2013 March 19

SG_Mens_PolyCotton_Polo_Shirt_50_562According to the Hollywood Reporter, the standard uniform of Armani suit and shirt is dying, replaced by fashion forward edgy suit styling. At polo-shirts.co.uk we wrote about this trend a year ago and it’s still accelerating. What does it matter to the average guy what the Hollywood wheelers and dealers wear? Well, it trickles down, and for those in the sales or persuasion business, the trickle is more of a deluge – looking right can be one of the most persuasive attributes we possess in the workplace.

Few of us want to take it to the extremes seen in Hollywood where the agents appear to be outdressing the stars they represent, but some key features of the new sharp look can help move a man from ‘one of the many to a man unlike others’  So what are the important points to note?

1.    Watches are crucial – they vanished for a few years but a functional watch like an old school Rolex counts for a lot – worn with a stylish, vintage looking but well-washed polo shirt it speaks of summers spent sailing or at least of a rugged outdoor lifestyle.

2.    V-necked jumpers are making a come-back too, under suits or even without jackets. The thing to look out for is a slim fitting V-neck in cotton or a much chunkier shape if it’s wool.

3.    Retro jackets are winning votes too – bomber style jackets lead the field, but aim for the WW1 look rather than The Fonz, and letter jackets, made famous by American High School athletes, are a good look too, but only if you have an athletic build. If not, go for a more slim-fitting casual jacket, avoiding anything that gathers at the bottom.

The key points to take from this continuing trend are that a degree of individuality appears to be central to a successful work profile at present, and it’s crucial for men who want to stand out to do so – not just through performance – but also through appearance.

2012 December 27

As the UK hits the sales, it’s a good point to step back and look at the fashion predictions for the year ahead, so that money isn’t wasted on misses rather than hits.

Spring 2013 is destined to start bright and end bold – the spring colours are bright primaries for both men and women but men in particular are expected to be wearing red, black and white, which makes for simple colour coordination and allows pretty well everything you buy to be worn with pretty well everything else. Big blocks of white are highly fashionable – a white hoody meets the bill, as do white jeans.

By the end of the year, those bold colours will be cropping up as stripes and even tartans, so think deck chair and you’ll have the perfect Christmas shirt or jumper! If you don’t particularly want to do a Noel Edmonds, then combining three strong colours in one outfit works well, and as the winter clothing is expected to be unstructured and natural fibres it’s easy to put together a fashionable winter look with a loose shirt over a cotton T-shirt teamed with sporty jeans and an unlined jacket.

The overall hair look tends towards mildly nostalgic with comb-overs, buzzcuts and Jedward style bouffants with lots of gel and mousse. Facial hair is heading towards clean-shaven again.

Shoes are dividing the fashion world for men: one side of the 2013 divide is in boots, particularly desert boots, while the other side is in pointed toes – even heading towards the winklepicker!

2012 December 4

Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson add up to One Direction and they’ve been the biggest celebrity sensation of the past 12 months. It’s not just the pop records that have catapulted them to public attention: there’s the third nipple (Harry) the illicit cigarette smoking (Zayn) having on-off relationships with Hollister model Eleanor Calder (Louis) and so on, but their fashion sense has also been a big feature of their success.

So if you want to dress like One Direction, the trick is to try and pick just one, on which to model yourself.

1.    Zayn is the most snappy, and most easily parodied, dresser of the group: black and white clothing such as varsity jackets, black leather jackets, plain T-shirts (black or white) and glossy hair gel are all part of his trademark look. Go for trainers, especially Converse if you’re aiming for the Zayn vibe.
2.    Harry has the funky oldie look down pat, combining grunge with fogey, go for button down shirts with cords, topped with a beanie and tousled hair, alternatively a tweed jacket with a heather sweatshirt underneath, worn over jeans with ankle boots will do the trick.
3.    Niall’s the cardigan-wearing member of the group and is often seen sporting his favourite garment over a long-sleeved T-shirt and relaxed fit jeans.
4.    Liam is a classic casual dresser, ringer T-shirts and jeans, hoodies and chinos, he doesn’t stray from the tried and tested recipes of simple, comfortable clothing.
5.    Louis is the polo-shirt wearing member of the group, liable to be seen in bright or pastel shirts, along with coloured jeans and he also has a preference for striped T-shirts and, worryingly, braces!

2012 November 30

It’s been a revelation, to fashionistas at least, to discover that back in 1969, Yoko Ono designed a capsule wardrobe for her husband, John Lennon, that included trousers with a sheer panel over the buttocks and a pair of ‘nipple headlights’ on a string around the neck! According to Ono, these designs made John wild with love. Now they’ve been made into a collection being sold through ‘Opening Ceremony’.

Does it help the average man choose his Christmas wardrobe?  Not so much, unless he’s happy to sit down for a turkey dinner in a pair of trousers with a white hand screen printed over his crotch. But there are a few pointers from Ono that are good to consider.

Her clothes, she said, were designed to emphasise Lennon’s ‘very sexy bod’ and men are increasingly aware that dressing well requires more than just clean clothing – understanding body shape and choosing colours that work with your skintone can enhance your general attactiveness.

Ono’s collection is largely black and white, and this somewhat ska palette has been neglected in recent years in men’s clothing but the ‘two tone’ look can be great – black jeans with a white hoody, or a white polo shirt with a white fleece worn over think black cords can give an impression of fitness and strength in winter that works well.

It might be good to stay away from the transparent bottom view trousers though!

2012 November 21

Yes, no, maybe?  Not on the pitch perhaps, but there seems to be some evidence that sharp dressing helps with longevity in the job once a player moves into management.

So who succeeds and who fails?

•    Plus: David Beckham, looking for a new home, still bears the title of best-dressed man in football – and it’s not just his suits that help him to the top of the league. He’s had flirtations with skirts and leather trousers, but his excellent haircuts, good ink and ability to wear vintage jeans with plain white T-shirts have given him iconic status.  Will do well in management if he allows somebody else to do the talking!
•    Minus: Roberto di Matteo may have paid the price, like many before him, for following ‘The Special One’ whose Armani suits and superb white shirts earned him fans, female attention and the ability to shrug off Abramovich’s ire for longer than his successor.

•    Plus: Cesare Prandelli now Italy’s national coach, always wore purple when he managed Fiorentina. It’s not a colour for the faint-hearted but brave men might learn from him – audacity can work if you work it. His purple tracksuits in the dugout and purple shirts for press conferences made a flamboyant statement, bright polo-shirts can have the same effect for the average Joe.
•    Minus: On the other hand, Cisse, who got married in a red tuxedo in honour of his then club, Liverpool, pushes flamboyance to insanity and beyond. The Mohawk looks daft and the bling suggests he should be dealing on a street corner. Sometimes less is more and Cisse is more likely to end up in panto than management.

•    Plus: Gary Lineker made the leap from pitch to pundit with ease, despite a few rather dodgy fashion choices that he turned to account in his deliberately cheesy Walkers Crisps adverts. He’s managed to become a sharp casual dresser, a very tough balance, which he usually pulls off perfectly.
•    Minus: Owen Coyle’s departure from Bolton may have been caused by his legs – managers should not wear shorts! Underdressing and wearing too much fan apparel removes the impression that you’ve grown up and makes you look like a nine year old with a beard – smarter shirts, full length trousers and less club-based accessorising might have given him a longer career.

2012 October 30

Most British men have socks that are more than three years old, a survey by Socked.co.uk reports. So what, you may wonder?

The same research suggests that 90% of women are turned off by men who have cruddy underwear, so those men with their ancient, threadbare, cardboard hard socks are damaging their chances of a meaningful relationship.

Over 70% of men also say they wear odd socks if they can’t find a pair to that matches and that such slovenly behaviour has been commented on and they have still failed to do anything about their unmatching wardrobe.

Woollen clothing is big this year, from boot socks to trophy jumpers, but if you’re the kind of chap who doesn’t like wool or who has itchy skin as a result of wearing wool next to the skin, there are a couple of things you can do to get with the trend without suffering the scratchiness:

  1. Invest in classic coloured, ultra heavy sweatshirts – they have the same bulky outdoorsy profile as chunky wool jumpers but are easier to wear and launder.
  2. Go for reinforced toe socks to avoid holes in the toes and pick those with a silver component to stop odour.

2012 October 23

This is the ideal time of year to be buying clothes for winter sun holidays – particularly online as bargains in the T-shirt and shorts line are readily available. It’s also a great idea to be planning next year’s summer clothing with this year’s end of season sales on hand.

There’s no point trying to predict fashion: this year’s attendees at the Teen Vogue Annual Fashion University were warned about being predictors of fashion too far in advance and given insight into how difficult it is to plan a good wardrobe more than a season ahead, but classic items like cargo shorts can be fitted into any summer clothing plan.

Reliable fashion staples like white cotton T-shirts work brilliantly whether you’re layering them under ski-wear for a quick break off-piste, or packing them for nightwear during a winter cruise, or even planning them as beach cover-ups for a late break in the sun.

For women, and for men who are willing to learn, sites like Polyvore are brilliant for spotting workable trends – find a fashion bargain and then enter it into the search box – dozens, hundreds or thousands of sets will appear, featuring that item and giving many ideas of how to wear it, and what to wear it with.

Above all, it’s important to have a sense of your style, as well as your budget so that you can buy items now, often for less than half the price you’d pay in summer, that will still bring a smile to your face when the sunshine returns next year.

2012 October 8

As workplaces become more ‘equal’ it’s increasingly difficult for women to adopt the traditional work wardrobe of skirt-suit and shirt, and still be dressed for every potential work situation. Gone are the Mad Men days when a beehive and a twinset were appropriate workplace attire. Now women are expected to be adaptable, well-dressed and to express some personal style.

It’s quite a tall order, but here are some tips to help:

1.    Jackets, particularly unstructured ones, look good whatever the circumstances, but stick to simple classic colours and don’t buy short-sleeved jackets if you want to be taken seriously. Navy, grey, black and beige are good colours, but deep greens, rust browns and white can work too, depending on the season and your workplace.  For active days, a simple slimline sleeveless fleece worn over a well-tailored shirt gives the impression of being both businesslike and active.

2.    A formal T-shirt: long-sleeved, round-necked and in a classic colour like white, black or navy, can give a solid appearance of professionalism whilst being casual enough to allow for an active workplace. Make sure it doesn’t gape at the back if you are lifting or bending and that the colour coordinates with the rest of your wardrobe.

3.    Accessories can help add style to your look. Antique brooches or really good vintage scarves give you substance and, where permitted, elegant rings or bracelets can bring a touch of acceptable glamour. In a workplace where no such accessories are possible, a printed T-shirt with a really stylish image can bring your look to life without compromising safety or hygiene.

2012 August 23

There’s a rumour that overalls are going to be big this autumn – dungaree-style overalls in denim. If that brings back memories of bad Dexys Midnight Runners videos, you’re probably having exactly the kind of fashion flashback that high street retailers are relying on to shift clothing this year.

And that’s interesting, because 1990s music is trending, 1990s clothing is predicted to trend and Cindy Crawford, one of those whose face and figure were 1990s significant, has just previewed a new clothing collection for C&A.

The clothing line contains a largely casual profile, with long cardigans, jeans, button up shirts and casual jackets.  Crawfod says she always wanted to create ‘comfortable fashion for everyday wear’ and she’s certainly achieved that.

Sadly, her line is not available in the UK so it’s necessary for her fans to pay homage through trawling other sites for comparable clothing. If you don’t want to wear dungarees, but you quite fancy the ‘90s vibe, here’s how to do it.

1.    Puffa jackets are back in fashion – but any jacket with ample sleeves and cuffs will do, particularly over dungarees!
2.    Buttoned up shirts are also big – pale shirts worn with sleeves rolled up (under dungarees, natch) are being promoted for both men and women. Look for cream and beige polo shirts to wear under big cardigans.
3.    Crop tops are turning up under dungarees too – but there’s no need to pay extra for a crop – simply buy a cheap t-shirt and cut the bottom off yourself.

2012 August 9

It’s been a summer of sport – the ab-fest of the Olympics leads seamlessly to the superhero performances of the Paralympics, and we’re all becoming athletic experts and exponents.

But there’s a downside to the love for sport – and it’s the competitive instinct. It’s not so much about wanting to be the winner of an event, as the way that sporting clothing can present opportunities for dissent and difficult relationships.

While there’s been a debate about whether the women’s beach volleyball should be played in bikinis or not (and the answer, at least as far as the players has been concerned is yes, bikinis) and the swimming suits worn in Beijing have actually been outlawed, the way that the average guy wears sporting casual clothing can lead to lots of stress for their classmates or work colleagues.

The problem is with the natural tendency of a testosterone-producing male to react to a dominance display – if the display is for a cause or club the male doesn’t support, the reaction will be negative, but if it is for a cause or club the male does support, it can still be divisive. An England T-shirt or a pair of Union Jack shorts can lead to less powerful males believing the displaying male is trying to take ownership of the team or cause – and that can lead the subservient male to withdraw cooperation because he feels he’s being pushed out anyway.

It may be subtle, but if you’re experiencing difficult relationships with formerly close mates, or feeling isolated at school, it may be worth looking at the extent to which you show your love for sport in your casual clothing and tone down the loyalty you display so that your friends can feel close to you again.