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.

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 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 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.

2009 October 19

safrugbyA traditional rugby shirt, often referred to as a jersey, was a shirt worn by players of rugby union or rugby league. These days, players shirts tend to have short sleeves, but the fashion garment worn by people who don’t play rugby, almost always has the traditional long sleeves.

What distinguishes a rugby shirt from a polo-shirt? Two things, the first is the longer sleeves, the second is that although both have a button front opening, the rugby shirt tends to have a stiffer collar.

The sports version of the rugby shirt usually has a logo on the chest and the player’s team number on the back, but fashion versions may have an imaginary logo and no number on the back at all. While traditional designs usually had five or six hoops (stripes travelling horizontally around the body) but modern fashion rugby shirts are much more likely to be a solid colour with a contrasting white collar. They are also more likely much more likely to be made of pure cotton, while the sports-based rugby shirts are often made of a blend of cotton and synthetic fabrics for lightness and ease of wear.

A rugby shirt is a durable and extremely comfortable item of casual clothing that maintains its classic status.

2009 September 7

rugby_shirt_royalIf you want to dress well but don’t have the budget, aren’t particularly good at laundry and stuff, and never feel very sure about clothing rules, rugby shirts are the perfect solution.

To begin with, they are a durable garment, so they put up with being washed at the wrong temperature, with the wrong stuff, being used as a dish-towel or a cushion to sit on in the park, or a goalpost for a game of scratch football, and still look great.

Secondly, rugby shirts come in a range of colours and designs, they are ideal casual wear but the longer sleeves give an added touch of formality that a polo-shirt or a sweatshirt doesn’t have.

Rugby shirts keep you warm while looking cool – if you’re one of those people who hate to wear a jacket, or forget to carry one, then a rugby shirt is the ideal option – it keeps you warm enough without looking like you’re bundled up in clothing.

White collars look great. If you’re a bloke and have a hangover or didn’t have time to shave, the collar lightens your face and suggests that you’re rugged rather than wasted. And any woman looks great in a rugby shirt – just ask a bloke!

2008 November 27

The bottom is falling out of markets for everything from mortgages to mohair scarves – even cheap and cheerful Woolworths is not immune.

What effect will the new thrifty behaviour of consumers have on our clothing?

School uniforms are suddenly popular with parents who can see ways to save money by ensuring their kids wear the agreed clothing which is usually a lot cheaper than fashion wear. Uniforms have seen a boost too, as staff benefit from not having to wear their own clothes to the office, but what about those who do have to dress for work or college from their own budgets and want to impress without breaking the bank?

  • Organic clothing matters – ethical wear is going to be increasingly important as people want to be sure that what they buy with their hard-earned cash, isn’t causing misery elsewhere in the world.
  • Vintage returns – the hoodie your uncle Dave wore the year skateboards were invented, and your mum’s old ‘Material Girl’ T-shirt are suddenly back in fashion. Because vintage clothing has stood the test of time, it’s a good investment and rather than just being ‘old’ or ‘second-hand’ it has the cachet of being ‘previously loved’. Be careful though, just because it’s old, doesn’t mean it’s vintage – T-shirts from lousy television series in the 1980s still won’t get you anything but sneers and jeers.
  • Shopping with a list delivers the goods – just as we shouldn’t go food shopping without a list, we shouldn’t buy clothes without one either. List what you have, then list what you need and buy that, not anything else. Shops are designed to lure you into purchases you don’t really need, so buying online can save you a fortune.  If you have three pairs of blue jeans, perhaps you need a pair of black trousers? If you have four white polo-shirts, perhaps you need a black polo? The thing is, once you get into the shop, you’re seduced by what you already know you like and you leave with blue jeans and another white polo and whoops … money gone and still none of the clothes you need.
  • Classic crowns them all – or why black is always the new black.  The reason that classic colours and styles persist from year to year is their incredible ability to make most people look good most of the time. A black top, unless you have dandruff, is slimming and stylish – what’s not to like about that?

2008 November 17

As the recession bites, the idea of Christmas shopping depresses as many people as it cheers up. If you’re one of the 29% of the British population who – in a recent survey – classed ‘shopping for gifts’ as being more enjoyable than filling in your tax return but less enjoyable than having a dental check-up, don’t despair. You can do most of your shopping online, bag some bargains, and please everybody on your Xmas shopping list.

Let’s start with the wrinklies: Gran and Granddad have enough slippers and photo-frames already!  But a high-quality,  top-comfort sleeveless fleece is a thoughtful gift: it can be slipped on over a shirt or jumper to nip outside and bring in the washing or give the dog some fresh air, and it can be worn under a winter coat for longer trips outdoors. Finally, if your grandparents are worrying about their energy bills (who isn’t?) a fleece allows them to stay warm without turning up the central heating.

Parents: Dad gets so many socks, and Mum so many tea-towels, they must sometimes want to tie them all together and make a rope to escape from the hell of Christmas gift-giving! Why not invest in their health? But them each a really good winter jacket that’s good for Sunday afternoon walks (remember how they used to drag you out for ‘healthy exercise – now you can get your own back) and smart enough to wear to the pub for a warming drink on their way home. You’ll be the favourite offspring for sure.

Nieces and nephews, daughters and sons: Can you remember how horrible it was when your parents bought your clothes for you? Well, learn from that. Don’t try to buy trendy gear for your younger relatives because the very term, trendy gear is so unretro it’s nearly squicky (and if you didn’t understand that, you’re just too old). Instead invest in really classic cotton tops. Girls will always welcome more plain black or plain white T-shirts and boys can’t get enough hoodies, as long as they are simple, neutral colours. Pre-teens would love some fabric markers to personalise a new sweatshirt, but teenagers would just see this as ‘lame’ so stick to the classics and earn their grudging respect.

There, Christmas shopping sorted, all available from polo-shirts.co.uk online and only one lot of post to pay – with the money you save, you could take your other half out for a lovely romantic post-Christmas dinner – because you’re both worth it!

2008 August 18


The current spending squeeze has changed our purchasing habits, on the high street and online. Slow fashion is fast becoming the way we buy, even if we don’t know exactly what ‘slow fashion’ means. It’s a term that’s increasingly being used by the top retailers and designers to define the way that customers are moving away from ‘fast fashion’ ie quick knockoffs of catwalk styles that are sold very cheaply and not expected to last more than a season, to ‘slow fashion’ which is increasing seen as multi-seasonal, locally-made, organic, recycled or fair trade clothing.

Multi-seasonal means classic styling – no faddy buttons or strange collars, no odd logos or ‘witty’ messages and in simple, easily harmonising colours. Locally-made means produced nationally or even regionally, like Arran sweaters or Harris tweed, and organic and fair trade clothing is seen as fairer to the planet and more likely to have high quality materials in its manufacture, while recycled clothing is obviously hard-wearing (after all its been worn once!) and usually reasonably priced.

What does this mean for polo-shirts?

It means solid classic colours: white, red, navy, grey, cream and simple styling. It means that people are likely to make fewer, and much better considered purchases, and to want to ensure that all new clothing works with a number of items in their existing wardrobe. It also means more sales at the premium end of the market for organic and fair trade clothing because customers are engaged by the issues involved and will be prepared to save money on other things to ensure they can feel good about the few and essential clothing items they are going to invest in.