A hire purpose
So what if you can't afford a big autumn holiday abroad? Take off for a weekend in the countryside with a case full of fabulous new clothes and, if you're lucky, a new man to impress.
Weekends relaxing at home often mean lounging around in jeggings and jumpers or languishing in comfy pjs and kimonos watching old black-and-white movies.
This season, you can recreate some great vintage looks straight from the silver screen as the high street goes retro and takes the hard work out of locating cute pieces. At a wear, they are totally in love with Sienna Miller's 1960s look from 'Factory Girl' and Carey Mulligan in 'An Education'.
However, if it's 'Gone With The Wind'-style drama that you have in mind, look no further than Covet in Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, home of the luxury clothing hire service. It costs between €45 and €600 to rent items for three days at a time. The cheapest rental are the hats, while evening gowns for special occasions and wedding dresses could cost up to €600.
My favourite piece from our shoot in the Georgian splendour of Tankardstown House in Slane, Co Meath is the long, navy taffeta Gianfranco Ferre dress. Talk about commanding your space and looking like a modern-day Scarlett O'Hara. You can completely alter the look of this wrap dress, which costs €300 to hire for three days, by accessorising it with gleaming black, leather riding boots (€265 from Carl Scarpa ) as Alison McGettigan, our stylist did.
I love the hiring concept because it affords you an opportunity to extend your look, however temporary, and to enjoy the style aesthetics of designers you couldn't otherwise afford. The late Gianfranco was hailed as "the architect of fashion" for his originality and after replacing Marc Bohan as the style director at Christian Dior, he set up his own label where he became famous for his sophisticated white shirts.
Poking around Covet this week, I spied three amazing Matthew Williamson dresses to hire for special occasions. They include a full-length, ruffle taupe dress, a short pink dress with embellishment and a short bejewelled taupe dress. If you don't trust your eye to spot genuine vintage, rely on experts such as sassy Dubliner Catherine Stevens who set up Hayworth Vintage two- and-a-half years ago.
Her team source original dresses in Europe and America and they are on sale on the first floor of Arnotts and online from hayworthvintage.com. The black lace and tulle prom dress featured in our shoot here is a one of a kind. It sells for €280 and while this dress is a size 8, Catherine tells me she has sourced genuine vintage pieces in sizes 12-14. Her autumn delivery includes short prom dress.
The high street has delivered some very authentic-looking vintage pieces this season. River Island's olive-green chiffon dress with floral detail (€54), which features in our shoot, has to be one of the best bargains around for vintage fiends, closely followed by the tweed jacket with faux-fur stole (€70).