Style file with Darren Kennedy: Readers' questions
Question: I'm getting civil partnered to my girlfriend this August and we've booked our favourite restaurant for the occasion. I'm wondering, does one of us need to wear a white dress or would it be okay just to get really dressed up?
Part of me couldn't be bothered with the white dress but a big part of me is self-conscious that people will think it's strange. Could you suggest some other dresses that might be suitable? I'm a size 10 with a fairly boyish shape. I really appreciate your help.
Caoimhe, 37, Dublin.
Answer: White may be the traditional colour of choice but personally I think it's your big day so you should wear whatever makes you feel brilliant and brings a smile to your face.
I would be inclined to keep it simple in terms of colour and shape. The 1) 'Richmond' maxi dress at Hobbs (€420) is a full-length, bias cut dress with a subtle metallic shimmer. With a flattering cowl neckline, this dress falls beautifully to create a graceful, clean silhouette.
For a shorter style, the knee length 2) Carven dress in candyfloss pink (€420, Brown Thomas) combines structured tailoring with a full, floaty skirt. This feminine frock isn't all sweetness, however, and features a stunning cutout back panel. Style with a pearl necklace and a metallic ankle strap heel.
Irish designer Niamh O'Neill's blue and white waffle fabric 3) 'Sophia' dress with playful pleated skirt is exquisite in its simplicity (€335, niamhoneill.com). If you'd like some arm coverage, a matching cropped jacket is available.
If you want to give a nod to the conventional colour palette, the white belted 4) 'Mia' dress by Kildare designer Laura Jayne Halton is an elegant style constructed in cotton jacquard (€559, laurajaynehalton.com).