Wednesday 10 February 2021

Spring 2021 neutrals

Spring 2021 neutral outfit

Does anyone know how to dress anymore? Anything beyond the realm of elasticated waistbands seems a little daunting these days. And the possibility of dressing up to go out in spring (I know there are some people that will be cynical about this), is a somewhat terrifying concept. Do I need to buy new clothes? Do I wear the clothes that I bought unnecessarily last spring? What are jeans?

With this in mind, I propose sticking to a neutral palette before trying to navigate any spring trends that may enter your sphere. As they quite rightly say, 'you can't go wrong with neutrals'. Opt for two different shades rather than two of the same (to avoid the utility trend that dominated the last two springs), and dress up your look with palpable jewellery (because minimalist pieces will likely drown in this sea of beige).

Spring 2021 neutrals
Spring 2021 neutrals
Spring 2021 neutrals
Spring 2021 neutrals

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Loungewear picks for lockdown 3.0

Loungewear lockdown 3.0

Another month, another lockdown. At this point, I'm just living in loungewear - and this makes a serious change from this time last year. I remember putting in maximum effort to get ready for my trips to the city for meetings, putting on a new dress to head out for a 'Dry January' drink with friends, and packing for a special Valentine's weekend away. So much to look forward to...

Now? I don't think I'm alone when I say that I've started to really look forward to the little things. Half by default (I'll go a bit loopy if I have absolutely nothing to excite me), and half out of genuine appreciation of life in the face of a pandemic. My morning coffee is savoured with every sip - the smell arousing me from what seems to be an endless dormancy, made worse by the fact that it's freezing outside. I've also popped on a candle or two (okay, five) because the scents remind me of the seaside, holidays and spa resorts. Usually, I wouldn't have paid much attention to these minutiae... but, as I implied, lockdown has brought it out of me.

One thing I've really started to enthuse over is the comfort and ease of loungewear. Before the pandemic, I actually couldn't stomach putting on a pair of joggers if I wasn't gymbound. Now, I practically live in loungewear (in the above image I'm wearing the Luxy Boutique Beige Ribbed Two Piece, £36.99). The thought of adjusting to wearing smart clothing again makes me sad, if I'm honest. I fully intend to luxuriate in my joggers for as long as possible (until somebody physically forces me to attend an in-person meeting).

So while we're in lockdown 3.0 and we're unsure of when it'll end, I'm sharing my favourite loungwear picks for you to enjoy. If you buy any of these, tag me in your photo on Instagram (@jenloumeredith) - maybe we can pretend like we're vegging out on the couch together while watching Bridgerton.

In The Style (Lorna Luxe) Grey 'Lola' Knitted Co-Ord Jumper, £28, and Trousers, £30

NastyGal You've Got The Love Co-Ord, £45


Friday 1 January 2021

Alphalete gymwear review

Alphalete Gymwear Review

Without wanting to repeat an opening line that you've probably heard a million times already, 2020 was a weird year. I think I'm not alone in saying that my mental health went feral, taking me to dark places that I hadn't visited since I was a teenager. Pandemics will do that to you, I guess. And I know it's not over just because we've turned the page of this terrible book to January 1st, 2021. But I do sense a little hope in the air for this year, and I'm clinging to it.

On the flipside, I'll always remember 2020 as the year that I discovered a passion for fitness... not quite deliberately, more out of necessity. It was an easily accessible activity that delivered me oodles of endorphins, keeping my head above water while I paddled through professional and personal tsunamis.

I've been a gym-goer for around three years, but I never really took it seriously in the past. I would find excuses not to go (it's too busy/I'm too busy/I'm exhausted/it's exhausting) and when I was there I'd be watching the clock, wondering if I'd justified the time spent there (the answer was usually 'no').

One thing that really changed last year, in line with ramping up my gym routine, was the clothing I wore. As I gained confidence in my workouts, I gained confidence in what I could wear. I used to be the girl in a baggy black t-shirt and old Primark leggings - never wearing anything too tight, always covering up. Everyone else would wear matching, skin-tight two pieces in pretty colours. 

I felt like a bit of an outsider. But it's only now that I realise I made myself an outsider. By dressing within my comfort zone, I excluded myself, and so I never felt like part of the community.

So, a little drunk on Christmas Day, I fell victim to the early Boxing Day sales. I had searched through the websites of several gymwear brands already that day, before Instagram picked up on my browsing habits and served me an ad for Alphalete. I'd previously seen Alphalete on one of my favourite Instagrammers, Dominique Asgeirsdottir, so I decided to purchase one of the outfits I'd seen her wearing, plus a couple more items.

Alphalete gymwear review

These are the Alphalux Pocket Legging in 'Lava Red' and the UltraSoft Crop Top in 'Red'. The material is really bright, but not shiny (I'm not a fan of shiny gymwear, personally), and definitely stands out - a far cry from my baggy, all-black looks of previous years.

In terms of stretch, there's plenty, although I wouldn't say that it's the most stretchy fabric of all the gymwear I own. The fabric is on the thinner side, and so I would say that's it's not cellulite-proof, if that bothers you. It's also not completely squat proof unless you're wearing nude-coloured underwear. I wore black underwear when I tried it on, and it really showed in natural lighting as well as artificial lighting.

Alphalete gymwear review

Both the leggings and crop top are true to size, with a very flattering fit. I'm 5'4", and the leggings are the perfect length on me. I would keep an eye on the leggings, however, as they slip down a little with not-so-rigorous cardio (I think this is because the fabric is fairly thin).

One problem I have with Alphalete clothing is that their logos are not embroidered. Personally, I feel that when I'm paying a bit more for gymwear, I like to see embroidered logos, otherwise they'll come right off in the wash. We'll see how this set fairs, but I hope that they change their designs in future. It's such a small but telling mark of quality!

Delivery was fast. I paid £6 for express shipping, and my order arrived within 5 days (not bad, considering the chaos experienced by postal services around the festive period). Each product comes in its own ziplock plastic bag, which I personally dislike, as that's a lot of plastic to throw away. 

At the moment, most of the UK is in tier 4 pandemic restrictions, which means that gyms are closed. Therefore I've just been using this set for home workouts. But I can't wait to try it out in the gym, once they've finally reopened (I never thought I'd be saying that!). Here's to a happy and healthy 2021.

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