Style Dilemma: I'm wondering about support wear and what I should look for?
Q I'm bridesmaid for my sister’s wedding in two weeks’ time.
I've been trying to lose weight over the past couple of months and, while I've lost more than a stone, I'm still a generous size 16/18 and I'm very conscious of my ‘love-handles'. The other bridesmaids haven't got a pick on them. I'm worried I'm going to look huge standing next to them all. I'm wondering about support wear and what I should look for?
Sophie, 28, Dundalk
A Shapewear has become big business, and there's a huge range of products available. Be clear on the areas you want to control: in your case, it's the hips and tummy area.
Most lingerie departments stock shapewear, and stores such as M&S, Arnotts and Brown Thomas all have experienced measuring staff, which is very important. Likewise, Peaches & Cream in the Royal Hibernian Way, Dublin, is well worth a visit if you are in the area.
I'd definitely recommend you get fitted for your shapewear — no doubt you already have the bridesmaid dress, so make sure to bring it along. There's a real buzz about Yummie Tummie, and from what you say I think their Slippie (€74) would be perfect for you. The high-waisted slip slims and smooths the stomach, hips and thighs, while creating an hourglass silhouette.
It allows you to wear your own bra, too, which is great for different necklines and dress styles. The piece de resistance comes with the silicone tape borders inside the waistband, which prevent rolling or pinching, so you'll be able to hit the dance floor in total confidence!
Q Darren, I wonder if you might be able to help me. My son turns 30 next month and I'd like to get him a special gift. I was thinking perhaps a watch, something that he'll have for life. There are so many different types, I've no idea where to start. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
A A watch is always a very special gift for a man to receive and it's perhaps the one accessory a gent can never have too many of. If it's a keepsake you're after, then I'd suggest you go for a relatively classic style.
This doesn't mean it has to be boring, just that it will stand the test of time rather than being very current style-wise. Hugo Boss nails this perfectly with the watch pictured here (€235) — it's classical in its inspiration, with circular face and polished stainless steel strap. It would look equally well with a suit as it would with some casual jeans.
Alternatively, the Tissot Bridgeport Automatic with leather strap (€575) is a statement watch and, in my opinion, quite simply stunning. Slightly more affordable options also come from Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein — these are priced €149 and €190 respectively.
For the more style-conscious guy, the new Chrono Black collection from Swatch comes in a variety of colours (€152) and is right on the money. Ultimately, it boils down to personal taste, so make sure wherever you decide to purchase that they offer a full refund policy.
Q I am looking for a dress for my Christmas party that I will wear again and again. I am a petite size 10 but have a large bust, which can be limiting with regard to choice/fit. My budget is €200 or less. What would you suggest? Deirdre, 35 Waterford
A Deirdre, larger-busted women such as you need to go for shapes that highlight an hourglass figure and balance out any top-heaviness. First, and most important, is the neckline you choose.
Avoid a high neckline or halter styles, as these will make your bust look bigger. V-neck cuts will be far more flattering, such as the corset-seamed pewter dress from Oasis (€106). The panelling dress will really define your waist, while the shallow scoop neckline with V-shape detailing adds balance.
Likewise, Oasis has a red pleat cocktail dress (€100) with sweetheart neckline, which will be very flattering. What's more, red is huge again this winter (see online store Littlewoods, above) and will see you long beyond the party season. Irish label Laundry Room stocks some pretty party numbers at very affordable price points, such as the strapless print dress (€65, Emma Boutique, Dublin 2).
While slightly outside your budget, the Champagne sequin number from Scala (Arnotts, €275) is perfect dress for any party.