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April 25, 2006

The New and Improved UniversalGear.com

You spoke‚ we listened!
newsite.jpgArmed with fantastic feedback we’ve received from our customers‚ employees and partners‚ we’ve been working hard over the past few months to bring you the new and improved UNIVERSALGEAR.COM.

The new site has tons of new features to make your shopping experience easier and more enjoyable. Here are some of our favorite improvements:

- Shop by Brand: Since most of us are loyal to a few brands‚ we’ve added a Shop By Brand area featuring some of our most popular brands. Don’t see your favorite here? Just enter the brand name in the Search box on the top left of the site. In seconds‚ you get a page of all products currently on that site that have that brand name as part of the title.

- Shop by Fit: Under some departments on our left menu bar‚ you can see sub-categories so you can go right for the item you’re after. For instance‚ under the Jeans department‚ you can select from Boot-Cut‚ Straight-Leg or Flare Leg--allowing you to go straight to the fit that makes the most sense for you.

- Bigger Pictures: Our thumbnails are now much bigger--making it easier for you to browse our departments. And we now give you a zoom option‚ which makes the image even larger so you can see the details.

- More Control: In our department and brand pages‚ we now give you the option to sort the thumbnails by brand‚ by price and by popularity. And you can now see all products in a department in 1 page instead of having to scroll between pages.

- Better Stock Status: The new site is now linked to our inventory system‚ so we’ll only show you products that we have in stock.

- The Blog: Through our new blog‚ we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest trends in men’s fashion. We’ll also spotlight new brands‚ recount our travels to fashion events throughout the globe (ok‚ mostly in New York) and give you the dish on which celebrities were spotted wearing our clothes (have you seen American Idol contestant Chris wearing the Diesel Zaf jeans?).

So what are you waiting for? It's time to take the new site for a spin.

-- Ricardo

Trend Alert: Gothic Romanticism

Go ahead and admit it. Deep in your closet there are a couple of things you don’t want people to see. Next to your single white bedazzled glove are a couple of shirts from your not too distant past. You want to throw them out but you just can’t let go of the good old days of big hair bands. Yes’ the days when Guns n’Roses and Poison ruled the rock and roll roost. Well worry no more--you can finally bring the band t-shirts out of the closet and once again wear them with pride (the glove you can throw out).

The style comes out of the Romantic period of 18th century Western Europe, which was originally a response to the stoic nature of the Enlightenment. Romanticism stressed strong emotion and inspired imagination. Big hair bands of the late 80’s borrowed this motif and combined elements of death (guns) with romance and nature (roses) The result was a slightly over the top tribute to emotion and well... big hair.

AfflictionDesigners have tapped into the late 80’s vault to bring this style back. Brands like Affliction and Drifter have combined the look with some great new details like super-soft tissue cotton‚ foil printing and studs. (We recently spotted American Idol contestant Chris Daughtry rocking an Affliction shirt during a performance.) For a complete look combine one of these shirts with a pair of True Religion or Diesel jeans and some Gothic Inspired jewelry from Amigaz or Guess. Go ahead; it’s OK to once again get your gothic on.

-- Chord

April 22, 2006

Leave Your Mark: A Denim Guide

00525-1718!LVI-1255.jpgGo ahead‚ take off your jeans. That’s what I said; take ’em off. Now lay them on the ground‚ and take a good look. What do you see? You should be able to see a story. You should be able to see yourself. If you look at your jeans and all you see is a label or a price tag then you have the wrong pair. You should be able to look at your jeans and see that stain from when you accidentally spilled bleach while washing them‚ or where you ripped a hole in the knee for some ventilation during summer‚ or the worn spot around where you wallet rests. These are true reflections of you and what takes your jeans from simple to a statement about your personality. Don’t be timid‚ there are plenty of ways to put a little more of you into your denim. So pick up a paint brush‚ grab some bleach and get ready to leave your mark.

Wear ’Em Out
0485801-RAW!TRL-1664.jpgThis technique--which we learned from some of our top denim brands--is not for the faint of heart and will take some time. The outcome&sbquo on the other hand‚ is a tribute to distinctiveness. You need to start with a pair of raw denim. As you may or may not know denim is combination of white and indigo dyed threads. Indigo dye‚ however‚ will never fully penetrate the fiber and washes out with time. To give jeans their worn in look factories will wash and treat denim. Raw denim‚ however‚ is usually not washed or treated. This leaves them darker because none of the dye has been washed out. This is where you come in and can create your own wash. So once you buy your raw denim all you need to do is wear them. That’s right‚ just wear them‚ wear them and wear them some more. The hard part is not washing them for at least six months to a year. What? That sounds disgusting! Well‚ no one said looking good was easy. There are‚ however‚ still ways to keep them smelling good. Odor eliminators can help‚ but to really get the smell out just throw your jeans in the dryer with a couple of dryer sheets and put it on high for about 20 minutes. If that doesn’t work try putting them in the freezer. While it may seem odd it really does help. While it’s a little harder on your wallet‚ your last option (if these others all seem too bohemian)‚ is to dry clean them. After six months or so you can finally throw them in that cauldron of magic‚ the washer. The dye should wash out in a pattern consistent with how you wore them and leave you with a one of a kind wash.

-- Chord