Thursday 27 April 2017

Bairbre Power: One for all - how the same outfit can look good on anyone

With quality tailoring, the same outfit can look well on anyone, regardless of age

Erica Stoll with fiancé Rory McIlroy at the Ryder Cup
Erica Stoll with fiancé Rory McIlroy at the Ryder Cup
Alison Clarke with her husband, Darren Clarke
Kilkenny coat
FeeG dress and jacket
Maisey Bag €230 - Silver and Gold - with strap
Manley harper tote, €290

I don't know how she did it, but Alison Clarke did a fine job facilitating all the other WAGs when she went shopping for their Ryder Cup wardrobe at Loro Piana.

For those not familiar with the name, Loro Piana is a luxury Italian brand, hugely respected for its layering, which I discovered in Milan this year. Winter weekends away are just the thing for adding a few names to your fashion horizons.

Watching the European WAGs at Hazeltine, I was full of respect for Alison who had to find apparel that would appeal to women across all ages and sizes. Alison herself is a 51-year-old mother of two grown-up sons (from her first marriage), while the same tailored stone coat and cream belted shift dress she chose for the opening ceremony also had to work for other mums and for Erica Stoll, the 29-year-old American engaged to Rory McIlroy.

If there was anything to be learnt from the Ryder Cup last weekend (apart from the fact that the US crowds can be vicious-tongued), it was that the WAGs experienced the value of classic tailoring, and how expensive-looking neutral colours work a treat. Just ask Kate Middleton. The Duchess of Cambridge marked her departure from Canada with a stunning tailored cream coat by Catherine Walker. The flat-fronted cream coat dress was trimmed in a slightly darker tone. Kate knows the power of a cream coat, having worn two fab ones to the christening of her children, and, like the golf WAGs, she accessorised with a leg-lengthening nude shoe.

After watching the Europeans' loss at Hazeltine, I raised a glass to their brave efforts and reflected on Alison's modus operandi to her team shopping spree. Alison's WAG mission got me thinking about whether I could dress our gang of eight gals who weekend away a few times a year. How hard might it be to get them on the same page, let alone into the same shop and the same outfit? Should you even go shopping with friends and family or is there too much potential for arguments?

I'm a firm believer in going it alone. I like to shop at my own pace and I've my own way of navigating the rails. If I want a second opinion, I'll ask the store's personal shopper. My friendships are too precious to risk a row over who gets to buy 'that coat' first.

Prints & pyjamas


As someone who lives in block colours black or navy in winter, I moved quickly to check out the Aideen Bodkin navy/gold/black coat (above) from her AW16 range which has 'special occasion' written all over it. The brocade coat (€435) is worn here with a flattering black dress (€255) featuring embellished empire line.


I could work with that amount of print nicely but there are those who restrict prints to their accessories. In which case, the FeeG dress (€295) and jacket (€220, above) might work with an Orla Kiely bag (€268) and Bláithín Ennis cuff (€85). All of the above are from Kilkenny Shops (

Meanwhile, as someone who loves lounging around at home in PJs, I love that it is now kosher to wear them out. Oasis has done a cute 'Hazel' satin pyjama shirt in sky blue (€59) which goes a treat with the 'Osaka' print peg trousers (€52), worn here (above right) with the 'Phoebe' pointed flat (€31). If you love floral frocks, the 'Gothic' bloom shift (€71) is the one for you, worn here with the Roxy block heel (€44).


Finally, I was thrilled to see the talented Emma Manley launch her own range of bags, with cute clutches like the 'Maisie' (€230), above, and the awesome Harper tote (€290), below. To see the full range, visit


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