Banned headphones a World Cup fashion beat

Neymar likes them Brazil-green. England’s Wayne Rooney, white. Luis Suarez, blue.

Banned from the pitch by FIFA for licensing reasons, the bulky Beats headphones are a favorite for many of the world’s top players, making the World Cup a huge unofficial ad for the company acquired by Apple Inc last month.

The colorful high-end headphones created by rapper Dr Dre have become a ubiquitous soccer accessory.

Neymar wore them as he stepped off the bus at the Castelao stadium of Fortaleza for Brazil’s last training season on the eve of their match with Mexico on Tuesday.

Suarez had them wrapped around his neck as he joked with his Uruguay team mates during a break at a recent practice.

But soccer world governing body FIFA’s licensing agreement with rival electronics maker Sony Corp means players have to take them off when they are in World Cup stadiums for official matches and media events.

Marketing experts say that probably only amplifies their appeal.

“When fans see World Cup athletes wearing Beats in their downtime, by choice, it has as much impact as seeing them lace their Adidas (boots) or sip a sponsored beverage,”

Why Bicester Village is the fashion insider favourite place to shop

My love affair with the Bicester Village experience began with a blazing row. ‘It’s only 90 minutes from New York,’ the PR assured me in 1994. Three and a half hours later, when the signs to Canada loomed, the awful truth sank in: the driver couldn’t read maps (this was pre-satnavs).

Once the PR’s breathing resumed, he turned such an interesting shade of mottle, I thought he was going to take the driver out. When we finally arrived, slightly shell-shocked all three of us, the sight of all those identical Donna Karan dresses drooping on their wire hangers was so dispiriting that we only stayed 20 minutes.

The Bicester offering has evolved since then. For one thing, you don’t have to schlep to Canada. You can hop on a train at Marylebone in central London and jump out 47 minutes later at Bicester’s very own train station – possibly the first in the Western world to resemble Ralph Lauren’s drawing room. (I know, I’ve been to both.)

For another, on the whole it is emphatically not about piling it high. Or on wire hangers. The best stores at Bicester offer frugal rather than bastardised versions