HOW CALCULATED WAS VANS’ NEWFOUND CHICNESS?

While men’s sneaker culture has always been a thing, it’s a more recent development for women. Among the fashion crowd at least, having the right athletic shoe has become akin to having the new “It” bag — except there’s a good chance the sneaker has been around for at least a couple of decades, while the bag likely hasn’t been on shelves longer than a couple of months. From Adidas Stan Smiths to (maybe) New Balance 990s, it seems that every season, fashion collectively decides to resurrect another classic, old-school sneaker with which to accessorize both their on- and off-duty outfits. And one brand that has enjoyed a notably long run in this trend cycle is Vans.

In particular, its Old Skool and Sk8-hi styles have enjoyed widespread popularity among fashion girls and those who want to dress like them lately; from models and bloggers to editors and stylists, they’ve practically become the de facto uniform for anyone working in the industry. The piece of this equation that some might find puzzling is that the vast majority of these people have likely never set foot on a skateboard, and Vans’ history is, of course rooted in Southern California skate and surf culture. The recent success of Vans can be traced to fashion’s sudden realization that skaters dress really cool, and that non-skaters could also buy their sneakers and sweatshirts, etc. But is the industry’s appropriation of skater culture the only reason for these styles’ recent ubiquity? On a recent trip to Costa Mesa, CA to tour Vans’ brand-new headquarters (the brand was a big driver of parent company VF Corp’s growth last year), we were set on finding out what role Vans, itself, has played.

While the 51-year-old footwear brand might not have been directly responsible for the recent chicness of its aforementioned styles (the brands themselves rarely are in these situations) it laid the groundwork that allowed it to happen, and worked to support it afterward. As April Vitkus, Senior Director, Global Brand Marketing explained from one of many cozy sitting areas in the open, modern new HQ, “It’s intentional, but it’s a little bit of luck, too.” She does credit skate culture’s recent influence on fashion, but contends that it goes back further than that, to the development of Vans’ women’s business, which involved some hits and misses. “I started about nine years ago and I was the ‘girls marketing director,’ which, what does that even mean? And that was a very deliberate move on their part to expand beyond skateboarding into women’s.”

Vans' new Costa Mesa headquarters. Photo: Courtesy of Vans

Vans’ new Costa Mesa headquarters. Photo: Courtesy of Vans

Ashley Ahwah, Director, Global Footwear Merchandising and Angie Dita, Senior Footwear Designer, were both also closely involved with the development of Vans’ women’s business, which began about 10 years ago. “It was an initiative for the brand to start putting a team in place to focus on the women’s consumer,” says Ahwah. “We hired more merchandising support for women’s and we really started speaking to her through our icons, because if you look back when we first started, we were definitely more male-driven.” The company didn’t quite hit the mark at first. “It was like, oh, ok, a pink shoe. That’s women’s,” says Ahwah.

They also created slimmer versions of the classic men’s styles and then learned that wasn’t what women wanted. “What was interesting designing for women was [that] actually, you can’t make it too feminine,” adds Dita. Responding too directly to trends also resulted in some missteps. Ahwah gives the example of creating a wedge version of the Sk8-hi (oof) when wedge sneakers were a thing. “I think what’s more true to us is if we did a platform version, basically keeping the DNA of the upper what it is and just adding height to it,” she says.

Ahwah feels that the turning point for women — aside from the female skaters who had long been wearing the men’s styles — taking Vans seriously was its quietly cool collaboration with A.P.C., which began in 2004 and continued for several seasons (and which I totally forgot about and would really like them to reissue). The collab’s success, she says, inspired the company to focus on simple, easy-to-wear styles and styles that speak to women in a more thoughtful way than just making something pink or adding a wedge. They didn’t start thinking about capital-F fashion until more recently, instead focusing on the company’s longtime strategy of aligning with athletes and creatives in ways that feel authentic.

Vitkus says this has been the key to Vans’ longevity as a valuable brand. “Vans also has always been — I don’t want to say the same — but it’s always been about creative cultures,” she says, speaking of the brand’s frequent partnerships with artists and musicians. (One could argue that music appropriated Vans from skate culture long before fashion did.) When women’s sneaker culture became more mainstream, it made all of their jobs easier. “All of a sudden, it was OK to wear a dress and sneakers and I remember being very concerned, like, oh, is this trend going to go away? And then what happens if we built this women’s business and we’ve done all these things and the trend goes away?” says Vitkus. It didn’t. “We were really cognizant of, well, let’s bring these people into the brand.”

Inside Vans' new Costa Mesa headquarters. Photo: Courtesy of Vans

Inside Vans’ new Costa Mesa headquarters. Photo: Courtesy of Vans

Vans started to make collaborations a big part of its women’s business; increasingly, they’ve been with big-name fashion designers and retailers. Marc Jacobs, Opening Ceremony, Kenzo, Nordstrom, Off-White, Alyx and, most recently, Karl Lagerfeld are just a few recent examples. And that’s not to mention Vans’ countless collaborations with streetwear brands, musicians and even video games. For potential collaborators, Ahwah and Dita look for people with a genuine love of Vans. “It’s true partnership. When we look to partner with another brand, we have that filter of, they’re a Vans fan at heart; everyone has their story when they got their first pair of Vans and we definitely like to make sure they have that consumer connectivity and that authenticity that we have,” says Dita. And for those just looking for classic Vans icons, it’s about updating them with fresh fabrics, patterns and colorways. The brand has also made a big customization push lately with one of the most user-friendly tools you can find online to design your own sneakers, and plans to bring shoe screen-printing machinery to events (and, one day, stores) that allow for same-day customization.

But did these projects and updates really inspire us all to make Vans our 2016/2017 wardrobe staple? Or did they just perpetuate their relevance and visibility? It seems to be more of the latter; Vans has succeeded in ensuring the brand is stocking the styles its consumers want at any given time. “The top selling Vans silhouette for woman is the Old Skool,” says Ahwah. “However, the beauty of our Classics collection is the style diversity that is offered, giving our consumers additional options like the Authentic and Classic Slip-On, which are also top sellers within the line.” It has also — perhaps most importantly — stayed focused on maintaining the brand’s image of authenticity and preventing dilution by maintaining a balance of projects in and outside of the fashion realm. “One of the things we talk a lot about is really protecting the core of who we are as a brand,” says Vitkus. The company also doesn’t engage in typical pay-to-play influencer marketing. “You’ll never see Vans just paying someone to do a brand endorsement, so generally we’ll either see people who are wearing Vans and we’re like, ‘Hey we like that you like those,’ and we’ll probably start a relationship with them.”

That authenticity is what will make people want to align themselves with the brand in the long run, even as trends pass. So then if Slip-ons, Old Skools and Sk8-his have all enjoyed their moments in the spotlight, what’s next?

Praying on our undying love of nostalgia, the company is focusing on reissues, like the Anaheim Factory collection it reintroduced this spring. It plans to introduce more women’s-centric styles to that range. Ahwah describes a style with a lug sole and cap toe as being “super ’90s.” For 2019 (the designers work that far ahead), she says, “You’ll see more models coming out for women’s that don’t just look like our iconic uppers; you’re going to see a little twist on it that was actually [inspired by styles from] the past and it’s going to be really relevant right now.”

Annie Georgia Greenberg on day 2 of this New York Fashion Week. Photo: Angela Datre

Annie Georgia Greenberg on day 2 of this New York Fashion Week. Photo: Angela Datre

As for existing styles, Vitkas predicts we’re all going to be bringing Authentics back into rotation.

Whether their predictions will line up with the fickle street style set’s preferred aesthetic at any given moment, we’ll just have to see.

Glam Tricks to Pulling Off the Daytime Pajama Fashion Trend Inspired By NYFW & Celebs

The idea of pajamas as daywear sounds comfy, but it doesn’t draw the mind to words like “fashionable” or “stylish” or “chic.” Yet that hasn’t stopped a trend of daytime looks inspired by sleepwear.

Fortunately, major fashion houses at New York Fashion Week as well as celebs like Victoria Beckham and Demi Lovato are here to help the trend along and show how to pull off the look without looking like you just rolled out of bed. The trick? Calculated footwear choices.

Oscar de la Renta got on board with the trend in time for New York Fashion Week. Bella Hadid displayed a daytime pajama on the brand’s runway Monday afternoon, this look in a sleek navy hue with a graphic splotch pattern throughout. The loose-fitting button-down top and shorts were finished with see-through pumps that elevated the look into something too sophisticated for sleepwear.

Oscar de la Renta spring 2018Oscar de la Renta spring 2018.Rex Shutterstock

Along the same lines, Mansur Gavriel sent a model down its NYFW runway in a matching orange pattern top and trouser set. The look was so reminiscent of pajamas that without its peep-toe pumps to bring the look into daytime, the model may as well have gone to sleep in it.

Mansur Gavriel spring 2018 nyfwMansur Gavriel spring 2018.Rex Shutterstock

Victoria Beckham spent a day at the U.S. Open with her family late last month. For the occasion, the fashion designer selected a pajama-inspired look from her own resort 2018 collection. She paired the matching collared shirt and flowing wide leg trouser combo with a sleek pair of strappy sandal pumps that brought a polished look to her outfit, making it an ensemble perfect for daytime.

Victoria Beckham on her way to the U.S. OpenVictoria Beckham on her way to the U.S. Open.Splash News

A few weeks earlier, Demi Lovato wore  a satin blazer and trouser set by Baja East. The blazer’s buttonless form with two pockets plus the tapered leg of the trouser added to the notion of pajamas that the satin material had already put forth. Lovato teamed her look with Paul Andrew Ingrid sandals. The stiletto-heeled footwear featured dramatic straps with buckle detailing and made it clear that Lovato’s look was not made for sleeping.

Demi Lovato at Elvis Duran and the Morning Show in New York

Stirrup pants and kitten heels are the fall 2017 fashion trend to watch

Hunting for the next fall 2017 fashion trend can feel on par to staring into a crystal ball and expecting answers to immediately pop out — it’s rarely a successful endeavor, and can make you feel out of touch in the process. However, when it is successful, you feel like a clairvoyant genius. Because not only do you get all the bragging rights for calling it, you also get the added benefit of being the best dressed in your circle.

Friends, we believe our crystal ball is indeed working today, and that we’ve discovered the next big fashion trend: stirrup pants and kitten heels.

stirrup pants kitten heels
Photo by Vanni Bassetti/Getty Images

A resurrected ’80s trend, stirrup pants are equal parts punchy and practical. As for kitten heels, well we’ve never *really* seen them fade completely from style. But the two together? They’re a breakout combination that wields the power to overtake NYFW as the standout trend of the season.

Stirrups pants and kitten heels fashion trends
Victor VIRGILE / Getty Images

First cropping up on the runways of Balenciaga and Marni way back in the fall 2016 season, stirrups and kitten heels are really just igniting as the biggest up-and-coming trend. As cliche as it is, good things really do take time, and in this case, this trend is just now picking up speed.

Curious to find your own combination of stirrups and low heels? Well, then look no further.

1Clayton Rib Stirrup Pants, $97

stirrup jeans kitten heels
Shopbop

2Jeffrey Campbell Carla Low Heel Pumps, $130

stirrup jeans kitten heels
Shopbop

3Silence + Noise Stirrup Pant Leggings, $30

stirrup pants kitten heels
Urban Outfitters

4Sole Society Desi Kitten Heel Pump, $70

stirrup pants kitten heels
Sole Society

5Siwy Elin Stirrup Jean, $196

stirrup jeans kitten heels
Shopbop

6Banana Republic Kitten Heel Bootie in Whisky, $168

stirrup pants kitten heels
Banana Republic

7Free People Ponté Knit Stirrup Leggings, $40

stirrup jeans kitten heels
Shopbop

8J. Crew Esme Leopard Calf Hair Kitten Heels, $77

stirrup pants kitten heels
J. Crew

9Higher Ground Stirrup Leggings, $49

stirrup leggings kitten heels
Beyond Yoga

10Sam Edleman Sinara City Sandals, $90

stirrup pants kitten heels
Shopbop

11Uniqlo Heattech Knitted Stirrup Legging in Wine, $15

stirrup pants kitten heels
Uniqlo

12Talbots Erica Kitten-Heel Pumpin Tortoise Shell, $139

stirrup pants kitten heels
Talbots

13Theory Pull On Stirrup Pants, $225

strirrup pants kitten heels
Shopbop

14Nine West Xeena Pointy Toe Pumps, $79

stirrup pants kitten heels

Lauren Conrad: How to Wear Fall’s Best Fashion Trends

Lauren Conrad has joined the team as a guest editor for Fashion Week at E!. Along with unveiling her third Kohl’s LC Lauren Conrad Runway Collection, the style expert has already recalled her first time at NYFW, her first runway show and the essentials you need to conquer any busy week like a fashion mogul.

Today, Lauren shares how to wear fall’s best trends, seen across the runways, including in her own collection. The style star even shares how interprets the trend and what to wear them with—yes, we know, this is good insider info!

Photos

Best Looks from NYFW Spring 2018

ESC: Lauren Conrad, Trends
Metallics: Shine is everywhere right now. There are a lot of trends out there that I’d say not to take so literally. For example, the pajama trend—I think people are literally wearing pajamas; whereas, that can be interpreted as a slip trip or a silky, pajama-like top with denim. But personally, I think the shine trend should be embraced. Maybe don’t wear it head to toe, but when it’s appropriate, it’s fun to include a glittery or shiny piece or a metallic fabric into your wardrobe.

ESC: Lauren Conrad, Trends
Fall Florals: It’s sort of like a ‘70s vibe, like a vintage wallpaper floral as opposed to a bright, summery floral. They are a bit darker in color scheme and simpler. I know in the past there’s been a lot print mixing. I think this upcoming fall is all about bold colors, so if you do wear a print, I’d wear it with just solid colors and let that stand out.

ESC: Lauren Conrad, Trends
Velvet: I felt like velvet was so present this summer, which is interesting—it was more in a slip silhouette or little cami. I just went to a wedding, and there was so much velvet, and it was like 90 degrees outside. I was so surprised to see it, but I thought it was fantastic—it’s such a great, luxe fabric. Right now, it’s being done in a transitional way. You’ll be able to continue to wear it in more of a layered way through fall.

We did an exposed, sort off-the-shoulder velvet top in a couple of colors that I really like. We actually did a pleated velvet skirt, which is kind of fun. I haven’t seen a lot of pleating in velvet.

ESC: Lauren Conrad, Trends

Faux Fur: It’s all about how it’s styled. Part of its appeal is that it’s a little bit costume-y, but I like that. It brings a fun element to an element. It usually a fun layering piece that you maybe shed once you arrive to your party. I think colors are important—we did it in a dark navy, so it feels a little more subtle. It’s also more of a shrunken piece. I think if you style it with cleaner pieces, it doesn’t look too silly.

What It’s Like to Be a Fashion Editor During NYFW

Image result for What It’s Like to Be a Fashion Editor During NYFW

For a few minutes, as models strut down the runway in the season’s most glamorous creations, a fashion show becomes a scene of breathtaking perfection. But those who call Fashion Week work will tell you that the lead-up and aftermath can be chaotic, mundane, and downright absurd. We’ve asked industry pros, from a front-row photographer to a fashion house intern, exactly what the week is like for them.

Here, InStyle’s Fashion News Director Eric Wilson details his typical NYFW day. Come back all week for more insider perspectives.

6 a.m. I read the news first thing every morning, and this one is fairly depressing. Irma, earthquake, Pierre Bergé. I have a feeling this is going to be a very newsy fashion week, and I’m already overwhelmed. I drink a glass of sparkling water with two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to start the day–good for the digestion and it wakes me up faster than caffeine.

6:45 a.m. I head to the High Line Equinox for Wil Ashley’s 7 a.m. spin class. His pace-based method is a little intense for me right now and I’m feeling sluggish after staying up to write a Calvin Klein review last night, so not sure this is a great idea. Until, that is, he plays an awesomely corny dance remix of “Waving Through a Window” from the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen, which I happened to finally see on Tuesday night, and now I’m fully in it. Dear me, this day is going to be great! Sixteen miles and 653 calories later, I say hi to Brian Phillips from Black Frame and wave to the accessories god Philip Crangi on the way out.

RELATED: At Calvin Klein, Raf Simons Writes His Own American Horror Story

8:30 a.m. Normally I drink a protein shake for breakfast but today I am craving a bacon, egg, and cheese on a roll with hot sauce, and I earned those carbs, although I question my choice when I arrive home just at the moment my obscenely hot interior decorator neighbor is answering his door with just a towel wrapped around his waist to accept his laundry delivery. Oh well. I add a whole tomato from my garden upstate to make my BEC healthy-ish. The tomato is overripe so I have to eat the sandwich over the sink, with two cups of coffee to wash it down. I check the weather–sunny, not too hot, cool tonight–so I opt for a thin cotton sweater with a speckled pattern (cheap, from J.Crew’s outlet store) and a lightweight gray windowpane checked suit (expensive, from Lanvin). It’s my fashion week uniform.

9:20 a.m. This season, InStyle has partnered with Lyft to support a video series I produce during Fashion Week, filming interviews in a car between shows, so I meet a Lyft driver to head from my apartment in Chelsea to Tory Burch’s show on the Upper East Side. I left myself plenty of time, but traffic is terrible and I’m still not through Central Park as the show is scheduled to start.

10:15 a.m. I get out of the car and speed walk the last six blocks, and I’m among the last to arrive at Tory’s gorgeous garden show–so glad I made it—but it’s mortifying to dash in so late. Hope Emily Blunt didn’t notice! The show is terrific, too, with funny dresses and totes made from beach towels, and slides that look like they’re made from plastic lawn chair materials.

10:45 a.m. Jerel, the awesome Lyft driver, and I head downtown to see the new Faith Connexion store in SoHo, and traffic is so bad it takes about 45 minutes. I catch up on e-mails, Instagram, two phone calls and read everyone’s Calvin reviews.

11:30 a.m. The Faith Connexion store on Mercer Street is wild. It’s the first in the world for this insider streetwear brand, which started as a diffusion line of Balmain but became its own mysteriously cool thing after the owners separated. So there are lots of really ripped up jeans, gold sequin track pants, and shaggy sweaters that look devastated but in fact are designed to be that way. It’s evidently the best quality shredding you can find, and Alexandre Allard, the owner, introduces me to an in-house destroyer–a slight kid from Los Angeles–who will custom rip your clothes for you. Alex keeps saying he can bedazzle or put holes in my Lanvin suit if I want, and the way he looks at my blazer is starting to make me nervous.

RELATED: As New York Fashion Week Begins, Designers Put their Relevance to the Test

12:40 p.m. Traffic, traffic, traffic. It’s so bad, I head straight to Jason Wu’s show near South Street Seaport and get there with just enough time to order a lobster roll from the Ambrose food truck around the corner, and scarf it outside as Eva Chen teeters by in heels on the cobblestones. I grab a Fiji water on the way into Wu.

2:15 p.m. I stop by the office at Brookfield Place to deal with print deadlines. Jeffrey, our production director, looms ominously, asking for an ETA on that feature that’s way overdue. How’s next week for you? Sam, the market director, walks by with a bag of Maltesers, some kind of malted chocolate balls that arrived in a large box last week as if it were Halloween. I hijack a handful and chase them with a coffee from Black Seed Bagels, then review layouts for our November best-dressed feature, which needs some work. Ali, the style director, offers a watermelon Jolly Rancher but I pass. Sugar, during fashion week, is the enemy.

4:30 p.m. We are headed uptown to Monse and I wish I had that Jolly Rancher.

5:45 p.m. Monse, on a basketball court in a new luxury rental building near the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, starts 45 minutes late after waiting for Nicki Minaj to arrive, as if Paris and Nicky Hilton and Minnie Mouse, who are punctual, are not famous enough. Traffic finally seems to be lightening up.

6:15 p.m. While my colleagues take an early-bird dinner break, I press on to see the runway debut of Matthew Adams Dolan, a rising star who’s got all the early buzz this fashion week. I only suffer from FOMO when it comes to meals, but I really did want to see his show, so I zip down to Chelsea to a very, very hot gallery, where I strip down to my increasingly sweaty T-shirt. Casey Spooner, dressed in what appears to be a pink organza jumpsuit, has it much worse. (The show is worth it, by the way.)

7:10 p.m. We drive all the way back up to 59th Street for Brandon Maxwell at the Doubles Club for a show that’s a real hoot. I’m so hungry I forgo the champagne for fear of becoming sloppy.

RELATED: Who’s Cool at New York Fashion Week High School?

8 p.m. There’s a one hour break before Jeremy Scott, the final show of the night, at Spring Studios in TriBeCa, so as we drive down Fifth Avenue, Sarah, our executive features director, and I frantically think of places we can grab a quick bite. But it’s Friday night, so every restaurant is packed, and the minutes are ticking by as we travel downtown. Then she thinks of Lucky Strike, the SoHo institution that happens to be a block away from Jeremy’s show, so I book a reservation on OpenTable and somehow we get there with 15 minutes to spare. It’s risky, but we’re starving and manage to get a chicken salad on the table by 9 p.m.

9:05 p.m. Check please! Even in fashion time, when shows normally run at least 20 minutes late, we’re anxious to dash and leave our plates half finished.

9:30 p.m. In our seats. And, shocker, this show ain’t starting any time soon. But there’s Lionel Richie!!! Best celebrity sighting at fashion week yet! I start singing The Commodores’ “Oh No” to my seatmates who remind me I can’t sing.

10:45 p.m. Home. Would rather be going to the Calvin Klein party but I need to organize my notes, start tomorrow’s review, reply to 1,000 emails, and search for “Dear Evan Hansen” remixes online while finishing a pint of blueberry chocolate ice cream from Morgenstern’s.

12 p.m. Goodnight.

Do the colours you wear at work matter?

Different coloured ties

Does the colour of the clothes you wear at work matter? Could wearing a red tie or dress be the key to getting promoted?

Pennsylvania bank boss John Spier was fed up with looking like a “stuffy banker”.

So after decades of wearing loose-fitting pinstripe suits and anonymous ties, he decided he wanted a fashion makeover.

Taking a leap of faith, Mr Spier enlisted the help of a corporate stylist Toi Sweeney.

Overnight his old wardrobe was binned, to be replaced with “warmer ties and a more fitted suit”, says Mr Spier.

“She was able to preserve the professional look I wanted without making me seem like a stuffy banker.”

Mr Spier says he went from an executive who rarely thought about what he was going to wear, to someone who likes wearing colourful ties.

More importantly, he says the makeover has put a spring in his step, and made him more confident.

The saying, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” perhaps resonates most in the workplace, where bosses must exude authority but also friendliness, and the rest of us want to look professional, but stand out.

Ms Sweeney believes “we are all products and your personal brand steps through the door before you do”.

She may have a point. According to research from Princeton University, when we see a new face, our brains decide whether a person is attractive and trustworthy within a tenth of a second.

Ms Sweeney says that the colours you wear also have a big impact on how others quickly perceive you. For example, she says red is a powerful colour that implies confidence and leadership qualities.

Whereas, blue apparently connotes a warmer approach, since “it’s the colour of trust and being a peacemaker”.

And black can suggest authority and sophistication, but Ms Sweeney advises that it should be mixed up with a splash of colour. She recommends a bright handkerchief in a suit pocket for men, or a colourful handbag for women, so as the person can stand out from the crowd.

Meanwhile, the colour brown should also not be discounted since it often suggests that the wear is reliable. “Ever wonder why United Parcel Service workers only wear brown?” says Ms Sweeney.

Kara Kuryllowicz, a 57-year-old corporate writer based in Toronto, hired a stylist last year to help modernise her look.

“I thought everything I owned was fine, but she came to my place and went through my closet and threw out 80% of my clothes,” she remembers.

Ms Kuryllowicz says she had “a long-time love affair with black and white, but now I’m wearing more colours”.

“Now I’m [also] wearing more jewellery with colour, and I feel really comfortable wearing it.”

Her new colourful look makes her feel more “professional and confident” and has helped her to win more work, she says.

While the cynical might question whether wearing a certain colour to work can really make a difference, a number of studies have actually shown that it can affect how we feel.

In a report published earlier this year in the European Journal of Social Psychology, participants who wore red reported feeling more physically attractive and sexually receptive than those who wore blue.

Also, in a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, subjects who donned white coats that they thought belonged to doctors did better on tests than those who wore casual clothes, or those who thought the coats belonged to artists.

“What you’re wearing affects your mood and builds your confidence. It’s worth it to always dress a little better than those around you,” says Toi Sweeney.

Someone who knows about dressing better, is Kim Winser, a former chief executive of the UK fashion brands Aquascutum and Pringle of Scotland.

She now runs Winser London, a luxury women’s fashion label which also advises clients on what to wear in the office and for overseas meetings.

Ms Winser says that using colour is important, but doesn’t override the overall need to look as smart and presentable as possible.

This body lotion is supposed to help you fall asleep — and people are obsessed

https://media1.s-nbcnews.com/j/newscms/2017_36/1280174/lush-sleepy-lotion-today-090517-01_06aebb2e4f2318730709549124760a46.today-inline-large.jpg

If you’re reading this during or following yet another sleepless night, you’re not alone. The good news is, help could be right around the corner (more specifically, sitting on the shelf at your local Lush store).

“It all started in 2016, when the Sleepy Body Lotion made its big debut as a part of Lush’s always hotly anticipated Christmas collection,” said a rep from the brand. “Fans loved the lotion so much that the we realized we had no other choice but to bring Sleepy back as a part of our permanent collection — and needless to say, Lushies were ecstatic.”

These items were hand-picked by our editorial team because we love them – and we hope you do, too. TODAY has affiliate relationships, so we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchases. Items are sold by the retailer, not by TODAY.

We did a little digging and it looks like many have swarmed to the brand’s Facebook page to praise the product:

“This is seriously amazing for anxiety and insomnia. Im am elated that it is going to be in regular stock. My tub from Christmas has been skimpily used just to ration it. *Happy dance* :)” – Amber Nichols

“I have chronic psoriasis on the palms of my hands that is painful..I have used SLEEPY sparingly.. every night.. since the Holidays…and it works extraordinarily well on them overnight to make them calm down.. the saturation into the skin is excellent, comforting & it smells nice to boot ;)Very VERY glad to hear it’s being continued.. <3” – Terry Nor

Other have taken to Reddit to show their support:

“I’ve reached out on twitter to lush U.K. And NA, to make them aware that as someone with an incurable and not so common chronic illnesses which result in chronic pain and insomnia because of the pain, sleepy lotion is the one product that can actually help me through the worst of my nights.” – hmarie92

“For someone who has a plethora of lotions to choose from, Sleepy knocked my socks off. What a warm, delicious, well rounded scent! Almost reminds me of oatmeal cookies once on my skin. I typically prefer runnier lotions, and this is THICK, but not greasy.” – amanducktan

So, what’s their secret? The recipe is chock-full of good-for-you ingredients, including lavender, almond oil and oatmeal, all known to help soothe the skin (and, as fans would suggest, soul).

Scroll down for more lavender-infused products that could (finally!) help you catch some shut-eye.

 

Do the colours you wear at work matter?

Different coloured ties

Does the colour of the clothes you wear at work matter? Could wearing a red tie or dress be the key to getting promoted?

Pennsylvania bank boss John Spier was fed up with looking like a “stuffy banker”.

So after decades of wearing loose-fitting pinstripe suits and anonymous ties, he decided he wanted a fashion makeover.

Taking a leap of faith, Mr Spier enlisted the help of a corporate stylist Toi Sweeney.

Overnight his old wardrobe was binned, to be replaced with “warmer ties and a more fitted suit”, says Mr Spier.

“She was able to preserve the professional look I wanted without making me seem like a stuffy banker.”

Mr Spier says he went from an executive who rarely thought about what he was going to wear, to someone who likes wearing colourful ties.

More importantly, he says the makeover has put a spring in his step, and made him more confident.

The saying, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” perhaps resonates most in the workplace, where bosses must exude authority but also friendliness, and the rest of us want to look professional, but stand out.

Ms Sweeney believes “we are all products and your personal brand steps through the door before you do”.

She may have a point. According to research from Princeton University, when we see a new face, our brains decide whether a person is attractive and trustworthy within a tenth of a second.

Ms Sweeney says that the colours you wear also have a big impact on how others quickly perceive you. For example, she says red is a powerful colour that implies confidence and leadership qualities.

Whereas, blue apparently connotes a warmer approach, since “it’s the colour of trust and being a peacemaker”.

And black can suggest authority and sophistication, but Ms Sweeney advises that it should be mixed up with a splash of colour. She recommends a bright handkerchief in a suit pocket for men, or a colourful handbag for women, so as the person can stand out from the crowd.

Meanwhile, the colour brown should also not be discounted since it often suggests that the wear is reliable. “Ever wonder why United Parcel Service workers only wear brown?” says Ms Sweeney.

Kara Kuryllowicz, a 57-year-old corporate writer based in Toronto, hired a stylist last year to help modernise her look.

“I thought everything I owned was fine, but she came to my place and went through my closet and threw out 80% of my clothes,” she remembers.

Ms Kuryllowicz says she had “a long-time love affair with black and white, but now I’m wearing more colours”.

“Now I’m [also] wearing more jewellery with colour, and I feel really comfortable wearing it.”

Her new colourful look makes her feel more “professional and confident” and has helped her to win more work, she says.

While the cynical might question whether wearing a certain colour to work can really make a difference, a number of studies have actually shown that it can affect how we feel.

In a report published earlier this year in the European Journal of Social Psychology, participants who wore red reported feeling more physically attractive and sexually receptive than those who wore blue.

Also, in a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, subjects who donned white coats that they thought belonged to doctors did better on tests than those who wore casual clothes, or those who thought the coats belonged to artists.

“What you’re wearing affects your mood and builds your confidence. It’s worth it to always dress a little better than those around you,” says Toi Sweeney.

Someone who knows about dressing better, is Kim Winser, a former chief executive of the UK fashion brands Aquascutum and Pringle of Scotland.

She now runs Winser London, a luxury women’s fashion label which also advises clients on what to wear in the office and for overseas meetings.

Ms Winser says that using colour is important, but doesn’t override the overall need to look as smart and presentable as possible.

“Since executives are travelling more now than ever, they want to ensure they can make a great first impression in front of clients and colleagues when they don’t have their full wardrobe with them,” says Ms Winser.

She also stresses the importance of polishing your shoes, especially before a job interview.

“I know many interviewers who say they first look at someone’s shoes, if they’re scruffy or clean,” she says.

Though once your shoes are in good shape, she cautions there shouldn’t be a hard-and-fast rule when it comes to what to wear.

Instead your fashion voice will be determined by your position and company. A start-up in California will have a different dress code than a law firm in Paris, for example.

“Remember, you are signing up to champion your company’s cause as well as your own,” she says.

NIKE AIR MAX 90 ULTRA 2.0

Image result for NIKE AIR MAX 90 ULTRA 2.0

On September 9, the University of Oregon football team will take the field in a new head-to-toe system designed by three brave kids, student athletes and Nike designers as part of the Doernbecher Freestyle Program.

A special Nike Air Max 90 Ultra 2.0 will be available starting September 4 in men’s, women’s and young athlete’s sizing on Nike+ SNKRS, nike.com and at select retailers. The shoe incorporates design elements from the uniform, including inspiring graphics, modern use of color fade, camo patterns and motivating slogans personal to the kids. All proceeds from the sales will benefit a pediatric cancer fund at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

Joy of unisex: the rise of gender-neutral clothing

Clothing by Gender Free World.

Is John Lewis at the frontline of modern gender politics? It has never seemed so before, but judging by the reaction to the department store’s announcement last week that its own-brand children’s clothes will no longer be divided by gender, some people clearly see the retailer as radical. There will now be no separate sections in the stores, nor such binary labels on the clothes themselves; instead, the labels will read “girls and boys” or “boys and girls”.

The conversation over whether clothing should be more gender-neutral does not just apply to childrenswear – over the past decade there has also been a marked rise in gender-neutral clothing for adults. Some high-end designers such as JW Anderson, Rick Owens and Rad Hourani have championed gender-neutral clothing, while a raft of smaller companies run by young designers, such as Rich Mnisi, are pushing the idea that men’s and women’s clothes should be obsolete categories. This approach has also filtered down to the high street – H&M and Zarahave both created non-gendered ranges.

The British designer Katharine Hamnett has a long history of exploring non-gender-specific clothing, and her newly reissued collection features unisex shirts, sweatshirts and silk all-in-one suits. She says that, in the past, when women stepped on to more traditionally male sartorial territory – wearing military-inspired clothing, for instance – this “was about appropriating male power”. Now, she says, a move towards equality means women “may be feeling more comfortable with themselves”; in other words, they may have the freedom to wear what they like. (It is still far less common for men to seek out traditionally female clothing.)

Chloe Crowe, brand manager for Bethnals, a London-based unisex denim brand, says that when they have run pop-up shops, men and women in couples have come in and bought jeans that they can share. The company was launched in 2014 by Melissa Clement, a former senior denim buyer for Topshop, who borrowed her partner’s clothes a lot and wondered why men’s and women’s categories had to be different. The core styles of her brand – skinny, straight and relaxed – are cut the same for men and women. “It’s just clever pattern cutting,” says Crowe. “With denim, it can vary so much depending on your body shape. One woman is not going to [fit in] the same pair of jeans as another woman. I think it makes things a lot more simplistic, and it’s about the style and design rather than your sex.”

The growth of the brand follows more awareness and discussion around gender fluidity and what it means to reject the male/female binary. A study for the Fawcett Society last year found that 68% of young people believe gender is non-binary. “When Bethnals lauched, there wasn’t a lot [about gender],” says Crowe. “More brands have released gender-neutral clothing. It has filtered its way to the mass market. There seems to be a huge demand for it.”

“You don’t look at food and say it’s going to be eaten by a man or a woman, so why should it be any different for clothes?” says Tanmay Saxena, founder and designer ofLaneFortyfive. The clothing Saxena designs is mostly bespoke tailoring, including shirts and waistcoats; about 60% of his customers are women. The clothes are the same styles for men and women, in the same fabrics, and while the shirts and smocks are cut the same, only the fit for trousers is slightly different.

He has been working on the label for about three years, but formally launched it last year. “I couldn’t find clothes that suited my own style. The basic idea was I would make something that I can wear but at the same time, it has to be irrespective of gender. That idea was always in my head.”

The shirt company GFW Clothing – GFW stands for Gender Free World – has three fits, designed to fit different bodies rather than the broad terms “men” or “women”. Lisa Honan co-founded the brand online less than two years ago and opened a shop in Hove earlier this year.

Initially, she says, it was borne out of frustration at not being able to find shirts she liked. “I’d look in the men’s aisle and see great patterns and short-sleeved shirts, and then you’d go to the women’s aisle and they were blousy, they’ve got puffs or are lacy.” The men’s shirts, she says, didn’t fit her “because I’ve got a woman’s body. It got me thinking why is [there] a man’s aisle and a woman’s aisle, and why do you have to make that choice? You’re not able to make many purchases without being forced to define your own gender.”

Will we ever get to the point where we don’t have men’s and women’s sections in shops? “I would love that,” says Honan. “It’s about expressing your style and being able to choose what you want without having to be told that, because of your sexual characteristics, you have to shop in a certain way.”