2013 December 26

Front Row Sewn Stripe Rugby Shirt 2168 511 240x300 Exchanging unwanted Christmas clothingWhat are your rights if you receive something you don’t want, can’t use, doesn’t fit … not as many as you might imagine. There’s no legal redress for being given a rubbish or inappropriate gift, sadly!

1. However, lots of retailers do offer a goodwill policy that may either be an exchange for goods of similar value, or a refund, providing that you have the receipt. So the first question is – are you willing to let that gifter know you’re going to swap their present for something else?

If not, you might like to try some of these:

2. Make a profit: if the gift didn’t cost you anything, you can always sell it on eBay – bear in mind though, that the same thing applies as point 1 – your gift-giver may spot you flogging off their gift online!

3. Be a good citizen: take the garment to a charity shop and let the worthy cause benefit from it.

4. Re-gifting: put it away until next Christmas, or the point at which somebody gives you an unexpected birthday present … then perhaps your unwanted clothing will become the perfect gift to give to somebody else. Of course, take care you don’t give the orange rugby shirt to anybody who will come into contact with the person who gave it to you in the first place and don’t give a pair of pink leggings to your hyper-masculine uncle Bert, just to get rid of them!

5. Re-purpose: Cut the sleeves off a jacket and it might make a great fleece for running or gardening. The hideous scarf can be turned into a kitsch cushion – just use your imagination, as you’ll lose nothing by getting creative with something you didn’t like anyway!


2013 December 10

BC Traveller Sleeveless Fleece Jacket 29 443 300x300 Casual clothing for winter travelBritain is once again experiencing periods of extreme weather followed by unseasonable mild spells. It’s difficult to know how to dress for such conditions, especially if you’re travelling. Christmas adds to the problem, by requiring that we dress reasonably well, whilst imposing journeys in unpredictable and sometimes terrible conditions.

Cycling, walking, spectating

Whether it’s snowballs in the park or Boxing Day rugby, dressing to have fun is vital over the winter. A sleeveless fleece or body warmer offers excellent insulation of the torso, whilst allowing complete freedom of movement. Worn with a scarf, gloves and hat, a sleeveless fleece can be a great investment if you’re expecting to be active. Top it with a high-visibility tabard or vest if cycling so you don’t become a bad weather statistic.

Car journeys

Layering is important. Cars get hot, so people need to take layers off, then you stop for a comfort break and everybody gets cold and needs to pile the clothing on again. Jog pants are ideal for drivers as they give comfort and ease and you can put on your smart clothing when you arrive.

Mass transport

Trains, coaches and planes bring their own problems including the risk of delay at airports and railway stations and the possibility of getting into traffic jams that leave you spending hours on a hot and often a little whiffy form of transport with a lot of other people. Make sure you put a spare top in your hand luggage along with some wet wipes and mouthwash. That way, even if you’re stranded, you’ll be able to make yourself presentable. If you’re hoping for an upgrade at the airport, a cotton shirt is the best thing to wear, with smart trousers or a skirt, but a polo shirt is nearly as acceptable. T-shirts and jeans are great to travel in but won’t get you that coveted business class seat!


2013 December 6

AllinOne 127 897 300x300 Choosing Christmas Presents: the OnesieIt crept up on us via the slanket and has been derided by just about every TV comic but the onesie is this year’s big clothing success.

World Diabetes day in November was celebrated by inviting people to wear onesies to work, and the twinsie (a two person onesie for those who just can’t get close enough) has just gone on sale in time for Christmas.

But how do you choose the perfect onesie?

A onesie is the ultimate in casual comfortable clothing so it needs to be just the right size. Don’t choose anything too tight as it will be constricting, nor too loose as it will start to feel like a duvet and be difficult to move around in.

Focus on the unisex – because onesies are made for both men and women you can relax about colour and style, just select something that really appeals to your taste or the taste of the lucky recipient.

Weight – some onesies are lightweight and others are made of fleece or more heavy-duty fabric that adds to their heat-retention capacity.

Onesies to avoid, unless you’re very certain they’ll be well received are:

•    Nude suits – even with fig leaves, the apparently naked body onesies have caused consternation in several locations with one university banning them in halls of residence because they cause alarm and offence to other students!

•    Teletubby onesies – whilst cute enough on children, there is something disturbing about seeing a grown man or woman dressed as a teletubby – it was disturbing enough when the teletubbies did it, without having looky-likey teletubbies in the home.

•    Flag onesies – fun for about five minutes, the Union Jack and Stars and Stripes style onesies can look aggressively patriotic and in addition, are very tough on the eye after a party night – more subdued colours will be better accepted.


2013 November 27

Result Ski Hat 30 362 300x300 Keeping warm in winter – clothing tips from around the netA Girl Called Jack has become famous for living frugally, and she has a few tips on how to keep warm in winter, many of which are clothing related:

1.    Slippers – or fleecy foot things or even thick socks, buy them cheap, wear them from the minute you get home until you have to leave the house.
2.    Tights and leggings – these can take the place of expensive thermal underwear, and cost a lot less. Similarly old T-shirts or camisoles can be layered under other tops to create air pockets which keep you warmer.
3.    Jack also recommends that you “Wear a hat indoors. I know it sounds a bit daft but (apparently) a lot of heat is lost through your head, I’m not sure about the science but I certainly always feel warmer with a hat pulled down around my ears. In the coldest months I even sleep in my hat, and it’s the best warm and cosy feeling!” If you’re going to go for this, why not invest in a snug beanie and try the experiment for yourself?

Netmums also recommends layering and thick socks, but adds the idea of wrapping yourself in blankets and throws to keep warm … if you’re not quite that into layering, a onesie can be the perfect alternative. It’s a great way to keep warm either layered under outdoor clothing or with T-shirts and leggings layered underneath.

The Lincolnshire Echo has another idea – given that Lincoln is said to experience winds directly from Siberia, it might be worth pursuing. “Keep active. Move around the house at least once an hour and don’t sit down for long periods of time. Even light exercise will help keep you warm.” So perhaps the best idea is to put your leggings under other clothing to make layers and strip off the outer layers to jog round your home every hour!


2013 November 25

emerald 300x300 Winter’s hot trendsThis year’s top three fashion tips are extremely clear, which is rare.

1.    Trench coats and military detailing – both are big, but they are quite different. Trench coat styles are happening in soft colours: dove grey, camel, even powder blue, but the military detailing is much more inclined towards camouflage colouring and lots of shiny brown leather. Don’t combine the two as you will just end up looking like an activist for the Far Right.

2.    Emerald – it’s going to be a huge winter colour, apparently, which makes it even more odd that it hasn’t featured in any of the big Christmas adverts in the UK. Still, if it’s going to be big, know how to wear it. In formal clothing, emerald can only be teamed with black shoes, preferably suede or velvet: no gold, no silver, no dodgy ‘almost the same shade of green’. Just black. In casual clothing, emerald works brilliantly with faded denim and with charcoal grey, so consider a green hoodie with jeans or an emerald polo shirt with grey leggings.

3.    50 Shades of Grey – still big, as ever, but this year grey is layered. It’s an easy look to pull off, but if you’re wearing three shades of grey remember to add some colour to your outfit or you’ll look like a zombie. A yellow scarf gives grey jackets a pop of colour or a peach or mint camisole under a grey scoop neck T-shirt adds a layer of warmth as well as a welcome touch of brightness.


2013 November 15

Regatta Dover Jacket 532 700 300x300 Budget secrets of the winter well dressedWinter clothing is more expensive, at just the time when we have least money to spare – extra heating costs and Christmas on the way can wreak havoc with our budget. Here are a few tips to help you stay on top of the budget in the chilly months.

Work the percentages – financial planners say you should spent between 4-6% of your take home pay, benefits or grant allowance on clothing. Allow for cleaning clothes in that amount, and if you fall in love with an amazing coat that has to be dry-cleaned you have to include in the budget enough to get your coat cleaned as often as necessary.

Start with work – if you have to spend a certain amount on your career clothing, subtract that from the budget because it’s essential. What’s left is what you have as ‘discretionary spend’, the free money you can use as you choose. A job with a uniform obviously gives you much more scope to buy casual clothing!

Check your goals – if you’re saving to buy a motorbike or your own home, that probably takes priority over clothes, but there may be ways that you can combine the expenditure. A bike requires a good set of leathers or protective clothing … when you buy a jacket, why not make sure it’s a classic style and bike-appropriate – that way you won’t have extra expenditure once you get the bike itself.

Shop as a collective – get together with friends to take advantage of offers like free delivery over a certain amount or special offers such as three for the price of two, and split the savings between you.


2013 November 12

Fruit of the Loom Sleeveless Fleece 29 320 300x300 And the coolest winter fashion this year is …Oldie tattoos!  Led by David Dimbleby, who’s just had his first ink job, aged 75, tattoos and their display are a big theme for winter 2013 and spring 2014. The TV presenter and journalist has opted for a scorpion on his right shoulder, as a result of researching tattoos for his programme ‘Britain and the Sea’ in which he discovered that tattoos were brought to the UK by sailors who’d seen them in the South Seas.

So if you’ve got your tat and want to show it off, how do you dress?

•    Neck and head tattoos are still dodgy – considered de rigueur in some prisons and professions (muay thai and crystal meth dealing for example) they still have the capacity to shock.  For winter wear, a simple scarf and beanie hat can ensure that you reveal your great ink to the cognoscenti but hide it from maiden aunts and prospective employers.
•    Forearm tattoos are totally acceptable – what a path David Beckham charted for us, making the bared arm with big ink into a statement of British bulldog charm. The best way to display your arm ink is to wear a long-sleeved T-shirt or sweatshirt with a gilet or sleeveless fleece over the top. That way you can push up your sleeves and show your art without losing the warmth provided by a body-hugging sleeveless jacket.
•    Leg art – it’s a trickier one in winter. Your best hope is to invest in some great pants and hope that the love of your life will admire your tatts as you swagger from the bathroom in your budgie smugglers!


2013 November 6

Jerzees Colours Ladies Hydraplus Jkt 29 417 300x300 2014’s must have winter clothingHarper’s Bazaar, Elle, Cosmo, Vanity Fair … they all have their top tips for winter fashion and we’ve decided that, nice as their versions are, the average woman needs a capsule set of clothing a little less likely to cost more than the monthly mortgage payment!

Sadly, winter clothes are more expensive than summer, it’s down to heavier weight fabric, the need to make clothing wind and waterproof and the fact that summer clothes generally get worn for a few weeks only, while winter clothing has to make it through at least three months of dire temperatures.

So, here are our tips to get your fashion wardrobe at budget prices:

A simple but really well-waterproofed casual jacket adds comfort and style to your wardrobe. Our top tip is to buy a formal jacket in tweed or corduroy that will fit neatly under your big winter waterproof – that way you can dump the top coat when you get to your destination and look as smart as paint whilst feeling totally toasty.

Coloured boots are a big deal this winter – look out for red, burgundy and violet shades, rather than tan or black, as the brighter colours pep up a largely neutral winter wardrobe.

Layered T-shirts work brilliantly. Wear a short sleeved shirt over a long-sleeve T-shirt for a casual but cosy look. Layer a camisole under a scoop neck long-sleeve T-shirt for a strappy sassy look. In really cold weather, two long-sleeved T-shirts layered together give insulation without bulk.

Fur prints are still huge news, especially in metallic finishes. Invest in a big scarf of silver leopard print or bronze tiger stripes and learn fifty ways to tie it!


2013 October 21

Uneek Premium TShirt 25 371 300x300 Last minute, low cost Halloween costumes based on a T shirt!Few of us have the cash to splash on costumes this year, and why bother, when you can create a brilliant costume with a couple of accessories, simply from what you already have in your wardrobe … or, more likely, on the bedroom floor!

If you get a last minute invitation to a Halloween party why not try one of our bargain outfits, guaranteed to raise a smile!

If you can bear to sacrifice a T-shirt, perhaps one with a tatty image that’s become cracked and faded, you can make a stunning skull effect.

Skull T-shirt

You need two T-shirts, one white or cream and the other any colour you fancy. If it’s been printed you need to turn it inside out to make the design work.  Now find a picture of a skull silhouette, as wacky or stylised as you like and scale it up so it forms a large enough image to really stand out on the front of the T-shirt and with sharp scissors, carefully cut out the eye sockets, nose and teeth. Then put the T-shirt on, over the white or cream one, and you have an amazing cutaway skull costume, for no money!

  • Version 1 – to give it a Damien Hirst vibe, buy some diamante fabric and glue that under the holes, to may a reverse ‘diamond skull’.
  • Version 2 – for added ghoulishness, buy a couple of plastic spiders and sew one into a eye socket, while the other can dangle on a thread from one of the teeth!

Road to Hell

This is really simple idea, great for guys. Just pull on a black T-shirt and black jeans or jog pants and then cut yellow tape into short sections and use it to make road markings up the middle of the T-shirt. With black cotton, sew a couple of toy cars to the ‘road’ and around the neck, glue or sew some red and yellow crepe paper flames. Highly committed costume makers might want to perch a little demon with a pitchfork on their shoulder to give this outfit the final touch.

Life Aquatic

A great one for girls who don’t want to do the witch or vampire thing for Halloween. Dress in a white sweatshirt with white jeans or, if you’re not feeling the cold, white cut-offs. Use an transparent plastic umbrella and hang various plastic sea creatures from the spokes, to dangle inside as if floating. Bend and tape glow sticks to the edge of the umbrella to create a cool glowing underwater effect. Consider wearing goggles if you’re not vain.


2013 October 16

Polar Fleece Beanie Hat 30 332 300x300 The Ski and Snowboard Show 2013, London and ManchesterFrom 25-27 October in EventCity, Manchester or 30 October – 3 November at Earls Court 2, London, the Ski and Snowboard Show is almost here!

Whether your interest is  après ski fashion or ice-skating, alpine food or curling, there will be stalls, displays and activities to please you. This year’s ski-wear fashions are closely following high street trends so pack a really oversized jumper or two with a huge image on the front, or in a block print. Layering under your big woolly is vital, so take several vests in various lengths and sizes so you can wear one, two or three, depending on the weather.

Team your jumper with a plain fleece or zipped hoody. Snow colours are hot this year: white, cream and stone are really zinging when matched with bright leggings in geometric prints or heavyweight tartan tights.

Snug fitting knit caps or beanies are a must too, and allow a swift transition from skiing ‘helmet hair’ to après ski drinking, dining and clubbing just by pulling on a cute hat and intensifying your lippy to give you a Nirvana style winter-grunge look.

This year’s Ski and Snowboard Show has free entry for children under 11 and ski lessons for those aged 4 and over, with snowboarding sessions for those seven and over. There’s also husky petting!

And there’s an amazing competition too, which could win you a ski holiday, just upload your winter holiday snaps to participate!