Darren Kennedy: Style Dilemma
Q: At the beginning of the year, I was put on a three-day week at work, so I've started helping out with a local charity. We're currently organising a fundraising lunch, which will take place in a fairly fancy restaurant. I'm one of the youngest women involved and it will be my first time attending anything like it. I'm at a slight loss as to what I should wear?
Gemma (33), Dublin
A: Working on the assumption that the venue isn't overly formal, I would automatically rule out business wear or anything too conservative. That's not to say you should go casual, but feel free to have a little fun with your outfit in terms of colour and silhouette.
Nicole Miller's jersey kimono dress (€389, Diffusion) taps into the current trend for oriental-inspired designs, while the blue print will have you standing out for all the right reasons.
For a more budget-friendly option, you need look no further than Dunnes Stores. Its coral drape chiffon dress is a bargain for only €20.
For a full-on chic summer look, check out the Monsoon Miami collection for some vintage nostalgia.
I particularly like the silhouette created by the floral pussybow tunic (€127) teamed with white bootleg jeans (€76).
Q: Can you please help me find a summer tote? I am the pickiest person on the planet about bags, despite (or maybe because of ) the fact that I am really not a bag person. Ideally, I'd like a shoulder bag with plenty of space and little to no hardware. I'd like it to be versatile enough that I can use it with pretty much everything.
Janie (26), Cork
A: Tote bags for summer are both cute and super useful. You'll find most totes are large enough to hold all of your necessities for the day, including work items and essentials such as sun cream and sunglasses. For a fresh, summery vibe that's sure to brighten up your everyday look, this floral-print bag from Soul Cal (€34.99, Republic) is sure to do the trick.
For some bold colour, Next's blue tote (€38) will easily take you from the office to evening, as will this chic monochrome canvas tote by Ted Baker (€95, House of Fraser). Several limited-edition bags, all raising money for charity, are released annually at this time of year, including this Marc Jacobs designed ‘Fight Like a Girl’ bag at Brown Thomas (€35) in aid of Fashion Targets Breast Cancer Ireland, and the Tommy Hilfiger Breast Health International bag.
This year's ambassador for the latter is Renee Zellweger, and the tan leather bag retails at €299, with €100 from each bag being donated.
Q: I am wearing a watercolour floral-print dress to an event in May. It's by MaxMara Studio and is a mix of greens, fuchsia and blue. I would really appreciate your suggestions as to suitable shoes/sandals to wear with it, as I am having difficulty finding anything!
With thanks, Catherine
A: It sounds as if you've chosen a beautiful summer dress for your occasion, and the next step is finding the perfect shoes and accessories to set it off. Given your dress is already quite a colourful print, I would suggest going for a more subdued shade for your footwear.
Nude heels are always a fantastic purchase as they go with almost anything, look great regardless of the season and have the effect of making your legs appear longer, which is always a bonus! It is summer, so peeptoe heels would be a natural choice. Dune has several styles that would work including the ‘Vampy' and ‘Torn', which are both great value at €100, given the quality.
The cutout detailing on the Vampy is also mimicked on the ‘Lampy' clutch bag (€59). If you prefer a wedge, then Monsoon’s cream peeptoes with flower corsage (€102) would add interest without going OTT. They would also look great with Accessorize’s ‘Puma’ clutch (€59).
For a lower heel, these open bar shoes from Hobbs (€150) are just the ticket.