A Special Report is content that is edited and produced by the Special Reports unit within The Irish Times Content Studio. It is supported by advertisers who may contribute to the report, but who do not have editorial control.

Zoom into Christmas style

Dazzle at a distance with something a little extra special this year

Sequinned navy dress €338 from FeeG. Available from arnotts.ie

Sequinned navy dress €338 from FeeG. Available from arnotts.ie

 

‘Tis the season to be jolly and splash out on some ab fab festive fashion pieces for the Christmas season. After 10 months of pandemic stress, self-denial and austerity, it’s a good time to treat ourselves to a special Zoom party piece along with some glamorous luxury items for home-wear.

Admittedly, it will be a quieter Christmas than usual, but you can feel an extra dollop of love and goodwill in the air. Lots of companies are getting into the spirit of things by organising Zoom parties where the dress codes range from jolly jumpers to power PJs or glamorous glittery gúnas. It gives us a chance to let our proverbial masks slip and enjoy some silly carefree fun after months of kitchen confinement or boxroom office lockdown.

Luxury knitwear is always a classic Christmas gift and Monaghans Cashmere of South Anne St in Dublin is a luxury shop for selecting a long-life cashmere jumper or supersoft pashmina. Tom Monaghan, the stalwart of style and charm, celebrated his 95th birthday this October and celebrated 60 years in business too. He attributes his success to providing a very personalised customer service and always offering that extra element of support and advice. He is back in the store this Christmas greeting his customers after reopening in December.

V-neck sweater €475 from Monaghans Cashmere.
V-neck sweater €475 from Monaghans Cashmere.
Redberry cashmere wrap by Suzie, €425, from Monaghans Cashmere.
Redberry cashmere wrap by Suzie, €425, from Monaghans Cashmere.

Tom is an inspiration to the many business owners who have weathered the Covid storm. His daughter Suzie has designed a special anniversary cashmere collection and added creative panache to longline swing jumpers, ribbed roll necks and featherweight shawls that will also be a wow on that Zoom screen. The menswear hoodies and sweaters are also in demand so the family are busy elves parcelling up orders in time for Christmas day.

Shimmering bronze dress €202 from FeeG.
Shimmering bronze dress €202 from FeeG.

FeeG fashion has a super range of sequinned dresses and bronze evening tops that will make you stand out in the Zoom gallery. Fiona Heavey, designer for the brand, has made sure these are sustainable looks that will last season after season. The Zoom gallery format bears a striking similarity to the Muppet Show opening sequence so avoid big statements like canary yellow with feathered earrings if it makes you look like Sesame Street’s Big Bird. Conversely, avoid dull drab greys that conjure up a likeness to Oscar the Grouch who lived in a trash can.

Click the link looking all a-glimmer in some stylish sparkly gear or for more relaxed soirées, wrap up in some cosy loungewear on your sofa with an Irish twist. Ethical Silk has gorgeous flared silk palazzos and teddies that you can team with featherlight fluffy hoodies and fleece socks.

Satin butterfly loungewear €42 from Marks & Spencer.
Satin butterfly loungewear €42 from Marks & Spencer.

For the ambitious employee who feels a bit undervalued, use the Zoom party as an opportunity to get noticed. Fling on bright supersoft cashmere jumpers or a glamorous cocktail dress to dominate the screen. Hot shades of vibrant colour from rich reds to electric blues get noticed. An attention-grabbing slogan on your sweatshirt may be a subtle way of getting across a message. “Pay Rise Please!” in gold lettering might work for that bigger salary or “Betty’s big bonus time!”

Avoid vibrant stripes or houndstooth checks as they cause a moiré effect on the screen (also caused by having two double vodkas before clicking the link). Watch that earrings are not of the chandelier variety and you don’t go overboard on the clanking jewellery. Choose more matte foundation than shiny make-up which can emphasise fine forehead lines, red Rudolph noses for a ravishing screen grab appearance.

Go heavy on the powder puff and add liberal highlighting touches. Lighting is a major issue on Zoom – so play around with your angle poises and lamps beforehand to get a flattering light that minimises dark shadows and double chins.

For the men

Blazers and velvet jackets are popular for men at Christmas. John Taylor of Dublin’s Baggot Street is a great shop for picking up a jacket and elegant shirt to grace the day in style. Located on the edge of town, you can also have a takeaway pint in Searsons or the Waterloo to celebrate your shopping bonanza.

The country squire may prefer relaxed thick cords, plus fours, a Barbour jacket for the pheasants and a polka dot cravat. It’s the small things that add the festive touch from a special patterned shirt with touches of red or green, a silk scarf or a pair of reindeer socks.

Navy cableknit cardigan €335 from Monaghans menswear.
Navy cableknit cardigan €335 from Monaghans menswear.
Cashmere zipper sweater with contrast detail €395 from Monaghans menswear.
Cashmere zipper sweater with contrast detail €395 from Monaghans menswear.

For women, there are discreet touches like a sprinkle of gold shimmer in your emerald wrap dress or a pair of luxury Wolford tights with a festive motif, velvet ribbons, sentimental brooches too – every small detail adds to the occasion.

Zooming outwards from home, remember to shop Irish. The Kilkenny Shop is a great Irish gift shop for stocking up on Newbridge Silverware, crystal wine glasses and Waterford decanters. There are also landscape prints by Eoin O’Connor and great Irish leather handbags, Donegal tweeds and Healy Rae traditional flat caps. McNutt of Donegal will have you kitted out in the finest shawls and you can get the Aran look from West End Knits.

There are lots of handmade decorations and pottery too that will add a lovely back drop to your Skype calls from the relations abroad. The helpful Kilkenny team will assist you getting your presents all wrapped up from those oyster pearl earrings to personalised pendants.

Put your shimmering tree into shot for Zoom-topia and grab a glass of bubbles to raise a toast to an unforgettable year. Watch out for the finer details that you may overlook like your festive frillies drying on the radiator or a rogue pair of boxer shorts.

Whatever your style, this Christmas is a time for traditional recipes and close knit family evenings. An occasion where fluffy jumpers are teamed with cosy scarves; fake fur jackets meet fleecy Ugg boots; and party frocks rock around the kitchen table. Where evenings are wrapped up on the couch in cuddly red tartan pyjamas and velvet dressing gowns and finally unwind with a hot toddy or a mulled wine. Cheers!