2013 December 26

Front_Row_Sewn_Stripe_Rugby_Shirt-2168-511What are your rights if you receive something you don’t want, can’t use, doesn’t fit … not as many as you might imagine. There’s no legal redress for being given a rubbish or inappropriate gift, sadly!

1. However, lots of retailers do offer a goodwill policy that may either be an exchange for goods of similar value, or a refund, providing that you have the receipt. So the first question is – are you willing to let that gifter know you’re going to swap their present for something else?

If not, you might like to try some of these:

2. Make a profit: if the gift didn’t cost you anything, you can always sell it on eBay – bear in mind though, that the same thing applies as point 1 – your gift-giver may spot you flogging off their gift online!

3. Be a good citizen: take the garment to a charity shop and let the worthy cause benefit from it.

4. Re-gifting: put it away until next Christmas, or the point at which somebody gives you an unexpected birthday present … then perhaps your unwanted clothing will become the perfect gift to give to somebody else. Of course, take care you don’t give the orange rugby shirt to anybody who will come into contact with the person who gave it to you in the first place and don’t give a pair of pink leggings to your hyper-masculine uncle Bert, just to get rid of them!

5. Re-purpose: Cut the sleeves off a jacket and it might make a great fleece for running or gardening. The hideous scarf can be turned into a kitsch cushion – just use your imagination, as you’ll lose nothing by getting creative with something you didn’t like anyway!


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 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 15

Regatta_Dover_Jacket-532-700Winter clothing is more expensive, at just the time when we have least money to spare – extra heating costs and Christmas on the way can wreak havoc with our budget. Here are a few tips to help you stay on top of the budget in the chilly months.

Work the percentages – financial planners say you should spent between 4-6% of your take home pay, benefits or grant allowance on clothing. Allow for cleaning clothes in that amount, and if you fall in love with an amazing coat that has to be dry-cleaned you have to include in the budget enough to get your coat cleaned as often as necessary.

Start with work – if you have to spend a certain amount on your career clothing, subtract that from the budget because it’s essential. What’s left is what you have as ‘discretionary spend’, the free money you can use as you choose. A job with a uniform obviously gives you much more scope to buy casual clothing!

Check your goals – if you’re saving to buy a motorbike or your own home, that probably takes priority over clothes, but there may be ways that you can combine the expenditure. A bike requires a good set of leathers or protective clothing … when you buy a jacket, why not make sure it’s a classic style and bike-appropriate – that way you won’t have extra expenditure once you get the bike itself.

Shop as a collective – get together with friends to take advantage of offers like free delivery over a certain amount or special offers such as three for the price of two, and split the savings between you.


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 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 October 8

Front_Row_Ladies_Original_Rugby_Shirt-2166-355Back in the day, men wore the trousers and women wore skirts and dresses. Unisex was unthinkable. Today unisex clothing is much more common, from T-shirts through to boyfriend jeans, clothing comes in sizes much more than in cuts.

One of the most successful unisex garments is the rugby shirt. Well worn, it makes a comfortable fashion statement and can be either laidback or sexy depending on the styling.  Here are our top five tips to wear this casual garment well:

1.    Layering – for a highly feminine look try a large rugby shirt over a mini-skirt or shorts worn with textured tights. Heeled boots finish this look off perfectly.
2.    Jeans – while rugby shirts and jeans are a classic look, focus on the details that make a real difference: a chunky necklace that sits inside the collar of the shirt will add a feminine vibe and for casual outfits try sandals or flip-flops rather than training shoes and for more formal events, highly polished brown boots look fabulous and add a touch of country-style Middleton glamour to the ensemble.
3.    Focus on colour – the darker the colour the more formal the look, so a solid black or navy rugby shirt will look more formal than a yellow or pink one. Stripes always look casual.
4.    For the perfect boyfriend look, team an oversized rugby shirt with a pair of tiny denim cut-offs, a high pony tail and flip-flops, it looks feminine, casual and captivating!
5.    Don’t forget that the cutest way to wear a rugby shirt is to borrow one from your man and wear that!


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 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.