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 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 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 June 17

Just_Hoods_Girlie_Longline_Hoodie_74_204Kim Kardashian’s ‘healthy female’ baby arrived about a month early. Beyonce tweets pictures of herself with Blue Ivy, her daughter. Celebrity bumps are, or have been, everywhere.

Kim who is 32, said that she had found there were ‘awkward phases and stages’ to being an expectant mother, so how do women dress with a bump? Here are four key tips:

1.    Wear what works for you – our lives are going to change but our basic nature won’t. If you’re a jeans and a T-shirt woman, you’ll still be that after the baby arrives, so adjust rather than altering your clothing – a couple of boyfriend shirts and some elastic sided jeans will take you a long way.

2.    Avoid ultra bright colours – remember that the expanse is rounded and lime green or canary yellow can look surreal on a bump. Clear colours are great so swap the neon for rich shades of blue, burgundy and green and you can still wear camisole tops or even bikinis.

3.    Glam up – there’s no need to sink into the shadows either. You can wear a rhinestone studded dress, a deeply cut top or even strappy sandals if they work for you, just remember that comfort matters too, so don’t wear anything that feels too tight or causes feet or wrists to swell.

4.    Be happy – if you want to spend your entire pregnancy in a hoodie and leggings, that’s your business, nobody has to dress up, down or sideways just because they are pregnant. Pick something stylish, like our illustrated long line hoodie, and go for it!


2013 June 15

Gamegear_Track_Pique_Polo_104_446The 2012 Summer Olympics led to a massive injection of sports clothing culture into everyday life. While recent Olympics have led to groundbreaking developments in technology and athletic performance, the London Games did something else, they changed the way we think about casual clothing.

So, it’s no longer good enough for us to pull on a ratty old white T-shirt – especially one with a beer logo or Homer Simpson on the front – match to a pair of sagging track trousers and head for the weight rack.

Oddly, in the week that Sport England report a drop in athletic activity in the UK, our interest in sports clothing or what is starting to be called ‘sports casual’ has never been stronger.

What still works? Well those track trousers are still a classic garment, although saggy, grey and stained jogging bottoms are out. Solid colours like grey, navy and black are popular, slim fitting is essential and track trousers should be worn with a bright polo or T-shirt, rather than a matching hoodie or sweatshirt – the days of the monochrome sporting look are long gone.

Function is vital – dressing for the actual activity you’re taking part in is key to looking (and feeling) the part and fitting it, it turns out, can improve athletic performance. The state of mind in which you approach the gym is largely determined by how quickly you integrate with the workout, the team or the event, so taking a clue from those more established than you is key to success.

Garments with wicking capacity remove sweat so you can train for longer without discomfort and without chafing. Layering your gym clothing ensures you get a good warm up and cool down. A vest, a T-shirt, and a zip up hoodie work really well to keep your big muscles like abs and pecs warm until you’ve worked them enough to remove a layer.


2013 May 31

New_Performance_T_104_721Start again

Most of what guys learn about fashion they learned really young, from other guys – and that’s all based on dominance and testosterone, not on the basics of appearance, style and fit. So let go of the ideas that your mates gave you about what works, and start again with the basics of fit and function.

Fit

Clothing has to fit, but many men don’t know where it should fit (T-shirts fit shoulders and arms, not bellies, jeans fit waists, or builder’s crack occurs etc) – ask somebody else to confirm the fit of a chosen new garment, as you might not really know what fits you

Function

Garments should have a purpose. This comes as a surprise to a lot of men who just wear what feels easy and comfortable. If you’re dressing for work, your clothing should reflect well on your employer and allow you to do your job, whatever it is.

Buy the basics first

A simple white T-shirt, a good pair of jeans, a smart jacket and a really good shirt will get you through most situations. Invest in those basics first and you’ll find the rest of your wardrobe falls into place around these basics, which are called the staples. Our .99 pence T-shirt deal will help!

Keep it simple

Simplicity is valuable and practical. Treat your wardrobe like a car, give it at least an annual MOT and throw out anything that looks dodgy or too worn.

Plan around activity

The one thing most guys don’t do is choose clothing based on their lives. If you work out five days a week, gym wear should be a big priority. If you hit the clubs four nights in a row, your wardrobe should reflect that – basically you should spend your money so that you could do your chosen activities, whatever they are, for a week, without having to use a washing machine (and that doesn’t mean wearing the same thing over and over until it honks!) because otherwise you become ‘that guy’ who wears the same outfit all the time.

Try something new

When hoodies came out, back in the day, most men though they were a bit weird – like a sweatshirt with a hat, was how one famous footballer described them. And yet, today, there’s hardly a bloke alive who doesn’t have at least one, even your dad! So be prepared to try some new form of clothing and find out if it works for you.


2013 May 3

Mantis_World_Ladies_Hoody_36_758It’s the time of year when many women end up questing – new clothes, new summer shoes, the right accessories: the summer clothes we put away with such love and care last autumn look completely inadequate when we take them out again. It’s part celebration and part neurotic excursion into self-loathing, but it doesn’t have to be.

Few of us have the lifestyles to allow us to invest in haute couture, or to wear it all the time if we can afford it, so casual style needs to work for us, and while we want to look unique and have our own style, few of us want to be ‘out there’ in our personal look. Casual clothing has inbuilt versatility, it can be dressed up or down, and that’s invaluable in our changeable climate.

Casual wear has other advantages too: it tends to be kinder to real bodies and real shapes that high fashion and it costs less to maintain. Even so, knowing how to make it work with the year’s fashion trends can be difficult.

One example is the metallic finish leather that was seen on all the catwalks this spring, notably Burberry, Nina Ricci and Diane von Furstenberg – but finding the right balance between high fashion and high street can be difficult. Gunmetal, bronze, silver and gold leather all have their individual appeal, and work well with certain colours: denim, all shades of blue and white, for example. But they can look too much like evening wear if paired with black – so if you’ve got a metallic leather belt, one of this year’s embossed leather bags, or the metal finish leather high-tops that are a fashion rage, pair them with a pure white hoody and a long, draped white cotton skirt, or for a hot day, wrap the belt around a peach or cream coloured vest, worn over oyster leggings or white jog pants, for a summery relaxed feel.

Metallic leather flowers on grips or hairbands are a key feature and easy for most of us to wear, so if you’re updating your wardrobe, it’s good to get rid of things you don’t wear and replace them with a key new piece that is classic in style, and then add some accessories to make it work for this year – new T-shirts teamed with plaited metallic leather bracelets will work for next year too, if you invest in key accessories to bring them up to date.


2013 May 1

BC_Ladies_Patti_Classic_Vest_84_668May Day has arrived and most of us are experiencing some sunshine to go with it, but the changeable weather is by no means over.

So how do we dress for the best of the weather without being caught out by the worst of it?

Lightweight clothing

Many people confuse lightweight and skimpy – new fabrics make lightweight clothing such as polo-shirts much more comfortable without them having to feel insubstantial or overly tight. Tight clothing can make you really uncomfortable in the heat and encourages the appearance of sweat rings whilst in cooler temperatures it can leave you feeling clammy.

Layered clothing

Try to wear three or four layers: a vest, polo shirt and fleece work well for men, while a camisole under a dress topped with a shrug gives women more options to add and remove layers as the weather changes. Remember that until at least mid May, night time temperatures drop rapidly, so having a warm ‘final’ layer for evenings is wise. You might want to carry a lightweight hoody or choose the Rihanna option and wear a shirt that ties around the waist but still shows your summer style T-shirt underneath.

Colour choice

Lighter colours work well, and add a summery vibe to your outfit, so yellow T-shirts or peachy shirts are great, but add a darker colour for evening to bring your outfit in line with the lower temperatures: navy blue works well for spring evenings, so a dark blue jacket works well for men, while a teal or navy sweatshirt brings evening warmth to women’s summer wardrobes.


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.