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 27

Result_Ski_Hat_30_362A Girl Called Jack has become famous for living frugally, and she has a few tips on how to keep warm in winter, many of which are clothing related:

1.    Slippers – or fleecy foot things or even thick socks, buy them cheap, wear them from the minute you get home until you have to leave the house.
2.    Tights and leggings – these can take the place of expensive thermal underwear, and cost a lot less. Similarly old T-shirts or camisoles can be layered under other tops to create air pockets which keep you warmer.
3.    Jack also recommends that you “Wear a hat indoors. I know it sounds a bit daft but (apparently) a lot of heat is lost through your head, I’m not sure about the science but I certainly always feel warmer with a hat pulled down around my ears. In the coldest months I even sleep in my hat, and it’s the best warm and cosy feeling!” If you’re going to go for this, why not invest in a snug beanie and try the experiment for yourself?

Netmums also recommends layering and thick socks, but adds the idea of wrapping yourself in blankets and throws to keep warm … if you’re not quite that into layering, a onesie can be the perfect alternative. It’s a great way to keep warm either layered under outdoor clothing or with T-shirts and leggings layered underneath.

The Lincolnshire Echo has another idea – given that Lincoln is said to experience winds directly from Siberia, it might be worth pursuing. “Keep active. Move around the house at least once an hour and don’t sit down for long periods of time. Even light exercise will help keep you warm.” So perhaps the best idea is to put your leggings under other clothing to make layers and strip off the outer layers to jog round your home every hour!


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 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 June 13

Fruit_Of_The_Loom_LadyFit_6535_Polo_51_248Play may have been suspended today through floods and predicted electrical storms, but not all of the electricity has been in the air. There’s been a massive fashion injection into golf, partly as a result of the arrival of new players, which has created a whole new casual clothing look, which is no longer just for dads and granddads.

Golf clothing is also one of the few areas where men outshop women. Ralph Lauren, doyen of upmarket sportswear, is at the forefront of the new wave, pairing navy base colours with neon – of particular note are the Lauren wicking polo shirts which are proving to be more popular as smart casual evening wear than coursewear.

Professional golf has some strict clothing rules to consider. Male professionals aren’t allowed to wear shorts or collarless shirts. Women can wear shorts, but they must be no more than four inches above the knee and they can wear T-shirts without collars as log as they have sleeves.

Getting the look is pretty easy – ice cream coloured polo shirts are a traditional starting point, with chinos or cargo trousers, while for women, a pair of tailored shorts in navy, black or tan can be paired with a striped T-shirt and visor or baseball cap to create a sporty but elegant look. To dress either look up further, wear a good leather belt and loafers, or, for women, this year’s big fashion hit, rope-soled canvas wedges in fruit shades like raspberry or lime.


2013 February 23

BC_XLite_Soft_Shell_Jacket_29_896Ben Affleck often seems to have too much luck for one man: he’s an award winning actor, he’s got model-style good looks and he’s dated some of the world’s most famous women, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Garner, with whom he has three children.

So while he didn’t win any Oscars, his double win at the BAFTAs put him firmly back in the spotlight – getting Best Director and Best Film for Argo.

So how do you get the Affleck look?

He’s famous for his V-necked sweaters and neatly cut beard and the more formal version of this look, in which he is often see: button down shirts worn under grey cardigans with a blazer. Good barbering is key to his appearance and he’s managed to grow into a more substantial look over the past five years, without it ageing him too much.

The bad boy look has faded into the background somewhat in recent years, but from time to time, when out with his family, Affleck reverts to the biker boots and casual jeans of his youth, worn with a knit cap under which he tucks his hair, which he tends to grow longer between films, the whole look finished by a casual jacket.

One thing Affleck never looks is rumpled – his tall frame and broad shoulders make him a good clothes horse and while he often dresses casually, he usually takes care to appear in shirts that are a good fit, and form fitting jackets are a definite feature of his appearance.


2013 January 29

Fruit_of_the_Loom_Hoody_20_662Travelling for business or interviews can be demanding. How you look is important, but you need to be able to focus on creating a good impression, not on how you look. Increasingly universities and even companies ask candidates to ‘intern’ on a placement or job, by spending a long weekend or even, for popular courses at university, a week, in company with other applicants.  Here’s how to pack a week’s wardrobe that will allow you to deal with whatever the recruiters or selectors throw at you.
•    Formal shirt/Black shirt/White shirt
Three shirts will get you through – one should be bright coloured but long sleeved – it will work for dinners out or an evening dancing. A short sleeved black shirt looks good for a casual event like a quiz or bowling but under a jacket works perfectly for a formal dinner. A white shirt is your interview standby.
•    One T-shirt/one vest/one sweatshirt
You can substitute a hoodie for the sweatshirt, and if you pack one of each you’ve got every base covered, as well as the chance to layer them all if you go somewhere cold. Steer clear of any images or logos – this is not the time to express yourself!
•    One polo shirt
A pastel polo shirt allows you to attend a casual event like a breakfast meeting and know that you’re in the middle of the smart/casual divide. Worn with your formal trousers it is an acceptable look before noon. At lunch change into a shirt though.
•    One pair of jeans
Make them blue, conservative in cut, and not hanging from your hips.
•    One pair formal trousers – black is best
•    One formal jacket – black or grey
•    Formal shoes/Trainers
•    Swimming trunks/a tie/a knit hat.


2013 January 22

Result_Active_Fleece_Tassel_Scarf_36_491The first real snowfall of the year has led to lots of fun for most, but some serious consequences for others: broken or sprained limbs are just one consequence of being outdoors in snow and ice. The risk for those pursuing their fitness goals is even greater: runners aiming for the London Marathon this year are aiming to get their 12 mile run done this week – ice and snow or no ice and snow.  There are some practical tips that can help outdoor lovers to stay safe in winter weather:

1.    Check current and expected weather conditions for the time you will be outside. It may look great now, but if a blizzard or sleet is due in the next couple of hours, you need to make adjustments for temperature drops, poor visibility or the effect of wind-chill on your ability to complete your activity safely.
2.    Dress appropriately. Several layers of lightweight and loose clothing are ideal – and the outermost layer, and preferably the one below that, should be waterproof and wind-resistant. The value of have two waterproof layers is that if the first gets damaged, perhaps in a fall on ice, the sports person isn’t exposed to the elements for the duration of their time outside.
3.    Remember that goggles, gloves, sock, shoes, hats and helmets are vital. Poor vision can cause accidents and the extremities: hands, feet and head are the most likely body parts to be injured.
4.    Don’t go out alone. If you really must run or exercise solo, make sure somebody else knows where you are, what you are doing and when you expect to return. Call them when you get back safely. If they don’t hear from you in a certain period of time after your projected return, they are in a position to alert the authorities. It’s good to carry a mobile phone but don’t rely on a signal in bad weather. Wear highly visible clothing to ensure other people can find you if they need to.
5.    Warm up thoroughly and check your health before leaving home. If you feel at all unwell, don’t exercise in extreme weather conditions. If you feel or experience any signs of hypothermia or extremity frostbite, head for shelter and get medical attention. The things to watch out for numbness and tingling in the hands or feet, lack of feeling (if the face is exposed to the elements, rub your cheek regularly to check that you can feel your fingers on your exposed skin) or poor motion in your fingers or toes.


2013 January 14

BC_Real_Parka_Jacket_29_973Whether it’s rain or snow, a coat that copes with the weather and still looks good is essential – a parka style jacket is warm, waterproof and stylish.

Wintry conditions can lead to chilling down, when you’re chilling out. Layering is the solution: slide a slimline sleeveless vest under your parka and over a long-sleeve T-shirt and your silhouette will not bulk up, but your heat levels will ramp up!

A hat doesn’t just conserve heat lost from your head. Winter weather makes a total mess of hair, even man hair. A simple cap or knit hat (which has the advantage of being okay to wear indoors) means you never have to worry about you your hair looks.

Gloves are essential, not just for style but for safety – cold hands on steering wheels cause many driving accidents and can lead to failure to carry heavy items successfully. You might fancy some bright fleece gloves, driving gloves or even the new leather or synthetic gloves that you can use on a touchscreen. It doesn’t matter what you go for, as long as your hands are warm.

Long sleeved T-shirts, hoodies or sweatshirts come into their own in winter. They all add warmth without bulking you up or feeling itchy.


2013 January 3

Uneek_Ladies_Tank_Top_82_418Between the flu and the norovirus, most of us in the UK will have had, or be having, some kind of illness right now. You might even be fighting New Year’s hangoveritis still! But for most of us there’s a requirement to get up and get out, whether to work or study or visit friends. So how can you look good when you feel like death? Here are four tips to help you look fine.

  1. Begin by putting some ice cubes in a plastic bag, wrapping the bag in a teatowel and putting it over your eyes for about ten minutes to reduce the blood vessels in the eyes and make the whites whiter and the reduce the puffiness. This immediately makes you look healthier. Brush your teeth and then use mouthwash – it helps you feel better and reduces the risk of you spreading germs to other people.
  2. Wear natural fabrics and stretch clothing. It’s not a good idea to wear constricting garments when you’re ill, and belts and buckles can get in the way when you’re trying to get to the bathroom in a hurry, for whatever reason. Cotton tops, and lots of layering, will allow you to add and subtract clothing depending on your internal temperature and the weather conditions around you. A cotton T-shirt, hoodie and sleeveless jacket work for men, while women can layer a camisole top, cardigan and scarf, or a long sleeved t-shirt under a short sleeved one topped with a ballerina wrap. Elasticated waists are a really good idea, especially if you have a stomach upset.
  3. If you’re going outdoors, make sure you have a knit cap, beanie or slouch beret to keep your head warm, and choose a brighter colour than navy, black or grey as they can wash out your skin tones: a beige or green hat is more flattering if you’re under the weather.
  4. Wash your hands a lot, or use hand sanitizer to protect others from your illness. Remember to wash gloves too, as they can transmit germs and even reinfect you!