2012 July 23

Half the UK is heading for a festival or an Olympic event this year and the same clothing tips apply to both kinds of event.

•    Festivals allow for wildness – if you’ve always wanted to wear a tiara and dungarees, Glasto or any other festival is the place to do it. If, however, you’re attending the Olympics, the rule has an addendum – wear what you like, as long as it’s in your national colours! Red, white and blue T-shirts are at a premium in the UK, but red canvas shorts are selling well too, for unknown reasons – surely it can’t be the Robbie Savage effect?
•    Layer your clothing and take a waterproof – it will rain, somewhere, most days during a British summer. A simple waterproof poncho or jacket will stop you getting too wet and cold and prevents the chafing that can result from sitting in wet clothing after a shower.
•    If you are staying overnight, don’t wear jeans. Shorts with leggings are best for women, shorts or cargo pants with zip off legs for men. That allows you to adjust to the weather and if jeans get wet, they take up to four times longer to dry than other clothing, so even if it doesn’t rain, it only takes somebody to spill a drink on you to ruin your day.
•    When choosing tops, remember that if you’re staying into the evening, sequins are a girl’s best friend. Otherwise simple T-shirts look fabulous under a sparkly throw or a sequinned pashmina and both of those have the advantage of being foldable. For guys, white hooded tops or dayglo hoodies stand out in a night crowd and that can be helpful if you’re part of a group where people have to keep finding each other in the dark.

2012 January 24

Clare Balding, BBC presenter, has said in the Radio Times that, ‘Female faces will dominate the British medal haul in 2012’ in reference to the London Olympics. Balding pointed out that women’s ability to take part in codified competitive sport is nearly 900 years behind that of men, but that women are likely to lead the medal tables for Britain.

The impact of sport on wider society is easily seen through sports clothing: the hoody, once the preserve of boxers, the rugby shirt and polo shirt and jogging bottoms or trackies, worn originally by track athletes, have all become part of mainstream casual clothing.

This new freedom to play sport and wear sporting clothing has given many women a new freedom to invest in their bodies as competitive instruments and that has led to a change in their approach to clothing. Many more women now wear what is called Sports Luxe and it is a key feature of the West Coast Cooler Fashion Week in Belfast. Sports Luxe is clothing with a dual purpose: looking good and feeling good in times of activity. Designers such as Marc Jacobs, Hugo Boss and Philip Lim have made this particular style their own by using rich colours and unusual fabrics: plum coloured jogging pants or tuxedo shirts that wick away sweat, for example.

For those who can’t afford designer clothing a stylish women’s polo shirt worn with jeans or jeggings and a pashmina, or casual trousers or leggings teamed with a cashmere top and designer trainers both work as Sports Luxe statements.