Happy Friday everyone. As we count down to the Easter weekend I’m hoping you can feel that Spring is in the air. Today I’m reviewing Uniqlo’s new collection. As you already know, Uniqlo is a brand that I rate very highly.
One of the the things I like most about them is the balance of their retail mix. They launch limited edition collections which are collaborations with brands and people ranging from Inès de La Fressange to Miffy. This means there is always something new to see. However at the core of the business, they concentrate on creating seasonal wardrobe staples and they produce them to the best of their ability.
Last Autumn I reviewed some of the Winter staples including cashmere and HeatTech technology. Now the Spring / Summer lines are in and they include linen and Airism technology. Uniqlo are also making significant advances in the denim industry so these are the three categories that I am going to look at today.
Before I go on to show you the clothes though, I want to illustrate the level of detail that Uniqlo invest into their fabrics. Most are developed exclusively for them so that they can be confident of maintaining their quality:affordability ratio.
Linen at Uniqlo
In my experience, linen tends to be a fabric that people either love for its cooling properties or loathe for the ironing it requires. When I worked at Selfridges we discovered that there was also a geographical divide where linen was concerned. We sent far fewer linen items to the Manchester stores than the London one. I don’t know whether it’s because the temperature rarely rises up North or we are just lazy laundresses!
I confess that I, too, am a Northern cliché and until now have never worn much linen. However I have been changing my views. Last Summer I bought quite a few linen t-shirts from Hush and The White Company. I loved the way that they became softer as I washed them and they seemed to develop a lovely sheen.
Uniqlo source all of their linen from France. As always, they go into great detail on their website so if you want to know more about how their linen is produced, this is the place.
Denim at Uniqlo
I didn’t know until now that Uniqlo launched a dedicated Denim Innovation Centre in Los Angeles last year. They have teams of people there whose sole purpose is to develop jeans that are equivalent in quality and cut to the premium brands.
Airism at Uniqlo
Uniqlo call Airism a ‘cool comfort range.’ It is a bespoke stretchy fabric that they have developed with moisture wicking and odour neutralising properties. You can wear Airism on its own or as a protective layer under other garments to help with body temperature control.
There is lots of information about Airism here where you will discover that it is twice as soft as cotton and that it will eliminate 80% of your deodorisation within 5 minutes. I can imagine that if you’re struggling with hot flushes it would be a godsend.
The challenge from Uniqlo
So with all of this in mind, for this post Uniqlo challenged me to put together three different outfits from the Summer collection including linen, Airism and denim. (I’ve added US links because you lucky people have a sale on linen this weekend so be quick).
Outfit Number 1
I decided to start with a new/old look. The 90s nostalgia for dresses over trousers (or ‘drousers’ as Grazia calls them) is everywhere for Spring and it was surprisingly easy to wear. This was the plan…
…and this is how it looked in real life. These photos were taken in a tiny cove close to where we live. If you’re lucky you get it all to yourself – which we did last Sunday.
The belt of the dress is concealed at the back so it is easy to gather in if you prefer less fabric at the front. It comes up quite big so if you are between sizes, go down.
The Airism t-shirt feels very silky next to the skin and softer than the sports wicking fabrics that you would wear at the gym. It’s quite transparent so if you were wearing it on its own, you would need a nude coloured bra underneath.
Outfit Number 2
Here I was thinking of a relaxed evening look. Denim was starting to look a bit samey so I added my favourite silk trousers from last Summer (although I forgot that I prefer them rolled up at the ankles).
Gary was determined to have his moment in the limelight and wouldn’t move.
This was a really lovely outfit to wear. The premium linen is so smooth, there are none of the uneven fibres and bobbles that you often find in high street linen.
Whilst we were taking these pictures the wind suddenly rose up from nowhere and the only thing I could do was embrace it. I should do a caption competition for the next photo but at least it gives you an idea of how the camisole looks.
I would happily wear this cami on its own in the summer, especially on holiday when it is hot and a bra can be uncomfortable. The inbuilt shelf gives you support and the cups are soft but functional. You can also buy vest tops with this inbuilt support. I’m wearing a medium here and it fitted me perfectly – I think it would probably support up to a D cup size.
Living where we do, we take these beaches for granted but I realise how beautiful they are when I look at these photos.
Outfit number 3
I have to say that this outfit is my favourite. Uniqlo sent two styles of jeans for me to compare, the ultra stretch high rise ankle length skinnies and the slim boyfriends. Both are available in my favourite dark indigo as well as lots of other washes.
I really love this blouse and have now ordered it in navy (it’s also available in khaki). It is made from the same soft linen as everything else and it just felt like Summer – perfect for those days when it isn’t quite warm enough for bare arms.
I am wearing it with the Airism t-shirt underneath here because it was just too chilly to remove it when I was changing on the beach. However I would say that it is sufficiently opaque to wear with just a nude coloured bra underneath though.
I couldn’t decide whether I preferred the classic skinny jeans…
…or the slim boyfriends which were so much nicer on than I thought they would be from the pictures on the website.
They’re a crisp, lightweight Summer denim so perhaps better suited for warm weather than skinnies. They even smarten up well with heels for a relaxed day in the office.
So, I can say that I love the linen, denim and Airism at Uniqlo. If I had to change anything about these outfits, I would have reduced the amount of fabric in the dress but that’s probably just because I prefer a more fitted form.
I know I was grumpy last week and claimed to be a science refusenik. However I really do respect the amount of research and innovation that brands like Uniqlo invest into their products. It’s amazing that they manage to do all of this and still price their products affordably. It is so unusual to find a high street brand that isn’t simply chasing profit margins and churning out cheap rubbish.
Free Delivery offer
To tempt you, Uniqlo are offering free delivery on all orders that include an item of linen until midnight on Wednesday 12th April with code LINEN.
I thought I’d add this last photo that Mr MC took when I was getting changed at the end of the afternoon. It sums up everything about being 13 to me. As you know, both of his brothers are spending the holidays revising so the youngest is at a very loose end.
He’s reached the stage where he’s still happy skimming stones on the beach…but not for long. His voice has just broken and generally he doesn’t know quite where he fits or what lies ahead. This picture says it all.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend whatever you’re doing. Thank you to everyone who wrote to cheer me on with the revision…and to everyone who had stern words with me about my derisory attitude towards maths and science. I hear you! You’ll be glad to know we’re valiantly battling our way through the subjects we like…and the subjects we don’t.
I wish cheerfulness and fortitude to everybody who finds themselves at the exam battlefront. The long lazy days of summer will soon be here.
(PS – if you’re wondering, yes, I have had my hair cut. My original hairdresser has finally reappeared after two years’ maternity leave. She took one look at me, told me how grey I had become and said we needed to sort things out. So, last week she cut my hair back to the length it used to be and since these pictures were taken, I have spent four hours having it coloured. She’s taken it back to its true colour – minus the grey – which feels very odd. You’ll probably see it popping up on Instagram @midlifechic over the weekend…)!
Disclosure: ‘linen and denim at Uniqlo’ was commissioned by Uniqlo although other than sending me the clothes, they had no idea what I would write. Thank you to Uniqlo for helping to support the ongoing costs of Midlifechic.
Mid Season sales
Baukjen – up to 50% off here – new lines added
Jaeger – up to 50% off here (now with an extra 20% off applied at checkout)
J Crew – 20% off here with code THANKYOU plus free express delivery
Finery – 15% here with code CHIC15 exclusive to Midlifechic readers – ends midnight 13th April