Bairbre Power on fashion, holiday hues and other adventures
The holidays are booked and I've started into that delicious period of planning the finer details like stockpiling the books everyone has recommended and getting lists of suggested restaurants and go-sees on the Cote d'Azur. I have to break in the new sandals so they won't cut my heels while I race around the exceptionally good market in St Tropez where the fashion buys are seriously good every Tuesday and Saturday. (If you plan on going, I recommend you take the boat from Sainte Maxime because the gridlock is astonishing on that narrow coastal road.)
After a careful - dare I say sensible - audit of my overflowing summer wardrobe, I feel it needs nice, new blood. Assembled over the years, I've got annual favourites that get packed year after year, and don't owe me a cent. There's the Louise Kennedy kaftans that work beach-to-drinks; the silky beaded scarves that instantly lift a humble uniform of white linens; and espadrille wedges that give you a gentle, comfortable lift off the ground (because I know from painful experience that your legs and back can kill you if you go from office heels to non-stop flats on holidays).
I can almost guess the year of purchase of my summer wardrobe heroes by the various hues. Turquoise was a fixation of mine for years but I got thoroughly sick of it after it became my 'telly' colour, my get-out-of-jail colour when talking summer on RTÉ and TV3.
Then came my spiritual stage when I couldn't see past purples, lilacs and crystals, sometimes sprinkling them duck egg blue which can look so expensive, like a lovely Tiffany's jewellery box!
My biggest regret is that my collection of Ghost dresses (made from a fabulous crinkly textured viscose that packs like a dream) are bias-cut so that puts them firmly out of the equation until I walk off my 'tummy'.
After holidaying in India, I found my hippy-dippy, boho phase but all those floaty pieces and handkerchief-end skirts aren't coming out of the IKEA storage bins in 2015 because my head's been turned by COS, Zara and pared-back sensibilities, which means white plus something simple.
I'm currently enjoying something of a Picasso phase, totally besotted by blues which I'm working with whites spiced with pewters and silver greys. It's one of the pleasures of taking holidays, you get to experience new things - and that includes stepping out of your daily uniform to explore a new you.
Glam, yet understated
The day after Kate and William brought baby Charlotte home from hospital, I called to the Mint Velvet in Dundrum Town Centre. I wanted to see the flamingo-print top (€99) which granny Carole Middleton wore to the hospital and which triggered immediate retail traction for the brand which boasts an attractive quality which is often elusive on the high street. I'm talking about clothes that can be glamorous, yet understated.
While Carole's pleat-front, blouson-sleeved top wasn't for me - too 1970s I thought - I loved their 'Lula' maxi dress which feels glorious as it is 100pc silk. Scoop-necked, it has soft seaming on the front which contributes to a very flattering shape. Toughen up the look for daytime with an indigo denim jacket which pulls out the attractive blues in the print and then swap flip-flops for heels and a sequin scarf at night to deliver a whole new look.
The 'Picasso blue' in me zeroed in on the gently draped, dip-dye knit with pretty window and bow at the back. Made from 68pc linen/32pc modal, it pairs up nicely with white skinnies or capris - pretty much ideal for days when you want to stay cool but don't want to look thrown together.
GO TO: Mint Velvet, unit 5, ground floor, Dundrum, Town Centre, Te: 01 207 9810. There is a smaller, edited selection of the range available at House of Fraser in Dundrum and in Arnotts, Henry Street.