Darren Kennedy: Style dilemma
Q: In my early 20s I was always quite slim, but over the past two years or so my body shape has completely changed and I've gained a lot of weight. My legs/bum are fine -- it all seems to gather around my stomach. I've read up on the internet and think I am an apple shape. What would you recommend I keep an eye out for to suit my body?
Sandra (29), Mayo.
A: Apple, goblet, oval, round -- these are all terms used to describe the same body shape. Attributes of the classic apple shape tend to include a large bust, wide torso, narrow hips and thinner limbs.
Balancing out your bottom half with your torso and bust is vital. Add proportion to your bottom half by wearing jeans or trousers that fit your hips and thighs and make a straight line down to your feet.
Dunnes currently has some nice slim-leg trousers that will set you back €25. To complement your shape on top, V or U-shaped necklines are good for larger busts as they draw the eye down and break up the focus on the chest.
Another essential is a well-fitting jacket. Look for one that curves in at the waistline and fits over the top of your hips. The tan jacket from M&S (€80) has both features and will give you more of a defined shape while adding proportion to your hips.
For something a little more playful, this Vero Moda jacket (€29.95 from Doo-Lally.com) could be just the ticket.
Q: My mother suffers from arthritis and this means that her hands are somewhat disfigured. We have a family wedding in late July and she wants a pair of gloves to cover her hands. The gloves would have to match her outfit (silver/white). Could you point me in the right direction?
A: Eileen, admittedly at this time of year, you are not going to be overwhelmed with the selection of gloves in stores. That said, Clerys stocks Dents of England, a quality brand that specialises in handcrafting high-quality leather gloves from €18. They come in a variety of sizes, materials and colours including white. Alternatively, the Debut range at Debenhams includes an ivory elbow-length evening glove (€15) that you could have altered if necessary.