Three holiday looks
Whether you are heading for the sun, the city or the caravan, here are three outfits to keep you cool in the summer, writes ROSEMARY Mac CABE
THE SHOPS MAY be gearing up to launch the first of their autumn/winter stock, but despite this (and the fact that it’s been raining for, oh, approximately four years), there’s still time to get your summer holiday on. And by “time”, we mean seven weeks.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a handy guide to what to wear, wherever you’re going, be that London, for the Olympic sport, of course; Spain, for, well, any reason at all; or Brittas, for 99s in the mobile and endless hours of sibling squabbles.
It should be patently obvious that these destinations will require very different things in terms of clothing. In London, for example, you may be feeling patriotic; in Brittas, you may not be feeling patriotic; in Spain, it won’t matter because you’ll be busy soaking up the sun/ shopping/snogging strangers/museum-hopping (delete as applicable).
In London, this jaunty green cardigan by Japanese designer Tsumori Chiasto will prove essential when supporting Team Ireland, along with, of course, these flatter-everyone (we swear) jeans by Hello! Skinny Jeans. Do not be tempted to team these with an orange T-shirt unless you are five. A stripe is a classic mixer, and we’ve given the midriff-baring option alongside the regular. Zadig et Voltaire’s silver holdall adds a sporting touch, and these Converse will ensure you don’t get footsore from all that on-your-feet cheering.
In Spain, heat requires minimal coverage, but we wouldn’t like to frighten the locals, so Zara’s printed tunic dress will do the job. It’s good to have two shoe choices for daytime wandering and night-time bar crawling, and stilettos are always a tough call when you don’t know just how cobbled the streets are going to be.
And brave the bikini, even if you didn’t quite make it through Cosmopolitan magazine’s 12-week bikini challenge; chances are, you’ll never see any of these people again.
Back home, if you’re going to Brittas you will have to be prepared for all weathers. That means jeans over your togs, wellies as well as sandals, and a jacket of some sort in case it all goes to pot and you have to make a run for shelter, a bag of chips under one arm and a plastic bucket and spade under the other.
I’m looking for an outfit to impress on a work trip to London. It must be practical, and I’d like to spend less than €100, if possible.
I have a lovely black jacket from Zara, with a lace effect, and a big tan leather bag from Oasis that I could use. I’m not a great fan of high heels so something practical would be great. I’m a size 14-16. – Sheila
Those are two great basic staples to starting with.
I would suggest teaming what you have with some well-cut separates for a professional, sleek look.
1 These black and navy trousers from Reiss are reduced to €70 and the print, which makes a statement without shouting, will look great with the lace effect of your jacket. They look really smart but are made of jersey material, so will be comfy for a day of flights, meetings and taxi journeys.
2 In terms of shoes, ditch the idea of wearing heels if you’re not comfortable in them – there’s nothing worse than seeing a woman teetering in heels, and if this is going to be a stressful day you want to eradicate any extra worries. These tassled pumps from Penneys (€11) are a really smart option – the slightly mannish feel lends a professional edge.
3 This cream sleeveless blouse from New Look (€19.99) will look great with your blue and black suiting and is great value, although it does exceed your budget by 99 cent. Buy a size up and pin carefully along the buttons if you’re busty to avoid any rogue gapes.
To finish your polished look, go for minimal make-up – define brows with some brown eyeshadow on an eyeliner brush and finish with Vaseline, brushed on with an old mascara brush, and add a slick of liquid eyeliner.
A little personal styling
I’ve recently dipped into a fashion rut where I find myself wearing the same skinny denims and blouses or cardigans to work each day.
Frankly, I’m bored and I strive to have the perfect capsule wardrobe in order to look professional, but not too made up. I have considered using a personal stylist service. I’m a size 16, 5ft 10, with a small bust. – Karen
There is a lot to be said for hiring a personal stylist. They will edit your existing wardrobe and advise you what will best suit both your shape and your lifestyle.
It is not free, however, whereas availing of the services of an in-store personal shopper – such as those in Brown Thomas, Arnotts and Oasis – is. It’s important to remember, too, that there is no obligation to buy; you can take all advice on board and use the tips learned during your session when shopping elsewhere.
In terms of practical advice, your working wardrobe sounds perfectly lovely – although I can see how, day after day, this may become tiresome. Think of interesting ways to swap items in and out, while sticking to your tried and trusted DNA.
1 This pleated leather skirt by Asos (€122.18) is a stunning piece in a classic shape, while the leather makes it modern and edgy. You could team this with a blouse and a cardigan for a ladylike, professional look.
2 Karen Millen’s monochrome shirt (€120) is another alternative look at your formula. With a pair of dark denim skinnies and a pair of black courts, this is a really sleek and classic look.
Instead of a cardigan, why not try a blazer? Zara has a great selection that changes almost weekly, and its sizes run up to an XL, which will fit a 16.
3 You say your uniform involves skinnies – why not swap these for a pair of flares, such as MiH Jean’s Marrakesh skinny kick flare (€202.28 at Net-a-Porter.com)? They are the ultimate flattering jean, especially if you’re curvy around the waist and hip area. You can then work them with all of your old failsafes.
4 It’s always worth investing in classic pieces, especially if they will fit in with your wardrobe. This silk blouse by Equipment (€266.92 at My-Wardrobe.com) is really on trend while maintaining serious staying power. Layer it over skinnies and button it up to the neck for summer months (with a statement necklace if you’re brave); in autumn, wear it under a fitted sweater.
And remember, if you have a style that works for you, that’s more than a lot of people can say. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.
Read Rosemary Mac Cabe’s fashion blog Fash Mob at irishtimes.com/blogs