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.


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


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.

2009 September 21

womans hoodieIn August, Dennis the Menace, beloved of generations of children and a nightmare to teachers and parents nearly ended up in hoodie.  There was a cunning plan to dress him as a graffiti artist complete with spray can and hoodie as part of the Beano makeover and for his appearances as a BBC cartoon.  The design agency makeovers didn’t quite get their way. The new Dennis will still have his stripey top and shorts, but a more up-to-date hairstyle. No hoodie, sadly.

And David Cameron seems to have lived down his hug-a-hoodie speech in which he infamously suggested that young criminals needed love rather than punishment.

New Hoody popularity

What’s brought about the rehabilitation of the hoodie? Partly, it’s a gender thing. More women are now wearing hoodys than ever before, and they are being seen on some top girls, like Kate Moss and Prince William’s girlfriend Kate Middleton who wears them to polo-matches. Partly it’s new styling that has made this year’s hoodies tighter and sleeker, less like crime-hoods and more like the sportswear they actually are. And partly it’s colour. Hoodies used to be grey, black and navy, but now they turn up in pink, yellow and this year’s top shade: chocolate brown, and that makes them look like a completely different garment.

How to wear a hoodie

To wear a hoody proudly, make sure that what you have on under it is not too bulky, as that spoils the new clear line of the tighter hoodies, and try to have a contrasting garment so you get two colours where the hoodie neck meets the T-shirt or vest underneath it. That adds interest to the ensemble and makes it clear you’re not wearing a hoodie as camouflage trying to avoid getting caught on CCTV.

2009 July 14

fol hoodie

A hoodie also spelt hoody, is a mysterious thing. If you’ve never owned one, you view them with deep suspicion, especially if the hoodie wearer is following you up the street on a dark night. On the other hand, once you’ve experienced the comfort, warmth and general usefulness of a hoodie, especially if you work outside or are an athlete, you cannot ever imagine living without one.

While it developed as a piece of warm up gear in the 1930s, it wasn’t until Hip-Hop took hold in New York in the 1970s that the hoodie became a fashion item, helped by the first Rocky film, where Sylvester Stallone single-handedly made the hoodie into the garment de jour. And by the 1990s, the skater or surfer hoodie was ubiquitous. However, in the UK, the hoodie was associated with chavs, criminal activity and out of control youth. It was banned from certain shopping centres and the term hoodie culture was viewed as marking out all that was bad in urban, disenfranchised, delinquent young men.

But since the Millennium, the hoodie has begun a process of rehabilitation, and now that London will host the Olympics 2012, hoodies are becoming not just acceptable but downright popular.

A great hoodie, like those produced by Fruit of the Loom, has a number of features: it will be comfortable, it will be heavy enough to feel warm but loose enough to allow easy movement and it will be soft and comfortable to wear. It may have a drawstring hood and a front pocket, or a zipper and two side pockets, but it will always fit snugly around the face to prevent earache or loss of heat through the head. And it will be easy to wash and wear.  Given all its benefits, it’s good that the hoodie, or hoody is undergoing a renaissance, because as far as casual clothing goes, it’s definitely in the top ten for wearability.

2009 March 5

long_sleeve_oxford_shirt_atlantic_blueEx-President Bush’s supporters are sniping at Barack Obama’s team, on everything from new Attorney General Eric Holder’s statement that waterboarding is torture to the president’s casual clothing choices. Holder has been criticised by the former Attorney General who said that the comment would affect the ‘morale and the dedication’ of intelligence officials, while a former chief of staff got into the clothing debate by saying that the new ruling that weekends should be downgraded to ‘business casual’ clothing is wrong. He also criticised President Obama for being photographed in his shirt in the White House (there has been some whinging about Mrs Obama not having her arms covered in the evenings too) because, according to the ex chief of staff, ‘There should be a dress code of respect’ rather than a ‘casual, laissez faire, short sleeves, no shirt and tie, no jacket, kind of locker-room experience’. Wow – who knew that a short-sleeved shirt could cause such controversy?

Sometimes casual clothing is purely good news  – when the Nikkei average rose 0.95 this week, it was largely because of good February sales at the Uniqlo casual clothing chain. Apparently, when the Japanese get depressed about the economy they go out and buy sweatshirts and jog pants … fascinating.

And Hoodie-Hoo day is celebrated in Pennsylvania on 20 February. Although it doesn’t have anything to do with hoodies, most people who take part were wearing one this year, along with a thick winter coat, hat and gloves.  It’s the twelfth year of Hoodie Hoo, which was invented by Tom and Ruth Roy – Tom was a disc jockey who ‘created’ the event as part of a list of holidays that he read out on air. Basically, at noon, people go outside and yell “Hoodie-Hoo” to chase winter away and get ready for spring. They also ring school bells apparently. Hmmm …

2008 November 13

This week, in Scunthorpe, a ‘gang of hoodies‘ was reported for attacking a teenage girl – but they turned out to be the only people who’d stopped to help her. A member of the public called the police when they thought they saw four teenage boys carrying out an attack, but when officers arrived the youths were helping the 14 year old girl, who had collapsed drunk in the street. The boys had carried her into a doorway out of the rain, used her mobile phone to call her family, then stood watch until somebody come and collect her.

Meanwhile in London a judge was within his powers to ban an anti-social youth from wearing a hoodie, the High Court decided. And 18 year old man from Greenwich had argued that the order exceeded the powers of the Anti-social Behaviour Order against him because, his lawyers said, banning him from hooded sweatshirts was more an expression of distaste than a matter of compelling public safety. But the High Court ruled the ban was justified and reduced public fear.

And in Canada the first ever line of Aboriginal Vancouver clothing was launched this month. At a fashion show displaying clothing created by First Nation designers aboriginal young people modelled T-shirts and hoodies which will be available across Canada. The Aboriginal Licensing And Merchandising Programme was created to showcase authentic Aboriginal arts and culture – it raises awareness about Aboriginal peoples and cultures by taking Aboriginal culture and bringing it to the world stage. One-third of royalties from the sale of the products go to the Vancouver 2010 Aboriginal Youth Legacy Fund to support education, sport and cultural initiatives.