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.

2012 September 3

Six tips to make university life more simple, productive and fun!

1.    Keep hold of loose change and store it somewhere discreet – everybody wants it for vending machines, photocopiers and washing machines/dryers – so if you leave yours lying around your room, your mates will help themselves!

2.    Buy a hanging rack for drying your smalls – you can put it in the wardrobe if anybody fit comes to visit your room and even hang it outside your window on nice days when you’re in residence, but don’t leave it there when you go out or it will either blow away or get kidnapped by somebody else and used to tease you.

3.    Keep your mobile number and email off uni sites and social networks – not everybody can be trusted with your details.

4.    Lay out your clothes, toothbrush and other stuff before you go out drinking for the night. That way if you come home wrecked, everything’s ready for the morning and you and your sick head just have to walk through what you got ready before you were bladdered.

5.    Check out the uni website to get some idea what people wear/do/say but don’t trust it – those sites are usually fairly carefully supervised. Keep back some cash for a quick wardrobe upgrade (or downgrade) and a haircut just in case you want to change your style to feel more part of the crowd.

6.    Buy online – everything from paper to books to clothes and food – impulse buying ruins budgets and it’s much better to shop around, from the privacy of your room, for cheap clothing, bargain food and half price stationery than to rush into buying something because your mates are egging you on.

2011 April 6

A business journal in Edmonton, Canada has put a new item of clothing to the smart-casual test. Can yoga pants (often still called jog pants in the UK)be worn to the office?

The vote was divided. Several personal shoppers and style gurus reckon that they are fit only for the gym and that they look boring. Other complaints were that they are both too sexy and too casual and suggest a woman who isn’t credible and lacks authority.

On the other hand, for the larger women, there was an argument to be made. The generous cut of wide leg yoga pants was considered to be acceptable, especially if worn with a smart shirt and wide belt. For the smaller woman, leggings or smart trousers were definitely considered preferable.

In some professions, such as teaching and semi-medical settings, the yoga pants were definitely a hot favourite with women who had to bend and stretch and deal with settings in which they were fetching and carrying.

When wearing this kind of casual bottom, a fitted top is essential maybe a camisole with a smart blazer or a bright short-sleeved shirt, but there still seems to be a wide division over whether yoga pants count as business-wear or not.

2011 January 10

If you got a cotton polo for Christmas, you might be one of the lucky ones. In India, suppliers of T-shirts and polos are struggling to meet the rising cost of their industry – cotton has increased in price by up to 60% drivi ng up production costs.

This means that cotton clothing is becoming more expensive and premium cotton is worth taking care of.

Wash your cotton or poly-cotton polo shirts in a cold water wash (either by hand or in the machine) and then use a cold rinse cycle (or the delicate setting if your rinse programme has one). Above all, don’t tumble-dry then, as this will cause them both to shrink and warp and can cause that horrible curling collar syndrome that can ruin an otherwise perfect shirt. Dry them on the washing line instead to keep them looking good for as long as possible.

2010 October 11

Designer Paul Costelloe kicked off London Fashion Week and Savile Row’s Ozwald Boateng closed it, but what, of the various shows in-between, will make it through to the high street and the online retailer?

Very often, male fashion is designed as a counterpoint to female and we saw some of that with Paul Costelloe, where his silvery female mini-dresses were contrasted against the sharp navy suits he put his male models into.

The Fifties preppy clothing on offer at E.Tautz is a safe bet – think of cool shades and muted patterns: pale blue polo-shirts and ice-cream coloured jumpers are likely to appear under the Christmas tree for boyfriends and husbands. There were bolder knits from Topman Design which may easily be seen on university campuses but the James Long patchwork style woven jumpers probably won’t make it into the high street, unless your name is Noel Edmonds!

Most male designers have gone for a suited and booted look which is more Square Mile that the construction style wear we were seeing a year ago. Shorts appeared in a lot of shows, as did scarlet T-shirts, possibly related to an economy being ‘in the red’.

2010 June 5

The recent case of a badly sunburnt baby whose parents had kept it on Brighton beach all day in inappropriate clothing just goes to show how dangerous the sun can be.  But we all want to enjoy the good weather and children in particular love to be outside when the sun shines. So how do we keep them safe?

Sunshine and clothing

People of any age, with any skin colour, can develop skin cancers but children are five times more likely to suffer sunburn and it’s sunburn that is often linked to development of melanoma skin cancer in later life. The areas where melanoma is most often seen are the face, head and shoulders: areas that can easily be protected by hats and short or long-sleeved T-shirts.

Prevention is better than cure

Try to keep children out of direct sun between eleven and three – let them sit in the shade or even, although it feels wrong, indoors watching cartoons on TV!

A good UV screening T-shirt is thick enough so that when you put your hand inside, you can’t see your skin through the fabric. Anything thinner than that doesn’t offer adequate protection. Clothing choices for children should work with a good waterproof sunscreen to offer maximum safeguard.

Hats help most

In Australia they’ve run a national campaign to encourage parents to put hats on their children. It’s claimed that a child wearing a baseball cap is 78% less likely to suffer sunstroke.

Babies belong in the shade

The latest government advice is that babies under 6 months should be kept completely out of the sun, and should not have sunscreen applied to their skin. This means that your baby should be indoors, under a parasol or – if you have to expose them to the sun – choose baby clothing that covers the entire body such as a long sleeved T-shirt and leggings with a wide-brimmed hat.

2009 December 8

UC113The UK’s Border Agency staff are getting bonuses this week, and one of them is a slightly revised uniform – new polo shirts. Why has the polo-shirt become the clothing choice of every form of security work, from the nightclub bouncer to the border patrol? Because it’s so versatile.

When people have to combine looking professional with being able to move in a hurry and engage in strenuous activity, there is no clothing that is as useful as the polo-shirt. T-shirts allow a similar range of movement but are less smart and shirts are smart but rather constricting to wear. The polo shirt combines comfortable wear with demanding situations perfectly.

Polo shirts also look good – they give an impression of fitness and physical strength without looking scary or overly confrontational. As an item of uniform they work just as well for car valets as for doormen and because they aren’t very much different to the polo-shirts the average person would wear on an evening out, they calm situations and look reassuring.

Because polo shirts are cotton or cotton rich, they allow those wearing them to feel comfortable whether the weather is winter chilly or summer hot and with the right colour/style combination a polo shirt can look very formal and dressy or utterly relaxed and casual, meaning that it fits into any situation and any kind of gathering, which makes security staff feel comfortable that they don’t stand out as targets.

2009 December 3

organicteeWhy should you buy organic cotton Christmas presents?

•    Because buying organic gives a gift to people and the environment.  Organic cotton offers a better future for the people who work with it, and for the entire planet.  Non-organic cotton farming uses one quarter of the world’s pesticides causing damage to the environment and illness and deaths among cotton workers. An organic cotton T-shirt benefits everybody involved in its production and manufacture.
•    Because organic T-shirts, polo-shirts and especially baby clothes are better for the health of people who receive your gifts. Believe it or not, as many as  8000 chemicals can be used to turn conventional cotton into a teeshirt or baby’s sleepsuit. But Soil Association standards for organic cotton actually ban the use of chemicals that are hazardous to the environment or health, so buying organic means you safeguard the well-being of your loved ones.
•    Because you’re helping the world’s poorest people – organic cotton supports labour rights because organic cotton farmers in developing countries tend to have higher incomes and definitely enjoy better health. Non-organic cotton workers often live and work in poor conditions, and are exposed to hazardous chemicals. Buying organic clothing such as T-shirts can mean that your purchase helps improve the life of the world’s poorest communities.
•    Because it feels good – organic cotton is literally softer than other forms of cotton, it doesn’t contain chemicals that can be irritating to sensitive skin either, so an organic cotton rugby shirt will be softer and remain ‘snuggly’ longer than many conventionally produced cotton rugby shirts.
•    Because organic clothing such as T-shirts is often more focused on style and comfort than more traditional cotton clothing manufacture – this means that new designs can be more wearer-friendly and high fashion than you ever dreamed.

2009 November 16

safrugbyThere’s nothing more comfortable, more practical or more welcome as a Christmas present for both sexes and all ages than a rugby shirt. With Johnny Wilkinson’s return to the England squad and return to winning form, retailers everywhere are expecting a run on the eponymous rugby –shirt for gifts this year to rugby mad boys, and Wilkinson-mad girls!

So why is the rugby shirt so popular? Well it’s made to be both durable and eminently wearable – unlike some sturdy clothing which is hard-wearing but hard to wear, it’s designed for maximum movement and comfort, so whatever you’re doing, it feels great against your skin and allows you to bend and stretch if you’re working out, or simply to slob out on the sofa.

A rugby shirt’s cotton, or cotton-blend, material, means it transfers moisture out, so you don’t get clammy but keeps warmth in so you don’t get chilled and it’s easy to wash and wear so that you don’t have to look after with excessive care. And the colourways that are traditional for rugby-shirts are winter bright and positive, unlike the drab grey that is usual for clothing like jog pants, so you look good wearing a rugby shirt for casual events.

2009 October 30

kids tCotton has been used to make cloth in areas with tropical climates since around 12,000 BC and is now the largest clothing contributor in the world

Why is cotton clothing so popular?

•    From the day a baby is born, it is dressed in cotton clothing like all-in-ones or T-shirts because it’s a non-allergenic fabric which doesn’t irritate sensitive skin or create allergies.  This also makes it the most popular fabric for underwear and cotton socks and undergarments are still the first choice for the world’s sporting legends.

•    Because cotton is adaptable it can be blended with other fabrics such as polyester to make easy wear, easy care shirts or with lycra to make clothing that fits snugly.  It’s also a very good taker up of dye, which means cotton or cotton blend T-shirts and polo-shirts have richer colours that those made entirely of synthetic fabrics.

•    Cotton is more durable that finer fabrics such as silk, so cotton casualwear has a longer life than many other garments. Cotton is also able to take up 27 times its own weight in water, making it the ideal fabric for clothing such as jog pants and sweatshirts that need to absorb sweat without leaving the wearing feeling uncomfortable.

•    Organic cotton is particularly suitable for people with sensitive skins as it is produced with none of the insecticides or chemicals that can remain as a residue in standard cotton – this is why organic cotton clothing can often feel a little softer than other cottons and is popular for comfort garments such as sweatshirts and casual tops like vests that are worn next to the skin.