retailer, Chico’s – a white cotton shirt that repels stains, specifically red wine. The brands marketing targets midlife women, which might suggest we are clumsier than our younger counterparts, or perhaps we drink too much resulting in a few tipsy spills?
As the owner of a fabric care business for the past sixteen years (The Ironing Lady), I am very familiar and thankful for our ‘easy-care’ wash-and-wear world evolved from the mixology of man-made and natural fibers. Lycra, spandex, and polyester among others are a girl’s best friend in more ways than one! What I am not enthusiastic for is ‘easy-care’ as it relates to chemically treated… remember the rigid fabric that was coated in formaldehyde to create the permanent-press non-iron shirt? Likewise, stain repellent hasn't always been in the most pleasing forms... think Scotchgard!
Naturally, I was curious about the new blouse on the block and how it saves an unruly middle-aged woman from the embarrassment of tossing red wine about her person!
Natural fibers such as cotton, silk or wool are porous and often feel comfortable to wear because of their natural ability to breath. To avoid stains being absorbed, the fabric must be coated in something so that the offending wine will not stay, but likely trickle its way down to your non-stain repellent skirt. Oops!
If a natural fiber such as cotton is coated with something that prevents its natural behavior, it probably doesn't feel natural either, therefore, defeating the object of the fibers naturally occurring benefits such as breathability and comfort.
how does it work?
The latest buzz phrase being tossed about along with lashings of red wine (apparently) is ’Powered by stain shield technology'. This technology surpasses the Scotchgard protection by leaps and bounds, or should I say by pots and pans. Rest assured, your drinking problem is not being kept a secret by the good grace of the wine gods, but by the super-coating of a Teflon spray. Yes, the same hardy synthetic resin that coats nonstick pans! Teflon is known as a perfluorinated compound (PFC) chemical and is one of the most persistent chemicals known.
The wine-proof 'no-iron' (laugh here) shirt is chemically treated by a coating of Teflon thus altering it from its natural cotton state. Yet the brand claims that the nonstick non-iron shirt is breathable! How is this possible, Teflon is not breathable?
And, the sugar-coating to the super-coating? You guessed it, this Teflon shirt is environmentally friendly (really?) by reducing toxins because it doesn’t have to be dry cleaned! Ahem, just a heads up, (from the experience of a fabric care expert), a white shirt in any form would be the last thing I would give to a dry cleaner, whether it has red wine stains or not. Oh, did I mention, you can remove red wine from a white cotton shirt, even one that is not coated in a chemical non-biodegradable substance which is harmful to the environment whichever way you look at it. Just saying!
It was admitted that the Teflon coating wears off within 30 washes. In other words, the ‘benefit’ of the shirt has a limited lifespan. Like Cinderella it will morph back into a normal cotton shirt. Hopefully washing is the only thing Teflon wears off with, and not body perspiration, PH or long term wearing. Given the number of chemicals we are already exposed to in daily life, I would be skeptical wearing Teflon close to my skin (our biggest organ) especially under the armpits.
The jury may still be out on whether Teflon applied to clothing is harmful. John Gotti (former mob boss) would appreciate this shirt, after all his nickname was The Teflon Don… oh wait, does it repel blood stains? Personally, I feel that wine spillage or any stain on a shirt is the least of my worries compared to wearing nonstick Teflon. So, unless you plan on going into battle with a winery or intend to ‘whack’ someone, I recommend proceeding with caution!
Here's how to remove red wine from chemical-free natural cotton :
When style and functionality come together in the form of a trench coat, it's a modern-day fashion fairy-tale! Inevitably such pieces have been around for donkeys’ years and for good reason - everybody loves a fairy-tale! In the ever-fast-moving fashion industry, when something is here for the long haul it's generally worth the investment.
Say hello to my "little" friend... the mini trench coat. In short (pun intended), the fresh and updated version of the classic trench coat, this year's spring must-have, and undoubtedly many more springs to come! And, if you’re old enough to remember the trench coat’s predecessor, you’re welcome to call it a mini mac!
why is it sometimes called a mac?
Old folk yelling, "It's raining, put your mac on!" was a familiar sound to me growing up, after all, it was England. The mac was a well-worn part of my outerwear school uniform. The word is short for Macintosh, named after Charles Macintosh who created a waterproof fabric in 1823 in Scotland and so came about the ultimate raincoat.
A hundred years later, the trench coat was created in England by gentleman's outfitter Thomas Burberry, founder of the famous Burberry designer brand. It was an all-weather water-repellent coat designed for soldiers in the trenches of World War 1, not dissimilar to the mac.
Today, despite the myriad of fabrics, colors and style variations, the paradigm features of this coat make it one of the most recognizable classics in fashion history, whatever you choose to call it.
unmistakable features of the trench coat
First up, the inevitable belt nonchalantly tied instead of buckled by many a fashionista, me included - way to add a runway pout or a pop of attitude!
The double-breasted tradition is rarely forsaken even in modern day variations. It ties into the coat's military history along with epaulets, which would indicate rank but also serve the purpose of storing one's gloves.
Sleeve tabs, originally designed to allow cuffs to be tightened to avoid rain seeping in. The extra flap of fabric across the back known as the storm shield provided additional protection from the rain as well as breathability therefore preventing a sweaty back.
Whilst the coats history is drenched in rain and entrenched in war, it's no longer about either. Over the years it has morphed into an iconic wardrobe staple, adapted into a medley of fabric choices and colors as well as shape variations from its former self, all still recognizable as the offspring of its historic ancestor. Today it's all about sophisticated style and effortless chic.
why change a good thing?
This season's shortened version retains all the attributes of the quintessential trench coat whilst eliminating the bulk and length required for more drastic weather. That's why the short trench is all about spring showers and summer breezes!
Even with the adaptations, this is the fashion industry's own "Big Mac", with its hardy features, utilitarian functionality, and victorious performance over the past hundred years and more. There is no denying this coat a worthy winner of staying power and now with the shorter length it has crossed the boundary of seasons.
Despite its great age, it's maintained a modern feel through the passage of time, kept alive by celebrities, style icons and not least of all the British ambassador of the trench coat, Burberry!
This year, the shortened version for spring has already sold out in high street stores. No surprise since this trench travels well, can be machine washed, and whether you're sightseeing in Milan, walking your poodle along the Boulevard de la Croisette, or hot footing it through the subway in New York City, it’s the essential spring coat, jacket, trench or mac! No matter what you call it, it is what it is, the next best thing to a fairy-tale in your closet!
You can shop some of the top sellers of the spring short trench coat from the thumbnails below.
There are affiliate links in this post which means I may receive a small percentage of sales made. This does not affect the price you pay.
They say when little girls grow up they marry their daddy. I was one of those little girls. I had the best daddy in the world, and now I'm all grown up I have the best husband. I am truly blessed to have experienced only good men in my life, I know there are many women who are not as fortunate.
Kimonos are a blessing to the fashion world. Their ability to add the finishing touch to an otherwise plain outfit is like the icing on the cake! They bring color, drama, texture, movement, an utterly feminine statement and the ultimate top layer of forgiveness to whatever may be going on underneath... like food babies!
Just because you don't get to wear white trousers everyday doesn't mean you don't need a pair. In fact, white pants score high when it comes to evening functions and special occasions giving your look more panache than the common alternative, black pants! They also make the perfect dressy look for day or evening, just tweak how you style them, and you've got versatility nailed.
Would you wear a hat that originated in the 17th century worn by peasants in southern France? How about a hat worn by revolutionary activists or military forces across the globe? If your answer is yes to any or all the above, you are clearly a fashionista with an eye for style!
Never under estimate the skill of a good tailor. A true professional can transform a garment from looking cheap to chic, frumpy to fabulous, ill-fitting to something that alludes to custom made!
Garment fit is crucial to looking our best whatever size and shape we may be. It’s a factor between stylish and style-less, provides the ability to emphasize one’s best attributes and camouflage the others. Skillful stitches with a nip and tuck can turn an outdated garment into a current trend or give an old dress nine lives!
Most of us have been making new year resolutions since we were old enough to decide we wanted to improve or change ourselves in some way. Whether it be a short-term resolution to return to a svelte figure after the over indulgences of the holiday season, or perhaps a more long-term plan to get into a fitness routine, it's a steadfast way to press the reset button in our minds eye and instill some positive inspiration.
Chili and cold weather go hand in hand. It's a tasty bowl of goodness with enough spice to clear the sinuses and warm the cockles of the heart. Eaten by itself topped with all your favorite accoutrements or laid bare on a bed of rice, it's a classic turnkey dish that begs to be made en mass and served every day until it's gone... or freeze for later enjoyment!
Here's a twist on the traditional recipe forsaking the beans and making it Keto friendly. I'm not a rigid Keto dieter, I simply prefer this version as it makes me feel less blah after eating it! And, if you are following a Keto diet, the cauliflower rice suggestion is a delicious nutritional accompaniment.
The current obsession with animal print is rather like a number one hit record. Every time you turn on the radio, it's that song playing again and everywhere you look, it's animal print again!
Before the numbness sets in and we go off it altogether, the fashion powers that be have decided to spice things up! What better way than to throw in some unexpected colors. Rich deep reds, blues, greens and yellows are now sporting our beloved leopard spots and snake prints, yes indeed... step aside neutrals, colored prints matter!
Let's slip into something more comfortable, shall we? With the holidays fast approaching, we don't want to feel trussed up like a Butterball turkey in our party regalia. If you prefer the holidays with free-range rather than restricted movement, fearing your outfit may tear, snag, catch on something or simply bust open at the seams in its efforts to relieve itself of your person, then consider a slip dress.
Is it necessary to know our roots for a sense of belonging? We're here already, whatever our ancestral origins are, life goes on and we're part of it! Of course, I'm proud to be British born and bred, and despite living in America and loving it here, I feel my roots lie in the mother land of England. If any other heritage exists besides my obvious British genes, then hopefully the addition of some good old "Heinz 57" variety has benefited me in some way.
When you've been waiting for the perfect dress to come along in one of your favorite prints that just happens to be so "of the moment", well leopard always was, it's totally worth swinging from the chandelier and spreading the word, it would be rude not to! Here's to the ultimate leopard print dress, and the desire to swing from a chandelier!
It seems being married brings on additional symptoms of midlife, in that husbands become less adventurous. Wives on the other hand tend to kick things up a notch during their midlife, am I right?
As was the case this particular Sunday for us three girl friends. A spur of the moment idea, a day trip to Flagstaff for a hike, a brewery tour and a visit to Camp Verde. Granted, my first reaction was "What time are you setting off?", and my second reaction, irrespective of the early start time, a resounding "Yes!"
My husband didn't want to get up early and had a ton of work to do, another wanted to stay home and watch the baseball and the third wanted to take his new car for a spin... yawn! Midlife man symptoms, this is why you need girl friends ladies!
Karen Serino is a life and style blogger, sharing fashion, fitness and fun for youthful women in their forties, fifties and beyond.
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Click the picture below to see my interview with the lovely Jonet Wooten from Fabulously Chic Over 50