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 January 5

Few of us could afford a fashion faux pas last year, because looking like a drip is never good for our careers, love-lives or family street cred. But this year, with money ever tighter, we won’t just make fools of ourselves, we’ll have made a bad bargain too.

The way to ensure you dress well is to establish your body shape and stick to clothing that suits it. Both men and women have distinct body shapes: ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph but for women there are other considerations too.

Ectomorph: If you this body type you will have a slight muscular frame, your limbs will be relatively long in proportion and your shoulders will be narrow or droop. Think Kate Moss or Johnny Depp.

The ectomorph is the catwalk model. While women can wear anything and get away with it, men may want to appear bulkier. For women, to accentuate height and slimness pick clothes that all have the same hue and don’t wear a belt because that bisects your body and makes you look shorter. To look more voluptuous, choose an open-collared top like a rugby shirt, with horizontal stripes. Men may want to aim for horizontal stripes too, or end-on-end pattern shirts that add solidity to the body. Hoods on clothing take the eye away from sloping shoulders so aim for hooded tops to look macho!

Mesomorph: has well-defined muscles and large bones. The torso tapers to a relatively narrow and low waist and the bones and muscles of the head are prominent – think of most female tennis players, Sarah Palin, Bruce Willis.

Mesomorphs have great bodies for casual clothing. Look out for clothing with relaxed necklines, like polo-shirts that will draw attention to your good musculature and stay away from V necks which can make you seem bulkier than you are. Because most mesomorphs have a low waist, casual clothing that isn’t tucked in makes the most of this shape, where formal clothing can appear to cut you in half. Aim for work shirts with a back pleat to allow your relatively large shoulders room to move.

Endomorph: the endomorph has a rounded body and it will appear as if much of the mass of the body is in the waist and abdomen (which may not be true). The hands and feet of an endomorph are comparatively small, and the torso has a high waist. Think Jack Black, Jennifer Lopez or Elizabeth Taylor.

Endomorphs are likely to be pear-shaped. This means you want to draw attention to your upper body. Women should aim for an interesting (and relatively low) neckline, while men should look for contrasting collars and wear lapel pins to draw the eye to the upper body.  Keep lower body clothing to black, navy or charcoal when possible as this will cause it to appear to taper. Never tuck clothing in and when wearing sportswear or jog pants, try to buy them without pockets as these can widen the lower body even more.