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 July 27

Jerzees_Schoolgear_Boys_Blazer_29_126In the USA the earliest ever back-to-school shopping binge has already begun! Yes, just as our schools break up, the USA is shopping for the return to desks and detentions.  What’s interesting about this is that around 60% of shoppers for back-to-school items start their shopping online.

The biggest search trends are for: One Direction stationery, Messenger bags, North Face school backpacks, and personalised school kit and supplies. The One Direction craze is huge, with white T-shirts a la Harry Styles look and blue short sleeves shirts as worn by Louis topping polls, although Zayn’s trademark lumberjack shirt and quiff are the biggest sales leaders.

Messenger bag sales are explicable by the fact that tablets are the most searched item online for high school and college students – and a tablet needs a bag to transport it. Around 39% of consumers in the USA will do some of their school shopping online with 17% saying it’s how they do the majority of their purchasing of school uniform and supplies.

One way that many people prepare for the return to school is by viewing videos uploaded by those who’d already made their purchases, to hear candid reports of the items they bought, from underwear to school shirts to stationery. It’s turning out to be one of the biggest drivers for teenage buyers – and students are planning their shopping around the real time reports of others who are out comparing prices and trying on clothing, so that they can be as efficient as possible and still find stylish bargains.


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 April 16

SG_Mens_TShirt_53_705The answer is simple, but it’s not always what we do. The first thing is not to do any of these:

1.    Shop online at the end of a day of real life shopping. It’s called ‘desperation shopping’ and while women do it after they’ve failed to find anything in the bricks and mortar shops they want to buy, men tend to do it the night, or a couple of nights, before they need a new top, having left it until the last moment to put in some effort. In either case it leads to a desperate attempt to find ‘something’ that is acceptable, and it nearly always leads to disappointment.
2.    Shop because you’re bored or have been let down. It’s called compensation shopping and women do it most – buying something cute just to cheer themselves up. While the process works at the time, the chosen garment usually disappoints on arrival.
3.    Shop in the dark. Seriously! The tendency to buy garments from a small screen in a darkened room late at night is reckoned to be causing nearly a fifth of all returns to online clothing retailers – it’s partly because our eyes are tired at the end of the day so we don’t see as clearly as we should, and partly because screens are daylight balanced but our body clocks by evening are night balanced by circadian rhythms so our eyes can actually distort the colours on the screen. The only time it’s okay to buy at this time of day is when we’re buying black or white garments.

Instead

1.    Buy in daylight. Or get your computer to balance itself to your circadian rhythms with a programme that adjusts colours according to the sunset time in your region.
2.    Check the small print to find out what the deal is with returns and whether there is a bulk buy discount that could get you free postage or some other good deal.
3.    Sign up for mailings and alerts from your preferred online retailers – such deals often save a lot of money for the consumer and being aware of them in good time can help you plan your spending effectively.
4.    Be sure of your size. Not clothing size, as that varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but your actual body size – and recheck it every six months as even the slimmest of us will change shape in winter as we exercise and eat differently. Get a friend to help you measure your chest, arm length, waist, hips and inside leg – this allows you to assess your real size against the dimensions of the clothing advertised online.


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 17

SG_Mens_Hoodie_74_384If 83% of teenagers now own a smartphone, it’s natural to assume that they do most of their shopping online. Yes – and then again – no.

While Britain as a whole spends £6.58m every hour online shopping, teenagers are still one of the least likely groups to buy clothes online, for complicated reasons.

1 – teens shop as a herd or pack – it’s important to get to the High Street or mall and be with your mates to chose clothes
2 – teens trade clothes a lot – so often they are buying something that needs to have crowd appeal, and that means getting their friends to try the garment on too
3 – teens like to be different – that means that shopping in any way that’s approved of by their parents is automatically out!

So how does a parent encourage teenagers to the most for their clothing budget?

•    Encourage dual shopping – they can go to the shop to try on clothes and then make their actual purchase online, having used comparison shopping to find the best deal for something they already know suits them.
•    Remind them that click and collect means they can pre-order a T-shirt and try it on in the shop without have to necessarily buy it. Often if a teen goes to town for a specific purchase they come back with more money in their pockets than if they go haphazardly to look for ‘something cool’.
•    Coupons, vouchers, BOGOFs and free delivery all make online shopping enticing to cash-strapped teens because their friends don’t need to know they bought from the bargain basement.
•    Most teens need some kind of part-time job and encouraging them to find one that has a uniform can save a massive amount of wear on their personal clothing, so it lasts longer and has more appeal to them because they haven’t been wearing it to work.


2012 December 27

As the UK hits the sales, it’s a good point to step back and look at the fashion predictions for the year ahead, so that money isn’t wasted on misses rather than hits.

Spring 2013 is destined to start bright and end bold – the spring colours are bright primaries for both men and women but men in particular are expected to be wearing red, black and white, which makes for simple colour coordination and allows pretty well everything you buy to be worn with pretty well everything else. Big blocks of white are highly fashionable – a white hoody meets the bill, as do white jeans.

By the end of the year, those bold colours will be cropping up as stripes and even tartans, so think deck chair and you’ll have the perfect Christmas shirt or jumper! If you don’t particularly want to do a Noel Edmonds, then combining three strong colours in one outfit works well, and as the winter clothing is expected to be unstructured and natural fibres it’s easy to put together a fashionable winter look with a loose shirt over a cotton T-shirt teamed with sporty jeans and an unlined jacket.

The overall hair look tends towards mildly nostalgic with comb-overs, buzzcuts and Jedward style bouffants with lots of gel and mousse. Facial hair is heading towards clean-shaven again.

Shoes are dividing the fashion world for men: one side of the 2013 divide is in boots, particularly desert boots, while the other side is in pointed toes – even heading towards the winklepicker!


2012 November 19

Winter wardrobes are expensive – it’s difficult to look chic if you’re freezing cold and winter clothes have to be better made and of more substantial fabric to look good – unlike summer clothes where skimpy and flimsy can be highly attractive.  Here are three tips to make winter clothing choices that look expensive but don’t cost the earth.

•    Two jackets will double your wardrobe. A formal jacket in velvet or tweed (try vintage fairs or charity shops) and a sporty jacket in fleece or ski fabric will double your apparent wardrobe for the same money as one winter coat. Both can be worn with jeans or this years maxi skirts and can change their appearance totally.

•    Long-sleeved T-shirts are an ideal choice – worn with a waistcoat, poncho or a chunky scarf they look relaxed and still keep you warm and cosy, while paired with a tabard jacket, a silk scarf or an elegant brooch they give a classic feel to your outfit.

•    Buy or make a range of scarves, gloves and hats. Varying your outerwear accessories makes you look as if you have an unlimited wardrobe, and the same T-shirt and jeans, or boots and skirt, worn underneath, can look totally fresh by ringing the changes on your accessories.


2011 December 28

Apparently Americans will return 10% of their Christmas gifts this year and the breakdown is fascinating. 62% of returns will be clothing and shoes that don’t fit properly or aren’t considered ‘suitable’ by the recipient. Not even close, by comparison, is the 16% toys, games and hobby supplies that will be returned and exchanged, closely followed by 14% returns in consumer electronics.

So what can you do to avoid being the giver of an unwanted gift or being lumbered with something you don’t want?

First, if you’re not sure about the item you’re buying, ask about the retailer’s returns policy – some online retailers have a brilliant exchange system for gifts, others charge a fortune in return postage – be sure that it’s possible to return or get a refund on an unwanted gift item so that the recipient can get something they do want.

If you’re the recipient, you may wish to ask the giver of an unwanted present for the receipt – it’s tricky but if you know them well and are willing to explain why (I already have one, it’s a size too small/large, I don’t wear T-shirts that colour etc) it can be done tactfully. Saying ‘I hate it and will never wear it’ may not get you the receipt, in fact, it may ensure you don’t get many more presents, so run your reasoning by a third party before launching into your request!

Always bear in mind that if they buyer didn’t pay cash, your refund may take the form of a gift token or voucher or for some stores, you can only get a refund onto the card that was used to make the purchase.

If you can’t exchange or refund, you can try selling your unwanted item on eBay – there are fee free weekends where the bulk of items on offer are unwanted gifts. Alternatively you can try for a swap – if it’s worth less than £50 lots of local papers allow you to put in a free advert, or even just give it away to a charity shop or online through sites like Freecycle, Greencyle or Freegle, in the hope that karma will deliver a free item that you want at some point in future.


2011 November 25

In the past year, Indian shoppers have got into buying clothing online in a big way. The division by gender is around 70% male to 30% female, with retailers focusing on social media to reach out to women who are a growth market for all forms of retail in India. Global clothing companies are rushing to get into this market, especially to bring their retail expertise to many customers who live in small towns, villages and the hamlets or rural India.

Casual apparel has the second highest seller online in India: ahead of books and DVDs. India’s ‘internet population’ has moved into e-commerce with ease: the nation has around 10 million online shoppers, a market that is growing at 40-45%, compared to the global rate of around 8-10% growth. eBay India retails a garment every seven minutes – many of which are sports shoes and clothing with Adidas and Reebok featuring highly in the popularity stakes.

Children’s wear is also a rapidly growing market with Indian mums investing in clothes and shoes, along with feeding bottles, buggies and toys. Menswear is growing too:one company that sells work shirts at under 900 rupees each has sold 2,500 shirts since it launched in August and is expecting to sell 5,000 collared shirts a month in 2012.

Personalised workout clothing is a big seller, with monogrammed hoodies and polo-shirts being a regular purchase by individuals and as presents or to commemorate work events such as promotions or anniversaries, which are popular celebrations in Indian culture.