2013 October 8

Front_Row_Ladies_Original_Rugby_Shirt-2166-355Back in the day, men wore the trousers and women wore skirts and dresses. Unisex was unthinkable. Today unisex clothing is much more common, from T-shirts through to boyfriend jeans, clothing comes in sizes much more than in cuts.

One of the most successful unisex garments is the rugby shirt. Well worn, it makes a comfortable fashion statement and can be either laidback or sexy depending on the styling.  Here are our top five tips to wear this casual garment well:

1.    Layering – for a highly feminine look try a large rugby shirt over a mini-skirt or shorts worn with textured tights. Heeled boots finish this look off perfectly.
2.    Jeans – while rugby shirts and jeans are a classic look, focus on the details that make a real difference: a chunky necklace that sits inside the collar of the shirt will add a feminine vibe and for casual outfits try sandals or flip-flops rather than training shoes and for more formal events, highly polished brown boots look fabulous and add a touch of country-style Middleton glamour to the ensemble.
3.    Focus on colour – the darker the colour the more formal the look, so a solid black or navy rugby shirt will look more formal than a yellow or pink one. Stripes always look casual.
4.    For the perfect boyfriend look, team an oversized rugby shirt with a pair of tiny denim cut-offs, a high pony tail and flip-flops, it looks feminine, casual and captivating!
5.    Don’t forget that the cutest way to wear a rugby shirt is to borrow one from your man and wear that!


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 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 31

Jerzees_Ladies_LS_Ult_NonIron_Shirt_27_962They used to be called blouses, but today they are simply women’s shirts. They can be a boon to the woman who needs to dress smartly for work but doesn’t have a huge budget as three or four shirts in different colours are much more adaptable than a similar number of less classic tops.

Here’s how to make the look work for you.

Under or over?

Whilst a shirt can be worn over a camisole top or vest to give a semi-structured look, it’s just as versatile worn under a plain pinafore dress or a pretty waistcoat to give a more feminine vibe.

Pick a reason

If you wear a shirt for work, there’s no reason not to make it do double duty for your leisure hours. A plain white shirt worn with trousers in a work environment can look really cute if you tie the top around your waist, rather than buttoning it and roll up the sleeves, it’s a perfect bikini cover up.

Consider your fabric

Pure cotton shirts are the classic style – they are hard-wearing but can be more difficult to launder than the blended cotton versions. Non-iron shirts are also available and take all the hard work out of wash time, although they don’t necessarily offer the same cool comfort in a hot office as 100% cotton does.

Play to your strengths

If you have bingo wings or skinny arms, a long-sleeved shirt will conceal their inadequacies whilst offering a nice tailored appearance that enhances your good features. If you have a traditional apple or pear shape, consider a shirt with a round tail, worn outside your skirt or trousers, and with a skinny slimming belt at the waist. It elongates your body and looks slimming.


2013 July 27

Jerzees_Schoolgear_Boys_Blazer_29_126In the USA the earliest ever back-to-school shopping binge has already begun! Yes, just as our schools break up, the USA is shopping for the return to desks and detentions.  What’s interesting about this is that around 60% of shoppers for back-to-school items start their shopping online.

The biggest search trends are for: One Direction stationery, Messenger bags, North Face school backpacks, and personalised school kit and supplies. The One Direction craze is huge, with white T-shirts a la Harry Styles look and blue short sleeves shirts as worn by Louis topping polls, although Zayn’s trademark lumberjack shirt and quiff are the biggest sales leaders.

Messenger bag sales are explicable by the fact that tablets are the most searched item online for high school and college students – and a tablet needs a bag to transport it. Around 39% of consumers in the USA will do some of their school shopping online with 17% saying it’s how they do the majority of their purchasing of school uniform and supplies.

One way that many people prepare for the return to school is by viewing videos uploaded by those who’d already made their purchases, to hear candid reports of the items they bought, from underwear to school shirts to stationery. It’s turning out to be one of the biggest drivers for teenage buyers – and students are planning their shopping around the real time reports of others who are out comparing prices and trying on clothing, so that they can be as efficient as possible and still find stylish bargains.


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.