Bairbre Power champions the little black dress
You can't beat a Little Black Dress. Just ask 'X Factor' judges Dannii and Cheryl who looked amazing last Saturday night, with petite Dannii's wowing in a ruffled Aurelio Costarella number and Cheryl wearing Stéphane Rolland.
However, they showed off their real style credentials on Sunday when they both switched to dramatic black.
Dannii wore a strapless transparent lace number from Jasper Conran a/w 2009 and Cheryl went for a one-shoulderer, short at the front, long at the back, from Zuhair Murad's Ready To Wear collection.
In 1962, Coco Chanel re-worked the frock and gave us the ubiquitous Little Black Dress, a fashion innovation that delivers effortless dressing -- a real 'save your bacon' wardrobe winner that can be dressed up or down.
This season, the LBD works well at all levels and prices. It's always great to be able to flag bargains, and this week, I have a high-glam, €35 'wow' -- a velvet-look, velour maxi dress with a very glamorous, asymmetric shoulder and beaded embellishment.
My new fashion note to self is to swing past the cornflakes at Tesco to check out its F&F label, which is increasingly ultra-glamorous compared with the more relaxed Cherokee sister label.
Sadly, there isn't a fashion offering in all Tesco outlets, but I find the Maynooth, Naas and Ballybrack branches have lots of affordable temptation!
Maxi dresses didn't disappear with summer; for the party season there are some very desirable, long, black asymmetric dresses around.
If you like the one- shouldered look (don't forget to apply shimmer to your shoulder bone), there is a strong, equally well-priced rival at Penneys, and House of Fraser's Untold in-store label has a lovely version for formal nights out.
This week, veteran designer Richard Lewis has introduced a new range of nine LBDs to suit all shapes and sizes, from a high-waisted one to a long version, all available in silk jersey from Nessa Cronin's new-look Vanity Fair boutique in Newbridge, Co Kildare.
This has been a mecca for mothers of the bride, but the milliner-turned-entrepreneur is developing a young fashion offering, so watch this space.
If you have great legs to show off, I thoroughly recommend you check out COS, a new label to Ireland. The Danish label used to be one of my secret pleasures on London's Regent Street, but it has now arrived at BT2 and the strong architectural lines will appeal to those who prefer structure over bling.
Rock chicks should take a look at the Gestuz leather LBDs at BT2, and vintage fiends who prefer wartime mystery over 'Mad Men' curves will do well to check out the cute nostalgic pieces at River Island.
This high-street favourite has some great headpieces costing around €50 and jewellery for self-gifts or pressies for friends.