Jeans Buying Guide For Women

The key to unlocking your favourite pair of jeans is here. Find the best fitting jeans with our women's jeans buying guide.


We'll take you through the different types and rises of jeans, caring for your jeans and the easiest way to measure your size. Now you can browse with confidence knowing you will find a flattering addition to your wardrobe.

STYLES OF JEANS

It's no secret that the style of jeans you go for could change your whole look. From sleek skinnies to baggy boyfriend fits, there is a cut that will fit into any wardrobe.

Women’s straight leg black jeans

Straight

If you’re looking to tick all the trend boxes then opt for a pair of women’s straight leg denims. Ideal for creating sleek lines, the straight fit rests firmly on your hips through to your ankles, offering a leg-skimming design that lengthens your body and balances out your figure. If you’re wider at the shoulder than the hip, this style will work for you.


Shop Straight Leg Jeans
Women’s Ralph Lauren distressed boyfriend black jeans

Boyfriend

The laid-back boyfriend design is relaxed and naturally trendy. It’s usually worn low on the hips and typically suits a light wash denim. If you’re looking to add a bit of volume and shape to your frame the boyfriend cut is just for you. For those wanting a slimming design, go for a more fitted style with a tapered cut and a higher waist to flatter your figure.

Women’s indigo blue bootleg jeans

Bootcut

The bootcut is infamously on trend, with the power to turn heads. It has a snug fit from the waist down to your thighs, highlighting your legs. This style works best when worn with a pair of heels or wedges and, of course, with your favourite pair of boots.

Women’s blue 7 for all Mankind jeans

Skinny

Skinny jeans have become a fashion favourite. Whether paired with high-heeled boots, a pair of sports luxe trainers or stiletto heels, this style can be dressed up or down. You can find skinnies with both high and low-rise waistlines. Designs in stretch fabric will flatter your legs while staying comfortable all day.


Shop Skinny Jeans
Women’s Label Lab black high waisted jeggings

Jeggings

Jeggings are great for layering in the colder months. If you’re looking to dress up, simply pair them with a shirt dress, accessories and heels for a formal look. Jeggings offer endless comfort and will soon become your go-to-item for casual weekend attire.


Shop Jeggings
Women’s Lee high waisted light blue wash jeans

High Rise

High rise jeans rest just below the navel. 'Mom' jeans and other high rise styles will accentuate your curves with their retro chic silhouette.


Shop High Rise Jeans
Women’s 7 for all mankind dark blue mid-rise skinny jeans

Mid Rise

The mid-rise is considered to be the most universally flattering style, as well as the most comfortable. It sits on the hip bone and is the perfect medium – not too high and not too low. This denim staple is a must for any wardrobe.


Shop Regular Waist Jeans
Women’s Diesel black low-rise straight leg jeans

Low Rise

Looking to highlight your petite frame? Low rise jeans will rest just below your hips for a uniquely feminine fashion statement.


Shop Low Rise Jeans
THE WASH

Denim doesn't just mean blue. The wash will determine how dark or light your jeans are, as well as any pattern in the fabric.

Women’s dark wash jeans

Dark

The smartest denim tone, dark wash jeans are the most versatile as they can be dressed up with a blazer or paired with a simple tee. Some offices will even let you get away with wearing them to work.


Shop Dark Wash Jeans
Women’s mid wash jeans

Mid

Medium or classic wash jeans have the traditional deep blue tone. This style is pretty casual and best worn with an informal top or sportswear.


Shop Medium Wash Jeans
Women’s light wash jeans

Light

Light wash jeans are a summer staple. Pair with your favourite floaty top for a boho outfit, or smarten up with a dark fitted T-shirt and jacket for contrast.


Shop Light Wash Jeans
Women’s black jeans

Black

Black is a wardrobe essential: it’s slimming, sophisticated and can be worn with anything.


Shop Black Jeans
Women’s raw distressed denim jeans

Raw

Raw denim is left unwashed after the indigo dying process. If your jeans have not been pre-shrunk before wearing, soak them in the bath to remove any excess dye – the hotter the water, the stronger the removal.


Distressed

Distressing creates an aged look that will give your jeans a vintage feel.

SIZE CHART

Jeans size is written as the waist and leg length. For example, W32/L34 means a 32 inch waist and 34 inch leg.

Women’s illustration size chart

Waist: Wrap the measuring tape around the slimmest part of your natural waist.


Hips: Stand with your feet together and measure around the fullest part of your hips and bottom.


Inside leg / Inseam: Measure from the crotch down to the hem.

CARING FOR YOUR JEANS
3 pairs of blue denim jeans hanging up on washing line

Buying the right jeans is just the beginning. In order to make sure you get the most out of your favourite pair, follow these simple caring instructions.


  • Wash your jeans inside-out to avoid fading.

  • Choosing a cold-water spin cycle will give added protection against shrinking.

  • Washing jeans too often will make the colour fade faster, so only wash when dirty.

  • Avoid tumble drying. Instead, hang jeans upside down to dry away from direct sunlight to prevent shrinking.

Bra Size Fitting Guide

When you’re wearing a bra all day, every day, it’s important to know your stuff. Trust us when we say it’s a lot more common than you’d think to be wearing the wrong size, style and cup for you. Our fitting guide will show you how to measure yourself AND teach you your push-ups from your plunges!

THE STYLES
Bra Styles

Balcony

This style is extremely flattering and creates cleavage - perfect for your new scoop neck top.

Shop Balcony Bras

Plunge

A really comfortable modern shape that goes hand-in-hand with low necklines.

Shop Plunge Bras

Push up

This bra enhances both the size and shape of your bust. Opt for this bra style when thinking about eveningwear.

Shop Push Up Bras
 
T Shirt

The everyday bra. Comfortable and reliable, this bra creates a seamless shape. T-shirt Bras don’t have to be boring, look for pretty palettes and patterns.

Shop T-Shirt Bras
 
Full Cup

Fuller bust? This is the bra for you. The covering and shaping style will make this your go-to style.

Shop Full Cup Bras
 
Padded

Who doesn't want a perfectly pert bust? The padded bra is made to enhance what you already have.

Shop Padded Bras
 
Sports

This extra supportive style means you can play sports without worrying about movement, discomfort or damage.

Shop Sports Bras

Multi way

This magical style means you can wear one-shoulder, strappy or strapless outfits with ease by changing the way the straps lay.

Shop Multiway Bras
THE SIZE
Bra size

The size

Around 80% of women wear the wrong bra size. Getting the fit right is so essential for comfort, support and confidence - did you know a well fitting bra improves your posture and figure in an instant? Hello, figure we've always wanted.

How to Measure Yourself at Home

Underband

Measure around the rib cage, under the bust. The tape should be pulled firm around the body. Ensure tape is parallel to the floor all the way round. This is the underband measurement.

Cup Size

Measure over the fullest part of the bust. Ensure tape is parallel to the floor and not twisted. Subtract the underband measurement from the over bust measurement to ascertain the cup size.

BG-Womens Bra Fitting - Size Image 

 

TOP TIPS
Top tips

Top tips

The band should feel firm and supportive, as well as being horizontal across the body, being the same level as the front of the bra. The hook and eye should be fastened on the outermost hook, ensuring you can fit two fingers underneath it.

The Underband

If the underband ‘rides up’ it is too big. If the underband ‘digs in’ it is too small.

The Cups

The breast should be fully encased within the cups. The cup should offer good support and forward projection, creating a smooth silhouette. If the cups are wrinkling and loose offering no support, it is too big and if the breast is spilling over at the neckline and underarm, it is too small.

The Straps

Straps should lie flat on the shoulders, not slip down or leave marks. Straps help balance the weight of the breast, rather than provide support and uplift; this is generated from the underband.

Remember

Centre front sits flat against the body. The breast should be completely encased in the underwire, which should be following the natural crease of the breast.

IN STORE SERVICE

In store service

If in doubt, all House of Fraser stores are equipped with plenty of helpful and friendly bra-fitters that can help find your perfect size across all brands. A t-shirt or vest can be worn through out the fitting and our speedy fitters will make it a completely comfortable experience for you!

Find your nearest store

Towel Buying Guide

 

 

Bath towel terminology can be confusing, and that’s before adding sizes, fabrics and quality into the mix. So we’re breaking this bath time dilemma down and putting it simply. In this guide you’ll find technical terms, sizes, fabric and care advice, to make shopping as relaxing as the bath you’ll take with your brand new towel.

 

TOWEL SIZES
Buying Guide Towel Sizes

 

BG-Towel Sizes Table
TOWEL TECHNICAL TERMS
Buying Guide Towel Technical Terms

 

GSM (Grams per Square Meter)

GSM is a term used to describe towel weight. As a rule, the higher the GSM of a towel, the heavier weight and the more absorbent your towel will be.

Towel Twists

Fabric fibres are made into thread or yarn and then twisted together – the direction of the spin is called a twist. The important thing to remember is: the lower the twist in a yarn, the more plush, soft and highly absorbent the towel will be. However a higher twist will create a tight and stronger weave which will result in a more durable towel.

Ply

A ply is a layer of two yarns woven together. When two or three yarns are woven together in production; this results in a thicker feeling pile.

Technical Weaves

There are different types of technical weaves on the market: Air Rich or Hygro are one of them; they usually refer to an action during spinning where air is pumped into the yarns to create a lofty and plump finish to the pile.

Jacquard

Two or more colours are woven together in production to form a pattern. The main difference between the jacquard and the plain dye is that jacquards are made from two or more coloured yarns on the loom, whereas a plain dye is made from the yarns in their natural form and then dyed later (piece dyed).

Style Tip: Jacquard Towels are an easy way to add some style to your bathroom. Mix and match with plain dye towels to compliment your scheme.
TOWEL QUALITIES
Buying Guide Towel Quaalities

 

Egyptian Cotton

Grown from the Gossypium barbadense plant, this type of cotton tends to have long, thin fibres and is usually soft to the touch. Highly absorbent and long lasting, Egyptian cotton is the most popular towel quality in the UK.

Combed Cotton

Cotton is combed during production to remove excess fibres and therefore help to reduce any shedding that can occur.

Supima Cotton

Strong, soft and durable, Supima has a silky yarn, with long fibres and a tactile feel.

Modal

Modal is a semi synthetic fibre made by spinning cellulose from beech trees. Often combined with cotton in production, these towels are 50% more absorbent than regular cotton and are silky to the touch.

Tencel

Made from wood pulp from sustainable tree farms, tencel is a natural man made fibre which when combined with cotton creates a highly absorbent, soft and anti bacterial product.

Velour/Sheared Towels

The shiny or velvety feel is created by shaving the loops on one side of the towel.

TOWEL CARE
Buying Guide Towel Care

 

Care labels only go so far. Here are our top tips to keep your towels looking perfect for longer.

1. Tumble drying your towels is great for keeping them fluffy, but alternate between this and air drying for best results

2. Sparingly use fabric softener when washing your towels, as this can reduce the absorbency over time

3. Always wash your towels after purchase; this will remove any finishing product that was used in the factory and excess fibres.

Men’s Trainers Guide

Every man needs a good pair of trainers in his shoe collection. Perhaps it stems from our teenage years, begging parents to buy the latest pair, or the fact that they can be the most versatile and comfortable shoes within the range of styles on offer. Either way, if you look after your feet, your feet will look after you. A quarter of all the bones in your body are in the foot, and most of them are small and delicate. To keep your toes in check you should have a well-fitted pair to provide protection and support. Our men's trainers guide will help you identify which pairs are best for your needs and how to wear them in style. Whether you're running long distances trying to get in shape, or heading out into town with a new date, we'll have you covered whatever the situation.

BEST FOOT FORWARD
Male model wearing salmon pink trousers against grey backdrop

You should try and think about what your shoes say about you and your personality: first impressions really do count. If you're planning to go out for a drink in town, you'll look good in a pair of stylish men’s trainers. A bright white set will keep you looking sharp if worn with distressed denim jeans and a casual collared shirt. You can't wear your smartest brogues all the time – in fact, you should keep those formal shoes fresh for meetings and days in the office. But that doesn't mean trainers have to be scruffy. Try picking out some formal trainers and pairing with a pair of classic chinos. This is a great way to make your wardrobe really versatile. Or, if you want a shoe that is super comfortable for all-day wear you should find a pair of slip-on trainers. They come in a massive range of styles and materials, with leather uppers for more smart casual affairs, or canvas designs that are great for hot summer days at the beach.


SHOP MEN'S WHITE TRAINERS
DRESS CODE: SMART CASUAL
Black Hugo Boss Trainers

Any invitation where the dress code is smart casual can be a bit of an outfit minefield, but there are some easy solutions to navigating this fashion pitfall. You just have to look at the range of options that men's trainers can provide. For special occasions like meeting up with parents or in-laws, you could create a comfortable yet super sophisticated look with some suede trainers.

If you've been wearing the same pair of canvas slip-on trainers all summer long, it might be time to prepare your feet for winter weather and invest in some leather trainers. You can pair these shoes with a smart suit blazer and still have the comfort of a trainer, but the polish of a suited man.


SHOP LEATHER TRAINERS
GOOD SPORT
Man running in urban setting

A healthy body makes a healthy mind. It's important to stay in shape and exercise as much as possible, but it's equally important to keep your feet happy. Playing sports or running long distance puts your feet under far more pressure than daily walking would, so it's essential to support your feet properly. There isn't one pair of shoes that are the best trainers for sport, it largely depends on your personal foot shape, which sports or activities you're engaging in, and the way your walk.


A good place to start is to look at your pronation or foot strike. Most runners will land on the outside of the heel, and transfer weight to the foot as it rolls inwards, providing balance and support to the rest of the body. Some runners may slightly over-pronate while they run, which means the foot rolls inwards more than it should. To counteract this and protect the rest of the foot, you should look for running shoes with extra cushioning. Once you've found a suitable pair to provide support where you need it most, you should think about finding running gear to keep you comfortable (and looking good!).


Shop Running

Whether you're after classic style men's trainers or something that stands out a bit more, here are some tips for getting the most out of your new footwear:

  • If you're trying shoes on, go in the afternoon or evening. Your feet swell throughout the day so you need to account for this.
  • Start with your normal size, but bear in mind that different brands have different fits. Be prepared to try a few options.
  • If you're buying running or sports trainers, make sure you wear the same sports socks you normally would.
  • Keep your shoes clean and remove any stains with a soft damp cloth.
  • Know your occasion. White trainers are great for smart casual styles, plimsoles are versatile for everyday or relaxed wear, while leather and suede trainers will help you look smarter.

Lingerie Gift Guide For Her

Finding lingerie your partner loves is a surefire way to set off sparks in your relationship. However, many of us feel daunted about navigating all those lingerie types and sizes. We've created this guide to teach you how to buy lingerie for your special someone. It will help you show your girlfriend or wife how well you know her, and that's worth so much more than a bouquet.

FIND OUT HER SIZE
Close up of woman wearing a strapless black bra

You can't walk into a shop and guess at your partner's size. A woman's bra is almost like a second skin, so if you choose the wrong fit she'll never wear it. If you don't know her measurements and would like to keep your lingerie shopping a surprise, all it takes to is a little Bond-style espionage to find out. Simply take a look at the laundry when the lucky lady isn't around and make a note of her labels.


With bras, there are two sizes to keep track of. The first is the cup size, which can range from A to K. The second is a number, which relates to the measurement around the body and rib cage. It's important to note that the two numbers are linked: for example, a 32D will not have the same size cup as a 38D because the letter relates to the volume of the bust itself and the size of the cup in relation to the band. You won't be able to buy a 32D bra for a woman who wears 38D, even if you get it altered. Bra sizes can vary across lingerie brands, so it's a good idea to check a couple of bras that your partner wears most often – these are most likely to be the ones that fit her best.


If you're really struggling or don't feel comfortable peeking into her wardrobe, you could try and find a negligee or camisole instead. You don't need to be as exact with the sizing for these flowing garments.

PICK HER STYLE
Navy lace bra

There are lots of different shapes and types of bras out there. Here are the most popular:


  • Balcony bras – Lift the breasts to enhance the cleavage with straps that support from the bottom of the cup. Super seductive.
  • Plunge bras – Create deeper cleavage by plunging down, supporting from the centre and pushing the breasts together.
  • Full-cup bras – Offer the best support and shape by covering more of the breast. Usually worn by women with a larger cup size.
  • T-shirt bras – Best for wearing under a T-shirt. Made from smooth material and normally seamless, they are less likely to be seen through the fabric.

Shop bras
Close up of woman wearing silk pyjama shorts

Women's knickers also come in a tremendous variety of styles. Think about the underwear she normally wears and see if you can match it to the lingerie types below for an idea of what she likes. There are lots of different shapes and types of bras out there. Here are the most popular:


  • Full brief knickers – Offer the most coverage with a high waist.
  • Hipster knickers – Sit lower on the hips and usually cut away at the back.
  • Thongs – Well-known for their high leg which exposes the bottom.
  • French knickers – Usually made of lace with a high waist that sits half way across the buttock.

Shop knickers
TOP TIPS FOR LINGERIE SHOPPING
Flat lay of bra and mug of coffee on a knitted blanket

If you want her to be thrilled with your selection (so you'll be allowed to buy lingerie again) keep these final pointers in mind:


  • It pays to pick a colour that you know she'll love. Be observant and get to know her style, her favourite outfits and the colours she looks best in.
  • Use colour language to say something with your gift. Black is generally thought to be sultry and classic, white makes a wonderful wedding present, while soft pastel tones exude femininity and romance.
  • Pick a lingerie set to make sure the underwear matches perfectly.
  • Remember that this gift is for both of you. Keep her style preferences and comfort in mind, but make sure it's also something you'd like to see her wear. You'll both enjoy the gift more knowing that your partner is as excited about it as you are.
  • If you're unsure of her knicker size and don't want to intrude on her underwear drawer, check her dress size. The two are usually very similar.
  • Make a full ensemble by adding a waspie or suspender. Lingerie accessories are always exciting.
  • Surprise her! Leave a gift waiting for her when she arrives home.

Knitwear Buying Guide

Weekend walks through crisp autumn leaves, hot cups of tea and cosy moments with loved ones – they just wouldn't be the same without your favourite woolly jumper. Timeless and effective against the chill, knitwear makes the cooler months extra comfy. From chunky cardigans to luxurious cashmere sweaters, we’ve put together this guide in order to give you all of the information you need on styles and fabrics. We've also included tips on how you can care for your knitwear.

KNOW YOUR MATERIALS
Dark green cashmere jumper

Cashmere

Made from goat's hair, cashmere is softer than sheep's wool and is used to create elegant, fine knits. It’s not only long-lasting but has great adaptability to temperature; it's spun from delicate hairs which will keep you warm in winter and cool over summer.


Shop Men's Cashmere Knitwear

Shop Women's Cashmere Knitwear
Neutral woollen long cardigan

Merino Wool

Merino wool jumpers have a glorious shine and are extremely soft. Named after the Merino sheep, this wool retains heat while also being breathable, making it a versatile addition to any winter wardrobe.


Shop Men's Merino Wool Knitwear

Shop Women's Merino Wool Knitwear
High neck burgundy and pink jumper

Lambswool

Lambswool is made from the first shearing of a seven-month-old sheep. As you might expect, it's supremely soft and comfortable against your skin.


Shop Men's Lambswool Knitwear

Shop Women's lambswool Knitwear
black cable jumper

Sheep’s wool

Sheep’s wool is often used in jumpers and socks as it is extremely elastic and recovers its natural shape effortlessly. The breathable fabric will keep you warm during the chilly months, making it a perfect layer for crisp winter walks.


Shop Men's Wool Knitwear

Shop Women's Wool Knitwear
black and white men's jumper

Acrylic

This soft man-made fibre was designed to imitate wool. It is a low-maintenance fabric, so can easily be popped in the washing machine rather than individually washed by hand.


Shop Men's Acrylic Knitwear

Shop Women's Acrylic Knitwear
GET TO KNOW YOUR KNITS
three different knit styles including ribbed, cable and chunky

Different clans and cultures have created their own styles of knitting over the centuries, leaving you spoilt for choice. Here are some of the most popular options:


Ribbed

Featuring ridges on both sides of the fabric created through alternating rows of knit and purl stitches, rib knits offer lots of stretch. They're perfect for creating cosy tops and cardigans and feature an ideal amount of elasticity.


Cable

Derived from Ireland’s ancient knitting traditions, its trademark cable design remains a wardrobe staple to this day. Resembling braided ropes, cable knit sweaters are comforting against the winter chill.


Aran

Originating off the west coast of Ireland, this type of knit is usually off-white in colour and features symmetrical patterns in homage to cable knits. This textured knitting is also used to make socks and hats so you can combat winter in a matching set.


Chunky

When it comes to looking stylish in the coldest months, a chunky knit jumper is the answer. It’s not only warm but versatile – pair a dark-coloured design with a blazer for a wintery off-duty outfit.

HOW TO CARE FOR KNITWEAR
Basket with different coloured jumpers folded inside

Keep your knitwear looking its best with a few care habits:


Focus on the storage

When it comes to caring for your knitwear, storage plays an important role. Refrain from placing your cashmere and wool jumpers on a hanger and choose to fold instead. This will help prevent any unnecessary stretching and misshaping.


Don’t be afraid to shave your knits

It's hard to stop knitwear bobbling, but you can keep it looking good as new using an electric bobble remover. It acts in the same way as a razor and literally shaves your knitwear, leaving it smooth and revived.


Use a comb

You can also remove any bobbles from your knits before washing with a cashmere comb. Simply use the brush daily and gently rub down the item to remove any excess lint that has formed.


Dry knitwear flat

An effortless way to ensure your knitted sweater or cardigan’s shape remains intact is to dry it flat after washing. Stretch it out slightly and weigh down the edges to help it keep its original elasticity.

WASHING WOOL JUMPERS
Close up on woman’s hands, hand washing a jumper

Worried about shrinking your woollies? Here are a few tips to help your clothes last longer:


How to hand wash knitwear
  1. Fill your tub with warm water and add a mild liquid laundry detergent.
  2. Add the jumpers and soak for ten minutes.
  3. Remove as much excess water as possible. Gently press rather than wring out when rinsing, as this will prevent any misshaping.
  4. Once clean, dry the pieces flat out to prevent any stretching.

How to machine wash knitwear
  1. Place your knits into a mesh bag so you can protect the wool from the drum.
  2. Load into the machine and add a gentle laundry detergent.
  3. Set your washing machine to a hand wash cycle or a wool cycle. This will ensure it washes at a cooler temperature and reduce the speed of the spin cycle so as to be gentle with your knitwear.

How to care for cashmere

The best thing about investing in luxury cashmere is its endurance as a winter wardrobe staple. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to hand wash the knit rather than strictly dry cleaning. Simply hand wash your cashmere in cold water using a gentle, mild detergent. Wool wash or baby shampoo also works wonders as it has low-alkaline. Keep your wash times to a maximum of a few minutes taking care to remove it from the water so as to make sure they don’t fade.

HOW TO STORE KNITWEAR
Folded knitted jumper with a small pouch of lavender on top

Properly storing your knitted jumpers can add on multiple years to their life. The ideal storage spot is cool and dry. We recommend cedar hangers to be used if hanging is your only option. They're specifically designed for woollen clothing and not only help maintain the shape, but they actually act as a moth repellent, leaving your woollen sweaters and cardigans safe from nibbles.


Moth balls and lavender sachets will also deter moths. Lavender has the bonus of leaving your clothes with a lovely scent, so it's a win-win. Simply tuck a ball or a sachet into jumper pockets or between the layers of your folded clothes.

The joy of slipping in to your beloved cosy knitwear during the cooler months can't be beaten. You'll be able to keep yours looking and feeling lovely for longer with our useful guide – though with all of this talk of soft cashmere and chunky cable knit, we can't blame you for having half an eye on your next purchase now, too!

How To Choose A Mother Of The Bride Outfit

Helping your son or daughter to plan their wedding is a very exciting – and very busy – time. There's so much to think about about, from choosing a venue and designing invitations to composing a guest list and deciding on food. With all that to do, your own outfit might be the last thing on your mind.

However, if you want to look your best, don't make it an afterthought; put aside other considerations for a few minutes and focus on you! In this guide, we'll highlight some wedding outfit options for mothers, look at how to match colours and jewellery, and run through the dos and don'ts to ensure that you're looking your best when the big day arrives.

WEDDING OUTFITS FOR THE MOTHER OF THE BRIDE OR GROOM
Metallic black sleeveless jumpsuit and Sleeveless v neck red midi dress

Even if their wedding plan is still in it's early stages, it's likely that your son or daughter already has a general theme or atmosphere in mind. This will help to define the style and formality of the day, so if you want to complement the overall feel of the wedding, ask the couple for this information to get a basic idea of the kind of outfit you should be looking for.


In terms of specific choices, you'll want to go for something that is practical and comfortable to move around in, as you're likely to be on your feet for most of the day. Knee-length dresses are always an elegant option, but you could go for something floor length if the theme calls for it; just make sure you avoid white! Heels, your favourite smart coat and a sleek clutch bag are fail-safe options when it comes to completing your look. For summer weddings, you could carry a light bolero or a pashmina to wrap up in when it becomes cooler in the evening.


Shop occasion dresses
DECIDING ON COLOUR
Pastel Pink Navy Purple and White fascinator

The couple may already have an accent colour picked out to complement their theme, so it's worth asking them what this is if you'd like your outfit to fit in. You don't need to match completely – you don't want to blend in with the bridesmaids, after all – so choose a tonal shade. For example, if the colour is a rich purple, opt for lavender, lilac or heliotrope. You could also pick out the colour with jewellery, hair accessories or even a hat.


If there's no specific colour to work with, or a number of different colours, you can be a little more creative. Choose a print that incorporates several hues, or accent a bright dress with sharply contrasting shoes and a bag. If your preferred look is more understated, opt for pastel shades or neutral hues like pale pink, yellow or blue.


Shop hats and fascinators
SELECTING JEWELLERY
gold crystal brooch

As the mother of the bride – or the mother of the groom – you'll be a central figure throughout the entire occasion and there will be plenty of eyes on you. Feel polished and pretty with beautiful accessories that will add a little sparkle to your ensemble. When deciding which items to choose, consider which parts of you will be on show. The shape of your neckline should be a starting point when thinking about what kind of necklace to choose, for example.


If you intend to have your hair up, you could opt for a delicate pair of earrings with colours that match your dress and the wedding theme, or go for a classic look with a set of pearls. Using a shimmering brooch to draw attention to a sleek pashmina or shawl is another timeless choice.


Shop Jewellery
CREATING A WEDDING DAY MAKEUP LOOK
Mother hugging the bride

There aren't any rules for the mother-of-the-bride’s hair and makeup, but keeping your look subtle and timeless is always a winner. Having a trusted friend or makeup artist do your makeup on the big day will allow you to relax and focus on other things. Mothers of the bride or groom often overlook themselves in favour of their daughter or son; remember, it's your special day too. A lovely way to treat yourself is by getting a fresh manicure and pedicure on the day of the wedding. This will also prevent any last minute chips or scratches.


There will probably be lots of flash photography on the day, so be sure to pack a pressed powder compact to keep your skin looking matte. It might also be worth bringing some cotton buds to tidy up any teary eye makeup after the ceremony. For the same reason, it's a good idea to wear water-resistant mascara and to avoid eyeliner.


Shop Makeup

Hearing the exciting news that your son or daughter is ready to say their vows is something that all mothers look forward to. Make sure you visit our wedding boutique for everything you need to look fantastic and feel comfortable on their big day – just don't forget those tissues!

Men's Watch Buying Guide

Every man needs a timepiece, be it a performance sports watch or a classic leather-strapped design. Find the right style for your look and your lifestyle and you'll never want to take it off. Discover the vintage look of mechanical watches or step into the future with a super-technical hybrid watch with our guide.

Men's watches can be loosely categorised into three main styles: smart-casual, sports, and dress watches. With all the different designs available, you'll need to pay attention to the unique functions of the model to make sure it meets your needs.

CHOOSING YOUR STYLE: SPORTS
Skagen metal sports watch

Sports watches tend to have a more robust build and are made from hard-wearing materials like rubber or plastic so they can withstand any knocks or accidents. Many have extra functions – stopwatches, timers, alarms and even heart rate monitors to provide all the essential information you could ask for while you work out.


Sports watches often have the added capability of being water-resistant, usually to a certain depth (due to the pressure on the internal components). This means they won't get damaged by excessive sweat when you're training hard in the gym, or rainwater when you're putting in the miles on your bike. They will also keep you up to date on any split or lap timings you want to assess.


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CHOOSING YOUR STYLE: LUXURY
Emporio Armani black leather watch

Essential for smart outfits and formal occasions, a luxury watch is an investment piece that will pair perfectly with a suit. Made from the highest quality materials such as sterling silver, gold and platinum, these statement accessories are sure to add a polished finishing touch to your outfit.


Dress watches are suitable for formal occasions as well as everyday business attire, so they are the best way to go if a full-on luxury piece feels excessive. Dress watches are more elegant and refined, and tend to have smaller faces and discreetly shaped straps. Brands such as Emporio Armani typically feature an analogue face with dials to display the time, which is a more traditional look compared to the digital clock face found on many sports watches.


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FIND THE PERFECT STRAP
Guess mens watch in silver with a red strap

Men's watch straps normally come in three distinct styles – the most common materials are leather, metal and fabric. In general, sports watches feature built-in straps to up their water resistant qualities, but you can usually choose from a range of eye-catching colours.


It's easy to get your watch strap changed at a jeweller or watch maker. Metal straps are very hard-wearing and will last for years, but it's a good idea to switch up your leather or fabric strap annually. Soft leathers and fabrics will get damaged and stretched from repeated fastening. They will also get dirty the more you wear them, so if you want to keep your watch looking fresh and stylish, you can upgrade the strap for a quick improvement.


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UNDERSTANDING MECHANICAL WATCHES
Hugo Boss mens watch with blue and gold face and a leather strap

The phrase 'watch movement' refers to the internal mechanics of the piece. There are three main types of watch movement: mechanical, automatic and quartz.


A mechanical watch is powered by a mainspring, which is wound up by hand. This type needs to be wound frequently, otherwise the coiled spring will unwind and the watch will stop running. Mechanical watches are the most traditional and therefore timeless style, and epitomise the precision and art of engineering. As long as you remember to wind it up, you'll never need to replace the battery – because there isn't one. Some contemporary brands, such as Guess, have modelled their range after this classic style, so if you're trying to recreate a vintage aesthetic, these are the ones for you.


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UNDERSTANDING AUTOMATIC AND QUARTZ WATCHES
Fossil men’s watch with brown leather strap

An automatic is similar to a mechanical watch, but it winds up on its own. Inside is a small rotor, which responds to your movements throughout the day and keeps the mainspring tight.


These days, the most popular type of watch uses quartz movement. The quartz piece is subjected to a small electric current from a battery, which causes the quartz to vibrate 32,768 times per second. This vibration is measured and turned into a pulse, which moves the second hand round the face.


Modern watch brands, such as Fossil, use the quartz movement and design a range of sleek, contemporary watches.


Shop Men's Fossil Watches

The right watch will bring a touch of class to any outfit, whether it's your sharpest suit or your sports kit! never be late and always stay stylish with the selection of watches at House of Fraser, featuring renowned brands like Armani, Fossil and Storm.

Dress Codes For Women Explained

Between black-tie fundraisers, smart work events and weddings, there is an abundance of dress codes to decipher – and some common questions that often arise. What is a cocktail dress? What is a formal dress? Can a black-tie dress be short?


Choosing your outfit should be the fun part, so we've made a list of the most common dress codes: what they mean and what you should wear if they appear on your invitation. All you need to do is RSVP 'yes'.

COCKTAIL PARTY DRESS CODE
Purple sleeveless A-line dress

It's a term we hear often, but what actually is a cocktail dress? The modern definition has come to mean a shorter, above-the-knee style that's sophisticated yet 'party ready'. This could mean anything from a simple silk shift to an embellished skater dress – the choice is yours.


If 'cocktail dress' appears on the dress code, the event is probably stylish with a hint of formality, so it's best to keep hemlines and necklines appropriate. A midi dress is a flattering and comfortable length which looks great when balanced with slim straps or a halter neck.


Add interest to your outfit by playing with different textures. Try a sequinned dress with sleek satin heels, or some sparkling embellished flats with an understated crepe shift. Lastly, don't be afraid of colour – formal doesn't need to mean black. Saturated jewel-tones are a fantastic choice.


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BLACK TIE DRESS CODE
Sequined sleeveless maxi dress

Traditionally, your black-tie attire should consist of a formal, floor-length gown. Neutral colours are encouraged, as are ladylike up-dos and delicate jewellery. If the invitation says 'white tie', you can go a step further with a pair of long gloves. Sophisticated clutch bags tend to work best with this dress code, preferably in a colour that matches or subtly complements your dress.


While cocktail dresses are usually also allowed, they should be on the more conservative end of the spectrum; it's best to avoid anything that is too tight or falls more than an inch above the knee. Try a strapless gown with a pleated skirt, or a sleek one-shouldered design. Complete the look with a simple pair of stiletto heels.


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FORMAL OCCASION DRESS CODE
Electric blue sheath dress

What is a formal dress? Whether you're joining the wedding party or amping up the glamour for a day at the races, formal occasion dress codes are all about keeping it classic – but still having fun.


This dress code is broad and should be open to different interpretations depending on the nature of your event. Dresses can be full or knee-length, in a wide spectrum of colours and styles. If you're planning on dancing the night away, choose a simple sheath silhouette or a cute mini dress that won't restrict your movement. Try accessorising with a fascinator and an embellished clutch bag for a show-stopping finish.


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SMART CASUAL DRESS CODE
Black skater dress

A smart casual dress code is probably the most ambiguous in terms of formality: take your cues from the type of event and use your intuition. Although the style is more relaxed than other dress codes, you'll still need to look put-together. Any length of dress is suitable, as are polished separates and sharp trouser suits.


Playful details such as a cut-out back or bell sleeves are an effortless way to dress up understated outfits. A design with an off-the-shoulder Bardot neckline is a universally flattering option. Heels are typically encouraged, while jewellery and accessories can be kept to a minimum if you prefer.


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Shop Bardot Dresses
PARTY DRESS CODE
Sequined short purple shift dress

'Party dress' is another wide-reaching term that depends on the type of event you're invited to. Birthday parties usually call for an elevated take on your everyday wear; dressy without being too overstated . A work 'do', on the other hand, might require a tailored shift dress in a brighter hue than your usual work attire.


Parties often involve dancing at some point, or plenty of walking about to chat to different people, so best to choose something you can move in. Fabrics with a bit of stretch like silk jersey won't restrict you, and they look fantastic in draped or wrap styles. Avoid tight fitting pencil dresses and heavyweight fabrics which you might find uncomfortable and overly warm.


Make getting ready almost as fun as the party itself by adding plenty of sparkle in the form of jewellery, hair accessories and a clutch bag.


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PARTY-READY BRANDS
Sleeveless dark grey sequined maxi dress

  • For designer cocktail dresses, Ted Baker offers a range of both statement-making and pared-back designs. Discover bodycon silhouettes with lace panels alongside pleated mini dresses adorned with floral patterns.
  • The Phase Eight range has something for every occasion – from floor-length fringed gowns to sequinned cocktail dresses.
  • With eye-catching prints, playful textures and fun silhouettes, Yumi has a bold selection. Think embellished midi dresses and colourful skater silhouettes.
  • Perfect for black tie events, Adrianna Papell dresses exude elegance with their quality craftsmanship and flowing silhouettes. We love the range of metallic hues and full-bodied skirts.
  • For classic designs with an edge, Gina Bacconi is an elegant choice. Look out for long sleeved shift dresses with sequinned waistbands and embroidered cape dresses with sheer floral sleeves.

Shop Evening Dresses

Whether you opt for figure-flattering elegance or all-out glamour, you're sure to look fantastic as long as you're channelling your unique personal style. If in doubt, look to a casual dress you already own and love, and then search for a similar shape or colour in a more party-ready style.

Table Setting Guide

Hosting a dinner with friends is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Whether it’s an intimate dinner with your other half or a celebratory get-together for ten, nothing says occasion like an expert table setting arrangement. Find out how to select the right type of linen, pick between different types of cutlery and which glasses to place where with our table setting guide.

PLACE SETTING
white plate with silver fork, knife and spoons

Tablecloths and linens form the foundation of your table setup, setting the tone for the decorative scheme and protecting against spills. Picking the right material will preserve your furniture, leaving you to focus on entertaining. Put guests at ease by opting for darker colours that are less likely to magnify stains. Tablecloths and napkins are often available in poly-cotton or cotton variations. When choosing between the two, bear in mind that the latter is more prone to wrinkling and staining.


Provide each guest with a coaster and placemat, and use a heat, stain and moisture resistant table protector underneath your tablecloth to protect the entire surface.


Add a decorative central runner and coordinating napkins at each place, complete with napkin rings. If you have some time to go the extra mile, try learning a folding technique. With practice you’ll be able to transform each place setting into a miniature work of art.


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LAYING YOUR TABLEWARE
white plates and bowl on a brown wood table

After setting the tablecloth, runner and linens, you can choose to contrast or continue the theme with tableware. Think practically when choosing the best tableware for your needs and consider what food you will be serving.


Porcelain tableware is the traditional choice, but there are many affordable alternatives that are less prone to shattering and scratch marks. It’s best to leave porcelain and glass for special adults-only occasions to avoid any accident-induced stress.


If you’re serving a tapas style menu you’ll need spacious serving plates and platters. A heartier menu, however, works well with heatproof earthenware serving dishes. Place them in the oven until you’re ready to serve your food so that guests enjoy a piping hot meal, but don’t forget that earthenware is more breakable after radical changes in temperature. Add extras such as butter dishes, gravy boats and seasoning shakers as needed.


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GLASSWARE
wine glass, champagne glass, cocktail glass and a beer glass

With so many types of drinking glassware to choose from, it’s easy to go overboard. Instead, remember that less can often be more. As a rule, you needn’t use your best drinking glasses for a casual gathering. Be accommodating to guests by pairing your glassware to their chosen beverage. No matter what everyone drinks, ensure you have water jugs and tumblers to hand.


A celebratory dinner isn’t complete without a toast, and what is a toast without a champagne flute? Keep these on hand but off the table. The same goes for post-meal coffee and teacups, and cocktail glasses if the occasion calls for it.


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THE RIGHT CUTLERY FOR YOUR DINNER TABLE
Illustration of a knives, forks and spoons

Few areas of table setting etiquette cause as much confusion as cutlery. There isn’t a major difference between most forks and knives on offer, but choosing a subtly distinguished set can elevate the overall impression of your meal. Browse our range of serving and dining cutlery, matching a traditional or sleek, modern aesthetic to the mood of the evening.


If you’re not sure how to lay your cutlery, don’t worry – our visual guide will help.


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PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Illustration of how to lay out your table setting

We’ve created an illustrative guide for assembling your formal table setting, piece by piece. These are simply guidelines – you may find you need to add or subtract elements based on your occasion or personal taste.

FINISHING TOUCHES
Glass vases in small, medium and large

Choose from the following final decorations to truly set your dining table apart:


  • Candles or fairy lights

    These are great for romantic evenings. Stick to unscented candles to give centre stage to the aromas of your food.

  • Name settings

    Personalise a larger gathering with handwritten name settings – calligraphy always looks impressive.

  • Flowers

    Create several smaller floral arrangements to place along the table instead of a single large arrangement that could stop guests from seeing each other!

  • Lanterns

    Technically these will not be placed on the table, but if you have limited space for decorations you can make use of lanterns. Line them along your garden path or hang overhead in the dining room.


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Frequent entertainers tend to make bolder choices in linen, tableware, cutlery and glassware. If you’re new to hosting, however, you might prefer to start with a classic matching set of items in neutral colours. That way, even if you only host two dinners a year you’ll be able to use them again. Explore our dining selection for dinnerware, glassware, cutlery, table linens and placemats.


Take your time planning each element of your dinner party, and mull over investment purchases until you’re sure.


When the night finally arrives, remember to have fun! There’s no better ingredient for successful dinner party than a happy, smiling host.

Wall Art Ideas

Inject some life into your home by adding a couple of pieces of inspiring wall art. A blank wall is like a blank canvas – use it to show off your personality and style while completely changing the look and feel of the room.


In this guide, you'll find essential information about the range of pieces on offer and how to hang wall art safely and creatively. Plus, we've got some top tips on how to create a gallery wall.

MATCH THE ROOM
Bright pink coloured room

Before you dive headfirst into the art world it's a good idea to narrow your search terms: think colour, theme and style. Which hues will match your current décor? What themes are already present in the room? What types of motifs would you like to see? You could also think about adding a light feature, or creating a sense of depth with a mirror.

TYPES OF WALL ART
Neutral coloured wall with hanging picture

Whether you prefer traditional portraits or something more abstract, there are a number of options when it comes to wall art. Our range covers it all, from the classic to the kooky.


Framed artwork

A timeless style, these pictures usually come with a wooden frame and a glass cover to protect the artwork inside. Large photos, prints or paintings look great in this style, as the frame defines the picture and makes the work stand out from the wall. Go for this option if you like a reasonably formal look.


Canvases

A canvas is a strong, unbleached cloth made from hemp or yarn, stretched over a frame to create a smooth surface. It's ideal for painting with acrylics and oils. A canvas is relatively lightweight compared to photo frames (and not as breakable).


Other objects

Think lighting displays, mirrors and shelving units – even your old vinyl records. Anything can be art when you use it to brighten up an empty space and make your home look beautiful.

HOW TO HANG YOUR ART
Hanging a picture illustration

Nails

Large picture frames and other objects can be heavy and require a strong wall fixing to make sure they don't fall down. First, establish what kind of wall you’re dealing with. If it's plasterboard (in which case it will sound hollow if you bang it with your fist), consider installing a special plug fixing, also known as an expansion bolt. If it's a brick wall it's better to drill a hole for a wall plug, put a screw in the wall plug and hang the art from there.


Hooks

If DIY isn't your thing, you can use picture-hanging hooks. There are three main types, and which one you choose will depend on the weight of your artwork:


  • single-nail hook – for artwork up to 15kg

  • double-nail hook – for artwork up to 22kg

  • triple-nail hook – for artwork weighing 30-45kg.

To do the best possible job, use two picture hooks per piece to ensure it stays level over a long period of time.


Top tip: Don't forget to use a spirit level to get the perfect hang.


Kits

A wall-hanging kit is usually made up of a strong wire and two clips. This is a quick and easy option for framed pictures, and some even come with them pre-installed. Canvases or wood block artwork usually have a built-in screw hanger that can simply be placed over a secure fitting. You can also get creative – try hanging a series of pictures from the ceiling, or use crocodile clips and string for that gallery-inspired washing line look.


Don't stress too much if you get it wrong. Hanging a picture isn't going to alter the structural integrity of your wall or home so, if you mess up, start again and patch up your mistake. Giving yourself this type of freedom is a great way to let your creativity shine through.

HOW TO CREATE A GALLERY WALL
Wall Collage illustration

Use a feature wall to show off your photography skills and display your favourite memories. A uniform, grid formation looks great in a modern and minimalist room, or you could go for a more freestyle approach.


The ‘salon’ look is very popular, and creates an attractive mosaic effect. It's named after a historical Parisian art exhibit where pictures crowded the walls. Pick a variety of styles, sizes and colours and make a cluster. There are no set rules here, just arrange the artwork as you see fit.


If you do group multiple artworks together, keep the space between each piece around two to three inches – too far apart and the arrangement will look disjointed. It's also much easier to hang the largest piece first, usually as a centre focal point, and then add other pieces around it.

Vacuum Buying Guide

It's not easy to get super excited about the prospect of cleaning the floor of your home but if you have the right tools at your disposal, you'll never put it off again. The spring clean can be one of the most rejuvenating things you can do after hunkering down for the winter. It's the perfect time to breathe some fresh air into your home and start over.

Choosing the right appliance for your needs is no simple feat, especially as there are so many options on the market. This guide aims to explain the best vacuum cleaners for every home and floor type and have you on your way to a fresh, clean abode.

THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF VACUUM CLEANER
Woman vacuuming navy sofa as cat jumps down

Before you buy the first vacuum cleaner you see, you should consider a few things. For example, where are you going to store it? You might want to choose the largest and most powerful one on the market to help you get the job done quickly, but if you don't have a suitable place to hide it away you'll soon get fed up of it. The size of your house, flat or cottage is also very important. If you live in a smaller apartment a small, cordless model will be the best vacuum cleaner for you and help you quickly whizz round all the rooms in a matter of minutes. For larger homes, you should consider something with a mains power source, so you won't have to keep charging the battery before you've reached the second guest bedroom. A final thing to think about is what type of floors you have. If you have a lot of carpets that need a deep clean, you should consider a carpet or steam cleaner to really get rid of all the dirt. Let's look at the options.

UPRIGHT VACUUM CLEANERS
Upright Dyson vacuum cleaner

The most powerful suction available, these use a mains power source to achieve unlimited hoovering time. The upright design makes them grip exceptionally well on carpeted floors, where you need to stay in close contact with the fibres at all times to clean them effectively. They are a little more cumbersome when it comes to stairs or smaller rooms, but many models have small attachments that you can extend from the main body to clean these hard to reach areas much more easily.

This style is larger and needs a bigger area to store it, but it can also hold more dust, dirt and hair in the chamber, meaning you can clean a larger home without having to repeatedly empty it.


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CORDLESS VACUUM CLEANERS
Dyson cordless vacuum cleaning wood floor

At the other end of the spectrum, cordless vacuum cleaners are not attached to the mains power by a cable but have a battery pack that is charged up when not in use. This type is great for smaller homes that you can clean in under an hour (otherwise you might run out of power). They are lightweight, easy to manoeuvre and store thanks to the detachable extension tubes and accessories. They do, however, have a lower capacity, which means you'll have to empty them out more often. But, in a smaller home, this shouldn't be too much of an issue.


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CYLINDER VACUUM CLEANERS
Cylinder vacuum cleaner product image

Occupying the middle ground of cleaning capabilities, cylinder vacuum cleaners are lighter and easier to manoeuvre than upright models, but more powerful than cordless vacuum cleaners. They don't rely on a battery pack so can carry on hoovering for as long as you can, and are also easier to store away thanks to their compact size.


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ROBOT VACUUM CLEANERS
Robot vacuum cleaning wood floor under cream sofa

The ultimate in auto-cleaning, robot vacuum cleaners move around by themselves to hoover up any dirt without you even noticing. They are not capable of tougher jobs like embedded pet hairs or travelling up and down stairs, but we can all hope for the future!

CARPET OR STEAM CLEANERS
Dyson steam cleaner example carpet cleaning

The final type of vacuum cleaner you should consider is one that utilises water in the form of steam to wash and dry your floors in the same quick motion. These are best used on older carpets that need a refresh during the spring months, or tiled bathrooms or utility areas that see a lot of dirt very frequently. These can also be used on upholstery and even windows, as well as for carpet cleaning.

Once you've deciphered which type of vacuum cleaner is going to do the job for you, it's time to embark on that long-overdue spring clean. Be sure to move all small furniture out of the way before you start so you don't have to keep manoeuvring around it. We've heard that blasting your favourite tunes while you work is a great motivational tactic, too!

Perfect Dress For Your Body Shape

Celebrate your best features with a figure-flattering dress that will fill you with confidence. Whether you have an hourglass, apple, pear or straight shape, finding the perfect fit is easy with our simple style rules.

DRESSES FOR APPLE SHAPES
Apple figure dress illustration

There are lots of tips and tricks for the apples among you, but the first is to accentuate those smashing legs. Go for a style with a shorter hemline – a mini if you're daring enough – to show off those pins. Short hems draw the eye away from the middle area and elongate the torso. V-neck styles further enhance this effect.

Empire dresses draw a subtle line underneath the bust for a streamlined effect. You'll also look marvellous in a tunic dress, as the structured shape lengthens the body and highlights elegant legs. Flatter the waistline with bold patterned fabrics, asymmetrical necklines and non-cling fabrics.

Style notes: Mixing different patterns and textures will accentuate and slim the upper half, although it's best to avoid horizontal stripes. When evening falls, opt for a dress with a gently flared skirt in a woven, more rigid fabric for a petticoat effect that will turn heads. Hemline embellishments and bold, statement detailing make a wonderful way to draw attention towards the lower part of the body that's appropriate for night-time.


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DRESSES FOR PEAR SHAPES
Pear figure dress illustration

Show off your slender arms in a strapless iteration of the classic little black dress or a maxi with a gently flared skirt. A statement collar and patterned or embellished sleeves will also work to highlight your upper half.

Opt for an incredibly flattering fit and flare dress to accentuate the smallest part of your waist. Try the style in a bold block colour, making sure you include a strong neutral shade on the lower body to draw attention upwards.

Style notes: Choose a cut with a Bardot neckline for a slinky off-the-shoulder look. Displaying the shoulders draws the attention upwards, creating a chic silhouette. For evening, go for a cocktail dress with a flowing skirt and a statement necklace to celebrate your best features.


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DRESSES FOR STRAIGHT BODY TYPES
Straight figure dress illustration

Long and elegant, your body type makes you ideal for a variety of different shapes, fits and lengths of dress. Complement your lean figure with a perky skater dress to flatter your legs and flare at the waist. Wear on its own in summer, or bundle up with a cardigan, thick tights and calf boots in winter.

When you need a show stopping look for a big party or event, look to the vintage-style flapper dress – it was made for your body shape. Sophisticated and slinky, the knee-length dropped-waist and boxy cut will highlight your slim frame effortlessly. Complete the retro look with a high scalloped hemline and a low-cut back. Make sure you go all out with sparkling lace, beaded adornments, fringing and tassels to really rock the twenties-inspired glamour.

Style notes: Dress-up a simple black or neutral-hued shift dress with some sparkling statement jewellery or flirty peplum for an evening-ready look. Alternatively, draw attention to your neck and chest with an off-the-shoulder neckline. Ruffles are optional, but encouraged.


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DRESSES TO SUIT HOURGLASS FIGURES
Hourglass figure dress illustration

An hourglass figure will suit many different styles with its curvaceous silhouette, but the figure-hugging lines of the classic pencil skirt are a wonderful choice for making the most of your best features. Keep an eye out for snug, tailored shapes or bodycon cuts to highlight your shapely lower half and balance the bust. A V-shape neckline in a more casual wrap dress is ideal for drawing attention downwards to accentuate the narrowest part of the waist.


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Style notes:Whichever dress you wear, you can show off your curvy middle by accessorising with a belt – it will add even further definition to that enviable waist. Keep your necklaces understated; you can subtly highlight your upper half with a colourful pendant on a V-line chain to match the neck of your dress.


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The dress is the main event, but finishing the look with a pair of killer heels is a sure fire way to make your legs look enviably long. If you're going to be running around all day and want to prioritise comfort, some elegant ballet flats will have the same effect. Just be sure you choose a hue that matches the rest of your outfit!


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Wedding Suits for Grooms

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, so it’s worth spending the extra time finding a wedding suit that is just right, especially as you’ll be looking back at those wedding photos for years to come. Don’t know where to start? Avoid any pre-wedding panic and follow our wedding suits for grooms style guide to ensure you and your groomsmen look as sharp as possible on the big day.

THE THREE PIECE SUIT
The Three Piece Suit

There’s nothing as timelessly stylish as the elegant combination of jacket, trousers and waistcoat, and if you can’t wear a three piece suit at your own wedding, when can you? From skinny, slim, tailored and classic suit styles, you have a wealth of options to choose from. Match the colour and fabric of all three items if you’d like your three piece suit to blend in, or if you’d prefer to make a statement a la David Beckham, choose a different colour and pattern for your waistcoat to make it stand out.

A little tip: the last button of your waistcoat should be left undone to allow you some flexibility and to prevent your waistcoat from restricting your movement during the big day.


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THE TWO PIECE SUIT
The Two Piece Suit

There’s a reason why the two piece suit has become the go-to wedding suit option for a groom and his groomsmen. Although a three piece suit has its merits, with a waistcoat adding an extra formal touch, a two piece suit can look equally as sophisticated. Don’t be afraid to mix and match, some grooms opt to wear a three piece suit themselves whilst dressing their groomsmen in two piece suits, with the waistcoat serving as a point of difference.

Or if you’re opting for a less formal wedding - we’re talking bare foot on the beach or at a beautiful, country location - then a more casual linen two piece can be the perfect middle ground.


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THE SUIT COLOUR
The Suit Colour

The colour of your wedding suit is almost as important as the style you choose. When thinking about the colour, consider the season in which you’re tying the knot - winter weddings call for richer hues, while summer weddings favour lighter options, the colour scheme of your wedding and your own personal preference. While there may be in vogue colour palettes at the time of your nuptials, navy, grey and black will always stand the test of time.

Looking for something season-appropriate? For a winter wedding, you can’t go wrong with tweed, navy blue or charcoal grey wedding suits. For a summer wedding, opt for tonal blues and light greys, or even a white suit (a popular choice for the braver groom), or if you’re going to be wedded abroad in sunnier climes, consider a more summery khaki or beige shade of suit.


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THE ACCESSORIES
The Accessories

Finish off your wedding look with some key accessories, starting with a stylish tie or bow tie. Plain colours, think pinks, blues and reds, are amongst the most popular with many grooms choosing to match with the bridesmaids’ dresses or flowers, or alternatively paisley, patterned or printed ties are perfect for the more adventurous groom.

Next, the pocket square. The general rule is that it shouldn’t match your tie, but many a modern groom are bucking the trend and going all in with one colour theme. Don’t want to be too matching? Go for a more neutral colour, like cream or grey, which will pair with anything.

The devil is in the detail, so don’t forget to purchase a pair of cuff links to wear with your suit. Pick a pair that tie in with your wedding theme or go for something small and simple.


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THE FOOTWEAR
The Footwear

Wedding shoes might be the last thing on your mind but the right footwear can really bring your whole wedding outfit together. Be sure to consider the style, colour and material of your wedding shoes and match them to your suit.

Going all out in a three piece suit or morning suit? Opt for a pair of smart Oxford shoes (a firm favourite amongst grooms) in a polished black. For a less formal approach, try tan or brown or go for loafers or brogues in black, brown or burgundy – perfect with a laidback two-piece.


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A Guide To Activewear

Working up a sweat? Whether you prefer the meditative benefits of yoga or find that calorie-torching cardio is more your speed, you’ll need the right activewear to stay cool and comfortable.


Thankfully, there’s never been a wider variety of options in terms of sports and fitness gear. Our guide will help you choose the best gym wear for your fitness goals and training, so you’ll be ready to sprint, spin or swim your way to better health.

WHAT TO WEAR WHEN RUNNING
White Michael Kors plimsoll trainers

Running is an easy way to boost your cardiovascular health without equipment or a gym membership. You're constantly in motion, which is excellent for your health but tough on your clothes.


To stay cool and comfortable, you’ll benefit from moisture-wicking and form-fitting gear. Pair shorts or leggings with breathable vests and shirts in warmer weather, or hooded tops and padded gilets when it’s cold.


Finding the right pair of men's or women's trainers is equally important. The pounding and joint impact associated with running puts significant pressure on your feet. Getting the correct running shoes can prevent you developing problems with pronation (the way your foot hits the ground), which will reduce your risk of future injury.


If you run at night, select your outfit with visibility in mind so passing motorists can spot you. Day runners, on the other hand, should spritz on sunscreen before hitting the track.


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WHAT TO WEAR TO YOGA OR PILATES
Woman sitting wearing bright blue patterned leggings and jacket

Yoga is a way to develop mindfulness and flexibility as well as strength. Pilates offers similar benefits, stretching and challenging your muscles, with the option of involving specialised equipment for a bigger burn.


The best yoga clothes support you through your positions and stretches comfortably, remaining in place in any pose you adopt. Bikram or ‘hot’ yoga, in particular, requires short, slim-fitting tank tops and yoga pants. Wondering what to wear for Pilates? It often takes place in an air-conditioned studio, so take along a layer or two to strip off once your muscles warm up.


In general, yoga and Pilates are practised barefoot or in socks, so no shoes are required here. Check with your instructor about suitable footwear.


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WHAT TO WEAR TO THE GYM
Woman in active wear running

Gyms offer dozens of options for meeting any health and exercise goal. The best workout clothes for you will depend on the kind of exercise you'll be doing. For cardio equipment, you can use the same sweat-wicking kit as for running.


Water sports call for swimming costumes that will allow you to butterfly and backstroke effortlessly. Don’t forget a pair of flip-flops for navigating the slippery areas around the water safely. Caps to keep your hair dry and goggles to protect your eyes will also come in handy.


When using the weights and strength-building equipment, opt for cuffed joggers, sweatshirts, sports shorts and sweat tanks. You want to keep your muscles warm while allowing for a full range of motion.


Remember to keep a towel on you while you work up a sweat. It’s a simple courtesy that anyone using the equipment after you will appreciate.


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WHAT TO WEAR TO IMPROVE YOUR PERFORMANCE
Woman wearing gym bag and fit bit

Want to take your training session up a level? You might like to invest in a fitness or activity tracker. These smart devices can track everything from the number of calories you've burnt to whether or not you’re meeting your maximum heart rate.


You can customise your tracker completely to your body’s measurements and goals. It could be just what you need to supercharge your progress.

WHAT TO WEAR UNDERNEATH IT ALL
Woman wearing Tommy Hilfiger sports bra and matching leggings

While men can get away with wearing just about any underwear that's light and allows flexibility, the foundation of any woman’s exercise wardrobe is a good sports bra. A well-fitting and supportive undergarment can make all the difference between slogging through a session and beating your personal best.


As chests of any size are comprised of delicate ligaments that can be impacted by repeated movement, it’s worth your while to invest in a professionally-fitted sports bra. With an in-store fitting service available at all our locations, you can get this done at your convenience.


Find your nearest store for an in-house fitting.

WHAT TO WEAR AFTERWARDS
Woman in motif white t-shirt

Having smashed your gym session goals, you don’t need to squeeze yourself into a pair of jeans right away. Shower and slip on athleisure clothing for a cool-down, gentle stretching or relaxing.


Athleisure combines the best of both worlds – offering the practical functionality of workout apparel with the effortless comfort of leisure clothing. It’s the perfect transitional outfit to wear between your exercise session and the rest of your day.


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CONCLUSION
Woman wearing jacket

Once you get your body in the right gear, you’ll soon find that your mind follows suit. The right activewear could be just what you need to approach your next heart-pumping session with extra confidence.

Men's Shirt Guide

A strong selection of shirts forms the backbone of any modern man's wardrobe. Whether you want to look trim with a slim fit shirt or size up to create a relaxed style, this guide will help you make sense of all the options.


We'll discuss classic, slim and modern men's shirts, how to measure yourself for the ultimate fit and explain the different collar types on offer.

MEASURING YOUR SHIRT SIZE
Illustration of how to measure shirt size

The first thing you need to do when looking to expand your shirt empire is check your measurements. Grab a tape measure and quickly record a few key stats about your body shape to make sure you're on the mark every time. The most obvious measurement is the collar. You need to get this right, as it can throw off the entire look if you get it wrong.


Shirt collars are measured in inches and usually run in half sizes so you can get the perfect fit. If you have a 15-inch neck measurement you should choose a 15 and a half inch shirt collar to allow yourself a bit of extra breathing space. All you need to do is wrap the tape measure around your neck (not too tightly but with no gaping) and read off the size, then add half an inch to that. If you're between sizes, you should round up for comfort.


Following on from the collar measurement, you can check your chest, although this will vary from shirt to shirt. Formal styles tend to be sized with the collar first, whereas more casual shirts like Oxford cotton styles usually have regular S, M, L sizing, so its best to try a few on a see which feels best.

REGULAR FIT SHIRTS
Burgundy shirt

There are loads of different shirt styles on the market and essentially it comes down to personal preference. What makes you feel the most comfortable?


Classic fit shirts are the roomiest, with ample space around the chest and under the armpits. The waist is generally wider than most others, offering more freedom to move around.


These are just what you need for everyday wear, and will match well with business suits as well as your favourite jeans. White is the classic, but you can always mix it up with subtle pastel shades, too.


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SLIM FIT SHIRTS
Checked shirt

Slim fit shirts are tighter, as the name would suggest. The waist and chest are pulled in slightly to provide a more refined silhouette. These shirts sit much closer to the skin of the wearer, with the added benefit of looking especially sharp when tucked into a formal pair of trousers, as there is less excess material left hanging out.


In between these two styles sits the modern shirt, which is a sort of hybrid. It offers a more tailored silhouette through the waist and chest but is not as close-fitting as a slim shirt. It also has a slightly longer tail and front.


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HOW TO WEAR A FORMAL SHIRT
White patterned shirt

For big occasions like weddings or important networking events, a formal shirt is your best bet. These generally come in simple block colours with little or no branding visible. Wearing cufflinks to keep your shirt cuffs perfectly in place and add an individual twist.


Dress shirts are also great for formal events where you are required to dress in black tie with a dinner jacket. Some dress shirts have elaborate designs and extra detailing around the buttons, collar and cuffs. Add a bold bow tie and black dinner suit for maximum impact.


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UNDERSTANDING DIFFERENT COLLAR DESIGNS
Illustration of folded shirts and different collar types

Make sure you look the part by picking the correct collar. Casual Oxford cotton shirts have a pointed collar with small button fastenings to keep it securely in place. This is ideal for a casual look or when a tie isn't necessary – it makes an excellent office workwear staple, which you can quickly build up a range of classic colours such as blues, greys and whites.


Formal evening shirts tend to have more open collars that allow room for a statement tie or bow tie. They don't have button fastenings as the tie helps to give the collar its shape and stay rigid. Point collars also look great with formal outfits and offer a contemporary and sleek look when worn with a slim fabric tie.


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LOOKING AFTER YOUR SHIRTS
Pink shirt

If you want to take shirt care into your own hands, wash yours at 40 degrees with similar colours. A fabric softener will keep the fabric supple and provide extra comfort. Avoid using a tumble dryer as the prolonged heat can shrink the fabric. Instead, hang them to dry using a coat hanger. As the shirt dries the creases will naturally fall out which means it will be much easier to iron.


If your shirts get stained, use stain remover products and spray the areas such as the collar and cuffs, which have the most movement against the skin. Let it soak in before you load it up in the wash and your shirts will come out looking fresher than ever.


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Whatever the occasion, there are shirts options to suit the dress code and complement your personal style. Browse the collection of shirts at House of Fraser to find your ideal match.