Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

Dressing for spring – man-repel

This is now my advice for all kinds of dressing: work hard to repel men. I will now give you an example from my own wardrobe, an outfit I wore to work the other day and one of my editors, …

Fri, Apr 8, 2011, 12:30


This is now my advice for all kinds of dressing: work hard to repel men. I will now give you an example from my own wardrobe, an outfit I wore to work the other day and one of my editors, his upper lip slightly curled, remarked, “What’s with all the power dressing?” Note that he did not say, “wow, amazing shoes!” as I expected him to; nor did he say, “you look lovely!” MAN-REPELLING, it is the future.

There is a method to this madness, and it is not just to show you how attractive I look in mustard drop-crotch trousers. The point is: dressing, whatever the season, is about fun. For me it’s about mixing textures and toughness levels – so I’ve got the soft chiffon of the black top (barely seen, granted) and the femininity of the Diane von Furstenberg shoes (LOVE!) juxtaposed against the masculinity of the trousers, the straight lines of the blazer and the old-school Americana of the shirts.

Really, moving on from that photograph of me (and yes, my room is very cluttered), let’s talk about layering, because to me that’s what spring is all about. It’s not quite warm enough to strip down to the bare essentials, and it’s not cold enough to continue dressing for the big freeze – so think about light layers that will look good no matter how many of them you’re left with at the end of the day. What does this mean? Light cardigans, shirts (think of wearing them open, over dresses, for a different take on covering up) and layered skirts – yes, you heard me, layered skirts. Try a body-con skirt under a sheer midi, or two A-line skirts, one over the other (light fabrics work best, and if you can clash patterns, so much the better).

Then we come to the eternal Irishwoman’s conundrum: tights. What to do, what to do – it’s too near May to be still wearing your black opaques, no matter how much you love them, and skin coloured tights are for old ladies, aren’t they? Well you have two choices (and no, bare legs is not one of them, ladies who frequent the Wright Venue – think again): coloured opaques or, well, skin coloured tights. Coloured opaques serve a purpose in being less wintery than black, but still keeping you warm – because, let’s face it, we’re hardly facing into a tropical spring. My favourites are grey and navy, which are close enough to black to still work with your existing wardrobe, but that little shade lighter to brighten up your style. Plus, grey works with all of those neutrals we’re being told to wear this spring.

Skin-coloured tights, so – what am I even talking about?! They’re hideous, most of the time. But there is one variety that will honestly be your saviour this spring – Marks & Spencer’s bare cooling tights in natural tan. They are amazing. I think they’ll set you back around €5.50, they won’t last forever and you’d be better off handwashing them if you want them to go the distance, but they look ridiculously natural and give your legs a lovely, eh, natural tan. Behold.

So, wow, this really has turned into the post where I talk about myself. But only to demonstrate (a) my ability to repel men, more of which later, and (b) the amazingness of those tights. Over and out.

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