2013 April 8

AWDis_Chunky_Zoodie_74_432Well, apparently there’s two extremes – the David Bowie (up to and including clown outfit) and the Simon Cowell (down to four items: black T-shirt, white T-shirt, white shirt, jeans and not much in between.

The weirdest thing about male ‘style’ is that it nearly always comes down to wearing the same thing, or a selection of things. Sherlock Holmes in his deerstalker hat, Giorgio Armani in black T-shirt and (designer) jeans, Prince Harry in his ski gear.

So why does it work for them, and yet the average bloke gets continually told he’s boring if he wears the same stuff day in, day out?

Partly it’s because they are rich and famous, of course. But also their look works for them, it’s not something they’ve given up and settled for, whereas for most of us, our clothing choices have come down to what we can get away with, or what we were wearing when we gave up.

So how do you pick a winning outfit?

First, get the colour right. There are places you can go to get your colours done and you don’t have to tell anybody that you’ve done it, or you can find an online site to help you decide which colours suit you. The simplest way is to look at the veins inside your elbow in good daylight – if they look greenish you should wear warm colours: orange, yellow, brown, beige, tomato reds etc. If they look bluish, you should wear cool colours: blue, black, grey, purple and blue reds etc. If you can’t tell if they look blue or green, you are probably colour blind and that’s not a joke – 7% of men and less than .4% of women are colour blind, so sometimes our fashion sense is off for genetic reasons.

When you have a colour, pick a classic style. Get some ideas from vintage shops and films – the cowboy look or the mod look or the rat pack look are all classic styles.

When you find a look, whether it’s a hoody, jeans and trainers or a formal shirt, suit and boots, replenish your choices each year. Classic doesn’t mean old, tatty or worn out, so new classic items should give your chosen capsule wardrobe a fresh appearance each year, even if the overall look never changes.

2013 March 1

Henbury_Short_Sleeve_SemiFitted_Shirt_27_989While we’re all getting bigger, our clothing doesn’t necessarily keep pace. The average man is now two inches taller than he would have been 20 years ago, and two chest sizes bigger. Much modern clothing can help men look strong rather than chubby, if we make smart choices. Many men choose casual clothing because they think it is more flattering, but there are some slim-line secrets that few men understand:

•    Men wear sweatshirts because they come in larger sizes and are comfortable, but a dark T-shirt under a front zipper hoody works much better to create an impression of slimness.
•    To make the most of your solidity, choose small patterns and mesh, pique or waffle weaves, this fine detailing draws the eye in to the smaller picture, wiping out awareness of the larger one.
•    A short sleeved shirt worn untucked turns size into presence. It’s important to ensure that you don’t break up the flat line of the shirt by putting a jacket or fleece over the top.
•    The old adage of wearing light clothing on your upper body and dark clothes on the bottom has largely been proven not to work as well as minimizing the colour difference, with a slightly lighter colour on the upper body. Charcoal trousers with a lighter grey sweatshirt or beige shorts with a cream shirt work better to give a unified, and slim-line, silhouette.
•    Necklines with a vee give a much more streamlined appearance. Don’t wear round necks if you’re at all chunky as it adds to the rotundity of your body.

2013 February 20

AWDis_College_Hoodie_74_162A recent study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology reveals that many people, especially athletes, have lucky clothing that allows them to feel they will perform better and that they may, in fact, be so.

Wearing something with symbolic meaning – that is, something that the wearer believes will bring them luck or success – can change the cognitive behaviour of the wearer to be more assertive, confident and empowered.

So what makes a ‘lucky’ garment?

Colour is significant – it seems much of the ‘luck’ comes from a distinctive colour, often red, so women often feel sexier and more powerful in a scarlet dress, while gamblers may wear lucky shamrock boxer shorts. A yellow hoody may work for a skateboarder while an artist may find a particular light blue T-shirt brings their creativity to the fore.

The other thing that makes clothing lucky is strong associations with a previous happy or successful experience – that isn’t as easy to control as colour, but generally speaking, formal clothing is most likely to have a ‘success association’ for the general individual and sports clothing, obviously, is likely to have the greatest ‘success association’ for athletes.

2013 January 17

SG_Mens_Hoodie_74_384If 83% of teenagers now own a smartphone, it’s natural to assume that they do most of their shopping online. Yes – and then again – no.

While Britain as a whole spends £6.58m every hour online shopping, teenagers are still one of the least likely groups to buy clothes online, for complicated reasons.

1 – teens shop as a herd or pack – it’s important to get to the High Street or mall and be with your mates to chose clothes
2 – teens trade clothes a lot – so often they are buying something that needs to have crowd appeal, and that means getting their friends to try the garment on too
3 – teens like to be different – that means that shopping in any way that’s approved of by their parents is automatically out!

So how does a parent encourage teenagers to the most for their clothing budget?

•    Encourage dual shopping – they can go to the shop to try on clothes and then make their actual purchase online, having used comparison shopping to find the best deal for something they already know suits them.
•    Remind them that click and collect means they can pre-order a T-shirt and try it on in the shop without have to necessarily buy it. Often if a teen goes to town for a specific purchase they come back with more money in their pockets than if they go haphazardly to look for ‘something cool’.
•    Coupons, vouchers, BOGOFs and free delivery all make online shopping enticing to cash-strapped teens because their friends don’t need to know they bought from the bargain basement.
•    Most teens need some kind of part-time job and encouraging them to find one that has a uniform can save a massive amount of wear on their personal clothing, so it lasts longer and has more appeal to them because they haven’t been wearing it to work.

2013 January 14

BC_Real_Parka_Jacket_29_973Whether it’s rain or snow, a coat that copes with the weather and still looks good is essential – a parka style jacket is warm, waterproof and stylish.

Wintry conditions can lead to chilling down, when you’re chilling out. Layering is the solution: slide a slimline sleeveless vest under your parka and over a long-sleeve T-shirt and your silhouette will not bulk up, but your heat levels will ramp up!

A hat doesn’t just conserve heat lost from your head. Winter weather makes a total mess of hair, even man hair. A simple cap or knit hat (which has the advantage of being okay to wear indoors) means you never have to worry about you your hair looks.

Gloves are essential, not just for style but for safety – cold hands on steering wheels cause many driving accidents and can lead to failure to carry heavy items successfully. You might fancy some bright fleece gloves, driving gloves or even the new leather or synthetic gloves that you can use on a touchscreen. It doesn’t matter what you go for, as long as your hands are warm.

Long sleeved T-shirts, hoodies or sweatshirts come into their own in winter. They all add warmth without bulking you up or feeling itchy.

2013 January 7

Fruit_of_the_Loom_Lady_Fit_Rib_Polo_Model-549-662Here are 12 top tips to help you look good and feel good in your clothing, right through the year:

1.    Measure Yourself – particularly when buying online, it’s important to know your actual measurements, not your clothing size. Manufacturers vary in their sizing and knowing if you’re a medium or a small isn’t just about the label in your current garment. Most online retailers have detailed sizing charts for clothing like polo-shirts so you can order what fits, not just what’s in your size.
2.    Shop Alone – you might do your research with a friend or partner but if you actually do your buying alone you’re less likely to overspend and will save time in the actual shopping process as you won’t be looking for advice or support from somebody else. Apparently we also tend to end up shopping for others when we shop with them, so if you want a winter jacket and your mate wants new trainers, expect to spend at least half your time browsing the Vans store with him!
3.    Get Colour Wise – people with cool skin tones (tending to the blue or pale) will look best in white, black, blue, and grey shades. People with warm skin tones (tending to the olive or pink) look great in yellow, cream, beige and red.
4.    Consider Alterations – if you are an unusual shape: barrel chested, very petite or tall and slim, it may be worth having trousers and jackets altered by a local tailor. They don’t charge that much and they make your clothing look … like it was made for you.
5.    Dump the Rubbish – even men have clothes they are never going to wear. It’s okay to keep one funeral suit, but if you have something you’ve owned for over a year and not worn, either take it to a charity shop or ask a friend for advice on how to style it. Polyvore.com is a great site for finding out how to wear items you’ve never worn.
6.    Love Lycra – for both men and women, body-shaping underwear can give extra confidence in dating or interview situations. Buy a good pair of body-shaping undies and use them when necessary.
7.    Beware Bling – too much shine is very off-putting. If it looks real it’s intimidating and if it’s obviously from Claire’s Accessories you look cheap. One ring, for men, or one necklace, is plenty. Women can go a bit wilder but clashing bracelets and a neck full of gold may turn people off.
8.    Tend To Be Smart – it’s always better to overdress than underdress. While you might feel a little foolish for being the smartest person in the room, it’s nothing compared to feeling the shame of being the least smart. Also, you never know if your next boss or lover might not be present – why not show them the best of yourself?
9.    Comfortable Feet Count – wearing shoes and socks that fit well and allow your feet to spread through the day can really change the rest of your outfit, because when our feet hurt we look grumpy and defensive and the rest of our clothes seem to constrict and annoy. So choose good footwear and everything else will look better too.
10.    Leather Always Works – unless you have ethical objections, leather wallets, handbags, shoes, boots and belts always work well. Taking care of leather is simpler than some artificial fabrics and leather accessories last much longer too.
11.    Workout Wear – people with good fitness clothing tend to exercise more as they are more happy to pull on their running shoes or their sweat pants and head for the gym. If your fitness clothing lets you down, invest in new shorts and T-shirts and you may find your whole body improves as a result.
12.    Be Modest – too much body on show is less than alluring. Men who reveal their backsides in low-slung denim cutoffs, or women whose midriffs and cleavages are on display through boob tubes, are doing themselves a disservice. Apparently we are more entranced by mystery than fact, so a pair of well fitting shorts or a pretty vest are more likely to get attention than having the goods out on full display.

2013 January 3

Uneek_Ladies_Tank_Top_82_418Between the flu and the norovirus, most of us in the UK will have had, or be having, some kind of illness right now. You might even be fighting New Year’s hangoveritis still! But for most of us there’s a requirement to get up and get out, whether to work or study or visit friends. So how can you look good when you feel like death? Here are four tips to help you look fine.

  1. Begin by putting some ice cubes in a plastic bag, wrapping the bag in a teatowel and putting it over your eyes for about ten minutes to reduce the blood vessels in the eyes and make the whites whiter and the reduce the puffiness. This immediately makes you look healthier. Brush your teeth and then use mouthwash – it helps you feel better and reduces the risk of you spreading germs to other people.
  2. Wear natural fabrics and stretch clothing. It’s not a good idea to wear constricting garments when you’re ill, and belts and buckles can get in the way when you’re trying to get to the bathroom in a hurry, for whatever reason. Cotton tops, and lots of layering, will allow you to add and subtract clothing depending on your internal temperature and the weather conditions around you. A cotton T-shirt, hoodie and sleeveless jacket work for men, while women can layer a camisole top, cardigan and scarf, or a long sleeved t-shirt under a short sleeved one topped with a ballerina wrap. Elasticated waists are a really good idea, especially if you have a stomach upset.
  3. If you’re going outdoors, make sure you have a knit cap, beanie or slouch beret to keep your head warm, and choose a brighter colour than navy, black or grey as they can wash out your skin tones: a beige or green hat is more flattering if you’re under the weather.
  4. Wash your hands a lot, or use hand sanitizer to protect others from your illness. Remember to wash gloves too, as they can transmit germs and even reinfect you!


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!