2013 October 2

varsity hoodieChoosing a hoodie for yourself is tough enough – zipped or unzipped, loose fit or skin-tight, pouch or no pouch …? Choosing for a group or team is even more difficult.

Here’s our guide to the best way to choose a hoodie.

Before you begin:

1.    Obtain the right information – get those involved to make basic measurements (waist, hip, chest, neck and arm length) and supply them to you, so you can be sure that the hoodie you choose has the right range of sizes.
2.    If you’re buying for a club or society, check the rules – some places have strict limits on what you can and can’t do.
3.    Check the budget – the more colours you have printed or embroidered, the more hoodies will cost.

Now start your choice process:

1.    Make a shortlist of colours – neutral is best unless you’re sure everyone in the group will be happy with pink or banana yellow!
2.    See if you can try on garments from that manufacturer – each company varies and it helps a lot with sizing to know if they run big or small, relaxed or tailored.
3.    Ask your printer for samples if you’re not sure what you’re doing.
Ale-House-T-Shirt-Fail4.    Check, check and double check and then get somebody else to check – think about how your hoodie will look in different situations … it’s so easy to have an epic fail!
5.    Make a shortlist of your final colours and designs – no more than three, preferably just two.
6.    Invite those involved to vote. Go with the majority even if you think they are wrong – it’s more important that people are comfortable and confident than that they have a stunning hoodie … you will probably get your way next time, if they are happy this time.
7.    Place your order. Wait impatiently for it to arrive.
8.    Look great in your new hoodies!


2013 September 27

AWDis_Girlie_Cool_TShirt_25_156It’s a strange paradox that individuality is one often best defined by uniformity! From the 1950s when teenagers began to rebel by dressing differently to their parents (and identically to each other) individual preferences, feelings, views and allegiances tend to be demonstrated by a uniform, whether it’s khaki and shiny boots or black PVC and safety pins.

Printed, personalised T-shirts have become a feature of daily life because they allow the individual to express their personality or views, whilst demonstrating how they fit into larger groups or societies. Hen and stag parties find the printed T-shirt or baseball cap to be a completely vital element of the celebrations as do fun runners and those undertaking events for charitable causes.

But businesses are seeing the value of the individual/uniform paradox too. While uniforms create a sense of unity and allow customers to identify employees easily, they can also foster a sense of corporate thinking with anonymity being the shield behind which uncaring ‘customer service’ and lacklustre treatment can lurk unchecked. After all, ‘all staff look the same’.

But a uniform which identifies the individual whilst locating them in the group is the ideal solution. Boldly printed T-shirts work for fun and young organisations, whilst elegant embroidered polo shirts or even cotton shirts can make a superb impression whilst still being easy to launder.

Corporate branding helps create a team identity whilst giving a professional focus to your business as a whole. It reinforces the image of your company and makes it more memorable and it shapes the way your staff operate because it determines the way they are seen by others.

Whether you choose printing or embroidery it’s a cost effective way to celebrate your big event or get your business into a good position.


2013 September 18

Sometimes children dislike a new school or develop a school phobia after the first few days of the school term. This can disturb parents and lead to them applying pressure to their child to try and redress the situation, but there are better ways of resolving difficulties.

Ensure routines are established early

You can work on developing a good school routine by assisting a child to prepare the previous evening by laying out their school clothes, packing their bag, making up a healthy lunch etc and ensuring all the processes for an efficient morning start are in place, such as setting alarms, washing and dressing and eating breakfast.

ConfidenMantis_Women's_Superstar_Hoodie-2045-717ce issues

Girls are often confronted with self-esteem problems at the end of the summer holidays when pulling on a school uniform reveals changes to her body or that she is ahead or behind her peer group, developmentally. For boys, self-esteem issues often relate to difficulty expressing their feelings or coping with new thoughts and feelings that they lack a vocabulary for.

Girls can be assisted to explore a positive idea of themselves by planning outfits based on their current wardrobe and a couple of new key items, while boys often find drama classes or even taking up a contact sport can help them move past their insecurities.

Bullying

Nobody wants to believe their child is being bullied, or a bully, but it’s a fact of life. Schools should have a policy to deal with such issues. Ask for a copy of their policy and take a step by step approach to the problem. Remember, it’s not about appointing blame but about making school a positive experience for children.


2013 September 10

Result_Ski_Hat_30_362Be well fed

With Freshers week and people dropping in for drinks, drinks and more drinks it’s important to ensure you eat well. Buy a cookery book for students and use apps and sites like locare and locavore to get local information. Around many universities there are gleaning and foraging groups that a) seek out local free food and b) give you a chance for a social encounter with food at the end. If you’re inclined for that kind of activity, get involved early and you may end up fitter, with cash to spare.

Be prepared

Small change is essential for everything from photocopying to vending machines, so find a discreet place to store yours and hang on to it. Having a decent sized washbag allows you to be a good user of communal bathrooms – you can carry your stuff in and out without either getting it mixed up with other people’s supplies or unwittingly funding the entire corridor’s deodorant and hair putty habit!

Be clean
Flip flops for the corridors and bleach for the toilet will ensure that you don’t pick up nasty diseases through wandering around barefoot and can use the loo without retching. Your hall mates might not be as conscientious as you – try not take it personally and just be a good example.

Be neat and tidy

Wash your towels and T-shirts regularly. It’s really easy to forget about basic hygiene when you’re under pressure but being neat is part of the deal – it doesn’t just make you more romantically acceptable, it keeps your life manageable and allows you to take advantage of opportunities such as a last minute trip out to the cinema or an art gallery with your new companions.

Be accessorised

For guys, a couple of beanie hats, for gals, some cheap scarves – they allow you to hide greasy unwashed hair or drunk hair decisions like going blonde or cutting your fringe.

Be organised

By a clothes dryer – you can hang all your clothes on it rather than strew them around the room a) it stops other people sitting on your garments and b) it stops them getting creased.


2013 September 4

Front_Row_Ladies_Striped_Sleeve_Rugby_Shirt-2139-451This year’s music wannabees have been modelling this year’s hottest looks for the Daily Mail – but if you don’t have £450 for a skirt or £100 for a tee, we’ve got some tips on getting the look at budget prices.

None of this year’s talents have the wild couture of Lady GaGa or the goth feyness of Florence and the Machine, which might be good news for girls on a budget as keeping up with weird and wonderful fashion trends is tough on the pocket.

So here’s how to get the looks without spending a fortune:

Paper London

It is one of our favourite brands – there’s something both demure and demanding about their knitwear which is utterly want-worthy. And given that celebs snapped in Paper London clothing include Lily Collins, Pippa Midleton and Jayma May (okay, she’s from Glee, in case you don’t recognise the name) Paper London have the star vote too.

Of course at £450 a jumpsuit, their price is out of a lot of people’s range, but we reckon you can pull together a look that works pretty well like this:

Paper London look – team oversized polos and rugby shirts in acid colours with contrast collars with geometric print tights or even buy some bright cotton or bamboo leggings and stonewash/dip dye/bleach out a random pattern on them to get a one-off look.

Accesories should be geometric – look to the new Rimmel London Retromania cosmetics to get the right balance of stylised shapes with stark colours.

Cats Brothers

So while we like Paper London, we are utterly mad about Cats Brothers and their stunning, vibrant beaded knitwear. They call it the ‘Crazy Homies’ look and it works for just about everyone, providing an off-beat charm that most of us can pull off and that brightens the darkest November day.

Pull the look together by wearing cut offs worn over bright tights or leggings, a long knitted scarf and a long-sleeved skinny-fit T-shirt or sweatshirt under an oversized T-shirt with a band print – Beastie Boys, House of Pain and Stylo G are good choices for this look. And go for hot colours: neon pink, mustard, turquoise etc.

Accessories should be bold; a general Mexican theme will pull the look together for you.


2013 August 23

BC_Ladies_Blondie_Classic_V_Neck_TShirt_54_324Now that Maria Sharapova has failed in her bid to become Maria Sugarpova to support her burgeoning style empire, there’s a chance to look more seriously at her debut clothing line. Currently selling in New York (her sweetie range is available at Selfridges in the UK) the line includes T-shirts, bags, hats and fashion accessories that feature the brand’s keynote lip logo.

It’s not an unreachably expensive brand, with vest T-shirts starting at £14.00 but if you want to get the look at high street prices it’s a relatively easy style to create.

First, the signature of the line is V-neck T-shirts or vests – choose something bright for summer daywear and black or navy for evening – Masha (as she is known) is very keen on navy which picks out her ombre blonde hair, and for the launch of her current line she wore a navy mini-dress with cutout panels. You can get a similar look with a navy camisole top and a linen skirt.

Second, be relatively casual, except for your shoes – she’s a big Louboutin fan and that means high heels and dressy shoe shapes.

Third, be tanned, and if possible, toned. It’s not the flesh she flashes that makes Masha such a hit, but the way that she manages to combine her athletic prowess with sensual hints, so choose casual clothing but team it with excellent foundation wear so that your outline is as honed as possible.

Fourth and finally – bling matters and it should be sweet (lips and hearts) bright (pinks, reds, pave and diamante if you can’t afford real diamonds) and bold – there are no delicate pastels in the Sugarpova accessory line.


2013 July 24

Gamegear_Team_Short_Sleeve_Shirt_104_142Britain is basking in a heatwave (okay, bits of it are under the mother of all thunderstorms, but the heat is set to return) and our athletes, para and otherwise, are proving that the Olympic results were not a blip – from Mo Farah to Jonnie Peacock they are bringing home the medals and records in 2013. Then there’s Chris Froome – he may be built like a chicken drumstick but he’s won the Tour de France in commanding fashion.

It’s getting us all worked up about working out.  Whether we’re emulating the 71 kilo Froome or matching ourselves against the matchless Farrah, the right clothing makes all the difference.

Froome with a view

A good cycling shirt wicks sweat away from the body, has pockets for mobile phones and other essentials that just have to be to hand, and doesn’t make you look quite as much of a dork as that chap in the rainbow jersey.

Sunglasses are a double essential – they save your sight in sunny conditions and protect you from road debris if you’re cycling to work – accidents caused by poor visibility are very common even for cyclists who don’t have to fight with traffic. Save your sight!

Farah and away the fastest

Mo Farah hasn’t been able to go clothes shopping since the Olympics, because he gets mobbed. To get Farah’s edge, head for the basketball section of the sports shop, or look out for vest style tops! Yes, our favourite runner wears the clothing put together for the basketball team … and it works for him!

Mo’s also got a nice line in sockless running, which doesn’t work for everyone, but if you can do it, it stops the hideous jokes about Brits and socks and apparently allows your feet to develop greater proprioception because the socks cushion your feet and stop them feeling the surface properly – slowing us down.


2013 July 17

Fruit_of_the_Loom_Hoody_74_572The rapper has recently become a dad with Kim Kardashian, although that doesn’t seem to have influenced his clothing line. His latest collab, with the French brand APC, has been a huge success with a sellout within 24 hours of the nine item garment line going on sale.

Baby North has been a pap star since she arrived, but Dad has his own frenzied following too, especially for the  hoodies that featured in his capsule collection – demand for them was so high that the APC site crashed. Kanye’s clothing sells for between $120 and $300 so if that’s to steep for you, it’s possible to get the look for less.

Our recommendations are:

1.    Jeans – low slung and either mid-light and stone-washed or dark, nothing too light and stay away from the bright blue denim, it’s just not Kanye!

2.    Hoodies – the signature piece is a super loose grey hoodie with mid-length cap cut sleeves – it’s not going to be cheap, at 170 Euros, and you can reproduce it with a stone coloured hoodie in large, as in our image above, and cut the sleeves to just below the elbow and then fold them up to get the contrast effect. West’s other hoodies are navy – one dark, one mid navy, both with long sleeves. Widely available elsewhere and a bargain price, but get the heaviest weight you can, to give depth and bulk to this key garment.

3.    T-shirts – white T-shirts are a big deal for the rapper, and you’re looking for an oversized T-shirt with a good drape and a music focused image on the front. His retail for 80 to 105 Euros but you can get them at a quarter the price, with your own printed image, online.


2013 July 13

Fruit_Of_The_Loom_Slim_Fit_TShirt_25_3312013 may, or may not, be the 100 year anniversary of the T-shirt. Nobody knows exactly when this classic casual garment was ‘invented’ although in 1913 the US Navy ordered ‘light undershirts’ for every sailor to wear under their bell-bottomed uniforms and the T-shirt, as a name, arrived.

However, as is so often the case, it seems the USA may have been importing, and renaming, an older European invention. Many European soldiers, particularly British army recruits stationed in India and Burma, wore ‘undershirts’ when they were off duty, and these undershirts were virtually identical to the plain white T-shirt that is ubiquitous today.

One reason the plain white T-shirt has been back in the news is the effect of The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo di Caprio. The film is based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, who was the first writer to coin the term ‘T shirt’ in his 1920s novel, This Side of Paradise. At the same time, Rene Lacoste, the French tennis player, brought the polo shirt to high prominence with his many wins, and his chosen tennis apparel. Casual was king.

The craze for tanning, the increased casualness in clothing generally, and the arrival of Hollywood stars like James Dean who was the icon of the new cool casual fashions, all brought T-shirts into public prominence.

It wasn’t until the 1950s that printed T-shirts really got off the ground, and then they took the T-shirt world completely. Today it is predicted that every person in the world has at least two T-shirts, and that the average developed world consumer has a dozen.

And the average developed world consumer may be about to buy one more, especially if he is male and a bit chunky – Andrew Dunn of Nottingham University has discovered that a large black T on the front of a white T-shirt gives the impression you are slimmer than you are! The degree of attraction corresponds to the width of the T and whilst a wide T in the classic position can increase a man’s health and physical appeal in a photo by around 12% over the same man wearing a blank shirt, an upside down T of the same size decreases health and physical appeal by … 12%!


2013 July 8

Henbury_Contrast_Tipped_Pique_Polo_Shirt_21_903Most famous, until Sunday, for taking his shirt off at the end of matches, Andy Murray may be about to earn up to £15 million from endorsements and sponsorship following his win at Wimbledon. After a 77 year drought, a British winner on Centre Court is a feel-good boost for the clothing economy as well as for the sport.

Ironically, there has been a big gap on Murray’s T-shirt for nearly two years, despite his Olympic gold medal – now the competition is on for sponsors to fill that gap.  Murray’s been a understated dresser for his whole playing career, favouring white shirts and shorts with a navy or royal blue trim, a subtle but clear hint of his Scottish routes.

Will he start his own sports clothing line?  Nobody is really sure – however, his sponsorship deals are handled by the same team who put Beckham’s deals together so it’s likely that we may see Murray shirtless again, as the headliner for one or another of the world’s most famous brands.

Meantime, to get the Murray look yourself, aim for ringer T-shirts or tipped polo-shirts, with either white or navy blue shorts and don’t forget the white socks – quintessentially British and utterly acceptable if you’ve just lifted that unnamed trophy with the pineapple on the top!