Summer-night street style
It's easy to look good without spending a fortune as these stylish women demonstrate, writes ROSEMARY Mac CABE.SHOOTING STREET style on a balmy Saturday night in Dublin city centre is not as easy as it sounds. Our mission was to capture people’s summer attire, but most of those on Dublin’s streets were refusing to set much store in the July sunshine, and were instead clinging to their coats and scarves as if torrential rain was inevitable.
Still, there were some bright spots on the horizon: Jules Furlong, for example, was blazing a trail in her wide-legged Zara trousers, although she admitted she had, on more than one occasion, “almost gone flying” as her toe caught in the hem of her trousers. Dangerous fashion, indeed.
Marion Conaghan was another highlight – and not just because of her eschewing of the GHD. Her playsuit, from Asos, was the perfect shade of blue for her red hair, and her peep-toe ankle boots were what one might term a concession to summer, Irish-style. We could dock marks for the inclusion of a scarf, bought on holiday in Egypt, in an otherwise season-appropriate ensemble, but who could blame her?
Pattie Lavelle’s outfit is an exercise in simplicity, but where it could veer into bland territory, it is elevated by the inclusion of those standout Western-style creepers by Aldo (sadly, last season so they are sold out). Her acid-wash skinnies wouldn’t be out of place in a Wham! video, while her dip-dyed hair is an ode to punk – an eclectic combination of influences.
What street style photographs don’t always tell you is the reality; while some photographers have the luxury of spending all week waiting for the perfect outfit to walk by, others (read: this one) have a pressing time limit within which to get the perfect shots. And for every kindly passer-by who agrees to pose – usually reluctantly, which we’ll put down to Irish humility – there is another who will smile and say “no, thank you”, as if they get asked on a daily basis.
But what this sartorial experiment shows is what a selection of people in Dublin city centre at 7pm on a Saturday evening is wearing – let me tell you, they ain’t wearing Balenciaga.
With the exception of items bought on holidays or in charity shops, every person we stopped to tell them that they looked fabulous was wearing clothes from chain stores. Which just goes to show, you may not be able to afford high fashion, but you can always afford high style.
Four dresses for four bridesmaids
I’m getting married next summer and I will have four bridesmaids, all with varying skin tones and heights. I am open to different styles, but I would like to keep to one colour palette or theme. My budget is ideally between €150 and €200 each but I can increase that if needs be. I like muted tones such as ivory, stone, white and dusty pink, but again I’m open to suggestions.
– Elaine, by email
1 Two Birds dresses ( twobirdsbridesmaid.co.uk) sells a one-size-fits-all dress in a range of lengths, styles and colours that can be worn more than 15 different ways, from one-shouldered to strapless, halterneck and, ideal for women who may be slightly conscious of their upper arms, in a capped sleeve style. I’d recommend mixing muted tones – maybe a light slate grey, an ivory and a dusky rose – for a really beautiful, not too bridesmaid-y look. Bridal Lounge on Pearse Street, Dublin ( thebridallounge.ie) stocks them. The dresses start at £215 (around €270), which is above your budget, but those in the know tell me bargains can be had on these dresses at bridal fairs.
2 Another option would be to keep an eye out for designer collaborations with high-street names. Richard Nicoll, a young British designer, currently has a very bridesmaid-appropriate collection at topshop.com, with several dresses in the same colour tones and fabrics, but different shapes. These three, which, granted, range from £250 to £300 (€320-380), will suit a variety of different body shapes and come in sizes six to 16. Places such as Topshop, Debenhams and Asos are also great for finding capsule collections from high-end designers at high-street prices.
3 Also look to the high street for new arrivals, which often come in a variety of different colours. This lace skater dress from River Island, for example (€60 in cream; €53 in pink and lilac), comes in three colours and could be customised to complement your own dress – for example, with the addition of a belt detail or underskirt.
What to wear to a black-tie affair?
I’m heading to a wedding at the end of October. I’ll be just back from holidays so I should have a tan. What does one wear to a “fancy”, black-tie wedding? Also, where would I find something that isn’t your run-of-the-mill I’m-going-to-a-wedding dress? I hate black-tie weddings. In fact, I hate fussy weddings full stop.
– Julie, by email
A black-tie wedding is like any other wedding, except that the men are expected to wear bow-ties and the women are expected to spend even more money than usual, with the added bonus that, when you look back on the photographs, you will have no idea if the pictures were taken in 2012 or 1940.
Timing-wise, you’re lucky, because October is when most of the autumn/winter stock should be in shops, meaning spangly, glittery dresses (the joys!) and faux furs. I would go for something really simple (a block-coloured dress, for example) and allow your accessories to do the talking (I love Rhinestones in Dublin 2 for amazing costume jewellery), or opt for something on the spangly, glittery side. This needn’t mean Studio 54. With the impending release of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, we’re all going a little Daisy Buchanan.
To avoid the usual wedding fodder, leave Coast, Karen Millen and Reiss off your list. The Outnet ( theoutnet.com) is great for last-season designer pieces at bargain prices and Asos.comis a perennial fave for more dresses than you could shake a box of confetti at.
1 This coral number by T Bags (half price at €101 at The Outnet) is a great example of an unusual classic – a maxi with a draped twist – and it will look gorgeous with a tan.
2 If you fancy something a little more show-stopping, this red maxi by Raoul (€568 at my-wardrobe.com) is stunning. Team with chunky gold jewellery and a simple box clutch for a really “wow” look; tone it down in future with a belt and a leather jacket.
3 This stunning black and lace number (€120 from Topshop) has everything going on. It’s floor-length, with a Givenchy-esque lace bodice and a pleated peplum. Go for a pair of chandelier earrings (such as these, 4, €12.50 at costelloeandcostelloe.com) and let the dress do the talking.
Read Rosemary Mac Cabe’s fashion blog Fash Mob at irishtimes.com/blogs