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 December 6

onesie, christmas giftIt 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 25

emeraldThis 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 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 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 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.