2013 May 1

BC_Ladies_Patti_Classic_Vest_84_668May Day has arrived and most of us are experiencing some sunshine to go with it, but the changeable weather is by no means over.

So how do we dress for the best of the weather without being caught out by the worst of it?

Lightweight clothing

Many people confuse lightweight and skimpy – new fabrics make lightweight clothing such as polo-shirts much more comfortable without them having to feel insubstantial or overly tight. Tight clothing can make you really uncomfortable in the heat and encourages the appearance of sweat rings whilst in cooler temperatures it can leave you feeling clammy.

Layered clothing

Try to wear three or four layers: a vest, polo shirt and fleece work well for men, while a camisole under a dress topped with a shrug gives women more options to add and remove layers as the weather changes. Remember that until at least mid May, night time temperatures drop rapidly, so having a warm ‘final’ layer for evenings is wise. You might want to carry a lightweight hoody or choose the Rihanna option and wear a shirt that ties around the waist but still shows your summer style T-shirt underneath.

Colour choice

Lighter colours work well, and add a summery vibe to your outfit, so yellow T-shirts or peachy shirts are great, but add a darker colour for evening to bring your outfit in line with the lower temperatures: navy blue works well for spring evenings, so a dark blue jacket works well for men, while a teal or navy sweatshirt brings evening warmth to women’s summer wardrobes.

2013 April 25

Uneek_Premium_Reversible_Fleece_29_745There’s three extremes of football fashion – the one that involves Robbie Savage and weird coloured trousers, the one that includes Roy Keane who always seemed to be playing in a get up from a Beano comic and now dresses like his clothes are on loan from Alan Partridge, and the one where David Beckham and Xabi Alonso meet in designer suits and aviator glasses.

Sadly, most British men veer between the Savage and the Keane – the Savage is what gets worn in Ibiza or to a stag weekend in Brighton, while the Keane is what gets dragged up off the floor whenever we sit down to watch a match, especially if we’re at home with the lads. So how do we get to the Beckham/Alonso point of the triangle?

It’s easier to say what not to do. The Cristiano Ronaldo approach is the wrong one – regardless of his nimble footwork, Ronaldo’s bizarre fashion sense, which combines too much hair gel with too little clothing and waaaay too much attitude, is a style attitude that scores many own goals.

Instead, aim for one really classy item around which to build an outfit. One pair of designer jeans, if clean and not too crumpled, will carry with them a tatty T-shirt or really grungy but lucky old hoody. Similarly a fresh polo-shirt, worn crisp and starched, overwhelms the effect of our favourite old trackie bottoms.

Accessories divide and conquer fashion failures, so brand name watches and sunglasses will cause comfy flip flops to vanish from view, and a really good mens jacket has stealth capacity to disguise a rank vest worn underneath.

2013 April 22

Kustom_Kit_Classic_Polo_21_814Two of the biggest names in polo shirts have independently come up with similarly bright and breezy new designs for summer. The first is Uniqlo – the Japanese giant that designs, manufactures and retails its own clothing. This year it’s partnered with Michael Bastian – golden boy of the current American preppy market – to create a very different kind of polo shirt.

Bastian, best known for his collaboration with GANT, has risen to the challenge with a line of really bright polo-shirts, finely cut to work for the frame of a fencer, rather than the average American, and with some print designs that verge on the kitsch, particularly the china cats.

The second is Lacoste, celebrating eight decades of popular perfection with its giant crocodile pool party at Thermal, CA. Those attending included Rita Ora, , Brad Goreski (he’s a stylist, he puts clothes together for more famous people) and Alexa Chung and they all scooted around the pool on those giant crocodiles and drank, or rather sucked on, tequila lollies. So how’s the new Lacoste polo looking? Also bright, very bright. And slimline.
To get the look without access to Uniqlo or if you lack pockets that are deep enough to afford Lacoste, aim for a slimfit polo shirt in a bright colour, but stay away from the primaries: lime green, pink, orange or purple are all great, red, blue and yellow not so popular. Pair the polo with chinos, with shorts and a belt, as the slimline top won’t cover your waistband the way the looser styles does, or this year’s coloured jeans where the favourite shades are white and canary yellow.

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 25

Fruit_of_the_Loom_Short_fit_Ladies_Valueweight_TSh_25_415Many people are let down by their planning rather than their clothes, but cheap clothing and tight budgets can contribute to looking less well put together than you intended. Here are half a dozen hacks to help you make the most of what you’ve got, save money where you can, and get out of scrapes and difficult clothing situations.


•    Colour code your wardrobe from white at one end to black and the other with the shoes that go with each colour underneath. This saves time every morning because you can pick out an outfit that WILL coordinate.

•    Put socks or tights in your shoes when you put them away, so that each pair of shoes has the right thing tucked inside and you don’t have to waste time rummaging through drawers to find what you want.

Money saving

•    Consider where you don’t have to launder garments. Jeans, sweatshirts, hoodies and other heavyweight garments may not need to be washed – if they’ve picked up an odour, maybe beer or hot fat or just the smell of being stored for too long, unfold them and put them in the freezer. An overnight freezer and all day defrosting will remove any odour and allow them to be worn again.

•    If you’ve outgrown your shirt collar, you can get some more wear out of a too small shirt by moving the top button. Usually you can move the button outwards by up to half an inch – that’s a whole shirt size, without changing the hang of the shirt. It’s easy to mark the spot and resew the button, even for those with no sewing training.

Real time problems

•    Stuck zip. If your trouser or skirt zip sticks, find a bar of soap and rub it along the teeth of the zip and then slooooowly work the zip open. You can do this with thick hair conditioner too, if you can’t find a bar of soap.

•    You spill something on your shirt. Keep a plain white short sleeved T-shirt in your desk drawer. For most occasions it will be okay and it’s better than wearing pasta sauce or a coffee stain all day.

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.

2013 March 4

Jerzees_Ladies_LS_Ult_NonIron_Shirt_27_962A recent survey suggests several Australian companies have ceased to allow, or created strict clothing rules for Dress Down Friday. The firms, which include large companies such as the Lomax Financial Group have dropped casual Friday clothing as the results were counterproductive, ranging from top clients arriving unexpectedly to be greeted by staff whose clothing could have looked disrespectful through to time spent policing ‘casual’ to ensure it was not too casual for business purposes.

What are the new rules?

  • For women it’s trousers or skirts or tailored dresses in appropriate colours, tailored short-sleeved shirts or blouses, knitwear without slogans or pictures and shoes or boots that can be open toed but not flip-flops or clogs, and, where appropriate tights and jackets. Halternecks, shorts, torn or ripped clothing and messy hair are not appropriate.
  • For men, suits, ties, dress shirts, socks and boots or shoes. Shirts may be collared or collarless, and in some industries, polo shirts are acceptable. Sandals, shorts, T-shirts with cartoon characters or slogans are not. Jackets may be considered necessary, depending on the industry.

Jezebel has also been exploring the cost benefit of clothing, determining that the average American woman spends $6,000 and 100 hours a year on buying and returning clothing. A further $25,000 over a lifetime is spent on shoes!

And while that may seem excessive, a survey of Australian employees discovered that 72% of them believe that to get bonuses or promotions, they need to be more smartly dressed than their colleagues.

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 15

Gildan_Long_Sleeve_Polo_Shirt_50_376It takes four seconds for most people to form an impression of a stranger – based mainly on body language and clothing. The psychology of dress allows scientists to pigeonhole people from their clothing and provides reliable information about employment, spending habits and even emotional states.

What you wear can inform passersby of your type of employment, as well as your ambitions, emotions and spending habits.

In the Western world we lack simple systems of identification – we don’t wear uniforms or have a caste system that allows us to comfortably judge other people’s wealth, preferences and mood, but clothing increasingly takes the place of those social structures.

We can use clothing as a weapon against others by wearing designer labels or as a camouflage by dressing exactly as everybody else does.

1.    If you’ve ever seen a group of young men in jeans and polo-shirts, out for a night on the town, it will usually be evident if one of them is not a usual part of the group because his polo shirt won’t harmonise with the others in colour and his jeans may be darker or lighter. It’s an unconscious process but we often tend to choose our clothing to blend with that of people with whom we spend a lot of time.

2.    Clothing also indicates our mental or emotional condition – women who have been told they dress too sexily for every day events may be seeking a kind of attention that allows them to feel powerful – they can adjust this neediness by dressing to achieve a different goal, for example choosing outfits that demonstrate an international perspective or dressing to achieve a job promotion.

3.    People who dress entirely in neutral colours are avoiding any attention and seeking to blend into the background – this fearful behaviour keeps them trapped and they can break out by, for example trying one new thing: a bright T-shirt , a pair of shorts to a barbecue instead of classic jeans, and getting used to it before adding another. This frees them to learn to be comfortable in new situations.

2013 February 5

It appears that even morning sickJerzees_Colours_Ladies_Soft_Shell_Jkt_29_858ness won’t deter the Duchess of Cambridge – Kate Middleton has been to Selfridges to browse women’s sportswear, she was seen picking through the Sweaty Betty rails, although nobody seems to know what, if anything, she purchased.

Sportswear is once again hitting the headlines – with form-fitting jackets, often in combination fabrics like leather and breathable wicking mesh, were seen on the catwalks of Paris and currently are also featuring in New York. To get the look for yourself, a soft shell jacket with a sporty zip needn’t cost the earth – look out for snakeskin prints or this year’s popular metallic colours: bronze, titanium and copper.

Over at Lacoste designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista has been playing with classic polo shirt styles to make them more female friendly. His silk polo shirt with jersey trimmings has been popular with sporting celebrities this year. To get the look online, buy a contrast trimmed polo shirt and a pair of coloured jeans or shorts in the same colour as the tipping, worn with a belt as the same colour as the shirt.

Dresses with trainers have been a feature of several catwalks, even ballgowns have been seen with wedge trainers. It’s a difficult look to pull off in Camden or Crewe, as it implies that you’ve just forgotten to change out of your comfortable commuter shoes on the way to a hot date, but if you’re willing to try it, glitter laces can help bring the look together, as can topping the dress with a lightweight sweatshirt tied around your waist, to emphasise that this is a casual chic look, not a forgetful moment.