2013 December 10

sleeveless fleeceBritain is once again experiencing periods of extreme weather followed by unseasonable mild spells. It’s difficult to know how to dress for such conditions, especially if you’re travelling. Christmas adds to the problem, by requiring that we dress reasonably well, whilst imposing journeys in unpredictable and sometimes terrible conditions.

Cycling, walking, spectating

Whether it’s snowballs in the park or Boxing Day rugby, dressing to have fun is vital over the winter. A sleeveless fleece or body warmer offers excellent insulation of the torso, whilst allowing complete freedom of movement. Worn with a scarf, gloves and hat, a sleeveless fleece can be a great investment if you’re expecting to be active. Top it with a high-visibility tabard or vest if cycling so you don’t become a bad weather statistic.

Car journeys

Layering is important. Cars get hot, so people need to take layers off, then you stop for a comfort break and everybody gets cold and needs to pile the clothing on again. Jog pants are ideal for drivers as they give comfort and ease and you can put on your smart clothing when you arrive.

Mass transport

Trains, coaches and planes bring their own problems including the risk of delay at airports and railway stations and the possibility of getting into traffic jams that leave you spending hours on a hot and often a little whiffy form of transport with a lot of other people. Make sure you put a spare top in your hand luggage along with some wet wipes and mouthwash. That way, even if you’re stranded, you’ll be able to make yourself presentable. If you’re hoping for an upgrade at the airport, a cotton shirt is the best thing to wear, with smart trousers or a skirt, but a polo shirt is nearly as acceptable. T-shirts and jeans are great to travel in but won’t get you that coveted business class seat!


2013 July 31

Jerzees_Ladies_LS_Ult_NonIron_Shirt_27_962They used to be called blouses, but today they are simply women’s shirts. They can be a boon to the woman who needs to dress smartly for work but doesn’t have a huge budget as three or four shirts in different colours are much more adaptable than a similar number of less classic tops.

Here’s how to make the look work for you.

Under or over?

Whilst a shirt can be worn over a camisole top or vest to give a semi-structured look, it’s just as versatile worn under a plain pinafore dress or a pretty waistcoat to give a more feminine vibe.

Pick a reason

If you wear a shirt for work, there’s no reason not to make it do double duty for your leisure hours. A plain white shirt worn with trousers in a work environment can look really cute if you tie the top around your waist, rather than buttoning it and roll up the sleeves, it’s a perfect bikini cover up.

Consider your fabric

Pure cotton shirts are the classic style – they are hard-wearing but can be more difficult to launder than the blended cotton versions. Non-iron shirts are also available and take all the hard work out of wash time, although they don’t necessarily offer the same cool comfort in a hot office as 100% cotton does.

Play to your strengths

If you have bingo wings or skinny arms, a long-sleeved shirt will conceal their inadequacies whilst offering a nice tailored appearance that enhances your good features. If you have a traditional apple or pear shape, consider a shirt with a round tail, worn outside your skirt or trousers, and with a skinny slimming belt at the waist. It elongates your body and looks slimming.


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 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 June 17

Just_Hoods_Girlie_Longline_Hoodie_74_204Kim Kardashian’s ‘healthy female’ baby arrived about a month early. Beyonce tweets pictures of herself with Blue Ivy, her daughter. Celebrity bumps are, or have been, everywhere.

Kim who is 32, said that she had found there were ‘awkward phases and stages’ to being an expectant mother, so how do women dress with a bump? Here are four key tips:

1.    Wear what works for you – our lives are going to change but our basic nature won’t. If you’re a jeans and a T-shirt woman, you’ll still be that after the baby arrives, so adjust rather than altering your clothing – a couple of boyfriend shirts and some elastic sided jeans will take you a long way.

2.    Avoid ultra bright colours – remember that the expanse is rounded and lime green or canary yellow can look surreal on a bump. Clear colours are great so swap the neon for rich shades of blue, burgundy and green and you can still wear camisole tops or even bikinis.

3.    Glam up – there’s no need to sink into the shadows either. You can wear a rhinestone studded dress, a deeply cut top or even strappy sandals if they work for you, just remember that comfort matters too, so don’t wear anything that feels too tight or causes feet or wrists to swell.

4.    Be happy – if you want to spend your entire pregnancy in a hoodie and leggings, that’s your business, nobody has to dress up, down or sideways just because they are pregnant. Pick something stylish, like our illustrated long line hoodie, and go for it!


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 23

BC_Ladies_Milano_34_Sleeve_Stretch_Poplin_Shirt_27_704Jenny Bannister, one of Australia’s best established fashion designers, has been pointing out some home truths to her industry. Bannister, like Vivienne Westwood, successfully transcended a ‘70s fashion career to become a couturier of note, and she’s complained about the clothing choices available to larger, older women. Her focus is on the top end of the market, where billionaires and multinational entrepreneurs who just happen to be female, hang out. For them, designer clothing is a natch, but what about the women a little lower down the food chain, who are still powerful and need to be presentable, but don’t have a haute couture budget?

Bannister was direct, ‘You buyers out there, who think the fatter the customer, the less money she has to spend, look at [mining billionaire] Gina Rinehart and [socialite Eileen] Red Bond you lot’ she said and insisted that women over forty want clothing that is:

1.    Natural, quality fabrics in flattering colours
2.    Not based around neutral shades, because they can make large women look larger
3.    Vintage and classic styles, with accessories that are fashion forward
4.    Knee length or longer dresses with sleeves.

Even that set of criteria rarely works for women who have non-desk based careers. If you’re a pilot, a shipping magnate or a journalist, clothing has to be rugged yet smart, adaptable and crease resistant.

We recommend:
1.    Good tailored jackets
2.    Classic trousers with designer belts, teamed with quality shirtsstretch poplin, for example, works well for all shapes of body and has inbuilt ‘snap-back’ smartness
3.    Round-necked, long-sleeved T-shirts with bold scarves.


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.


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.