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Carr & Westley Blog

  • Fashion Illustrations : The Days Before Photography

    Fashion IllustrationCarr & Westley has been making traditional womens and menswear since 1919.  During that time we have produced many catalogues and seen this process change substantially.  For instance, some of you may remember the way our catalogues looked before the days of product photography.  Back then we would hire fashion illustrators to do drawings of our products and these would be used to convey to the customer what the garment would look like worn.

    It seems like a long time ago now but the last fully illustrated catalogue we produced was in 1994.  That’s only 18 years ago! I recently came across a box of our old fashion illustrations and was bowled over by the level of skill that was needed to produce them.  The illustrator would capture the exact styling and detail of the products.

    We would send the illustrator a selection of product samples and they would draw up their work. Here is a selection of product drawings I found:

    Fashion Illustration Pic 1Fashion Illustration Pic 2Fashion Illustration Pic 3Fashion Illustration Pic 4

    In the mid-nineties, fashion photography and colour printing became affordable for smaller businesses like C&W. Sadly that meant an end to the use of illustrations like this but I still feel impressed and nostalgic when I see them.

    See Carr & Westley's Autumn/Winter Collection with new modern day photography...

  • 9 Reasons To Shop Online At Carr & Westley

    Carr & Website Online1. Wider Choice Of Products

    One of the main advantages of shopping online with C&W is choice.  Through our website we can offer more products than we can fit into a seasonal catalogue.  Not only can you browse the products from the current catalogue but also all products left over from previous ones – many of which are available at discounted prices in our Clearance section.

    2. Ability To See All Colour Ways

    Through our website we are able to show all colour way options available for every product – something not easy to do with a 60 page catalogue!  You can easily browse colours and more accurately choose a product to suit.

    3. See What Is In Stock

    Sometimes, when you order from the C&W catalogue, you will only be told that a product is sold out when you are at the point of purchase.  This is the unfortunate nature of the mail order business and can be annoying (particularly if it is a product you really like!).  However, when you shop online, you can easily see what is, and what is not, in stock.  This helps avoid disappointment early on and if a product is sold out you can easily shop for an alternative with our recommendations.

    4. Learn More About The C&W Story

    We are a company steeped in history and tradition.  We try to promote our brand and values through our catalogues but it is not always easy.  With the web, and this blog, we can tell more. The C&W website is perfect for communicating and informing you about what we’ve been up to recently. Find out what makes us tick.  Provide feedback. But please be nice :)

    5. Read/Add Customer Reviews

    With this website you can read reviews for products that you are interested in that other customers have brought already. This can be a great way to find out about which products other people are buying and like so much that they want to recommend them.

    6. Shop 24/7

    When you order over the telephone you are only able do so between the hours of 9am and 5pm on weekdays.  These are the operating hours of our telephone staff.  However, with the C&W website, you can order any time of the day and on weekends.  It is a more relaxed and convenient way to shop.

    7. Exclusive First Looks

    We often list new products online first, before catalogues are sent out.  This means if you shop through our website you will be able to browse and buy brand new products before anyone else has the opportunity to see them.

    8. Immediate Ordering

    When you shop online we receive you order immediately which means your goods are shipped either that day or the next.  Like using the phone, this is much quicker than if you were to order via postal check.  You’ll receive a confirmation email and a reference number that you can quote if you want an update on the status of your order.

    9. More To Come...

    The beauty of the website is that we can add new features on a regular basis.  Over the coming months we have plans to introduce videos and multi-angle photos to our product pages.  This will greatly enhance the shopping experience.  We also plan to make the checkout process speedier and easier to use, as well as adding ever more products to the Clearance section.  If there is a particular feature that you wish to see added to our website please use the Contact Us form and we’ll be happy to consider it for inclusion on this site.

  • Celebrating Wool Week

    This week the Campaign For Wool, a global community of sheep farmers, retailers and manufacturers, celebrated “Wool Week”. Headed by its patron, His Royal Highness The Prince Of Wales, The Campaign for Wool aims to educate as many people as possible about the incredible benefits and versatility of wool in fashion. The group, in turn, supports small business and local farmers whose livelihoods depend on the wool industry.

    Carr & Westley is an advocate of wool fabric and have been using it to make fine quality clothing since 1919. We supply many wool-based products, including our famous British-made skirts and Merino Jumpers. We admire its versatility and usefulness for keeping warm and stylish during the cooler months of the year.

    To support the wool industry, the Campaign For Wool is encouraging people to choose wool products this winter. You can support the cause via their website – Campaign For Wool – via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and help spread the word. Check out their events page to find out what Wool Week activities are taking place your area.

  • Well I Never Knew That...

    Carr and Westley 1929 advert

    While planning our new 2013 Spring range I decided to do a little research on the history of Carr and Westley. Thanks to the wonders of Google I found this little gem at Graces Guide. An original Carr and Westley advert from 1929. Carr & Westley were based in High Holborn, London at the time, yet to move to the countryside to escape the blitz. The advert features both a ladies and gentleman’s waterproof coat, with compelling copy that certainly worked on me.

    Below is a transcript of the copy:

    20' AMAZING "Greatest value" offer   

    You would think it was real leather.

    Why pay several guineas for a leather coat when, thanks to modern science, you can have the fine coat illustrated for 20s.?

    These all the year round coats are ideal for driving, walking and all kinds of sport. Look and wear exactly like leather. You cannot tell the difference. Lined with a cosy camel shade fleecy lining, these coats will keep you warm and dry. Will withstand the heaviest downpour and survive any amount of hard wear. Will last for years and will retain its colour and waterproof qualities to the end.

    Thoroughly waterproof.

    Write now, enclosing 20s. for coat, while you have the advertisement in front of you, and the coat comes by return.

    Gents Model, as illustrated, STOCK SIZES, Chest: 34 ins, 36 ins, 38insm 40ins, 42 ins. Give size over waistcoat. TAN colour only. Double-breasted with belt all round.

    Ladies Model: STOCK SIZES, Lengths: 38 ins, 40 ins, 42 ins, 44 ins and 46ins, Shades: TAN, GREEN, LIDO, SAXE, WINE and RED. Collar, cuffs, pockets and belts piped contrasting colour.

    Money refunded if not satisfied

    Carr and Westley (1928) Ltd

    (Dept H) 40, High Holborn, London, W.C.1

    (A few doors west of chancery Lane Tube Station.)

     

     

     

    If you would like to have a look at our current range of coats click here

    To see our Menswear range click here

  • Carr & Westley's 8 Sleep Tips

    7 sleep tips

    There are some great little tricks if your struggling to get your eight hours. Some of them work and some of them don’t. Some of the best sleep tips involve all natural techniques that you can do in your own home. Here are our top 7, not scientific, just years of practice.

    1. Make sleep a priority. Try not to stay up till all hours of the morning when you know you must get up early. Do this enough times and then your body will no longer sleep when you want it to. You will have reset your internal alarm clock, which will only make you groggy and very cranky.

    2.Start a sleep/bedtime ritual. Start getting ready for bed earlier in the evening. Unwind from the madness of the day at least 2 hours before bed. Start lowering noise and lighting, along with any other stimulants. Take a shower or bath or just wash your face. Now put on your pajamas, nightdress, nightgown, bed socks or bed jacket and get comfortable. Create a bedtime for yourself. Going to bed at the same time every night tells your body what time to go to sleep.

    3.Create a restful place to sleep. No television in the bedroom. No clutter in the bedroom. Make your bedroom an oasis from the rest of the house. Make sure that you have a good quality mattress and foundation on your bed. It should be comfortable and support your spine.

    4. Cut back on what you take in before bed. Avoid foods and try to cut back if you smoke.

    5. Relax. Listen to music, soft, peaceful music to practice deep breathing to. Close your eyes and clear your mind. Some people swear by practicing meditation techniques at bed time as well as counting backward from 10,20, or even 30.  The belief is that your body comes to understand that you are ‘counting down’ to sleep and it begins to relax into the beginning stages of the sleep mode.

    6. If you just cannot sleep, get up. Now this is a important one. If you are laying in bed staring at the ceiling then get up. Attempting to force yourself to sleep results in a horrid restless sleep.

    7. Exercise. Now don’t exercise within 1-2 hours of bedtime, see point 4. Find some time during the day, even first thing in the morning, to exercise. It has been scientifically proven  that people who exercise have a better quality of sleep. Exercise helps to reduce stress levels and increase health, both of which help to create a more peaceful quality of sleep.

    8.Finally, nightwear. This is where we can help, the right nightdress, PJs or bed jacket can keep you warm on the coldest nights or cool during stuffy summer nights. Take a look look out our range by clicking here.

  • Winter Is Upon Us, Are You Prepared?

    How To Stay Warm In Winter Time

    Hi all, I’m Pete a proud fresh face at Carr & Westley. I thought since the days are getting colder and darker, I would write a quick blog post on how you can best prepare for the chills that lie ahead.

    The Forecast.

    To begin with, it’s very hard to predict what weather we are going to get more than a month in advance. We can make assumptions of course, but in reality we won’t truely know what we are faced with until we step out of the front door.

    It is always a good idea to hope for the best but prepare for the worst and if early reports are to be believed, it does look like we will have colder than average December. You should expect frost, ice, cold winds and quite possibly more snow than in recent years.

    Keeping Warm, Keep Well

    Good sense tells us that in colder months is important to prevent catching colds, flu, and more serious illnesses.  Luckily, the NHS has set up a basic checklist of things you can do to help yourselves and others stay healthy this winter time.

    So what can we do?

    The following is a list of Met office advised actions you can take to maintain good health during cold months:

    1. Get Your Free Flu Jab. If you are aged 65 or over, pregnant, have certain medical conditions, live in a residential or nursing home, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person you are intitled to a fee flu jab paid for by the NHS. Visit the NHS website for more information on how is eligible and how you can book an appointment to get your flu jab.
    2. Keep Warm. The optimal temperture for staying warm is between 18-21°C (65-70°F). Set your home's thermasat to somewhere between these temperatures to find the right balance of managing your heating and your energy bills.
    3. Check On Others. Winter time is not only about looking out for yourself but others as well.  Make sure you check on neighbours and relatives to ensure they are safe, warm and well.
    4. Eat The Right Foods. Food is vital for keeping your body warm. During winter it is important to eat hot meals and drink warm beverages throughout the day.
    5. Check Your Appliances. Get your heating and cooking appliances checked for inefficiences. If you use heating oil, LPG or wood products as the main heating source, make sure that you have a sufficient supply to avoid running out. Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm which is EN50291 compliant, but fitting an alarm should not replace regular maintenance of appliances.
    6. Maintain Good Hygiene.  Try to wash your hands more regularly than normal as this can help prevent the spread of the norovirus and other nasty illnesses.
    7. Learn First Aid.  Try to learn about a few basic first aid steps; like how to deal with strains, sprains or broken bones. Trips and falls are more likely to occur in icy weather and understanding how to treat accidents can stop panic. Consult the NHS website for some useful education resources.
    8. Check The Forecast.  Before you leave the house, check the weather.  It seems simple enough but checking to see what you might have to deal with that day will ensure you are best prepared.  It also means you can eat the right food or take the right medicines for your day ahead.
  • What's The Key To Slenderella's Success

    Slenderella Logo

    To celebrate the launch of our Slenderella catalogue page, we thought we would give you a little insight into the company that has become a C&W customer favourite.  

    The Slenderella Story

    Towards the end of the last Century, the once booming textile industry of Middle England experienced decline. One region hit particularly hard was Derbyshire, which at the time was home to popular garment brands like Courtaulds, Blounts, Jaeger, Flanders and the Ewe Hosiery Company.

    During this time, another successful hoisery company from Belper, Derbyshire, was also in difficulty until one of it's employees stepped in to save the firm and other brand names.  Previously a salesman at Brettles, Gary Spendlove took over the company and acquired the brand name, Slenderella.

    Slenderella prides itself on the fact that it is a local business with principles. Slenderella is a local business with a global reach, supplying over 750 retailers in the British Isles but also supplying to retailers all-round the world.

    For me however, the key is that they employ local principles. Gary has said that his not so well kept secret is that they “combine high quality with value for money”, along with “running a tight ship where everyone on board knows which way to sail.’’

    Gary Spendlove is a typically unassuming, hard-working family man who knows his routes. Therefore when the name Brettle’s faded into the marketplace, Gary bought back the name and now it can be seen as a sub-brand under the Slenderella name, ‘‘I returned Brettles to where it always belonged,’’ says Gary.

    Gary is adamant that the Slenderella brand, although doing extremely well and looking set to expand, is not just a money making machine. “I’m proud to be Belper born and bred and I cherish the history of this place. I’m just delighted that the hosiery and textile trade lives on in Belper, proud that I’ve brought Brettles back home, and satisfied that I’m not only giving employment to local people but, in effect, keeping a great many people in work worldwide.”

    At Carr & Westley we share the same principles as Slenderella and are proud to offer their extensive range.

  • Testimonials: Customer Feedback

    We regularly receive happy feedback from our customers; here is a little collection of the ones that have come in recently. Hopefully this list will grow over the coming days.

    "Dear Sir/Madam, I felt I must write to express my delight at the above garment.  I have seldom, if ever, bought anything on line or from a catalogue that so matched up to its description in every way.  Colour, style, fit and fabric are perfect and it is lovely to wear.  Thank You. Sincerely, Olga C. (Mrs.)" 21/11/2012

    “Dear Carr and Westley , just wanted to say thank you for stocking the Easy B shoe. After trying to find a shoe that is comfy in the summer, this is it. Yours Faithfully, Jean W” 04/06/2012 

    "Great to find an attractive bed jacket - not old fashioned looking. The softest cuddliest fabric I have ever felt. Fantastic product which I hate to take off! Reader in bed" 10/11/2012

    “Many thanks for your help when I ordered the Ashshirt skirt. Thank you to Sue for her courtesy and patience. Margaret B.”25/10/2012

    "Love all items received. Exchange and return system excellent. Great to deal with" J. Delacour 11/12/2012

  • Black friday

    Black friday queue

     

    Black Friday

    Some of the UK's biggest retailers are cashing in on a US tradition, slashing their prices ahead of Christmas.

    Amazon, Asda and Apple are among the companies that have launched so-called Black Friday sales in Britain - despite many consumers being unaware of the custom.

    So what is ‘Black Friday?’

    Black Friday is the name given to the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. On this day, most major retailers open extremely early and offer promotional sales to kick off the holiday shopping season, similar to Boxing Day sales in the U.K. Black Friday is not an official holiday, but many non-retail employers also observe this day as a holiday along with Thanksgiving, giving their employees the day off, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers. It has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005, although news reports, which at that time were inaccurate,have described it as the busiest shopping day of the year for a much longer period of time.

    The day's name originated in Philadelphia, where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Use of the term started before 1961 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later an alternative explanation began to be offered: that "Black Friday" indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or are "in the black".

    For many years, it was common for retailers to open at 6:00 a.m., but in the late 2000s many had crept to 5:00 A.M or even 4:00 A.M! This was taken to a new extreme in 2011, when several retailers opened at midnight for the first time. In 2012, Walmart led several other retailers in announcing it would open its stores at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, prompting calls for a walkout among some workers.

    Back in the U.K

    Online retailer Amazon was one of the first companies to bring the trend to the UK. It launched a week-long Black Friday sale on Monday, which it claims "offers millions of pounds of savings on hundreds of Christmas gifts". Tech giant Apple and Asda, owned by Walmart, are also hoping to make the most of the Christmas shopping rush by offering one-day discounts of their own. More and more British consumers are becoming aware of the American tradition for the first time.

    In the U.S, the tradition is kick-started by ‘Thanksgiving’ which of course we don’t have in the U.K. Today is just another day (albeit with a rather sinister name). Even though we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, our retailers want to import this American tradition (like we do so many others).

    We at Carr & Westley don’t want you to miss out on a deal so check out the our brand new clearance page.

     

  • A Bed Jacket Is For Life..

    Bed Jacket

    Whilst nightgowns and housecoats remain as popular as ever, the humble bed jacket has rather fallen from favour in the past few years. Resigned to hospital stays and gifts, it found itself towards the lower end of Carr and Westley’s selling popularity lists.

    It has, however, made a comeback in recent times mainly thanks to its usefulness and exposure to wider audiences.

    The bed jacket, a woman’s garment, is a waist-length robe, worn to cover the chest, shoulders and arms whilst sitting up in bed. It’s short length and cape-like cut allows it to be put on (or removed) whilst still in bed. Often made of sheer or lacy fabric and displaying very feminine trimmings and details, it was often used more for seduction, rather than warmth or modesty. It was popularized in 1930s Hollywood films featuring glamorous settings and glamorous stars lounging languorously in their silken bedrooms. Ostrich feather tips, swan’s down, pleated tulle and shirred lace were just a few examples of the extravagant materials that could be used in creating these confections.

    These garments are currently very popular with people who have been hospitalized or recommended bed rest. I was recently introduced to the wondrous garments when I gave birth to our son last February (warmth and modesty definitely on my mind more than seduction and Hollywood glamour!). Sitting up whilst feeding him at night, I found a dressing gown cumbersome and hot, yet it was too cold for lightweight nightwear. Arise the bed jacket! It was the perfect alternative.

    The ribbon tie front bed jacket is my favourite because it looks pretty whether tied or open but their are a number of different styles to suit your preference. Some of the models are made from a thicker material than other and have long sleeves - it really depends what situations you want to use them for.

    Carr & Westley offer a great range of bed jackets with new styles arriving every season. The company's aim is to become the nation's number one choice for bed jackets by offering the widest range possible. If there is a style or design that we don't yet offer, please let us know and we'll try our best to include it in our range.

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