The view from the streets

Wed, Apr 4, 2012, 01:00

IN COUNTRIES THAT experience proper seasons, dressing appropriately is easy. If its cold, you wear wool; if its hot, you wear cotton, and very little of it. One thing our variable Irish weather has given us is a knack for layering – in this one instance, we have, you see, got the sartorial edge.

The joy of layering is in breaking the rules. Stef Nelkovski is from Perth, and her ensemble works because she’s not dressing according to any guidelines – denim and leather sit alongside one another in a glorious mixing of texture and shape. Geromine Godard is from Paris. Her shearling cape is functional and beautiful – and, although it is an imposing silhouette, keeping things tailored on the bottom half prevents it from adding bulk. Sophie Davis is from Sandymount, Dublin and her mismatched outfit – with layers peeking out beneath her check shirt and simple, animal-print pumps adding a devil-may-care edge – works precisely because it shouldn’t.

Opening your eyes to potential matches can reveal the many possibilities for cool, careless layering – send your best efforts to rmaccabe@irishtimes.com for your chance to feature in these pages.

Revealing looks in underwear streets 

MARLIES DEKKERS IS NOT a familiar name on these shores. But the Dutch grande dame of lingerie is having her moment in the sun thanks to a pop-up boutique in the Lingerie Rooms of Brown Thomas, Dublin.

One of the key selling points, according to the press material, is that celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Rihanna have been spotted in Marlies Dekkers’s Undressed line, wearing this underwear as outerwear, but we favour a simple approach, and keeping one’s bras under wraps. The great thing about Dekkers’s designs is that many of the kooky details, such as the double straps and metallic inserts, can be paired with low-cut tops for an extra edge, as the detailing peeks out beneath the outerwear.

Fits are flattering, colours are bold and designs are graphic – and, compared to a lot of other high-end lingerie ranges (we’re looking to you, Agent Provocateur), prices are affordable, with bras coming in at between €80 and €90 and thongs starting at €37. The pop-up is open until April 27th.

Reader query Cropped jeans for the not-so-skinny

I would love a smart pair of cropped jeans, but I can only find skinny ones, which I can only just about get into. Is there a version for the not-so-skinny-thighed woman?

Emer, by email

Recent experience has me believing that expensive jeans are no better than their cheaper counterparts. Case in point: a recently purchased pair of J Brand jeans (around €250) have gained an entire size, not to mention room for another set of knees, after just a few washes, while a pair of New Look slim fit jeans (€24.99) have retained their shape and stretch, or lack thereof.

Now, back to you – what you’re looking for, really, are slim-fit ankle grazers, which are very “in” and great for summer, allowing you to look seasonal, without eschewing all sense of reality and going to work in a pair of denim hotpants.

Marks Spencer is one of your best options, although it might not be the first shop that springs to mind. Its Indigo Collection cropped denim jeans (€47.50) are flattering and made of a super-soft denim that will hug, rather than suffocate, your thighs. And, despite the terrifying name, MS’s five-pocket denim jeggings are gorgeous on, and a steal at €30.

New Look is another great option – these zip pocket skinnies (left, €29.99) are not as skinny as some and look great with a turn-up, plus they are very flattering, with little stretch so they don’t pull over the thigh area. They’re also available in five colours, so you can choose to be as daring (or not) as you wish.

Topshop’s Jamie jeans (left, €61) are the best of their fits for larger thighs – they’re high-waisted and have a slightly straighter leg, and are available in petite, with a shorter leg.

This lemon colour is great for summer and, lest you think that pale automatically means unflattering, remember, it’s the location of the colour that matters. All-over block colours won’t emphasise any particular area; it’s acid or weathered washes that you need to steer clear of.

Star buy

This Peruzzi watercolour dress screams summer, is the perfect length and the ruched mid-section means it will be super flattering. €125 from Arnotts, Carraig Donn, Choice and independent boutiques nationwide. peruzzi.ie

Read Rosemary Mac Cabe’s fashion blog, Fash Mob, at irishtimes.com/blogs

Off to the races

WOULD ANYONE care to place a bet on the number of women who will take their cues from Lana Del Rey this racing season and adorn their side-parted 1950s waves with fresh roses? How about counting the Prada-influenced prom dresses? Or the asymmetric hems the PR folks are refusing to call by their rightful names: mullet dresses?

Whatever the outcome in the clothes stakes, it’ll be a serious numbers game at this year’s Irish Grand National in Fairyhouse Racecourse on bank holiday Monday, April 9th, with the prize fund reaching a cool €250,000.

With the horsey bit out of the way, let’s talk fashion – this year’s Irish Grand National will play host to Carton House’s Most Stylish Lady competition, and the theme is “red hot style”. Will the winner be wearing Heidi Higgins, as so many recent winners have? Will they follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Emer Lynch from Batterstown, Co Meath (pictured left)? Will she be a “career” racing-goer, a woman who goes to the races specifically to enter the competition, or will she be a fresh, innocent face? Most importantly, will she be risking the wrath of the fashion gods in an Ascot-banned fascinator? Watch this space.

Brand focus DKNY

Bio: A US label founded in 1989 by Donna Karan as the lighter, more affordable sister to its eponymous mother label, DKNY (Donna Karan New York) is “the pizza to collection’s caviar”, according to Karan.

Aesthetic: Smart, chic, city dressing inspired by New York and the modern, working woman – with a fashion twist. The label also encompasses DKNY jeans, eyewear and an extensive fragrance range.

Stockists: Brown Thomas Dublin, Cork and Galway; BT2, Blanchardstown; and online at my-wardrobe.com.

Price tag: Expect to pay upwards of €150 for jeans, €200-plus for dresses and roughly €400 for tailoring. This DKNY dress, pictured at the BT2 spring/summer show, is €350.

Have you got a fashion query you’d like answered?

Send your questions to rmaccabe@irishtimes.com