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 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 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.

2013 January 29

Fruit_of_the_Loom_Hoody_20_662Travelling for business or interviews can be demanding. How you look is important, but you need to be able to focus on creating a good impression, not on how you look. Increasingly universities and even companies ask candidates to ‘intern’ on a placement or job, by spending a long weekend or even, for popular courses at university, a week, in company with other applicants.  Here’s how to pack a week’s wardrobe that will allow you to deal with whatever the recruiters or selectors throw at you.
•    Formal shirt/Black shirt/White shirt
Three shirts will get you through – one should be bright coloured but long sleeved – it will work for dinners out or an evening dancing. A short sleeved black shirt looks good for a casual event like a quiz or bowling but under a jacket works perfectly for a formal dinner. A white shirt is your interview standby.
•    One T-shirt/one vest/one sweatshirt
You can substitute a hoodie for the sweatshirt, and if you pack one of each you’ve got every base covered, as well as the chance to layer them all if you go somewhere cold. Steer clear of any images or logos – this is not the time to express yourself!
•    One polo shirt
A pastel polo shirt allows you to attend a casual event like a breakfast meeting and know that you’re in the middle of the smart/casual divide. Worn with your formal trousers it is an acceptable look before noon. At lunch change into a shirt though.
•    One pair of jeans
Make them blue, conservative in cut, and not hanging from your hips.
•    One pair formal trousers – black is best
•    One formal jacket – black or grey
•    Formal shoes/Trainers
•    Swimming trunks/a tie/a knit hat.

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 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 October 2

It seems that dating is getting more casual, and so is date clothing. Just as New York Fashion Week, as usual, brought home the most casual of the clothing weeks, so first date etiquette is getting ever more casual, but that doesn’t mean there are no rules.

Fashion Week brought leisure and sports clothing to the forefront, but on a date one item of casual or sports attire is considered to be enough, for men. For women even one item, unless the date is actually a sporting occasion, is ‘too cas’ suggesting you are either blowing off your date or have low standards!

So a guy can get away with a hoodie, or a T-shirt but not both. A woman on a first date in jogging bottoms, or even yoga pants, risks being seen as too casual unless you are actually going for a jog in the park, walking your dogs together or meeting up at a sporting venue for a sports event.

Shorts are dodgy for men, but okay for women. Shorts if the weather is hot are just passable if a man has great legs and a good tan. For a woman, shorts with shoes are okay, with trainers not, and girl shorts with tights are fine in less good weather. Stay away from cut off denims though – both men and women should avoid them, according to dating experts, unless you are actually meeting at the beach.

Women should avoid wearing anything too suggestive. A camisole top is okay, but worn under a cardigan or unstructured jacket so you don’t have too much flesh on display, at least at the beginning of the date! And men should try to stick to wearing T-shirts without beer or football logos, and to leave the white socks at home, in favour of black or navy or even no socks at all.

Simplicity is key to first date success. One or two colours, nothing flashy for men or too floaty for women and comfortable shoes you can walk in easily for both sexes – you never know, you might want to get away in a hurry!