Tuesday 25 October 2016

Fashion... get into a Solstice mood

Constance Harris

Published 22/06/2015 | 02:30

Kimono, €16; bikini, €8; hat, €9, all Heatons
Kimono, €16; bikini, €8; hat, €9, all Heatons
Kimono, €28; bikini, €29.95; bracelets, €6 each, all iClothing
Maxi dress, €9.99; hat, €6.99; leaf necklace, €5.99, all Esmara by Lidl
Swimsuit, €45; headband, €9, both River Island

With the kind of mixed summer weather we've had so far - we've hardly had a chance to take our coats off - I say, thank God for package holidays to the sun.

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In talking about holidays to Linda Conway, who styled our fashion editorial today, she tells me she sees a big shift in swimwear looks from back when spring started, to now, in mid-summer.

"When I was going around the stores for this shoot, I felt it was more wearable," Linda tells me. "The relaxed look is very strong right now. It's a much softer look; it's about neutrals, simpler shapes, using colours such as navy with maybe a detail in a pop of neon. Boho, too, is strong - scarves in hair, layering, fringing. It is all softer."

For me, Linda's shoot was a veritable voyage of discovery, not just on styling, but on price. She sourced great value swim ensembles, some of which came in at less than €30, such as Esmara by Lidl; Heatons, and Penneys. Online store, iClothing; and evocative label, Biba, which is exclusive to House of Fraser; and South Beach at Clerys department store, were all brilliant value, too.

"I was really impressed by Esmara by Lidl," Linda enthuses. "I feel Lidl is going in the right direction. It's becoming people's secret bargain - like the way people always love to talk about Penneys. I think the Esmara pieces were really lovely, and even though they are at a great price point, I don't think Lidl have sacrificed quality in any way."

Though around for several years, this year, Esmara became a dedicated, year-round collection that is more fashion aware.

Heatons, too, was a big hit with Linda. "The thing about Heatons is that their price points are amazing," says Linda. "They are a one-stop shop when you are shopping on a budget. I think they have upped their game, which is brilliant for all of us."

I find that people tend to think that department stores are more expensive for swimwear, but Clerys would confound that belief: it has great value - and you get the benefit of a proper fitting service, swimwear with shaping, plus-sized cup sizes, and more.

"People kind of expect Clerys to cater only for the older customer, but when you get to their swim department, you will be surprised," Linda says. "I found South Beach, a brilliant brand that you used to only get online. It is for 20-30 year olds, it has lovely detail and it looks like it will last."

If you are looking for something striking, River Island is your store, for its unusual, often exotic or edgy, swimwear, beach-life style and accessories.

"Mix-and-match is a big theme. If there is one time that you are going to clash prints - it is on your holiday," Linda advises.

I totally agree. Your wardrobe should reflect holiday lightness of being.

Photography by Lili Forberg

Styling by  Linda Conway

Fashion edited by Constance Harris

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