Style Clinic


ROSEMARY MACCABEanswers readers' questions

Can I avoid a shapeless 'boyfriend' coat?

I’m looking for a new coat as mine has seen a few too many messy nights out. It has to be above the knee, but fitted – shapeless “boyfriend” coats make me look enormous – and absolutely not white, black (although monochrome is okay) or red. I have about €150 to spend, or €200 if it’s amazing with a capital A.

Lisa, by email

Well Lisa, if you aren’t demanding. I feel your pain, though; this is not a climate in which one can happily be in want of a coat. Or an umbrella, for that matter.

Next is always a good bet for coats and this monochrome number (€103) may be right up your street. It’s fitted-ish, which is my way of saying that it may be slightly shapeless, but it is not in any way “boyfriend”, and in any case you can’t have everything. The off-centre zip is very now, and the funnel neck will keep you warm (ish).

Topshop is doing a rather irritating line in shapeless boyfriend coats at the moment, but this blue number (£165 at stands out for all the right reasons – the colour is gorgeous and the shape is feminine without preventing you wearing a jumper beneath it. Of course, your mother will keep asking if it’s meant to be bobbled like that; it is, but it’ll be a good excuse to roll your eyes and storm off in a huff.

For me, this leopard-print coat from Warehouse (€124) comes out on top; collarless coats are all the rage for spring/summer, and mean you can wear one of those statement necklaces you invested in last season on top of it, and the full-length sleeves (rare on a cocoon shape) will keep you cosy.

The zipped pockets are a nice touch.

Where can I find nice off-season swimwear?

I’m going on honeymoon to Barbados in March and I’m looking for some nice swimwear, but nowhere seems to have any in stock yet. I have D boobs so I don’t want a triangle bikini, but I don’t want to end up in a mumsy boulder-holder either.

Phoebe, by email

Well isn’t it well for some – while the rest of us are trudging through the inevitable buckets of rain that 2013 has yet to bring, you’ll be soaking up the sun in the tropics. The begrudger in me would be inclined to ignore your query, but the benevolent fashion godmother wins out (this time).

Your best bet for swimwear in March is to go online, snap up a few, and send back the ones that don’t fit. Unlike in-store, where shops can stipulate that they will not accept swimwear returns, internet sellers are bound by EU law to accept returns up to two weeks from the date of receipt, so you have some guarantee.

Figleaves.comis one of the best websites out there for swimwear and underwear, with a huge selection of brands to suit all sizes and body shapes – and a great range for larger bust sizes. This underwired and padded polka dot bikini (£28) by Figleaves Swimwear is definitely not in the mumsy category.

If you have a few bob to spare, this lime Norma Kamali bikini from Net-a-Porter (bottoms and top, €221.40 each at is gorgeous and will look amazing with a tan. The bottoms give generous bum coverage (which is surprisingly rare in high-end bikini brands) and the ruched top is really unusual. All of that said, you could probably buy yourself a few delicious meals in Barbados for the same price.

If you can’t stand the idea of buying online, Marks Spencer has jumped the summer gun with this paisley print bikini (top, €20 and bottoms, €13). It’s padded and underwired and available in sizes B to DD, and the tie sides on the bikini bottoms are very flattering on a more ample rump.

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