Outfit Formula: Easy Utilitarian

The Utility trend makes a stronger statement with each passing season. Our casual fashion era and the popularity of irregular outfit juxtapositions have made wardrobe items with utility detailing more versatile and appealing than ever. It makes sense that the trend continues to work well at retail.

Think cargo pockets, carpenter pants, chinos, field jackets, utility jackets, chore jackets, camouflage, netting, webbing, drawstrings, and casual items in shades of tan, khaki and olive. Remix items with a utility vibe both in casual and dressy outfits.

Here are four easy casual utilitarian outfits to get you started. Some of the looks are Utility-Lite, because why not!

1. Utilitarian White Jeans

This is the most utilitarian looking of the four outfits, but not hardcore. Combine white jeans with a black top or slogan tee. Add black sandals, mules or loafers to pick up the black of the top. Top things off with a utility jacket in an earthy shade of olive, tan or khaki.

Proenza Schouler PSWL Drawstring Coat

2. Utilitarian Blazer

This is the easiest outfit to pull together. Combine a pair of olive or khaki utility pants or chinos with a black top, black blazer and black sandals. Sub the black for grey or navy if black is not your thing. Or lighten it up with shades of white up top, and metallic sandals.

Citizens of Humanity Harrison Tapered Pants

3. Utilitarian Dress

There are many, many styles of utility dress and jumpsuit that needn’t be sleeveless or as fitted. Feel free to style it any way you like. I enjoyed the unique juxtaposition of boho espadrilles and tote, ‘80s headband, and ‘60s eyewear here. A pair of wedged sandals and crossbody might be more your thing. Or sneakers, mules, sandal booties and gladiators with a satchel.

Anthropologie Oona Utility Dress

4. Utilitarian Pretty

Last is a very subtle utility look because the wide crops are utility-lite and and the rest is whatever you want it to be. Combine utility wide crops with a soft and pretty blouse or knit top in a colour that matches the bottoms. Finish things off with chunky platform sandals. I like the navy, mustard and rust colour mix here. The striped draped pullover is a fun and practical touch. Add jewellery, eyewear and watch as desired.

Anthropologie Pintucked Chino Pants


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Too posh to pitch? Easy bikepacking in the Peak District

To our writer’s delight, the tent is already up, the food sorted and route plotted on this new camping and cycling trip in the Peaks

Twigs crackle and mud splatters as I weave and bounce through the woods, but my sleeping bag stays firmly fixed to my handlebars. When the GPS points to a hidden path, we take it and discover our lamp-lit bell tent sheltered by a sycamore tree. There’s a flickering fire, a hamper of goodies and two chairs awaiting our weary limbs. It’s a magical sight, especially after 45km of mountain biking through the Peak District. “Glass of wine?” asks my boyfriend Tom.

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R. Kelly Asks Media To ‘Take It Easy’ On Him In Springfields [sic]

R. Kelly Arrested for Unpaid Child Support

Source: Handout / Getty

R. Kelly is out here doing R. Kelly things, for a check. The accused sexual predator is asking the media to “take it easy” on him with his upcoming paid gig.

“Yo, this is your boy Kells and I got an event to do tonight in Springfield, Illinois, so I want the media to take it easy on me, man,” said R’uh, on Instagram.

Yes, that bammas said “Springfields,” like, plural.

And by his description it wasn’t even a singing event, it was a club appearance.

He added, “This is how I got to get paid for right now. So if you see me in the club, with a couple of drinks in my hand, and chilling, please, take it easy.”

Did he take it easy on all those alleged victims? Exactly.

R. Kelly has had numerous financial issues—he had to have someone else post his bail, is behind on child support, amongst other struggle.


Photo: Cook County Sheriff’s Office

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Cheap and Easy Laundry Hacks

Let us clue you into some materials that you can keep in your laundry room or elsewhere around the home and how they can be used to find some cheap and easy solutions to common laundry problems.

Dark Denim Care

Levis Original 501 Jean
Levis Original 501 Jean

The darker a pair of jeans is, the more easily you’ll be able to pair it well with outfits in the smart casual dress code. On that note, you can also take a look at our dress code primer video here and our video on whether or not you should wear jeans with a suit jacket or blazer here. The easiest way to keep a dark pair of jeans dark is to minimize how often you’re washing them in the first place, of course, but there is another technique you can use on a new pair of jeans to make sure that their color is set even more permanently, your key ingredient for this technique is salt.

Nothing fancy, just standard kosher salt will do. Take a quarter cup of salt and add it to a container of hot water, stirring to make sure that all of the salt is completely dissolved. Of course, the container that you’re using should be clean. Submerge your jeans in the hot and salty water, making sure that every part of the fabric is thoroughly wetted. Now, leave your jeans in the container overnight so that the salt permanently sets the dye to the fabric. After this overnight soak, you can wash your jeans as normal.

Keeping Clothes Soft

We’ve got a way to keep your clothes soft and your wallet happy because you won’t be spending extra money on fabric softener or on dryer sheets. So why do we recommend forgoing these two products then?

Well, in the case of fabric softener, it’s not actually making your clothes any softer rather it’s leaving a sheen of petroleum and other products on the fabric cutting down on both breathability and absorbency. In other words, your clothes aren’t going to breathe as well so you’ll probably be hotter and also, if a stain does set on the fabric, it’s going to be held in that much more permanently because of the sheen left by the fabric softener.

In the case of dryer sheets, not only do they contain chemicals known as phthalates which are a possible cause of pregnancy issues and birth defects but they also do increase the risk of dryer fires, not good. So what’s the alternative here then? We suggest getting yourself a set of dryer balls in wool or a similar natural fiber to keep your clothes soft and if it’s not only the softness you’re looking for but also the scent of fabric softener, what you can do is put a few drops of essential oils on to those wool dryer balls then the scent of the oil will be imparted into your clothing as it dries.

As long as we’re talking about the dryer, here are two other implements you can use.

Dryer balls made from rubber or rubberized plastic can be used to cut down on static cling between clothing as can a ball made from another simple and commonly found household material, aluminum foil. To make one of these, start with about one yard or meter of aluminum foil and compact it into as tight a ball as you’re able. It will compact even further as it goes through multiple drying cycles. After about 60 cycles or so, you should be able to swap it out for a new ball. We think it’s best that you only leave your garments in the dryer for about three to five minutes just to knock out the wrinkles. After that, it’s best to hang your clothing or spread it out on a drying rack to dry the rest of the way.

How To Effectively Clean Out Your Washing Machine

You’ve probably noticed that over time, your washing machine can build up an unpleasant and moldy scent especially if you have a front-loading machine with a rubber seal. This can partially be due to mold itself, of course, and can be managed effectively over time by wiping down the inside of the machine and the seal with a washcloth or a rag after each use. It’s also partly due, however, to the petroleum products found in most commercial liquid detergents and fabric softeners. To cut down on this problem, in the first place, of course, we would recommend that you switch from liquid detergent to using soap flakes instead but as I’ve said, we’ll cover that more in a future video, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, the easiest way to remove that unattractive scent from the inside of your washing machine is to gather up two basic materials. One whole box of borax and one gallon of white vinegar, mix them together and pour them both directly into the drum of your machine. If the machine also has a loading tray where detergent and fabric softener usually go, it wouldn’t hurt to put a little bit of the mixture in here as well then set your machine for the longest and hottest cycle possible, let the cycle run completely and after it’s finished, your washing machine should be like new.

CONCLUSION

Armed with these cheap and easy tips then you should be left with dark denim that holds its color more effectively, softer clothes that breathe and don’t hold on to stains, no static cling in your dryer, and a washing machine that’s sparkling clean. Also if you’re looking for more gentlemanly hacks, you can take a look at our video on 35 life hacks here and also our video on 15 men’s style hacks here.

We’d like to know which of today’s laundry tips were you most surprised by and were you using any of them yourself already? Share with us in the comments section below!


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Easy escapes: Ellenborough Park, Cheltenham

Surrounded by 90 acres of countryside, this five star hotel is the perfect Cotswolds retreat

Why Go

This is a hotel steeped in history. Situated at the foot of the magnificent Cleeve Hill in the Cotswolds -which has magnificent views of the county -the original building is over 500 years old and retains many of its features including Tudor doors, Cotswold stone walls and a breath-taking central hall with roaring fire (where they serve a cracking afternoon tea). Surrounded by 90 acres of countryside that leads down to the world-famous Cheltenham race course, you can see why so many of its clientele come back year after year. Ellenborough Park offers the opulence and setting you’d expect from a five star with flawless service thrown in. Yet the staff are down to earth and the overall vibe is relaxed and welcoming. Did we mention the outdoor heated swimming pool and the spa?

Style

Think uber luxurious country house interiors in the central hall – huge marble fireplaces, wood panelling and sweeping staircases with velvet curtains and embroidered cushions. Some of the 61 rooms have four-poster beds and roll top baths in keeping with the period feel, but accessories are modern and stylish. Expect sumptuous king-size beds with puffy pillows, hypno mattresses and espresso machines as standard.

Eat up

Take dinner in the informal brassiere style Horse Box – a gourmet pub- style restaurant, where we recommend the slow cooked shoulder of lamb or the traditional fish and chips (although the fresh fish of the day options were pretty good too) all served with fresh seasonal vegetables. Alternatively, sample the 3 course set menu in the more formal main restaurant. This takes place in the oak panelled dining room of the main house (where their great breakfast feasts are also served). Amazing value at £55, we were blown away by the quality of the fare here. It’s no surprise that it has the reputation as the best place to eat in Cheltenham. We opted to have each of our courses paired with a wine chosen by their exceptional sommelier. Flawless! Stand out offerings included the roast Hake with  lemon Veloute and homemade courgette linguine, plus the fillet steak with truffle-creamed potato.

Don’t miss:

A dip in the outside heated pool followed by a hot steam in the spa when you arrive – to relax you into your stay. Also make sure you sample one of their award-winning afternoon teas in one of the cosy ‘snugs’ of the grand entrance hall as you take in the history. Walk it all off by climbing Cleeve Hill – just a few minutes away – which offers incredible views.

Double rooms at Ellenborough Park start at £159 per night

The post Easy escapes: Ellenborough Park, Cheltenham appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Learn how to make easy money on Amazon — and cash in on Jeff Bezos’ empire

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Amazon isn’t just the place you buy toilet paper and dog treats when you’re too lazy to go to the store. For many, Amazon is responsible for their livelihoods, and it could for you too one day. 

From the Amazon affiliate program to selling private-label products, there’s more than one path to Amazon-made success.

If your interest is piqued, here are three ways to do it:

1. Become an Amazon affiliate

One of the most painless ways to earn money on Amazon is by becoming an affiliate. In a nutshell, an affiliate is someone who serves as an ambassador for certain products. Your job is to get people to buy items through content marketing or a separate e-commerce store, and once someone makes a purchase, you earn a commission. Read more…

More about Amazon, Small Business, Online Learning, Mashable Shopping, and Shopping Stackcommerce


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Cybersecurity firms say high-tech upgrades, self-driving tech make new cars easy targets for hackers

As auto makers roll out ever more sophisticated features to make your daily commute easier, the upgrades are also making your new car more vulnerable to cyberattacks, according to a new report.
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11 Easy Ways to Be More Likeable

I’m a big believer in being myself but sometimes, it can really help to get through life more easily and to get what you want if you adapt in a certain way so you become more likeable.

So first of all, what’s a likeable person and what are their traits? Likeable people are often considered down-to-earth, open, authentic, interested, self-deprecating, trustworthy, and a bunch of other things. Usually, they’re warm and emotionally stable people that others want to be around.

So are you a likeable person? The first thing to consider is that if you think about this question, you’re probably too hard on yourself. Four university studies found that people often underestimated how much their conversation partner liked them. So you’re probably already more likeable than you think you are, however, there is always room for improvement.

11 Easy Ways To Become More Likeable

Social Media platforms
Social Media platforms

1.Be Yourself!

I know it’s a super cliche answer but sometimes, the person you want to be doesn’t line up with the person you actually are. The perfect example is social media; the way people portray themselves on Instagram or in Facebook rarely matches the real-life circumstances. We spend a lot of time and energy trying to get people to like who you want to be rather than who you actually are, you may come off as insecure and unreal.

Often, people can sense this and they want to know the real genuine authentic you, not the idealized version. So let them see the real you even though at times that might seem embarrassing, it really helps to increase your likability because people can relate better with you and they don’t put you on a pedestal that is just an ideal of everything that they can’t have because obviously, they know about the things that are not perfect in their own lives and they like to see it in others.

Have a few conversation starters ready
Have a few conversation starters ready

2. Learn Great Conversation Starters

Other people will be relieved that they don’t have to start the conversation. Those could be things like “Did you choose your profession or did your professions choose you?” or maybe “What makes you laugh the most?”. Having a few good starter questions ready every time before you attend a social event will make you more secure and you will probably end up having more good conversations. It will also avoid awkward moments and people will thank you for it because they know when they talk to you, it’s never embarrassing or strange.

Accept a compliment gracefully
Accept a compliment gracefully

3. Give Out Compliments

Most people think a lot more about themselves than others do think about them. So they may put a lot of effort into a hairstyle, their outfits, or the way they dress but others won’t even notice it. So by picking up on something that is special about a person and by complimenting them on it makes you instantly more likeable.

Why? Well, you actually stand out from the crowd because you noticed something others don’t and it flatters the other person and honestly, who doesn’t want to be flattered? That being said, it’s best not to comment on body parts or ideally, things that people can’t change anything about. Instead, compliment them on something they do or they did.

Denying a compliment is never appropriate
Denying a compliment is never appropriate

4. Accept Compliments Gracefully

Often, when people are complimented, they don’t know how to respond. They try to diminish the compliment. Instead, you should accept it gracefully. What does it mean specifically? All you need to do is to say thank you and smile.

Ellen DeGeneres during a taping of The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2011 in Burbank, Calif.

5. Show Some Self-Deprecating Humor

The perfect way to utilize humor to become more likeable without distancing others is to use self-deprecating humor. So what does it mean? Just make fun about yourself. That means, maybe share weird things about you or share a time when you look like a loser or when you did something that looks really stupid. I know it seems weird and hard but by doing that and getting other people to laugh about it, they will instantly like you more.

Another good way to add self-deprecating humor is to compare yourself to others so you can say “Oh wow you’re just twenty-two when you’re running your own business; when I was 22, my mom did my laundry for me”. That way, you put yourself in a light that lets others shine and that makes you instantly more likeable even though you may feel like you look like a loser.

In my opinion, a master of self-deprecating humor is Ellen DeGeneres. She utilizes this technique all the time in her show and people love her so next time you watch that show, pay attention to it and you will see how she utilizes it to become instantly more likeable.

Listen
Listen

6. Listen!

So far, we all talked about active steps you can take but one of the easiest way to become more likeable is to really in genuinely listen to what other people say. No, if you’re just waiting for the other person to finish before you can give your reply, you’re not actively listening. Actively listening means that you comprehend what they’re saying that you repeat what they’re saying and that you later follow up with a question pertaining to it so they really know that you listened and also cared.

So always try to paraphrase what people said in a quick way without going into too much detail. You can also have follow-up questions that show that you comprehended what was said and you just keep the conversation going. In general, people like to feel like they’re heard and understood and by actively listening, you achieve exactly that. An even bigger step is not just to listen but to act on what someone just said.

Ask smart questions
Ask smart questions

7. Ask Questions

It goes slightly into the same vein as the active listening but more questions keep a conversation going and the more smart questions you ask, the more understood and heard the other person feels and the more they feel taken care of and comfortable in your presence.

two men having a conversation
two men having a conversation

8. Be Vulnerable

Most people engage in small talk but small talk doesn’t allow you to really be vulnerable and it’s not well-suited to get to know someone. Mostly, it’s just tedious and boring and frankly, it can be much harder than having a genuine conversation about things that actually mean something to people. So try to stop yourself from engaging in small talk and get real.

That means you can be a leader in a conversation who dives deeper first without waiting for the other person to expose themselves or show a vulnerability. Of course, this has to be a gradual process. If you tell people about your financial problems the first time they meet you, they think of you as being weird. So a good starter question that I always use is “What do you do when you don’t work?”. Most people have the impulse to tell me what their job is because that’s what they usually hear but then it usually takes a second for them to realize I’m actually asking about their passions and you can see a little smile, they’ll light up and they tell me more about the things they like to do.

Now, that is a first step to create a connection, to create something where they feel they can share with me and usually, they have an interest in it so they don’t get tired of talking about it. Once we’re at that step, you can ask deeper and deeper questions and that way, you have a conversation that is quite meaningful and both people will walk away without feeling like they wasted their time and that they were bored.

Always keep in mind, people love to talk about their passions and not so much about their insecurities yet everyone has them and by opening up and sharing your struggles and your insecurities, you become instantly more relatable and thus likeable.

9. Minimize Complaining

We all feel like we want to complain every once in a while and that’s okay, however, if you complain constantly, you carry a negative aura with you and others don’t want to be around you because you just bring them down or make them feel bad. So what if you just have a natural negative outlook in life and that’s simply who you are? Well, in that case, I suggest you try to flip it around and try to see the positive things and frankly, if sometimes that’s too hard and you can’t find anything nice to say, it’s better not to say anything at all.

Pitti Uomo 82
Pitti Uomo 82

10. Make Everyone Feel Included

If you have a group conversation, there’s usually someone who speaks a lot more than someone else. If you pick up on that and you notice that someone is being quiet or just alone, it really pays to loop them back into the conversation by asking them a question.

Sven Raphael Schneider in White Tie keeping it real
Sven Raphael Schneider in White Tie keeping it real

11. Embrace A Positive Attitude

It makes sense to embrace a positive attitude because other people will like to be around you because it makes them feel positive. Usually, positive people uplift other people and don’t drain their energy. Sometimes, just reminding yourself of that is all it takes to be more positive.

Finally, it’s only fair to acknowledge that people have their own will and chances are some people will never like you and that’s okay. In those cases, it’s best not to focus on things you can’t change but the things you can do. If you apply these eleven tips in your social life, I guarantee you, you will be more liked.

So what are your secret tips to become more likeable? Please share with us in the comments and give us a thumbs up.


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