Wednesday 7 December 2016

Darren Kennedy: Style Dilemma

Published 06/12/2010 | 10:58

Tailored shorts with turnedup hems, €125 from Karen Millenlace; top with scalloped sleeves and sheer front (€125, also Karen Millen; cropped, cream satin blazer (€50 from alwear)
Tailored shorts with turnedup hems, €125 from Karen Millenlace; top with scalloped sleeves and sheer front (€125, also Karen Millen; cropped, cream satin blazer (€50 from alwear)

Q I was delighted with myself last week when I picked up what I think is a real show-stopping dress. It’s a sleeveless pink sequinned dress with black detailing that stops just a couple of inches above my knee.

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My problem now is that I’m totally unsure about what to wear it with. I was thinking about white tights, but then wondered what shoes to wear. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Jean, 24, Cork

A White tights are not for the faint hearted, especially at this time of year. We saw them on the catwalks of Balenciaga and Miu Miu, and when worn correctly they look super stylish, with a slight vintage appeal. The most practical way to pull them off is by pairing them with a muted block colour, such as shades of nude, beige or even black. If you do decide to wear white tights then white, pink or black heels should all work. One word of warning: if your legs are not your best asset, be aware that white tights will draw the eye straight to them.

Alternatively, as your dress sounds like a real statement piece, I would recommend going low-key on the accessories — perhaps a nude clutch and heels, such as these shoes with stud and bow detail from alwear (€99). You could also team the outfit with some taupe ankle socks (€6, Topshop). Another option is to go for black tights and black strappy heels for a leg-lengthening effect.

Q I’d like to treat myself to some new footwear for Christmas. I’m open minded to shoes, runners, whatever. I’d prefer something not too casual as I’d like to be able to wear them very regularly. Any suggestions?

Patrick, 33, Athlone

A Patrick, I have a couple of suggestions that would be suitable depending on your budget. For a real treat, Italian brand Stemar should be your first port of call. Their collection includes classic loafers, sport shoes or, for the ultimate luxury, a pair of fully handmade shoes — all of which are 100pc made in Italy.

They come in a variety of leathers, from calfskin to ostrich, lizard and crocodile. For something more low-key, Skechers has an impressive selection of styles at reasonable price points in their recently opened flagship store on Dublin’s Henry Street. I particularly like the Merric Squadron — it’s a shoe-cum-trainer hybrid that will work well with jeans or trousers. Personally, I really like what brogues bring to an outfit.

Both Next and Burton have a good selection. If some worn-leather boots tickle your fancy then check out New Look, which has a range for less than €60. Or for an absolute steal, head to Penneys to pick up a pair for only €17.

Q So many of shops at the moment have lots of separate pieces. In summer I’ve no problem creating an outfit with them, but when it comes to this time of year I feel unsure and normally opt for a dress. I’d like to give it a shot and wondered how you would recommend creating a stylish going-out look from separate items.

Sarah, 27, Dublin

A It is most definitely the season of separates. The great thing about creating outfits from difference pieces, rather than wearing a one-piece such as a dress — particularly for women, whose proportions vary in size — is that they allow you to mix sizes to get the perfect fit for your shape.

If you have the confidence, city shorts always look stunning. These tailored shorts with turnedup hems, €125 from Karen Millen , are super chic and create an eye-catching look when paired with some of this season’s lace. The lace top with scalloped sleeves and sheer front (€125, also Karen Millen) is the ideal companion to the shorts. Add a blazer or tux-style jacket and some heels to finish off the outfit.

Two of my favourite jackets are the cropped, cream satin blazer (€50 from alwear) and the white tux jacket with contrasting black lapels from H&M (€49.95). If shorts are not your thing, some sleek jodhpurs or leggings will also work a treat. Zara stocks some good-quality leggings for €25.95.

Prices correct at the time of going to press

email your style dilemmas to darrenkennedy@independent.ie

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