Style Dilemma: I don't want to look ridiculous
Q Darren, a quick question. I've been lifting weights for 10 years or more. I don't drink or smoke.
I'm proud of how I look but I think my style has gone a bit wonky. If I look in the mirror before going out I think I look like something from 'Jersey Shore' gone wrong. My mates slag me off as 'The Hulk'. All in all, I want to keep in great shape but I don't want to look ridiculous.
Steve, 28, Kildare
A It's always great to hear of men who look after their body and take pride in their appearance. By the sound of it, you have the foundations well taken care of but haven't quite figured out the rest. Men such as yourself who are well built can have difficulty finding suitable clothes as your proportions are slightly different from the majority.
The trick is finding clothes that fit just right. Go too tight and it looks like you're flaunting your muscles. Go too loose and it can just look sloppy. Ted Baker stocks a good range of smart casual shirts, trousers and jackets that are superbly cut for a snug fit without being super-skinny. SuperDry, Urban Outfitters and Heatons also cater for bigger-built guys focusing on cool casual basics. The trend for chunky knits and shirt-jackets will also provide you with some options.
Q At this time of year, I've several social events and dinners coming up and I always find I struggle with what to wear. I normally end up rushing around the shops during lunch looking for a suitable dress. Most of these events are with different groups, so one good dress would really help me out. Could you recommend a dress that I could get a couple of wears out of over the party season?
Jessica, 31, Waterford
A Sounds like your first port of call should be to invest in a Little Black Dress (LBD). You say your events are with different groups, so I would advise getting at least one decent LBD that you can always rely on and avoid last-minute dashes to the shops and, ultimately, buyer’s remorse. A good LBD is an extremely versatile piece that will allow you to change the look with different accessories for different occasions.
This crepe dress from Oasis is a pizzazz-filled number that will bring great structure to your figure. The deep V-neck, which is very flattering for those with a fuller bust, is replicated by the point wrap detail in the centre which gives the impression of cinching in the waist.
The price at €94 is reasonable given you'll get plenty of wear out of it. Zara also has some great LBDs, including one with subtle panel detailing, for €29.95. Paired with black opaque tights and heels it creates a very flattering silhouette — long and lean what every women wants! If you'd rather something slightly different, this BCBG Max Azria (€265 Arnotts) will look stunning on any shape.
Q I’ve had a lovely leather jacket for the past 10 years and I treasure it but, sadly, I think it's had its day. Any tips, please, Darren, on where to find a nice new leather jacket that will last for the next 10 years?
Helen, 42, Cork
A As you know, Helen, a good leather jacket is like a fine wine and gets better with age. At least that's the way it should be. I've always invested in good-quality leather and so far it's paid off in terms of cost per wear. You certainly won't be stuck for choice as leather jackets are plentiful in the shops at the moment.
The advantage you'll find with modern leather is that it tends to be butter-soft and fine, making it ideal for layering at this time of year. This Max & Co jacket (€385, Arnotts) would look super-hot teamed with a party dress. Similarly, this black distressed jacket, from Edc by Esprit (€119.95), taps into another of this season's big trends — the faux-fur collar, perfect for chilly nights.
If you fancy something a little different, try a leather blazer like this one with stud detailing from Karen Millen (€499).