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.
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!
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.
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!
Animal prints have long been the back bone of the fashion industry when it comes to pattern, and rightly so, it's instinctive one might say. Caveman was wearing animal prints before he even knew it was fashionable, albeit in the form of real skins and fur! So, it makes sense that animal print has largely dominated the style arena - the foundation was set in history, relegating the reptiles to shoes and handbags. After all, how many snakes would it take to make a loin cloth, or more importantly a dress? With the invention of textile printing and the social lean toward "fashionable faux" this or that, it matters not in this era. Now we can have endless lengths of Boa Constrictor or friendly Python wrapped about our person having materialized from a 100 yard by 54-inch bolt!
You may have noticed that this has been the year of the one piece swimsuit. Step aside itsy-bitsy bikini, there is a not-so-new player taking center stage and it's redefining sexy swimwear!
Once I left the corporate world of employment many moons ago, I said goodbye to the uniform. It’s not that I’m opposed to uniforms, especially when they come in the form of Firemen or Naval Officers! But having worn a uniform from Infant School to High School, throughout an extensive hotel career and then the corporate world of “wear what you like if it follows these guidelines”, I laid to rest my power suit, pantyhose and ever so prim shoes!
Always on the hunt for the perfect piece that will cross the boundaries of casual to chic with just a change of bottoms or shoes! Here it is, a pretty floral pull over top with delightful balloon tie-sleeves from Anthropologie!
Spirits are lifted as spring emerges from hibernation and shows signs of sticking around. Even in Arizona, despite our mild winters and seemingly endless days of sunshine, there is a different feel about the season as warm tendrils of air waft around us and bees are sent into a frenzy over the blooming wild flowers.
What better time of year than spring to bust out some silk in bright vivid colors, especially colors that can be seen from outer space! A silk buttondown shirt is a classic that stands the test of time, you can be sure it will re-appear merged with different outfits year after year which also makes it a good investment!
The shirtdress is a timeless classic that can be worn by young and mature women with the same level of effortless chic. It basically takes the form of a long button down shirt, comes in a myriad of fabrics ranging from denim (mostly in the form of chambray) to silk. Like a good shirt, the shirtdress can be utilized for smart and casual occasions but with the added advantage of not having to wear pants! It's a wardrobe staple and the versatility it offers makes styling it fun.
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