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!


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 9

sir alexSo, the most successful British football manager of all time is retiring. For many it’s the end of an era, and all those other clichés. There are also a thousand theories about what made Ferguson so great and one of them is related to clothing.

Scientists at Portsmouth University discovered that a team’s belief in their manager’s competence is related to the way the manager dresses. So Ferguson’s habit of wearing tracksuits in training, and suits and shirts for match days, creates the perfect blend of competence. A tracksuit or leggings and sweatshirt on training days suggests the ability to transmit technical skills while formal clothing for match days inspires belief in strategic competence.

Surprisingly, the effect is greater on the opposition, than the team being managed, so part of Ferguson’s longevity may be his consistent approach to always dressing like a player when coaching and a businessman when in front of the opposition – over long years of media exposure, he’s created a persona that appears to have perfect mastery of both sets of skills, creating an air of omnipotence that threatens both players and managers on other teams.

Gamegear_Tracksuit_104_282One way that this has been proved true is that in February last year, when Sir Alex appeared on TV in a suit and white polo neck sweater rather than a shirt, social media networks and sports commentators alike were agog about his apparently insignificant change of attire – and all kinds of theories abounded. Several tweets went with the line ‘The name’s Ferguson, Alex Ferguson’ referencing the famous white polo neck of James Bond and linking the two great British icons.

Few other managers have such an impact and, apart from Jose Mourinho, none of them score anything other than own goals, clothing wise. So it seems that to dress like a boss, on and off the pitch, has been part of Sir Alex’s success story.


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 22

Kustom_Kit_Classic_Polo_21_814Two of the biggest names in polo shirts have independently come up with similarly bright and breezy new designs for summer. The first is Uniqlo – the Japanese giant that designs, manufactures and retails its own clothing. This year it’s partnered with Michael Bastian – golden boy of the current American preppy market – to create a very different kind of polo shirt.

Bastian, best known for his collaboration with GANT, has risen to the challenge with a line of really bright polo-shirts, finely cut to work for the frame of a fencer, rather than the average American, and with some print designs that verge on the kitsch, particularly the china cats.

The second is Lacoste, celebrating eight decades of popular perfection with its giant crocodile pool party at Thermal, CA. Those attending included Rita Ora, , Brad Goreski (he’s a stylist, he puts clothes together for more famous people) and Alexa Chung and they all scooted around the pool on those giant crocodiles and drank, or rather sucked on, tequila lollies. So how’s the new Lacoste polo looking? Also bright, very bright. And slimline.
To get the look without access to Uniqlo or if you lack pockets that are deep enough to afford Lacoste, aim for a slimfit polo shirt in a bright colour, but stay away from the primaries: lime green, pink, orange or purple are all great, red, blue and yellow not so popular. Pair the polo with chinos, with shorts and a belt, as the slimline top won’t cover your waistband the way the looser styles does, or this year’s coloured jeans where the favourite shades are white and canary yellow.


2013 April 2

AWDis_Cool_Vest_82_281While the weather hardly suggests it, it’s been a week for wet T-shirts, six packs and tans. Ryan Lochte posed for US Weekly to promote his new TV show (yes, he has a TV show, to celebrate his Olympic gold medal, presumably) in which he stood on a road in a wet T-shirt with his muscles sharply defined, as usual. The series covers his clothing choices, training regime and sex life!

Meanwhile Andy Murray showed that he’s a true Brit by baring his own six pack on the beach and revealing an excellent semi-tan that stopped where his body had been covered by his T-shirt during his recent Sony Open win.

Both men had something that the average chap might struggle to bring to the party – namely an excellent musculature, but if you’re not the Olympic type, it’s still possible to pull off a good beach look:

Singlets or vests are a good way of covering a less than chiselled torso – go for a dark colour such as a navy blue vest and don’t tuck it into your shorts.

Talking about those shorts, while budgie smugglers may work for Tom Daley, most men will look better in a formally styled pair of shorts such as cargo shorts – even Murray went for the long look in board shorts.

And check out your footwear, flip flops don’t cut it – choose a good pair of leather sandals (no socks) or really excellent trainers in a neutral colour and again, no socks!


2013 March 25

Fruit_of_the_Loom_Short_fit_Ladies_Valueweight_TSh_25_415Many people are let down by their planning rather than their clothes, but cheap clothing and tight budgets can contribute to looking less well put together than you intended. Here are half a dozen hacks to help you make the most of what you’ve got, save money where you can, and get out of scrapes and difficult clothing situations.

Preparation

•    Colour code your wardrobe from white at one end to black and the other with the shoes that go with each colour underneath. This saves time every morning because you can pick out an outfit that WILL coordinate.

•    Put socks or tights in your shoes when you put them away, so that each pair of shoes has the right thing tucked inside and you don’t have to waste time rummaging through drawers to find what you want.

Money saving

•    Consider where you don’t have to launder garments. Jeans, sweatshirts, hoodies and other heavyweight garments may not need to be washed – if they’ve picked up an odour, maybe beer or hot fat or just the smell of being stored for too long, unfold them and put them in the freezer. An overnight freezer and all day defrosting will remove any odour and allow them to be worn again.

•    If you’ve outgrown your shirt collar, you can get some more wear out of a too small shirt by moving the top button. Usually you can move the button outwards by up to half an inch – that’s a whole shirt size, without changing the hang of the shirt. It’s easy to mark the spot and resew the button, even for those with no sewing training.

Real time problems

•    Stuck zip. If your trouser or skirt zip sticks, find a bar of soap and rub it along the teeth of the zip and then slooooowly work the zip open. You can do this with thick hair conditioner too, if you can’t find a bar of soap.

•    You spill something on your shirt. Keep a plain white short sleeved T-shirt in your desk drawer. For most occasions it will be okay and it’s better than wearing pasta sauce or a coffee stain all day.


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 15

AWDis_Cool_Vest_82_281Well, maybe not quite yet, but both kinds of clothing could be on the cards in the future.

While Livestrong tells us that one way to aim for a summer six pack is to train less, and maybe even rest and eat more, performance clothing to support the kind of intensity that leads to a six pack is being explored by researchers.

The most recent work is in the field of cross-country skiing and has discovered that the quickest way for competitors to improve their performance is not to have the right skis, or the right wax, but to be at the right temperature, which for competitive skiing is +1 and -4 degrees. Any colder and competitors tire quicker and have reduced performance, as a result of joints and ligaments stiffening and enzyme activity in cells changing. While any warmer means that competitors over-sweat, dehydrate and have extra fluid loss that leads to swifter negative results like cramp or lactic acid build-up.

This is significant for exercising and suggests that major muscle masses, like thighs and upper arms, may benefit from better air circulation – so singlets or vests are good, while T-shirts may actually inhibit bicep building or six-pack shredding in warm weather. Once it gets cold though, major muscles need an air pocket between them and the outside temperature so joggers in jogging bottoms will probably outperform those running in shorts in wintry weather, all other things being equal.

As for self-cleaning sportswear, the Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Centre is exploring omniphobic coatings for clothing that creates a lower surface tension that that of anything that might harm the clothing, encouraging sweat, water and toxic chemicals to roll off, while the same coating repels dust and dirt. As a result, within a generation, or fitness clothing could be self-cleansing, and the more we sweat, the cleaner, and stronger, we’ll be.