2013 December 26

Front_Row_Sewn_Stripe_Rugby_Shirt-2168-511What 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

sleeveless fleeceBritain 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 November 12

Fruit_of_the_Loom_Sleeveless_Fleece_29_320Oldie 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_417Harper’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_371Few 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_332From 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!


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 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.