April 11, 2014

A Brief History Of The Iconic Polo Shirt

Iconic Polo Shirt

Thanks to his skill on the tennis courts, Rene Lacoste became a household name for his sporting achievements long before his foray into the fashion industry. But for a tennis match in 1926,  Lacoste wore a novel new shirt he had designed himself that would soon become a staple in everyone's wardrobe.

Tired of the traditional 'tennis whites' that consisted of long-sleeved woven buttondown shirts, ties and flannel trousers, Lacoste designed a short-sleeve, loosely knit shirt with a flat, protruding collar, a simple buttoned placket and a long shirttail in the back (known today as a 'tennis tail').

He wasn’t intentionally trying to make a fashion statement with his new shirt. Truth be told, his design was all about function:

  • The knit pique cotton he used was far more breathable and durable than anything worn before
  • The soft collar could be loosened by unbuttoning one of the buttons
  • The collar could be 'popped up' to block sun off the player’s neck
  • And the 'tennis tail' prevented the shirt from pulling out of his trousers during a match.

Lacoste-mesh

The distinctive crocodile emblem (which was the first time a brand had been seen on the outside of a garment), is as much a part of Lacoste's legacy as the shirt itself.

Lacoste was nicknamed 'the crocodile' by the American press after a bet that he made with the Captain of the French Davis Cup team in which he was promised a crocodile-skin suitcase if he won an important match. The American public stuck to this nickname (and also felt he had earned it due to his tenacity on the tennis courts!) and a friend later designed a crocodile which was embroidered onto the blazer he wore on the courts. The rest, as they say, is history.

BeFunky_Polo.jpg

Fancy creating your own unique design? Check out our extensive range of monogram and embroidery options and make a fashion statement with one of our fabulous new season polos. 

 

April 03, 2014

Smile! The Picture You Took Is Great.

By Marcia,

Need a few photography tips for Easter, spring weddings and graduations? Below are our Top Ten Favourites from the experts at the Lands’ End Photo Studio. We’d love to see your special holiday photos! Feel free to share them with us at Facebook.

Midnight Navy Stripe Dress

1. Step up: If you think you’re close enough, get closer.

Sit Down

2. Sit down: With kids, get down to their level.

3. Open the curtains: Try to use natural light.

In Action

4. Become invisible: The best pictures happen when the subjects don’t know you’re watching.

5. Look behind: Shoot in front of simple and uncluttered backgrounds. And watch for branches “growing” out of a subject’s hair.

6. Steady! Improve image details and try using a tripod.

7. Make them laugh: A sure-fire way to make people look unnatural is to shout “smile” just before you click. Instead: Tell a joke or make a funny face.

8. Keep it simple: When dressing the family for a highly photographed event avoid busy patterns like stripes and polka dots. Busy pattern can be too distracting in a photo.

9. Annual pic: When taking the annual family photo, coordinate outfits to flatter every one.

Colour Coordinated

10. Add pets: They naturally relax the clan for more natural expressions. And after all, they’re family, too.

*Bonus Tip: Remind subjects of this when taking a group photo – If you can’t see the photographer, the camera won’t see you.

March 28, 2014

10 ways to treat your Mom on Mother's Day without breaking the bank

1. A lie-in - ah bliss!
When Mum’s usually the first one up, catching up on some much needed zzzzzzzz’s is a very special treat. Just remember to keep the noise down - shhhh!

1_Lie in

2. Breakfast in Bed
Try and think outside of the cereal box for special breakfast ideas

2_Breakfast in Bed


3. A day off!
Let Mum put her feet up while you and the rest of the family do the chores so she doesn't have to - get everyone involved!

3_Day off



4. Don't buy a card...
Make a home-made card instead (great fun for the little ones); the extra time and effort will be greatly appreciated.

4_Homemade card

5. Show your artistic flair
Make a collage to show all the reasons you love your Mum - make use of old photos and take a trip down memory lane. The 'best costume' winner when you were at school thanks to her handy skills with a sewing machine, the best birthday party you've ever had thanks to all her hard work and organising etc.

5_Collage

6. Pamper session
Turn your bathroom into a serene spa - not only will Mum love you just for cleaning the bathroom, but letting her unwind and recharge with some home spa touches will make her feel extra special. Get out those scented candles, run a bath with plenty of bubbles, put on her favourite relaxing music – aaaaaaaaaa…

6_Bubble bath

7. Film night
Let Mum choose one of her favourites, snuggle up on the sofa with a cosy blanket and bring out the nibbles.

7_Movie night_Popcorn

8. Pack a picnic - whatever the weather!
If the weather is good where you are why not fill a hamper with goodies and head out for some al fresco dining! On the other hand if the weather isn't as good, why not lay out an afternoon tea?

8_Picnic

9. Flowers
Arrange a bouquet, go for a lovely walk and collect her favourite flowers along the way.

9_Pick flowers

10. Say thank you...
Write a letter or personal note to say how grateful you are for everything she does for you. Better still why not make it a video!

10_Thank you

March 27, 2014

Getting in the swim

Buying a swimsuit can be one of the most difficult purchases you make. Do you conceal or reveal? Pick bold to stand out or plain to blend in? And do your tops have to match your bottoms?! Don't panic; simply follow our guide below and find out how your summer lifestyle can determine the perfect purchase for you!


Avid sun-seekers:
If you're a frequent holidaymaker, you'll need to get plenty of mileage out of your swim collection. Don't like to be seen in the same bikini twice? You don't have to, with our Beach Living collection. Offering mix and match options galore, this fun swim collection comprises bikini tops and bottoms, tankinis, swim minis and cover-ups in plenty of co-ordinating patterns and plains. Team our paisley print tankini top with our tummy control swim mini in 'deep pink' for the ultimate flattering beach combo. And NEW to the collection for 2014 are our mastectomy styles which feature a soft cup bra with prosthesis pockets.  

Yummy Mummies:
Want plenty of playtime with your little ones on the beach? Then our rash guard tops are just for you. Offering UPF50 coverage to block 98% of the sun's harmful rays, they ensure safer fun-in-the-sun time when building sandcastles, jumping waves or simply cleaning up ice cream! Made from a lightweight, soft knit, they're perfect for in and out of the water – and the celebs are even cottoning onto the trend of protecting their porcelain skin.


Anne Hathaway_Swim Tee

Check out our piccie of Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway wearing our white swim tee whilst frolicking in the surf on holiday!

 

If you like action & adventure:
If practicality's your purpose, then opt for a firm Lands' End favourite: the 'Tugless Swimsuit' - so called, because it doesn't need tugging back into place every few seconds. Perfect if swimming is your exercise of choice, our simple, understated swimsuit has wide straps and a modest leg height for comfortable coverage in the seat. But don't confine it to underwater activities; we've added some great new prints this year including this bold Seagrass Leaf soft cup style which certainly deserves to be shown off on the beach. Also available as a mastectomy option. 

Fitness-phobes:
If the gym's not really your thing, don't despair; you can look slimmer in seconds thanks to the power of the unique fabric in our amazing Slender Swimsuits. Try our Cascade Floral Tunic Swimsuit for size and you'll be ready for your close-up in no time! It's all down to the innovative design: a base layer of Lycra®-powered Slendertex® fabric which gently trims and supports in all the right places, to give you confidence on the beach, by the pool and everywhere else that summer may take you. Wobbly bits are then cleverly camouflaged with a drapey tricot overlay across your tummy and waist whilst the retro sweetheart neckline accentuates your bust beautifully. No-one will ever know you skipped the sit-ups this year!

Check out our fabulous swimwear photo shoot video and get inspired for your new beach look this summer…

 

March 21, 2014

Lands' End Activewear put through its paces!

We asked two of our Lighthouse Club ladies plus guest blogger Lucy Wray to road test our new Performance Collection whilst carrying out their regular exercise routine. So how do our new fitness tops, trousers and tees shape up for real women?

Name: Lucy Wray, guest blogger
Tested: Hooded Workout Jacket, Shaping Workout Capri Leggings and Shaping Workout Vest Top
Review: “I love new gym gear. There is something very satisfying about pulling on new sportswear and heading off to the gym or for a run. Personally it makes me feel more confident and more determined to achieve my goals. Yet while it feels good to look good, for me, the most important thing about active wear is that it FEELS good. I might look a million dollars in it but if it doesn’t cut it comfort-wise then I know I won’t be wearing it again. So I was delighted to be asked to put the new Lands’ End Performance range through its paces.

The first item I tested was the Hooded Jacket, which I wore for a walk on a bright but fresh spring day. This is the kind of basic essential that you would just throw on over a pair of jeans to take the dog for a walk and I can see it becoming a firm favourite. The quality is excellent and the fabric keeps its shape very well. It is stretchy, not heavy and it feels very comfortable to wear. The addition of the bright silver zips give it an extra design feature which I like plus thumb loops which keep the arms from riding up or moving around.

The Capri leggings were next up to get tested and had little breathable patches behind the knees which I thought were genius and really did keep me cool! The waistband was nice and high and the fabric and design also held my stomach in without being uncomfortable which I of course loved and made running very relaxed.

I loved the Shaping Workout Vest top a lot. It fitted really well, didn’t move around, ride up or pinch. It definitely smoothed out my shape, felt like a second skin and kept my stomach sucked in without riding up.

Lucy Wray

A few days later I went off for a run… to the gym. Two perfect ways to put my whole new kit to the test! Each item felt really good; there were no uncomfortable seams, no bits that irritated and the fabrics held me in well. Would the collection get top marks for ground-breaking style? Probably not. But in terms of comfort, functionality and fit, it gets 10/10 from me.”

See the full review plus lots of other health and fitness tips on Lucy’s blog at www.timetotry.co.uk
 
Name: Charlotte James, Lighthouse Club member
Tested: Shaping Workout Bootcut Pants and Shaping Workout Vest Top
Review: “I loved the top - it was extremely comfortable and didn’t restrict me at all when I was out jogging with my dog. The cut was flattering from the front and allowed my skin to breath. I do think I would need to invest in a racerback bra though as the style of the top showed my bra straps, which I personally don’t like – but if I did want more coverage I could always opt for the Short Sleeve Workout Tee.

As for the Bootcut Pants, I loved the cut and I felt really relaxed in them. However, I wasn’t sure if the material was a bit clingy for me; I’m not a fan of wearing lycra or clingy materials around my bum as I often feel self-conscious, but my friends reassured me that none of my lumps and bumps were showing! Since road testing these bottoms, I have grown to love them and worn them multiple times around the house just to lounge about – nothing better than a multi-tasking item!”

CJ
Name: Sarah Roads, Lighthouse Club member 
Tested: Shaping Workout Slim Pants and Long Sleeve Workout Tee 
Review: “My first impression of both pieces of kit was how lightweight and technical they are. Trying them on, they were a snuggish fit, but not so much that I felt too many of my bumps and lumps were held up for close scrutiny. The first outing wearing the outfit was to a Spa Day several miles away. I felt uncharacteristically sporty and surprisingly relaxed; the outfit fitted right in with the surroundings and was spot on for what I needed it to do. It spent the day screwed up in my kit bag stuffed in a locker, and when it was time to go home, both items were crease free and felt as fresh as they were that morning.

I have since used the items when sweating away on my exercise bike, walking the dog and general housework and gardening duties. Each time both the tee and the trousers did exactly what I needed them to without any of the constant tugging and adjusting that usually accompanies this style of clothing.

The trousers have a lovely shape to the leg, which is great as it helps balance my slightly chunky hip area, the leg length sits nicely on my trainers and being a loose (ie not cuffed or gathered) hem, actually have a kind of modern feel to them. The waistband is good and deep; it feels as if it could keep a wayward stomach under control quite well! There is a small pocket set flat into the waistband for a smallish set of keys or other essentials. The tee is a nicely fitted shape without being the least bit restrictive. I’m not a fan of OTT branding so the small lighthouse logo at the back of the neck on the tee and on one hip on the trousers was very discreet and perfect for me.”

Sarah

March 14, 2014

A week in food from the Lighthouse Club

Now that we are 8 weeks in let's see what the girls are actually eating...

Attempt at a healthy lunch

Chicken pasta with chunky 6 veg ragu

LE build a burger
Sausage meatballs with green gnocchi salad

Yummy Pizza

So what have you been eating this week? Be honest!

Our Lighthouse Club have been trying out our Activewear pieces as part of their new healthy lifestyle - let's see how they get on next week.

 

 

March 03, 2014

Spring In Bloom: The Story Behind Our Signature Floral Print

FloralimageStunning prints WITH A GREAT STORY... 

When our designers first saw the inspiration for our exclusive Art Tees, they were wowed! The "hyper floral" designs combine a stunning explosion of nature's colour with a great story worth telling.

"We went looking for a unique, unashamedly feminine floral - designer Eileen Gleeson delivered."

Cheryl, our senior design director explained. "Eileen, a London-based print designer, on one of her many trips to the local market, was inspired by the beauty of spring flowers she saw at virtually every stand. She brought armfuls of flowers back to her studio, located in a big old barn outside the city. 

"Working with her team of artists, they began capturing the beauty of the flowers, using the medium that inspired them most. Some used photography, some paint. Their art was then combined, layer on layer to create our signature print: multi floral."

"We fell in love with the print the instant we saw it! We were reminded of Monet's Gardens."

Floralprints3

Cleverly picking up all the key colours of the season - the greens, purples, pinks, yellows and blues - this print coordinates beautifully with all our new season knitwear, trousers, tops, tees and dresses - even with our shoes and accessories.

Inspired by artists, brought to you buy your apparel experts. Take a closer look.


How would you wear your floral prints? Here are a few of our key pieces to get you started…

Picture1
1. Slingback Shoes, 2. Court Shoes, 3. Slub Cardigan, 4. Floral Print Scarf, 5. Plain Crop Chinos, 6. Pattern Coastal Rain Coat

 

 

February 20, 2014

Feeling Right At Home: Purest Down, Responsibly Harvested

Down2

Our down is a high-quality insulator that’s super-cleaned for greater purity. It’s pre-washed, and then washed again in an intense cleansing process for a uniform grade of down that is dust free and odour free.

It’s so pure, it received a “hypoallergenic” label from the International Down and Feather Lab.

 

February 05, 2014

The Happiest Little County in England

When we decided to launch an international business in the UK back in 1991, the first thing we had to do was decide where in England to put our headquarters.

Most companies might locate near London or Birmingham or some other big city. But we knew that wouldn’t work for Lands’ End. We wanted to find a place like Dodgeville, where people are friendly and helpful and genuinely care about customers. Probably it would be in farm country, but since most of England is farm country, that part would be easy.

Eventually in our travels we came across a little town called Oakham, in a little county called Rutland. In fact, Rutland is the smallest county in England – just 18 miles long and 17 miles wide. Its motto, not surprisingly, is Multum in Parvo – Much in Little.

There are no bustling motorways in Rutland. No sprawling shopping centres, or gaudy chain stores. But there are a multitude of beautiful old stone buildings, from majestic churches to small thatched roof cottages.

And some of the nicest, friendliest people you’ll ever meet.

Fact is, they’re the happiest people in England, according to a recent survey by the Office for National Statistics. 85% of Rutlandians are very satisfied with their lives, and 87% of them feel that what they do is worthwhile. They’re also the most fertile people in England, with the average woman having 2.81 children.

Is there a correlation between fertility and happiness? We’re not going to speculate on that.

But if you visit Rutland, you will quickly get a sense that these are happy people. Our friend Kathryn Ellis, a former creative director at Lands’ End who has lived in Oakham for many years, says, “Community may be dead elsewhere, but not here. It’s just one of the friendliest places around. Everyone knows each other, and they look out for one another.”

Writer W. G. Hoskins put it another way, when he wrote his introduction to A Shell Guide to Rutland in 1963. He said, “One would like to think that one day soon at each entrance to this little county, beside a glancing willow-fringed stream, there will stand a notice saying Human Conservancy: Abandon the Rat-Race at This Point.

Did we realise we were setting up shop in such a happy place, back in 1991?

Probably not. But we sensed it would be very good for our business, and our customers, to build our UK headquarters here. Which it has.

It feels like Dodgeville. It feels like home. It’s a happy place, and we’re so fortunate that we found it. After all, if we’d blinked, we could have missed it.

Download

February 03, 2014

Guest Blogger: Lucy Wray tells us "Please don’t give in"

Lucy Wray_Time To Try
It all started so well. Your New Year’s resolutions to eat healthily and start exercising were made with devotion and commitment. But come February and you have already started making excuses, haven’t you? The promise you made to yourself is proving increasingly difficult to maintain, your diet has started to slip and the gym is looking less and less appealing. Please don’t give in.

Perhaps the most important thing to realise is that to work, your resolution must be part of your lifestyle. Eating healthily and exercising need to be a part of your daily routine, part of you.

Here are some crucial tips on how to achieve this, keep your motivation high and stay on track for the rest of the year!

Tip 1: Take an interest in all things health and fitness
Read about it in magazines, in books and follow fitness blogs. Research the things you want to know more about. Work it into your everyday life. As well as educating yourself, reading will also keep you interested and the topic in the forefront of your mind.

Image source - Honey We're Healthy

Tip 2: Make the time for you
I know, our lives are crazy. We have so much to do and so little time. But what is more important than taking care of your own health and wellbeing? No-one else can do it for you and by taking care of ourselves we are able to give the best of ourselves to others.

Tip 3: Think positively
Please don’t focus on the negatives; what you can’t eat, how exhausting and tedious the exercise is. Focus on the positives, how great it makes you feel when you do go to the gym and how much energy you have after a clean eating day! Visualise the new you with great enthusiasm.

Tip 4: Plan
Set yourself a plan for the week, know what days you are going to the gym and what routine you will be doing when you get there. Is it a lower body or upper body day? Or are you going to do a pilates class? If you have a plan scheduled you are much more likely to stick with it. Note: this also works with meals. If you are super organised, you can plan your weekly meals and buy in exactly what you need to ensure there won’t be any times you are hungry with no food in the fridge and only biscuits in the cupboard!

Tip 5: Get organised
If it is a gym day make sure you have everything organised and ready to go. You’ve already packed your bag the night before and got all of your things ready for work so nothing can get in the way of you heading straight out.

Tip 6: Enjoy it
Whatever exercise you are doing make sure you find it fun. There are so many different forms of exercise out there, it is no good doing one you hate. Everyone is different, find something you love! It is also important to mix up your week so you don’t get bored, swim one day, do body pump or yoga the next.

Yoga relax - www.fitsugarTip 7: Get a buddy
Get a workout or weight loss buddy or both! At the very least find someone who is interested in hearing you waffle on about it because you should LOVE talking about your new lifestyle.

Tip 8: Get the gear
Invest in some gorgeous fitness clothes. Make sure you have enough so that every time you go to work out you have something clean and ready, no excuses! New clothes make you feel good and give you a confidence boost, the same counts in the gym. When you invest in a whole new fitness wardrobe you are also making fitness a part of your identity.

Logging photoTip 9: Keep a record
This can be applied to both your diet and your exercise. Use online tools and apps to keep track of exactly what it is you are eating and what exercise you are doing. If you need to check in every day you are more likely to stick to it. This is particularly useful with dieting as we have a tendency not to remember everything we’ve eaten over the course of the day. It can show you where you might be going wrong.


And finally…Don’t take it all too seriously
Please. You can take a break from the gym and the diet once in a while, even every weekend if you need to. Hopefully you will start back at the gym or on the diet the following week with a refreshed determination. And yes, we all have rubbish days, days when we just can’t motivate ourselves to go to the gym or crack and open the biscuit tin. Allow yourself this and don’t beat yourself up too much. Just re-focus, read your favourite fitness blog, ring up your gym buddy and get back on it!

Written by Lucy Wray, editor of www.timetotry.co.uk.

Time to try is a blog about fitness, diet and beauty written by me, Lucy. I am not perfect, I do not have a beautifully sculpted and toned body (yet), I am not an athlete or a model. I am a curvy, size 14 woman, mum of one who is making time to improve my lifestyle and fitness. So if I can do it, so can you. Are you going to join me? It’s about time to try…

Explore our new Activewear: A new year. A new collection. A new you.