2013 November 12

Fruit_of_the_Loom_Sleeveless_Fleece_29_320Oldie tattoos!  Led by David Dimbleby, who’s just had his first ink job, aged 75, tattoos and their display are a big theme for winter 2013 and spring 2014. The TV presenter and journalist has opted for a scorpion on his right shoulder, as a result of researching tattoos for his programme ‘Britain and the Sea’ in which he discovered that tattoos were brought to the UK by sailors who’d seen them in the South Seas.

So if you’ve got your tat and want to show it off, how do you dress?

•    Neck and head tattoos are still dodgy – considered de rigueur in some prisons and professions (muay thai and crystal meth dealing for example) they still have the capacity to shock.  For winter wear, a simple scarf and beanie hat can ensure that you reveal your great ink to the cognoscenti but hide it from maiden aunts and prospective employers.
•    Forearm tattoos are totally acceptable – what a path David Beckham charted for us, making the bared arm with big ink into a statement of British bulldog charm. The best way to display your arm ink is to wear a long-sleeved T-shirt or sweatshirt with a gilet or sleeveless fleece over the top. That way you can push up your sleeves and show your art without losing the warmth provided by a body-hugging sleeveless jacket.
•    Leg art – it’s a trickier one in winter. Your best hope is to invest in some great pants and hope that the love of your life will admire your tatts as you swagger from the bathroom in your budgie smugglers!


2013 October 8

Front_Row_Ladies_Original_Rugby_Shirt-2166-355Back in the day, men wore the trousers and women wore skirts and dresses. Unisex was unthinkable. Today unisex clothing is much more common, from T-shirts through to boyfriend jeans, clothing comes in sizes much more than in cuts.

One of the most successful unisex garments is the rugby shirt. Well worn, it makes a comfortable fashion statement and can be either laidback or sexy depending on the styling.  Here are our top five tips to wear this casual garment well:

1.    Layering – for a highly feminine look try a large rugby shirt over a mini-skirt or shorts worn with textured tights. Heeled boots finish this look off perfectly.
2.    Jeans – while rugby shirts and jeans are a classic look, focus on the details that make a real difference: a chunky necklace that sits inside the collar of the shirt will add a feminine vibe and for casual outfits try sandals or flip-flops rather than training shoes and for more formal events, highly polished brown boots look fabulous and add a touch of country-style Middleton glamour to the ensemble.
3.    Focus on colour – the darker the colour the more formal the look, so a solid black or navy rugby shirt will look more formal than a yellow or pink one. Stripes always look casual.
4.    For the perfect boyfriend look, team an oversized rugby shirt with a pair of tiny denim cut-offs, a high pony tail and flip-flops, it looks feminine, casual and captivating!
5.    Don’t forget that the cutest way to wear a rugby shirt is to borrow one from your man and wear that!


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 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 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 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 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 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!