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 April 25

Uneek_Premium_Reversible_Fleece_29_745There’s three extremes of football fashion – the one that involves Robbie Savage and weird coloured trousers, the one that includes Roy Keane who always seemed to be playing in a get up from a Beano comic and now dresses like his clothes are on loan from Alan Partridge, and the one where David Beckham and Xabi Alonso meet in designer suits and aviator glasses.

Sadly, most British men veer between the Savage and the Keane – the Savage is what gets worn in Ibiza or to a stag weekend in Brighton, while the Keane is what gets dragged up off the floor whenever we sit down to watch a match, especially if we’re at home with the lads. So how do we get to the Beckham/Alonso point of the triangle?

It’s easier to say what not to do. The Cristiano Ronaldo approach is the wrong one – regardless of his nimble footwork, Ronaldo’s bizarre fashion sense, which combines too much hair gel with too little clothing and waaaay too much attitude, is a style attitude that scores many own goals.

Instead, aim for one really classy item around which to build an outfit. One pair of designer jeans, if clean and not too crumpled, will carry with them a tatty T-shirt or really grungy but lucky old hoody. Similarly a fresh polo-shirt, worn crisp and starched, overwhelms the effect of our favourite old trackie bottoms.

Accessories divide and conquer fashion failures, so brand name watches and sunglasses will cause comfy flip flops to vanish from view, and a really good mens jacket has stealth capacity to disguise a rank vest worn underneath.


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 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.


2013 January 22

Result_Active_Fleece_Tassel_Scarf_36_491The first real snowfall of the year has led to lots of fun for most, but some serious consequences for others: broken or sprained limbs are just one consequence of being outdoors in snow and ice. The risk for those pursuing their fitness goals is even greater: runners aiming for the London Marathon this year are aiming to get their 12 mile run done this week – ice and snow or no ice and snow.  There are some practical tips that can help outdoor lovers to stay safe in winter weather:

1.    Check current and expected weather conditions for the time you will be outside. It may look great now, but if a blizzard or sleet is due in the next couple of hours, you need to make adjustments for temperature drops, poor visibility or the effect of wind-chill on your ability to complete your activity safely.
2.    Dress appropriately. Several layers of lightweight and loose clothing are ideal – and the outermost layer, and preferably the one below that, should be waterproof and wind-resistant. The value of have two waterproof layers is that if the first gets damaged, perhaps in a fall on ice, the sports person isn’t exposed to the elements for the duration of their time outside.
3.    Remember that goggles, gloves, sock, shoes, hats and helmets are vital. Poor vision can cause accidents and the extremities: hands, feet and head are the most likely body parts to be injured.
4.    Don’t go out alone. If you really must run or exercise solo, make sure somebody else knows where you are, what you are doing and when you expect to return. Call them when you get back safely. If they don’t hear from you in a certain period of time after your projected return, they are in a position to alert the authorities. It’s good to carry a mobile phone but don’t rely on a signal in bad weather. Wear highly visible clothing to ensure other people can find you if they need to.
5.    Warm up thoroughly and check your health before leaving home. If you feel at all unwell, don’t exercise in extreme weather conditions. If you feel or experience any signs of hypothermia or extremity frostbite, head for shelter and get medical attention. The things to watch out for numbness and tingling in the hands or feet, lack of feeling (if the face is exposed to the elements, rub your cheek regularly to check that you can feel your fingers on your exposed skin) or poor motion in your fingers or toes.


2012 November 21

Yes, no, maybe?  Not on the pitch perhaps, but there seems to be some evidence that sharp dressing helps with longevity in the job once a player moves into management.

So who succeeds and who fails?

•    Plus: David Beckham, looking for a new home, still bears the title of best-dressed man in football – and it’s not just his suits that help him to the top of the league. He’s had flirtations with skirts and leather trousers, but his excellent haircuts, good ink and ability to wear vintage jeans with plain white T-shirts have given him iconic status.  Will do well in management if he allows somebody else to do the talking!
•    Minus: Roberto di Matteo may have paid the price, like many before him, for following ‘The Special One’ whose Armani suits and superb white shirts earned him fans, female attention and the ability to shrug off Abramovich’s ire for longer than his successor.

•    Plus: Cesare Prandelli now Italy’s national coach, always wore purple when he managed Fiorentina. It’s not a colour for the faint-hearted but brave men might learn from him – audacity can work if you work it. His purple tracksuits in the dugout and purple shirts for press conferences made a flamboyant statement, bright polo-shirts can have the same effect for the average Joe.
•    Minus: On the other hand, Cisse, who got married in a red tuxedo in honour of his then club, Liverpool, pushes flamboyance to insanity and beyond. The Mohawk looks daft and the bling suggests he should be dealing on a street corner. Sometimes less is more and Cisse is more likely to end up in panto than management.

•    Plus: Gary Lineker made the leap from pitch to pundit with ease, despite a few rather dodgy fashion choices that he turned to account in his deliberately cheesy Walkers Crisps adverts. He’s managed to become a sharp casual dresser, a very tough balance, which he usually pulls off perfectly.
•    Minus: Owen Coyle’s departure from Bolton may have been caused by his legs – managers should not wear shorts! Underdressing and wearing too much fan apparel removes the impression that you’ve grown up and makes you look like a nine year old with a beard – smarter shirts, full length trousers and less club-based accessorising might have given him a longer career.


2012 October 30

Most British men have socks that are more than three years old, a survey by Socked.co.uk reports. So what, you may wonder?

The same research suggests that 90% of women are turned off by men who have cruddy underwear, so those men with their ancient, threadbare, cardboard hard socks are damaging their chances of a meaningful relationship.

Over 70% of men also say they wear odd socks if they can’t find a pair to that matches and that such slovenly behaviour has been commented on and they have still failed to do anything about their unmatching wardrobe.

Woollen clothing is big this year, from boot socks to trophy jumpers, but if you’re the kind of chap who doesn’t like wool or who has itchy skin as a result of wearing wool next to the skin, there are a couple of things you can do to get with the trend without suffering the scratchiness:

  1. Invest in classic coloured, ultra heavy sweatshirts – they have the same bulky outdoorsy profile as chunky wool jumpers but are easier to wear and launder.
  2. Go for reinforced toe socks to avoid holes in the toes and pick those with a silver component to stop odour.

2012 August 14

Amid rumours that Ryan Lochte is heading for a modelling career, and a series of photo-montages of the Ab-lympics, where the best six-packs of the games were flaunted, mainly by men, it’s been a period in which the male body has been worshipped, in Britain, as never before.

So it’s odd that for the ‘fashion’ section of the closing ceremony there were eight female models and just one man. Admittedly the man was David Gandy, British born, and the pre-eminent male model of his generation, but why only one guy?

The answer probably lies in clothing differentiation. The only way to get a second male onto the ‘catwalk’ would have been to take an extreme clothing leap, like David Beckham’s sarong, because for men, clothing is limited and fashion clothing even more so. Gandy wore a Paul Smith suit, and if more men had appeared in other suits, they would have looked like they were escorting the women, not like fashion statements in their own right. The women’s dresses were all white or white and gold, or gold but were highly differentiated in a way that isn’t possible for male clothing.  Still it wouldn’t have been impossible to have a man in high fashion sports clothing – Stella McCartney is famous for her luxe sportswear, after all?

So what should the fashion conscious man be looking to wear if it’s not a Paul Smith suit? This year’s fashion trends are predicted to be gold, gold and gold, and anything that even passes for gold, so yellow polo-shirts, mustard-coloured cord and cotton trousers and scarves with gold detailing are all big for men. Also a key feature will be ‘flashing’ which is not running around with nothing on, but the effect that sports clothing produces when two different colours or textures are used to create interest when somebody moves – think about the gold details on the tracksuits worn by the Torch relay – that’s ‘flashing’ and it’s expected to turn up as knee patches on jog trousers and elbow patches on hoodies.