2013 September 10

Result_Ski_Hat_30_362Be well fed

With Freshers week and people dropping in for drinks, drinks and more drinks it’s important to ensure you eat well. Buy a cookery book for students and use apps and sites like locare and locavore to get local information. Around many universities there are gleaning and foraging groups that a) seek out local free food and b) give you a chance for a social encounter with food at the end. If you’re inclined for that kind of activity, get involved early and you may end up fitter, with cash to spare.

Be prepared

Small change is essential for everything from photocopying to vending machines, so find a discreet place to store yours and hang on to it. Having a decent sized washbag allows you to be a good user of communal bathrooms – you can carry your stuff in and out without either getting it mixed up with other people’s supplies or unwittingly funding the entire corridor’s deodorant and hair putty habit!

Be clean
Flip flops for the corridors and bleach for the toilet will ensure that you don’t pick up nasty diseases through wandering around barefoot and can use the loo without retching. Your hall mates might not be as conscientious as you – try not take it personally and just be a good example.

Be neat and tidy

Wash your towels and T-shirts regularly. It’s really easy to forget about basic hygiene when you’re under pressure but being neat is part of the deal – it doesn’t just make you more romantically acceptable, it keeps your life manageable and allows you to take advantage of opportunities such as a last minute trip out to the cinema or an art gallery with your new companions.

Be accessorised

For guys, a couple of beanie hats, for gals, some cheap scarves – they allow you to hide greasy unwashed hair or drunk hair decisions like going blonde or cutting your fringe.

Be organised

By a clothes dryer – you can hang all your clothes on it rather than strew them around the room a) it stops other people sitting on your garments and b) it stops them getting creased.


2013 July 24

Gamegear_Team_Short_Sleeve_Shirt_104_142Britain is basking in a heatwave (okay, bits of it are under the mother of all thunderstorms, but the heat is set to return) and our athletes, para and otherwise, are proving that the Olympic results were not a blip – from Mo Farah to Jonnie Peacock they are bringing home the medals and records in 2013. Then there’s Chris Froome – he may be built like a chicken drumstick but he’s won the Tour de France in commanding fashion.

It’s getting us all worked up about working out.  Whether we’re emulating the 71 kilo Froome or matching ourselves against the matchless Farrah, the right clothing makes all the difference.

Froome with a view

A good cycling shirt wicks sweat away from the body, has pockets for mobile phones and other essentials that just have to be to hand, and doesn’t make you look quite as much of a dork as that chap in the rainbow jersey.

Sunglasses are a double essential – they save your sight in sunny conditions and protect you from road debris if you’re cycling to work – accidents caused by poor visibility are very common even for cyclists who don’t have to fight with traffic. Save your sight!

Farah and away the fastest

Mo Farah hasn’t been able to go clothes shopping since the Olympics, because he gets mobbed. To get Farah’s edge, head for the basketball section of the sports shop, or look out for vest style tops! Yes, our favourite runner wears the clothing put together for the basketball team … and it works for him!

Mo’s also got a nice line in sockless running, which doesn’t work for everyone, but if you can do it, it stops the hideous jokes about Brits and socks and apparently allows your feet to develop greater proprioception because the socks cushion your feet and stop them feeling the surface properly – slowing us down.


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 July 1

Gildan_Childrens_Premium_Tshirt_25_205_300_300It’s the last day of Glasto and yet the festival season feels like it’s only just starting. So what’s hot and what’s not, for this year’s festivalgoers to be wearing?

In:

  • Shorts – high waisted shorts and even skorts (skirt shorts) for women but low slung knee length shorts for guys.  Tanned legs are a big deal this year.
  • African prints – a sudden late arrival, based quite possibly on respect for Mandiba in his last days, tribal prints have become an instant hit on the muddy fields this year.
  • Blazers – it’s a Gatsby thing. Worn over T-shirts with those long shorts by guys, and worn with dresses or polo-shirts and tennis shoes by gals (who are also putting daisies in their hair, natch!)
  • Stripes – some of those blazers are striped, some of the shorts are striped, pretty well everything is striped, especially T-shirts!
  • Plaits – seen more in the USA than here, but plaited hair (with daisies) is a big deal. If you can’t hack that look, try a white or yellow top, worn with a daisy chain hairband (either make it from real daisies or buy cheap silk flowers from a pound shop and staple them to a hairband).

Out:

  • Wings – unless they actually work and can lift you off the ground. Fairy wings are naff. End of.
  • Boots – legs are in evidence, including ankles and they need to be tanned, that means the ugg boot and cowboy boot of previous years are not working with this year’s looks.
  • Leggings – as above – you can’t display tanned pins if they’re wrapped in lycra!
  • Jeans – just not popular this year. Aim for chinos or shorts for guys, women are wearing high waisted shorts with vintage belt and African print long dresses.

 


2013 June 26

SG_Ladies_PolyCotton_Polo_Shirt_51_336Laura Robson was a shock winner, beating 12th seeded Maria Kirilenko in straight sets – proving that the ‘Olympic effect’ isn’t over yet. Her clothing choice were straight down the line British too, as she’s wearing the Barricade range by Stella McCartney for Adidas. As so often happens with the top seeds, her opponent Kirilenko was also wearing Barricade, so the clothing itself can’t be said to have given Robson her edge.

The fashion highlights at Wimbledon this year will not include one of the centre court’s favourite: Kate Middleton, due to the imminence of her delivery date, but it is rumoured that she may be back with a bang next year – as President of the All England Club.

However, there are still some glamour pusses to watch out for, on and off court. Robson apart, the players to watch are Maria Sharapova, as always, who can’t look bad whatever she wears, and the Williams sisters for the hit and miss nature of their togs – sometimes amazingly well put together outfits and sometimes looking like they ran through the T-shirt section of a pound store with their eyes closed.

Off court, Kim Sears, girlfriend of Andy Murray, is likely to turn heads. She’s an aficionado of some of the more upscale high street brands, and she’s a big fan of Mulberry, so she may have a big influence on the glamour quotient.

Mirka Federer is her husband’s PR consultant and the statuesque brunette wears Federer’s own casual clothing range, as does he, and looks fantastic in it. No surprise as she’s a former player herself and fully understands what it takes to look good on and off court – she’s notable for her strong colour sense matching soft casuals like a drape skirt with a crisp white polo shirt.

Maria Perello is Rafa Nadal’s love interest and as Rafa is out, we won’t be seeing her understated Spanish style, which includes tailored trousers with subtly coloured casual tops – a real loss to the glamour circuit for this year at least.


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 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 June 7

Tagless_Premium_TShirt_25_418The French Open is always exciting to watch – the tennis is great but it’s also the Open where the fashion brands really pull out all the stops – unsurprisingly as France is the home of haute couture.

This year has been the usual mix of hits and misses: strong themes for summer fashion emerged – expect to see neon, leggings and colour blocking, and some big transfers from other areas of sport into tennis, which usually means a further transfer into casual clothing fashion: knee socks have been bobbing on the verge of fashion for a couple of years, this could be the one they really make it, and long-sleeved black t-shirts were much in evidence too, made of special wicking fabric that provides muscular support without a sweat build-up.

Leggings

Venus Williams went for herringbone powder pink leggings – much discussion of pink ensued, whether it was an appropriate colour, psychologically, for a winning look – a former champion with as much experience as Venus can surely be trusted to make that judgement for herself. Daniela Hantuchov wore canary yellow ones – they were a distraction from the game, as were Dandra Zahlalova’s hot pink knee-length leggings which she seemed to be sharing with Jelena Jankovic, each wearing a similar pair on different days.

Colour blocking

Both sexes wore the colour block which is a great look when playing on clay. While Guillermo Garcia-Lopez went for an understated design of blocks on a pure white background, Benoit Paire and David Goffin both made strong statements in colour-blocked polo-shirt style tops by Lacoste, Paire’s being strict verticals and Goffin wearing a more Mondrian inspired set of blue, black and white blocks. Agnieszka Radwanska had a more Klimt inspired dress with checks in varying warm shades of pink and crimson.

Neon brights

While Sloane Stephens rocked an electric yellow and turquoise combo from Under Armour, Milos Raonic went for a neon tee with matching wristbands – sort of Ibiza meets eighties rave – worryingly, it worked!


2013 June 4

BC_La_Havana_Long_Sleeve_Poplin_Shirt_27_377José Mourinho says he’s more mature than when he left Chelsea six years ago – but does his clothing style bear him out?

Actually yes. While Mourinho had a look that was both distinctive and much commented on, his time at Real Madrid has given him a more relaxed appearance, still designer led, but less ‘in your face’, He insists that the style is an evolution and that the tendency to wear casual trousers rather than a suit is part of this evolution, rather than just a pragmatic response to Madrid being a warmer city than chilly old London! He also says that his view of the way players dress helps him as a manager because ‘…managers are getting older, and the players are always young boys. So you can imagine [older managers] … will think the kids are badly dressed. But they like to dress for the times.’

However he does have rules and he applies them to himself. He never shaves the day of a match, hence the designer stubble, but that’s not vanity (he says) but the desire to avoid a shaving nick that could look bad.

He was also ‘Mr Armani’ and while he’s not as wedded to the brand as he once was, Italian styling definitely works for him. Mourinho is one of those men who’s found what works and knows how to stick to it. So if you’re a guy who looks good in Hugo Boss, wear Hugo Boss, and if it turns out that Gildan or Paul Smith work for you, then that’s what you should wear, as a consistent image gives a sense of strength that helps define a personal style.

Mourinho is opposed to shorts worn on match day (at least until the players are on the pitch) and while there are many times that shorts are okay – barbecues and gym sessions to name but two – there are many more when they aren’t.

He also says that every man should have a white shirt in his wardrobe. He doesn’t say what for, but we can guess that lifting a few cups has shown him that there’s nothing better than a plain white background to show off a bit of bling!