Darren Kennedy: Style dilemma
Q: I'm going to a fundraising event in a couple of weeks. Most of the ladies go all out, so I'd like to try something a little different. I find the style in the TV series 'Boardwalk Empire' really inspiring. Without going overboard (and avoiding vintage/secondhand shops), where might I start looking?
Rachel, 31, Roscommon
A: 'Boardwalk Empire' has rapidly become the poster boy for 1920s glamour and opulence fused with a touch of old-school gangster chic. A show with this hype and success inspires all kinds of fashion spin-offs and the effect is very visible on the high street, which is all good news if you're not keen on vintage.
Taking inspiration from period clothing can have wonderful results -- the key is not trying to copy it too literally. Blend elements of it with your own style.
We're already seeing one of the most iconic styles of this era, the flapper dress, make a reappearance. The black lace, tiered dress (€94) from Littlewoods Ireland gives a stunning nod to the trend, as does the antique cutwork flapper dress (€97) from Asos.
For a more full-on approach, M&S has produced a Per Una fringed dress for €120.
Otherwise, bring a touch of this look into your wardrobe with accessories, such as shawls, fishnets, embroidered pieces or even hats that will hint to the style of the era.
Cloche hats scream the 1920s and the corsage-trim cloche (€40) from Accessorize is my top pick.
Q: Hi Darren, a couple of months ago, I took the plunge and got breast implants. I love my new shape. The only problem is I now need to really change my wardrobe to suit. I wear a lot of dresses that previously would have hidden my flat chest, but now that's certainly not the case. I would love some tips on dresses that won't make me appear top heavy.
Jessica, 25, Wicklow.
A: The trick to dressing a large bust lies in the necklines you choose. Try to avoid wearing anything with a high round neck, as this can create the dreaded uni-boob look. Instead, opt for deep plunge necklines, cowl necks or V-necks, which will minimise and break up the chest area. Smaller-chested women can carry high necklines no problem, but with a larger bust you want to bring definition. The neckline on this flower skirt, two-in-one shirt dress from Asos (€72.79) will be very flattering and could easily be dressed up or down for day or evening wear.
Similarly, this jade-and-silver jacquard dress from young Irish brand Daisy May (€120, Clerys) is effortless chic with a subtle 1960s vibe. Wrap dresses and empire-line cut dresses will also be very flattering.
Detailing such as ruffles or frills around the neckline should be avoided, as they too will only exaggerate your bust.
Q: I'd like to find a nice casual bag, perhaps an over-the-shoulder style, that I'll be able to get lots of use out of during the summer. Any pointers would be much appreciated.
Angie, 24, Ennis
A: Even if you buy only a couple of things to herald the new season, I always strongly recommend a new bag. It's not about spending huge amounts of money — a bag can provide a pop of colour to bring a look bang up to date.
Where you start looking depends on your budget. Since you haven't specified, I'll suggest a couple at different price points. To inject some colour, the hot-pink bag from Mulberry (€590, Brown Thomas) is very cute, if pink is your thing of course. For a slightly more grown-up approach, but still plenty of colour, check out this Coccinelle bag (€345, Arnotts).
For a summery take on a satchel, alwear has the cutest tan and lace bag (€30). Penneys also has some great bags and clutches coming in store. I personally like the pale blue clutch with flower detail (€7). And at that price, what's not to love?