Stylish looks for less as we all tighten our belts
Looks for less and every little helps -- those are the buzzwords on the fashion front this season as financial cuts bite hard.
And the designers for Tesco and Marks & Spencer are fighting back by trimming your bottom line.
There's James Bond chic in the satin-trimmed, sharply tailored tuxedo, which costs €57.50 at Tesco, and it proves what sartorial surprises you can find in the supermarket.
Factor in a white pleated dress shirt and bow tie for another €8.50, plus punched detail shoes for €17.50, and that's the boy dressed for the ball for €83.50.
Tesco yesterday unveiled some great value looks for ladies, including a faux shearling waterfall coat in grey for €58 and hugely covetable over-the-knee , faux suede boots for €26.
But it was the men's suiting that left the front row guests at Ely IFSC gasping. Starter suits for the first interview at €57.50 and a shirt and tie set for €7 are, perhaps, nothing fancy but a three-piece in a Saville Row-chic black and white Prince of Wales check with sassy tan pinstripe at €75 made me rub my eyes in surprise. That works out at €40 for a jacket and €17.50 each for the trousers and waistcoat.
Own store labels F&F and Cherokee cover the key trends like military, camel, maxi dresses and knits well but it is in the accessories department that they really excel, with some very fashion-forward leggings, satchel bags and party wear -- and did I mention the €4 jeans for fellas?
Over at the Aviva stadium, M&S invited more than 250 guests to view a very strong, modern collection -- which is attractive not just because of the prices, but because of the 'hero' pieces that allow you to create high-end designer looks on a budget.
With a nod to Prada, stylist Catherine Condell recreated the look at M&S, cleverly using their cable tights to get Prada's must-have cable wool hairband. The grey jersey Per Una coat with pleating detail on the cuff (€109) represents posh 60s style with claret patent shoes, a convincing look when worn with big buns from hairdresser Michael Leong and those geeky glasses.
Wallow in the sexy silhouette of 'Mad Men' with a pencil skirts for €35. The must-grab coat from the show had to be the Portfolio black crepe coat with bracelet-length sleeves for €88.
Rather than taking the conventional route, the red military coat (€135) looked sassy teamed with black leather leggings (€30) and a man's striped tie for €40.
The best bargain buy had to be the Aviator jacket for €120.
Think outside the box and grab a Kelly green tweed jacket (€88), cinch in with a big belt over the matching skirt (€47.50) and the look is four-figure, high-end designer.
Swing jackets in navy or plaid (€109) are core pieces for winter and the surprise hit among the models was the fleece-lined hooded wool cardigan (€80).
For evenings, the two- tone, grey and black one-piece costs €80 and shouldn't make your bum look big.