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 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!


2013 May 23

BC_Ladies_Milano_34_Sleeve_Stretch_Poplin_Shirt_27_704Jenny Bannister, one of Australia’s best established fashion designers, has been pointing out some home truths to her industry. Bannister, like Vivienne Westwood, successfully transcended a ‘70s fashion career to become a couturier of note, and she’s complained about the clothing choices available to larger, older women. Her focus is on the top end of the market, where billionaires and multinational entrepreneurs who just happen to be female, hang out. For them, designer clothing is a natch, but what about the women a little lower down the food chain, who are still powerful and need to be presentable, but don’t have a haute couture budget?

Bannister was direct, ‘You buyers out there, who think the fatter the customer, the less money she has to spend, look at [mining billionaire] Gina Rinehart and [socialite Eileen] Red Bond you lot’ she said and insisted that women over forty want clothing that is:

1.    Natural, quality fabrics in flattering colours
2.    Not based around neutral shades, because they can make large women look larger
3.    Vintage and classic styles, with accessories that are fashion forward
4.    Knee length or longer dresses with sleeves.

Even that set of criteria rarely works for women who have non-desk based careers. If you’re a pilot, a shipping magnate or a journalist, clothing has to be rugged yet smart, adaptable and crease resistant.

We recommend:
1.    Good tailored jackets
2.    Classic trousers with designer belts, teamed with quality shirtsstretch poplin, for example, works well for all shapes of body and has inbuilt ‘snap-back’ smartness
3.    Round-necked, long-sleeved T-shirts with bold scarves.


2013 May 15

Henbury_Ladies_Short_Sleeve_Classic_Oxford_Shirt_27_189Many of us, particularly interns and those getting their first job, are becoming stressed and confused by the demands of Friday clothing. Here are some key dos and don’ts to help manage the perplexities of the day before the weekend:

Do

•    Wear black or navy denim if denim is allowed, but don’t succumb to the desire to wear stone-washed, denim cutoffs (Daisy Dukes) or short skirts. Keep it classic with boot cut jeans and a semi-formal top like a short sleeved shirt with a vibrant necklace.
•    Stick to heels or bright flats – red ballerina pumps work, flip-flops don’t. The Friday rule is if you are showing heels (slingbacks) don’t show toes or vice versa.
•    Be bright – large florals or jungle prints look great, as to strong coloured polo-shirts with a pair of simple black trousers and a statement necklace or designer scarf or bracelet.

Don’t

•    Get sultry – it’s casual attire not clubbing attire. When in doubt wear the longer sleeve, the higher neckline or the more formal outfit.
•    Wear shorts, unless they are fully tailored and worn with a blazer and formal shoes. Think Audrey Hepburn.
•    Forget to accessorise your casual clothing – you can fool just about everybody that you’ve perfected the casual Friday style if you wear a good necklace or belt with a plain t-shirt.


2013 May 9

sir alexSo, the most successful British football manager of all time is retiring. For many it’s the end of an era, and all those other clichés. There are also a thousand theories about what made Ferguson so great and one of them is related to clothing.

Scientists at Portsmouth University discovered that a team’s belief in their manager’s competence is related to the way the manager dresses. So Ferguson’s habit of wearing tracksuits in training, and suits and shirts for match days, creates the perfect blend of competence. A tracksuit or leggings and sweatshirt on training days suggests the ability to transmit technical skills while formal clothing for match days inspires belief in strategic competence.

Surprisingly, the effect is greater on the opposition, than the team being managed, so part of Ferguson’s longevity may be his consistent approach to always dressing like a player when coaching and a businessman when in front of the opposition – over long years of media exposure, he’s created a persona that appears to have perfect mastery of both sets of skills, creating an air of omnipotence that threatens both players and managers on other teams.

Gamegear_Tracksuit_104_282One way that this has been proved true is that in February last year, when Sir Alex appeared on TV in a suit and white polo neck sweater rather than a shirt, social media networks and sports commentators alike were agog about his apparently insignificant change of attire – and all kinds of theories abounded. Several tweets went with the line ‘The name’s Ferguson, Alex Ferguson’ referencing the famous white polo neck of James Bond and linking the two great British icons.

Few other managers have such an impact and, apart from Jose Mourinho, none of them score anything other than own goals, clothing wise. So it seems that to dress like a boss, on and off the pitch, has been part of Sir Alex’s success story.


2013 April 25

Uneek_Premium_Reversible_Fleece_29_745There’s three extremes of football fashion – the one that involves Robbie Savage and weird coloured trousers, the one that includes Roy Keane who always seemed to be playing in a get up from a Beano comic and now dresses like his clothes are on loan from Alan Partridge, and the one where David Beckham and Xabi Alonso meet in designer suits and aviator glasses.

Sadly, most British men veer between the Savage and the Keane – the Savage is what gets worn in Ibiza or to a stag weekend in Brighton, while the Keane is what gets dragged up off the floor whenever we sit down to watch a match, especially if we’re at home with the lads. So how do we get to the Beckham/Alonso point of the triangle?

It’s easier to say what not to do. The Cristiano Ronaldo approach is the wrong one – regardless of his nimble footwork, Ronaldo’s bizarre fashion sense, which combines too much hair gel with too little clothing and waaaay too much attitude, is a style attitude that scores many own goals.

Instead, aim for one really classy item around which to build an outfit. One pair of designer jeans, if clean and not too crumpled, will carry with them a tatty T-shirt or really grungy but lucky old hoody. Similarly a fresh polo-shirt, worn crisp and starched, overwhelms the effect of our favourite old trackie bottoms.

Accessories divide and conquer fashion failures, so brand name watches and sunglasses will cause comfy flip flops to vanish from view, and a really good mens jacket has stealth capacity to disguise a rank vest worn underneath.


2013 April 22

Kustom_Kit_Classic_Polo_21_814Two of the biggest names in polo shirts have independently come up with similarly bright and breezy new designs for summer. The first is Uniqlo – the Japanese giant that designs, manufactures and retails its own clothing. This year it’s partnered with Michael Bastian – golden boy of the current American preppy market – to create a very different kind of polo shirt.

Bastian, best known for his collaboration with GANT, has risen to the challenge with a line of really bright polo-shirts, finely cut to work for the frame of a fencer, rather than the average American, and with some print designs that verge on the kitsch, particularly the china cats.

The second is Lacoste, celebrating eight decades of popular perfection with its giant crocodile pool party at Thermal, CA. Those attending included Rita Ora, , Brad Goreski (he’s a stylist, he puts clothes together for more famous people) and Alexa Chung and they all scooted around the pool on those giant crocodiles and drank, or rather sucked on, tequila lollies. So how’s the new Lacoste polo looking? Also bright, very bright. And slimline.
To get the look without access to Uniqlo or if you lack pockets that are deep enough to afford Lacoste, aim for a slimfit polo shirt in a bright colour, but stay away from the primaries: lime green, pink, orange or purple are all great, red, blue and yellow not so popular. Pair the polo with chinos, with shorts and a belt, as the slimline top won’t cover your waistband the way the looser styles does, or this year’s coloured jeans where the favourite shades are white and canary yellow.


2013 April 8

AWDis_Chunky_Zoodie_74_432Well, apparently there’s two extremes – the David Bowie (up to and including clown outfit) and the Simon Cowell (down to four items: black T-shirt, white T-shirt, white shirt, jeans and not much in between.

The weirdest thing about male ‘style’ is that it nearly always comes down to wearing the same thing, or a selection of things. Sherlock Holmes in his deerstalker hat, Giorgio Armani in black T-shirt and (designer) jeans, Prince Harry in his ski gear.

So why does it work for them, and yet the average bloke gets continually told he’s boring if he wears the same stuff day in, day out?

Partly it’s because they are rich and famous, of course. But also their look works for them, it’s not something they’ve given up and settled for, whereas for most of us, our clothing choices have come down to what we can get away with, or what we were wearing when we gave up.

So how do you pick a winning outfit?

First, get the colour right. There are places you can go to get your colours done and you don’t have to tell anybody that you’ve done it, or you can find an online site to help you decide which colours suit you. The simplest way is to look at the veins inside your elbow in good daylight – if they look greenish you should wear warm colours: orange, yellow, brown, beige, tomato reds etc. If they look bluish, you should wear cool colours: blue, black, grey, purple and blue reds etc. If you can’t tell if they look blue or green, you are probably colour blind and that’s not a joke – 7% of men and less than .4% of women are colour blind, so sometimes our fashion sense is off for genetic reasons.

When you have a colour, pick a classic style. Get some ideas from vintage shops and films – the cowboy look or the mod look or the rat pack look are all classic styles.

When you find a look, whether it’s a hoody, jeans and trainers or a formal shirt, suit and boots, replenish your choices each year. Classic doesn’t mean old, tatty or worn out, so new classic items should give your chosen capsule wardrobe a fresh appearance each year, even if the overall look never changes.