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 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.


2013 March 22

Uneek_High_Visibility_Jacket_modelWith snow already falling across the north, and floods in the west country, the UK is suffering extreme weather conditions. It’s being called Foul Friday, but don’t let it ruin your weekend – it’s still possible to look good in tough weather but it takes a little more work:

•    While rain depresses the spirits, snow changes the colour of the landscape and affects the way we look in our clothes. In both cases, aim for light cool tones – unless you are working outdoors, when high visibility clothing is essential to keep you save in difficult conditions. Otherwise, try to keep to pale blues, light clear yellows, spring shades of green and heather/marl mixes of lavender pink or grey – these tones lift the skin and give a glow in a white out.

•    Start from the basics and work outwards.  Good socks, good boots and good underwear are essential to get you through tough weather conditions. Boxers work for men, and women might like to consider thermal shorts or leggings to avoid that ugly goosepimply look.

•    Gloves are great too – numb hands cause accidents and cold fingers are not sexy. Fingerless gloves are good for those who can’t afford the new screen-affecting iGloves which allow operation of Ipads and smartphones.

•    A hat stops the rattail hair that is so unattractive when wet and even more ugly as it dries in clumps – slouch caps and oversize tams have been a big winter hit but for a more springlike look, try a close fitting knit hat. Women can pincurl their hair under such a hat with hairgrips to get a great ‘bed hair’ look when they take it off.

•    Steer clear of any jacket or coat made of suede or denim, fun fur is good for snow, but has a horrible mangy dog look in rain and wool coats, whilst warm and snug, can produce an unpleasant aroma as they warm up after getting damp.


2013 March 19

SG_Mens_PolyCotton_Polo_Shirt_50_562According to the Hollywood Reporter, the standard uniform of Armani suit and shirt is dying, replaced by fashion forward edgy suit styling. At polo-shirts.co.uk we wrote about this trend a year ago and it’s still accelerating. What does it matter to the average guy what the Hollywood wheelers and dealers wear? Well, it trickles down, and for those in the sales or persuasion business, the trickle is more of a deluge – looking right can be one of the most persuasive attributes we possess in the workplace.

Few of us want to take it to the extremes seen in Hollywood where the agents appear to be outdressing the stars they represent, but some key features of the new sharp look can help move a man from ‘one of the many to a man unlike others’  So what are the important points to note?

1.    Watches are crucial – they vanished for a few years but a functional watch like an old school Rolex counts for a lot – worn with a stylish, vintage looking but well-washed polo shirt it speaks of summers spent sailing or at least of a rugged outdoor lifestyle.

2.    V-necked jumpers are making a come-back too, under suits or even without jackets. The thing to look out for is a slim fitting V-neck in cotton or a much chunkier shape if it’s wool.

3.    Retro jackets are winning votes too – bomber style jackets lead the field, but aim for the WW1 look rather than The Fonz, and letter jackets, made famous by American High School athletes, are a good look too, but only if you have an athletic build. If not, go for a more slim-fitting casual jacket, avoiding anything that gathers at the bottom.

The key points to take from this continuing trend are that a degree of individuality appears to be central to a successful work profile at present, and it’s crucial for men who want to stand out to do so – not just through performance – but also through appearance.


2013 March 4

Jerzees_Ladies_LS_Ult_NonIron_Shirt_27_962A recent survey suggests several Australian companies have ceased to allow, or created strict clothing rules for Dress Down Friday. The firms, which include large companies such as the Lomax Financial Group have dropped casual Friday clothing as the results were counterproductive, ranging from top clients arriving unexpectedly to be greeted by staff whose clothing could have looked disrespectful through to time spent policing ‘casual’ to ensure it was not too casual for business purposes.

What are the new rules?

  • For women it’s trousers or skirts or tailored dresses in appropriate colours, tailored short-sleeved shirts or blouses, knitwear without slogans or pictures and shoes or boots that can be open toed but not flip-flops or clogs, and, where appropriate tights and jackets. Halternecks, shorts, torn or ripped clothing and messy hair are not appropriate.
  • For men, suits, ties, dress shirts, socks and boots or shoes. Shirts may be collared or collarless, and in some industries, polo shirts are acceptable. Sandals, shorts, T-shirts with cartoon characters or slogans are not. Jackets may be considered necessary, depending on the industry.

Jezebel has also been exploring the cost benefit of clothing, determining that the average American woman spends $6,000 and 100 hours a year on buying and returning clothing. A further $25,000 over a lifetime is spent on shoes!

And while that may seem excessive, a survey of Australian employees discovered that 72% of them believe that to get bonuses or promotions, they need to be more smartly dressed than their colleagues.


2013 February 25

Fruit_of_the_Loom_SetIn_Sweatshirt_17_900_500_500While the triple A rating may not affect most of us, other than to know that Britain has lost hers, we’re all likely to feel the pinch over the next year and one way that many of us will try to economise is on clothing expenditure.

1.    For those who are hoping to save money but still look good, sweatshirts can be a versatile and useful item. Worn alone, a sweatshirt fits into the smart casual category – especially if worn under a blazer or fitted jacket – this look works particularly well for women, if combined with a dramatic costume necklace.

2.    The same sweatshirt can work just as well over a T-shirt on cold days and when worn with jeans or jog pants it’s an excellent clothing choice to wear when at a football or rugby match, to the pub or walking in the country.

3.    Finally, the sweatshirt works well to ring the changes on other clothes – you can adopt the Rihanna look by tying it round your waist to offset your casual shorts or skirt for a modern relaxed look.


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 February 5

It appears that even morning sickJerzees_Colours_Ladies_Soft_Shell_Jkt_29_858ness won’t deter the Duchess of Cambridge – Kate Middleton has been to Selfridges to browse women’s sportswear, she was seen picking through the Sweaty Betty rails, although nobody seems to know what, if anything, she purchased.

Sportswear is once again hitting the headlines – with form-fitting jackets, often in combination fabrics like leather and breathable wicking mesh, were seen on the catwalks of Paris and currently are also featuring in New York. To get the look for yourself, a soft shell jacket with a sporty zip needn’t cost the earth – look out for snakeskin prints or this year’s popular metallic colours: bronze, titanium and copper.

Over at Lacoste designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista has been playing with classic polo shirt styles to make them more female friendly. His silk polo shirt with jersey trimmings has been popular with sporting celebrities this year. To get the look online, buy a contrast trimmed polo shirt and a pair of coloured jeans or shorts in the same colour as the tipping, worn with a belt as the same colour as the shirt.

Dresses with trainers have been a feature of several catwalks, even ballgowns have been seen with wedge trainers. It’s a difficult look to pull off in Camden or Crewe, as it implies that you’ve just forgotten to change out of your comfortable commuter shoes on the way to a hot date, but if you’re willing to try it, glitter laces can help bring the look together, as can topping the dress with a lightweight sweatshirt tied around your waist, to emphasise that this is a casual chic look, not a forgetful moment.


2013 January 31

Fruit_of_the_Loom_Lady_Fit_Rib_Polo_Model-549-662For women it’s even more difficult to dress for all occasions, but here’s a capsule wardrobe to get you through a week away.

1.    A formal jacket – try a blazer for maximum adaptability
2.    One long-sleeved shirt – in a pastel colour – wear it buttoned up with a scarf for a formal look and half unbuttoned over a camisole for a more casual style.
3.    One pair formal trousers in navy or black.
4.    One pair of cotton leggings or semi-formal jog pants in a dark colour. Jeans are not your friend as they are heavy to carry and it’s difficult for a woman to wear jeans well for interviews unless she is superbly well-proportioned. A pair of stretchy cotton jogging bottoms or yoga pants is a better bet, they can be dressed up with the long-sleeved T-shirt, scarf, belt and costume jewellery for a formal look, but worn with the polo shirt for a casual vibe.
5.    Two T-shirts in bright colours
6.    Two camisoles, one light, one dark
7.    One long-sleeved T-shirt in classic black or white, navy or cream
8.    A formal scarf – Hermes is ideal, but a good knock-off will get you through
9.    A fashion belt in black patent or similar, with a big chunky buckle
10.    One long skirt – viscose is good and doesn’t crease
11.    One swimsuit
12.    One pair mid-length shorts – too short is tarty, too long makes you look like a Carry On film extra!
13.    Trainers
14.    Ankle boots
15.    Sunglasses
16.    Gloves
17.    A lightweight casual jacket with good pockets – fleece is an ideal fabric as it can be rolled up without creasing
18.    Bed-wear
19.    Underwear.


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.