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 January 4

Two nations divided by a common language – and by clothing. As part of our New Year’s Resolutions many of us decide to smarten up and Esquire had a clothing guide for men that made us laugh, cheer and scratch our heads.

Some of the items on their list we had no argument with:

7. A rugby shirt is the most masculine thing a man can wear.

For sure. And a rugby shirt is always acceptable socially.

And then there’s:

22. Always tuck: polo and dress shirts that hang below your hip. Never tuck: sweaters and turtlenecks. Everything else is negotiable.

Really? I don’t see many British men tucking in their polo shirts these days – and do you know what? I wouldn’t want to. It’s a shirt that’s made to drape, at least in this nation’s eyes, and drape is what we let it do.

Of course the Americans have Texas to contend with, and it comes up more than once on their clothing list – so a ten gallon hat and cowboy boots are okay, but a hoodie is only acceptable occasionally? Somebody should tell those boys William and Harry – you know the ones, the heirs to the British throne … the ones who actually play polo, not just wear the shirts?

So maybe the rules are slightly different depending on your accent, but the basic guideline is the same – high fashion only works if you really work it, and most of us don’t have the budget or the body. Stick to the classics, buy good casual clothing and keep it clean and neat and you’ll get by.

2011 October 4

England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson may be the only bright note on the current England squad. Not only is his behaviour impeccable, his clothing has become a focus of attention too: he’s working with his brother to create a fashion brand that combines sports clothing with smart casual elements.

The line is called Fineside and is particularly designed to work with the mesomorph body type that the Wilkinson brothers typify: large boned and well-muscled with a low waist and chunky legs. This body type generally looks good in casual clothing as long as it’s not too tight-fitting. Polo-shirts and tops with a back pleat work well for men, and for women, wearing a hoody with a zip front can help give a defined shape to the larger-boned woman.

Casual clothing also works well with the modern lifestyle that moves from office to gym to bar via a commute and maybe a noodle lunch. Picking clothing with flat seams that’s crease-resistant and can be dressed up or down quickly is a great way to making the urban active lifestyle more streamlined.

2011 July 1

87% of men surveyed by Land’s End thought that the polo shirt was the male equivalent of the little black dress. Over recent decades it’s slipped from being the famous clothing of famous sportsmen (like Fred Perry) to become the clothing worn by men watching sport! But it’s still a top garment for men, and combines comfort and luxury, style and sporting endeavour in a way that almost no other casual clothing item ever can.

The polo shirt is also a favourite gift, as it’s so easy to buy for a husband, son or boyfriend as the small, medium or large sizing means anybody can guess at the right size to give as a present.

And while companies seem to be stepping back from casual clothing, the polo shirt is holding its own. In 2004 nearly 48% of American companies allowed T-shirts and jeans in the workplace, by 2007 this had dropped to 37% and at the beginning of this year it had declined again to 28%, but the polo-shirt has remained as popular as ever and isn’t being classed as too casual, just as ‘smart casual’ so it meets a man’s needs for fun and career prospects.

2011 February 8

Jeremy Hackett, co-founder of Hackett, the classic clothing expert, says that the rugby shirt could be this year’s big hit, because, he says, there’s ‘a nostalgia for the authentic and original shirt made from heavy duty cotton’ which is partly a response to the fact that the modern rugby shirt as worn by international sportsmen is no longer cotton, nor heavy duty.

The slimline, collarless item worn to play the game bears no resemblance to the old-school shirt and that’s freed up the traditional cotton garment to become a retro-classic.

There’s a versatility to the rugby shirt that’s rare: it’s got a collar so you can (just) wear a tie with it. It’s long-sleeved so it passes as smart casual, unlike the short-sleeved polo shirt, you can wear it over a vest or T-shirt like a jumper, and it’s sexy when worn by a woman, particularly if she’s borrowing it after staying the night!

It’s also one of those unusual garments that allows a man to wear a ‘feminine’ colour such as pink, purple or baby blue, without being considered effeminate. Don’t ever tuck it in though, that’s a fashion faux pas.

2010 August 31

There are some items that men hate to see a woman wearing, and some they find incredibly appealing – are you wearing the boyfriend attractors or the man repellers? What men hate:

Sloppy boyfriend jeans that hide a female’s shape

Why – because they conceal the femininity of all women and render them graceless

Faded outsized T-shirts

Why – because they suggest that you don’t care how you look and have no interest in your appearance

What they love:

Rugby shirts – especially oversized ones

Why – because they make you look feminine and fragile and the button front offers a hint of feminine cleavage without looking trashy.

How to wear them – choose a hooped pattern if you are slim as it adds an illusion of curviness to your shape, but choose a solid colour rugby shirt with contrast collar if you are on the larger side as it’s more slimming. Try wearing a rugby shirt with leggings or for warm summer afternoons, push the sleeves up and team your shirt with a pair of tailored shorts to show off your legs.

Tailored jackets and fleeces

A casual jacket that nips your waist and flatters your colouring makes you look natural and relaxed and that appeals to any man who’s looking for a date who is confident about herself and enjoys having fun.

How to wear them – pick a shade that looks good against your skin and try to stay away from black unless you’re going to be wearing a bright scarf that enhances your skin tone.

2010 February 1

Two things are making the rugby shirt this summer’s most exciting casual clothing item:

1.    Clint Eastwood’s film Invictus, showing South Africa’s World Cup quest has won critical acclaim; it’s the ‘Best Movie for Grownups’ according to AARP The Magazine catering for the 50+ audience in the USA, as well as being popular with rugby players themselves. Starring Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela, the film is likely to be one of the most popular historical dramas of the year.

2.    The Six Nations Rugby, ahead of the 2011 World Cup, promises to be a more equal, and therefore more exciting, European tournament than for many recent years. And for England fans, Jonny Wilkinson is back in the frame for both the Six Nations and the World Cup.

So how should you wear your rugby shirt to be in with the latest fashion?

•    This item of sportswear is likely to be more popular in a solid colour than in the traditional hoops of colour in 2010.
•    Never, ever, tuck it in.
•    While rugby shirts have been worn a lot with jeans in the past, this year – because of the links to the film, Invictus – they will be most fashionable worn with sports shorts especially white ones.

2009 December 14

pinkAs recently reported across the UK, a pressure group is asking parents not to buy their little girls pink presents for Christmas, and of course, little boys see pink as the most horrible colour in the world, associated with frills, playhouses and kissy games.

But if you’re not so little, pink is the new black. For several decades, City bankers and other financial types have worn pink shirts and pink ties, and even read the ‘pink pages’ which contained the finance news. Pink polo-shirts and golf shirts have been popularised by the world’s sporting stars and next year’s 2010 English cricket opener between county champions Durham and the MCC will be played in Abu Dhabi …using pink balls

Pink is the colour of choice in high fashion and the High Street, according to  Robert Johnston, associate editor of GQ magazine and it’s not just fashion, 5% of shirts sold by the English shirtmaker Turnbull & Asser, are pink.

To wear pink well, pick a shirt or polo-shirt with a strong colour, a pink that’s too pale can make a man look as if he’s just washed a white top with something red and had the colour run. Team a pink T-shirt with black trousers or with jeans, but not white, brown or red which look a bit Starsky and Hutch, and if you’re not entirely comfortable about starting with pink clothing, choose a T-shirt or rugby shirt that is striped pink and other colours to ease you into this flattering colour.

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.