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.


2013 September 18

Sometimes children dislike a new school or develop a school phobia after the first few days of the school term. This can disturb parents and lead to them applying pressure to their child to try and redress the situation, but there are better ways of resolving difficulties.

Ensure routines are established early

You can work on developing a good school routine by assisting a child to prepare the previous evening by laying out their school clothes, packing their bag, making up a healthy lunch etc and ensuring all the processes for an efficient morning start are in place, such as setting alarms, washing and dressing and eating breakfast.

ConfidenMantis_Women's_Superstar_Hoodie-2045-717ce issues

Girls are often confronted with self-esteem problems at the end of the summer holidays when pulling on a school uniform reveals changes to her body or that she is ahead or behind her peer group, developmentally. For boys, self-esteem issues often relate to difficulty expressing their feelings or coping with new thoughts and feelings that they lack a vocabulary for.

Girls can be assisted to explore a positive idea of themselves by planning outfits based on their current wardrobe and a couple of new key items, while boys often find drama classes or even taking up a contact sport can help them move past their insecurities.

Bullying

Nobody wants to believe their child is being bullied, or a bully, but it’s a fact of life. Schools should have a policy to deal with such issues. Ask for a copy of their policy and take a step by step approach to the problem. Remember, it’s not about appointing blame but about making school a positive experience for children.


2013 September 4

Front_Row_Ladies_Striped_Sleeve_Rugby_Shirt-2139-451This year’s music wannabees have been modelling this year’s hottest looks for the Daily Mail – but if you don’t have £450 for a skirt or £100 for a tee, we’ve got some tips on getting the look at budget prices.

None of this year’s talents have the wild couture of Lady GaGa or the goth feyness of Florence and the Machine, which might be good news for girls on a budget as keeping up with weird and wonderful fashion trends is tough on the pocket.

So here’s how to get the looks without spending a fortune:

Paper London

It is one of our favourite brands – there’s something both demure and demanding about their knitwear which is utterly want-worthy. And given that celebs snapped in Paper London clothing include Lily Collins, Pippa Midleton and Jayma May (okay, she’s from Glee, in case you don’t recognise the name) Paper London have the star vote too.

Of course at £450 a jumpsuit, their price is out of a lot of people’s range, but we reckon you can pull together a look that works pretty well like this:

Paper London look – team oversized polos and rugby shirts in acid colours with contrast collars with geometric print tights or even buy some bright cotton or bamboo leggings and stonewash/dip dye/bleach out a random pattern on them to get a one-off look.

Accesories should be geometric – look to the new Rimmel London Retromania cosmetics to get the right balance of stylised shapes with stark colours.

Cats Brothers

So while we like Paper London, we are utterly mad about Cats Brothers and their stunning, vibrant beaded knitwear. They call it the ‘Crazy Homies’ look and it works for just about everyone, providing an off-beat charm that most of us can pull off and that brightens the darkest November day.

Pull the look together by wearing cut offs worn over bright tights or leggings, a long knitted scarf and a long-sleeved skinny-fit T-shirt or sweatshirt under an oversized T-shirt with a band print – Beastie Boys, House of Pain and Stylo G are good choices for this look. And go for hot colours: neon pink, mustard, turquoise etc.

Accessories should be bold; a general Mexican theme will pull the look together for you.


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 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 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 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 May 15

Henbury_Ladies_Short_Sleeve_Classic_Oxford_Shirt_27_189Many of us, particularly interns and those getting their first job, are becoming stressed and confused by the demands of Friday clothing. Here are some key dos and don’ts to help manage the perplexities of the day before the weekend:

Do

•    Wear black or navy denim if denim is allowed, but don’t succumb to the desire to wear stone-washed, denim cutoffs (Daisy Dukes) or short skirts. Keep it classic with boot cut jeans and a semi-formal top like a short sleeved shirt with a vibrant necklace.
•    Stick to heels or bright flats – red ballerina pumps work, flip-flops don’t. The Friday rule is if you are showing heels (slingbacks) don’t show toes or vice versa.
•    Be bright – large florals or jungle prints look great, as to strong coloured polo-shirts with a pair of simple black trousers and a statement necklace or designer scarf or bracelet.

Don’t

•    Get sultry – it’s casual attire not clubbing attire. When in doubt wear the longer sleeve, the higher neckline or the more formal outfit.
•    Wear shorts, unless they are fully tailored and worn with a blazer and formal shoes. Think Audrey Hepburn.
•    Forget to accessorise your casual clothing – you can fool just about everybody that you’ve perfected the casual Friday style if you wear a good necklace or belt with a plain t-shirt.