Keeping warm and looking good are often mutually exclusive ideals, especially if you don't do layering. I know an alarming number of stylish women with unquestionable taste levels who sit in their coats in draughty offices and, at home, are no strangers to the Slanket. Scarred by childhood memories of perma-greying, pre-revamp Damart undies, the choice for those of us who feel the cold used to be either to freeze or pile on jumpers until we looked like the Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters. Only after Japanese retail sensation Uniqlo launched its hugely successful Heat Tech range of under garments aka 'inner wear', which combined new fabric technologies with a palette of pop colours back in 2006, did the previously oxymoronic concept of 'thermal fashion' become a viable option again.
The Flatterer top, £45.99
British company HotSquash is the newest kid on the thermal block, bringing a softer, more sophisticated style to winter warmth - and the best bit? They design CLOTHES. Yes, clothes - not just underwear or leggings (although they do, do leggings - and socks) - and they're not shiny either.
Their surprisingly affordable 'Warm Collections' include tops, t-shirts, dresses and trousers in refined colour ways and are currently available in UK sizes 8-16 although they hope to expand this offering soon. Highlights include the flattering Bibalicious top pictured at the end of this post, Slouch and Glam trousers, and my personal favourites, this chic little easy to wear Dress Up, Dress Down dress and their Smarty Pants trousers which are just the most perfect everyday winter work pant.
HotSquash works because of the cutting edge fabric science behind it (partly inspired by polar bears, no less) and, without nerding out too much, this basically means their clothes are all low maintenance (yay!), lightweight and breathable yet can do things like dry 50% quicker than cotton but keep you twice as warm as wool, and their trousers are both rain and stain proof.
With Heat Tech apparently having sold over one hundred million pieces in seven countries so far, there is clearly a massive demand, which can only mean good things for HotSquash. Get in there first at www.hotsquash.com and sign up for their newsletter here to receive 10% off your first order.