2013 June 4

BC_La_Havana_Long_Sleeve_Poplin_Shirt_27_377José Mourinho says he’s more mature than when he left Chelsea six years ago – but does his clothing style bear him out?

Actually yes. While Mourinho had a look that was both distinctive and much commented on, his time at Real Madrid has given him a more relaxed appearance, still designer led, but less ‘in your face’, He insists that the style is an evolution and that the tendency to wear casual trousers rather than a suit is part of this evolution, rather than just a pragmatic response to Madrid being a warmer city than chilly old London! He also says that his view of the way players dress helps him as a manager because ‘…managers are getting older, and the players are always young boys. So you can imagine [older managers] … will think the kids are badly dressed. But they like to dress for the times.’

However he does have rules and he applies them to himself. He never shaves the day of a match, hence the designer stubble, but that’s not vanity (he says) but the desire to avoid a shaving nick that could look bad.

He was also ‘Mr Armani’ and while he’s not as wedded to the brand as he once was, Italian styling definitely works for him. Mourinho is one of those men who’s found what works and knows how to stick to it. So if you’re a guy who looks good in Hugo Boss, wear Hugo Boss, and if it turns out that Gildan or Paul Smith work for you, then that’s what you should wear, as a consistent image gives a sense of strength that helps define a personal style.

Mourinho is opposed to shorts worn on match day (at least until the players are on the pitch) and while there are many times that shorts are okay – barbecues and gym sessions to name but two – there are many more when they aren’t.

He also says that every man should have a white shirt in his wardrobe. He doesn’t say what for, but we can guess that lifting a few cups has shown him that there’s nothing better than a plain white background to show off a bit of bling!

2013 May 15

Henbury_Ladies_Short_Sleeve_Classic_Oxford_Shirt_27_189Many of us, particularly interns and those getting their first job, are becoming stressed and confused by the demands of Friday clothing. Here are some key dos and don’ts to help manage the perplexities of the day before the weekend:


•    Wear black or navy denim if denim is allowed, but don’t succumb to the desire to wear stone-washed, denim cutoffs (Daisy Dukes) or short skirts. Keep it classic with boot cut jeans and a semi-formal top like a short sleeved shirt with a vibrant necklace.
•    Stick to heels or bright flats – red ballerina pumps work, flip-flops don’t. The Friday rule is if you are showing heels (slingbacks) don’t show toes or vice versa.
•    Be bright – large florals or jungle prints look great, as to strong coloured polo-shirts with a pair of simple black trousers and a statement necklace or designer scarf or bracelet.


•    Get sultry – it’s casual attire not clubbing attire. When in doubt wear the longer sleeve, the higher neckline or the more formal outfit.
•    Wear shorts, unless they are fully tailored and worn with a blazer and formal shoes. Think Audrey Hepburn.
•    Forget to accessorise your casual clothing – you can fool just about everybody that you’ve perfected the casual Friday style if you wear a good necklace or belt with a plain t-shirt.

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 2

AWDis_Cool_Vest_82_281While the weather hardly suggests it, it’s been a week for wet T-shirts, six packs and tans. Ryan Lochte posed for US Weekly to promote his new TV show (yes, he has a TV show, to celebrate his Olympic gold medal, presumably) in which he stood on a road in a wet T-shirt with his muscles sharply defined, as usual. The series covers his clothing choices, training regime and sex life!

Meanwhile Andy Murray showed that he’s a true Brit by baring his own six pack on the beach and revealing an excellent semi-tan that stopped where his body had been covered by his T-shirt during his recent Sony Open win.

Both men had something that the average chap might struggle to bring to the party – namely an excellent musculature, but if you’re not the Olympic type, it’s still possible to pull off a good beach look:

Singlets or vests are a good way of covering a less than chiselled torso – go for a dark colour such as a navy blue vest and don’t tuck it into your shorts.

Talking about those shorts, while budgie smugglers may work for Tom Daley, most men will look better in a formally styled pair of shorts such as cargo shorts – even Murray went for the long look in board shorts.

And check out your footwear, flip flops don’t cut it – choose a good pair of leather sandals (no socks) or really excellent trainers in a neutral colour and again, no socks!

2013 March 15

AWDis_Cool_Vest_82_281Well, maybe not quite yet, but both kinds of clothing could be on the cards in the future.

While Livestrong tells us that one way to aim for a summer six pack is to train less, and maybe even rest and eat more, performance clothing to support the kind of intensity that leads to a six pack is being explored by researchers.

The most recent work is in the field of cross-country skiing and has discovered that the quickest way for competitors to improve their performance is not to have the right skis, or the right wax, but to be at the right temperature, which for competitive skiing is +1 and -4 degrees. Any colder and competitors tire quicker and have reduced performance, as a result of joints and ligaments stiffening and enzyme activity in cells changing. While any warmer means that competitors over-sweat, dehydrate and have extra fluid loss that leads to swifter negative results like cramp or lactic acid build-up.

This is significant for exercising and suggests that major muscle masses, like thighs and upper arms, may benefit from better air circulation – so singlets or vests are good, while T-shirts may actually inhibit bicep building or six-pack shredding in warm weather. Once it gets cold though, major muscles need an air pocket between them and the outside temperature so joggers in jogging bottoms will probably outperform those running in shorts in wintry weather, all other things being equal.

As for self-cleaning sportswear, the Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Centre is exploring omniphobic coatings for clothing that creates a lower surface tension that that of anything that might harm the clothing, encouraging sweat, water and toxic chemicals to roll off, while the same coating repels dust and dirt. As a result, within a generation, or fitness clothing could be self-cleansing, and the more we sweat, the cleaner, and stronger, we’ll be.

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 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 January 31

Fruit_of_the_Loom_Lady_Fit_Rib_Polo_Model-549-662For women it’s even more difficult to dress for all occasions, but here’s a capsule wardrobe to get you through a week away.

1.    A formal jacket – try a blazer for maximum adaptability
2.    One long-sleeved shirt – in a pastel colour – wear it buttoned up with a scarf for a formal look and half unbuttoned over a camisole for a more casual style.
3.    One pair formal trousers in navy or black.
4.    One pair of cotton leggings or semi-formal jog pants in a dark colour. Jeans are not your friend as they are heavy to carry and it’s difficult for a woman to wear jeans well for interviews unless she is superbly well-proportioned. A pair of stretchy cotton jogging bottoms or yoga pants is a better bet, they can be dressed up with the long-sleeved T-shirt, scarf, belt and costume jewellery for a formal look, but worn with the polo shirt for a casual vibe.
5.    Two T-shirts in bright colours
6.    Two camisoles, one light, one dark
7.    One long-sleeved T-shirt in classic black or white, navy or cream
8.    A formal scarf – Hermes is ideal, but a good knock-off will get you through
9.    A fashion belt in black patent or similar, with a big chunky buckle
10.    One long skirt – viscose is good and doesn’t crease
11.    One swimsuit
12.    One pair mid-length shorts – too short is tarty, too long makes you look like a Carry On film extra!
13.    Trainers
14.    Ankle boots
15.    Sunglasses
16.    Gloves
17.    A lightweight casual jacket with good pockets – fleece is an ideal fabric as it can be rolled up without creasing
18.    Bed-wear
19.    Underwear.