Bairbre Power: Sunshine shopping
Don't let the sun get to you and fall into the trap of going 'native'
I blame the sunshine! What is it about holidays abroad that makes us throw reality to the wind and suddenly start buying into local dressing styles.
I'm talking about those post-dinner shopping sorties where, high on vacation elation, a day in the sun and the odd mojito thrown in, you head into the air conditioned stores and suddenly you start buying for your holiday alter ego.
How many of you have come home with sheer, floor-sweeping, white broderie anglaise lace dresses, which looked cool wandering around the French market as you bought herbs, avocados and lavender soap but earned you looks of pity when you rocked them out in SuperValu on a Saturday morning?
Ah Rome, how can I forget you? The Eternal City sparked my worst example of sunshine shopping shame. After a demure week of Vatican tours and shopping abstinence, I succumbed to a frilled tiered green maxi skirt with a matching cami embellished with wooden beads that I spotted each day on my way to the churches and catacombs. On reflection, I suspect I developed some kind of fashion brain worm watching all those Nancy Dell'Olio lookalikes wandering around with their pouty, pencil-lined lips and sexy Neapolitan dressing styles. After one wear, my ridiculous green outfit was dispatched to the charity shop and I've tried to forget how much it cost.
Last month in the south of France, I made my annual pilgrimage to St Tropez market. Held every Tuesday and Saturday, it has traditionally been a shop window on newness and emerging boho trends. Edgier than the white lace ra-ra skirts and slash-front bikinis you find up the coast in the playground that is Juan Les Pins, this year, so many of the looks were the same as at home. In fact, they were from at home. On closer inspection, half the girls in the market seemed to be wearing Primark pom-pom sandals. The Irish fast fashion giant has just opened a very smart store in the Polygone Riviera shopping complex in Cagnes-Sur -Mer, close to Nice airport.
The moral of this holiday shopping tale is not to lose your head in the sun and don't be seduced into a temporary look that only works in that environment. Those cutaways bikinis and fringed tunics have a holiday value but they don't always travel well. Bring back a tan but remember, those giant baskets you lust after in the markets are already at home. In fact, the ones I found in Penneys are much better value - a third of the price. Besides, how are you going to carry five home as hand luggage?
Got you covered
Sandra Walsh of Canopi Sleeves has launched her new Luxuria collection of embellished sleeves and fresh from her Dragon's Den success, she is visiting stockists around the county. Her Sunsmart activewear T-shirts offer protection from the sun. Made from high quality Meryl, they have been tested and approved with a rating of UPF50+. Most beauty products now have an SPF - UPF is the same except it's for fabric. The T-shirts cost €45 each (above) and come in black, or white, in round neck or V-neck, available from canopisleeves.com. Meanwhile, the Walaroo 'Tia' hat (pictured below) has an inbuilt UPF of 50. Imported from Australia where they take skin protection very seriously, the fabrics used for these hats are tested by the Australian Radiation Protection Agency and block up to 97.5pc of the sun's ultraviolet rays so they are reliable as well as stylish. There are a number of styles costing €75, and they are available exclusively in Ireland from Neelu at Arnotts.
Bags of style
Navy basket with pom-pom trim, €12; lace-trimmed basket, €18, both Penneys