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 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 25

Fruit_of_the_Loom_SetIn_Sweatshirt_17_900_500_500While the triple A rating may not affect most of us, other than to know that Britain has lost hers, we’re all likely to feel the pinch over the next year and one way that many of us will try to economise is on clothing expenditure.

1.    For those who are hoping to save money but still look good, sweatshirts can be a versatile and useful item. Worn alone, a sweatshirt fits into the smart casual category – especially if worn under a blazer or fitted jacket – this look works particularly well for women, if combined with a dramatic costume necklace.

2.    The same sweatshirt can work just as well over a T-shirt on cold days and when worn with jeans or jog pants it’s an excellent clothing choice to wear when at a football or rugby match, to the pub or walking in the country.

3.    Finally, the sweatshirt works well to ring the changes on other clothes – you can adopt the Rihanna look by tying it round your waist to offset your casual shorts or skirt for a modern relaxed look.

2013 February 23

BC_XLite_Soft_Shell_Jacket_29_896Ben Affleck often seems to have too much luck for one man: he’s an award winning actor, he’s got model-style good looks and he’s dated some of the world’s most famous women, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Garner, with whom he has three children.

So while he didn’t win any Oscars, his double win at the BAFTAs put him firmly back in the spotlight – getting Best Director and Best Film for Argo.

So how do you get the Affleck look?

He’s famous for his V-necked sweaters and neatly cut beard and the more formal version of this look, in which he is often see: button down shirts worn under grey cardigans with a blazer. Good barbering is key to his appearance and he’s managed to grow into a more substantial look over the past five years, without it ageing him too much.

The bad boy look has faded into the background somewhat in recent years, but from time to time, when out with his family, Affleck reverts to the biker boots and casual jeans of his youth, worn with a knit cap under which he tucks his hair, which he tends to grow longer between films, the whole look finished by a casual jacket.

One thing Affleck never looks is rumpled – his tall frame and broad shoulders make him a good clothes horse and while he often dresses casually, he usually takes care to appear in shirts that are a good fit, and form fitting jackets are a definite feature of his appearance.

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 February 11

Kustom_Kit_Mens_Workforce_ButtonDown_Short_Sleeve__27_275Now I’m sure most guys aren’t regularly consulting Confessions of a Fashionista, but today’s post is a really interesting one as it explains how to decide what to wear to London Fashion Week. That’s probably not top of many men’s bucket lists either, but the principles applied to the decision-making process are definitely transferable.

The first thing is to dress from the ground up – shoes are the most important part of any outfit and getting the right shoes to work with the rest of your clothes, and the event, is crucial. That gin advert with Philip Glenister wearing trainers and a suit to a dinner party is exactly what doesn’t work. Many men think quirky shoes and odd socks are endearing – they aren’t, they imply you dressed in the dark and/or only have one pair of said garments. Make sure your underwear is well-fitting too – saggy baggy skivvies just make your trousers look like you slept in them!

Fashionista makes a big deal of the bag – once again this isn’t central to most men’s thinking, but a good bag, if you have to carry stuff, is much better than bulging pockets or a manky old carrier. The messenger bag is classic and works in almost any environment.

Then you do get to let your creativity soar a bit. It’s a good idea to avoid TopShop special offer shirts if you’re going somewhere that you know many other men your age will be present – they’ve probably had the same ‘style on a shoestring’ idea as you and you’ll end up looking like a chorus line! Other than that, let rip – if the basics are right the outfit will work, but with poor basics, you’ve no chance of pulling it together.