Darren Kennedy Fashion File: How to wear... Summer chic
Sounds simple, doesn't it? But yet these two small words 'summer chic' can cause a whole world of grief and torment when an occasion arises that requires you to actually have to pull it together.
Nail it, however, and you're on to a winning formula that just keeps on giving. Just ask Jennifer Lawrence. The Silver Linings Playbook star (and Academy Award winner for Best Actress) offered a master-class in New York recently on how to pull off summer chic with simplicity and sophistication. Bearing her midriff in a Michael Kors black bustier crop-top with a matching figure-skimming, mid-length, black pencil skirt - and keeping her accessories to a minimum with a gold chain, a gold clutch bag and strappy heels - the result was demure, fresh and modern.
Crop-tops can of course be risqué much of the time, but by adding a longer hemline on the skirt Michael Kors elevated the summer staple to create a chic city ensemble. And now the presence of bright vivid colours strategically blended into darker tones makes summer chic a doddle!
Question: I'm 13 weeks pregnant with my second child and have already started to wear maternity clothes due to my burgeoning bump. I would love some advice on how to purchase a maternity wardrobe early on in my pregnancy that will see me through the next months. What pieces should I invest in? I work full-time in an office environment so need both work attire and casual weekend outfits. Thank you.
Cathy, 29, Dublin
Darren replies: Firstly Cathy, congratulations on your growing family. Fashion has finally embraced pregnancy and has realised that expectant women are not willing to sacrifice their sense of style to accommodate a baby bump.
The classic wrap is a daily go-to. This (1) spotted wrap dress (€47.50, M&S) will flatter your shape as your body grows with 3/4-length sleeves and a gentle scoop neck. The (2) cute abstract print kimono top (€40, M&S) is both stylish and modern for a no-fuss, casual look. Simply team with a floaty cami and skinny jeans for a discreetly streamlined style. For work, substitute the cami with a crisp cotton shirt and a pair of kitten heels for a more office-appropriate look.
Maxi dresses are another good option, especially belted ones that can be adjusted as your bump grows. They are comfortable, flow over the body and provide an all-in-one outfit. This (3) long shirt dress (€29.99, H&M's MAMA range) is made in an airy weave. It's light for the summer months and will work well with knit layers come autumn.
In terms of designer gear, nineinthemirror.com features a selection of off-the-runway designer looks (both maternity clothes and stylish non-maternity outfits) in styles and sizes to suit women at every stage of pregnancy. This (4) print dress with flared skirt by Mary Katrantzou (reduced from €1,375 to €687, nineinthemirror.com) caught my eye. This long-sleeved dress will subtly conceal the first hint of a baby bump or flatter feminine curves in the later stages of pregnancy.
Markus Lupfer neon leather and brocade sandals. Were €335, Now €134, net-a-porter.com