Winter Wardrobe: 10 great winter wardrobe essentials
Fashion demands serious maintenance. It will never stay still and that's what makes it thrilling.
Now more than ever those seasonal injections need to be considered carefully. Which key pieces have the high street mastered and which deserve a splurge?
Here's our 10-point plan on updating your look and how to hit the balance between the transient trends and the to-have-and-to-hold forever pieces.
1 Versace for H&M
Following in the footsteps of Lanvin, Sonia Rykiel and Karl Lagerfeld to name a few, Versace has collaborated with H&M to bring the brand to the masses.
A capsule collection of new, as well as re-worked archive pieces will hit the stores tomorrow. It's the perfect way to infuse a hint of luxury and a jolt of high-octane fun to your look without suffering the financial consequences.
Decadent prints are what the Italian label is famed for. So get set for Miami palm-print leggings and leopard-print dresses in sunset orange, complete with golden curlicues. Studs, zips, hot pink heels and lashings of leather; this one promises to get the juices flowing.
Dress, €99 from H&M, 35-39 South King Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-804 4729 and Dundrum Town Centre, Dublin 14. Tel: 01-299 1500..
2 Hourglass dress
This is the quintessential investment piece, a multi-tasker that requires an initial down-payment but promises to perform for years to come. The hourglass dress is not new to this season but it is enjoying renewed trophy statues and is the most sophisticated addition to your wardrobe you will ever make.
Details such as asymmetric drape necklines and head-to-hem zips running down the back give a contemporary twist.
It needs to fit like a second skin so emphasis is on precision tailoring. Victoria Beckham at Brown Thomas, Roland Mouret at Dublin's Costume and La Petite Salope at the capital's Design Centre are the crème de la crème.
They say fashion has the power to alter your mood and this number is guaranteed to make you feel like a Mad Men goddess.
Ruby red dress by Amaya Azuaga, €689 at Kelli boutique, 45 Ranelagh village, Dublin 6. Tel: 01-497 0077.
Shoulder-skimming chandeliers have made a come-back. The bigger and bolder, the better. Prada commenced the trend last season with her dangling bananas while this season, Marni has wowed us with clustered resin shapes.
Sweep your hair back to expose them in all their glory or let them twinkle through a tumbling mane. Keep your head held high because elegant posture is a must with these show-stoppers.
Irish designer, Merle O'Grady who works out of London is the queen of ear ornamentation. Her edgy designs are not a million miles from this season's Etro but at a fraction of the cost.
Her current collection is influenced by medieval armour but with a flash of '70s disco.
Silver spinner earrings by Merle O'Grady, €85 at merleogrady.com.
4 Ankle boot
The 'Pistol' ankle boots by Acne promises to revamp your look. Part cowboy, part biker, this hot Swedish label knows how to do cutting edge cool with its scrubbed back ethos.
The boots' snug, zipped shape makes them perfect with skinny jeans while the low-levelled heel is ideal for everyday. They're edgy enough to pack a punch but not so out-there, that they won't be able to work their way through your wardrobe.
The Acne originals retail at around €400, but thankfully their popularity has encouraged a number of spin-offs. Topshop has a faux snakeskin pair for €121 while these ones from Buffalo are €165 and come in khaki, black, biscuit and arctic white for a retro '60s vibe.
Ankle boot, €165 at Buffalo, 16 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-671 2492. Also at Arnotts, 12 Henry St, Dublin 1. Tel: 01-805 0400.
One season's tragically uncool is another season's must-have. Oh yes, the jumper is back! How we love the fickle nature of this industry. Take your pick; chunky and oversized with a honeycomb texture, ski-inspired snowflake motifs for that winter wonderland feel or sequin-encrusted for a dose of glamour.
The point is, it's not which style you choose because this is an all-inclusive revival. Whether you want to go grungy and homespun with a crochet number or take the classic route with a camel coloured, fine-knit, the choices are vast.
And for a novelty spin, check out Net-A-Porter's traditional Christmas range which has been created by a selection of commissioned designers.
Horse motif wool jumper by Soaked in Luxury, €75 at Bow & Pearl, 13 Ranelagh Village, Dublin 6. Tel: 01-496 7408.
6 Simone Rocha
It's hard to believe that Simone Rocha graduated from Dublin's NCAD just three years ago. She is young, Irish and has pretty much by-passed the 'one to watch' category due to her rocketing success.
She has created four extremely covetable collections to date plus a range for Topshop (still available), as well as having her work displayed in the windows of both Selfridges in London and Colette in Paris.
Her shoes in particular will bring a newness to your look. These pony-skin brogues tilted forward with an angular wedge of clear Perspex will float you up to new fashion heights.
The concept is as clever as it is beautiful and although they are very contemporary, they're not too trend-driven so will look just as sharp in seasons to come.
Shoes by Simone Rocha, €700. Simone Rocha is stocked at Havana, 2 Anglesea House, Donnybrook, Dublin 4. Tel: 01-260 2707
7 Tailored Coat
No other fashion purchase will have such an everyday effect on your style.
Bar the blanket coat which comes complete with patchwork colours and fringing, the trend is for minimalism and a nod to androgyny.
Details to ensure you look bang up to date include a collarless neckline, cocoon shape, leather trim or contrasting sleeves. And if opting for the cape, make sure to keep the rest of your silhouette clean and lean.
This bouclé tweed coat from French label Maje is ideal. It's simple oversized shape, leather trim pockets and Chanel-style fabric make it chic and cool. Plus its subtle red hue gives a point of difference without shouting too loud.
Coat, €335 by Maje at BT2, 28-29 Grafton Street, Dublin 2 branch only. Tel: 01-605 6666
8 Joanne Hynes Collar
The glitz and glamour of the party season is soon to be upon us. And with all the austerity of this recession, people will be grabbing with gusto this much-needed opportunity to let loose and dress up.
There is no better way to reboot a tired little black dress than with a piece of gob-smacking jewellery. Hypnotically dazzling, larger than life, it will illustrate your die-hard intention to party.
Irish designer, Joanne Hynes has hit the nail on the head with her statement collars and neckpieces. Generously smothered with a mish-mash of jewels, it's time to load up on sparkle and add a welcome touch of pizzazz to all this restraint. And if your heart says yes, but your purse says no, try Accessorize or the Freedom range at Topshop for a quick fashion fix.
Neck piece by Joanne Hynes, €780 at Style-Tonic.com.
9 Quiet Bag
Gone are the days of the 'IT bag'. Branding and bling are now considered obnoxious and crass. So let us usher in the new quiet replacement. Inspired by the minimalism of Céline, this new breed of bag is like a breath of fresh air. Anonymous and refined, their design is about shape and quality of materials rather than embellishment and celebrity endorsement.
And the cherry on the cake? Zara has this one nailed. Messenger, shopper, tote or clutch, the high-street giant is on the ball with this one. Whether perfectly plain, boasting a snake-skin print or burnished metallic finish it's the pared-back design and buttersoft leathers that give an elegant edge.
Plaited shopper, €119 (also available in blue leather or grey felt) at Zara, 40-43 South King Street, Dublin 2 and branches. Tel: 01-675 3420
10 Polka Dots
Endorsed by every catwalk king (and queen) from Marc Jacobs to Stella McCartney, polka dots are certainly basking in their five minutes of fame. A quirky trend that you will either love or hate, they are very of the moment. Not a wise one to invest in but a wonderful one to play with.
Go the whole hog with River Island's bottle-green spotty jeans or instantly update your look with a simple pair of polka-dot tights available from Wolford (€39) and River Island (€10.50).
They'll scream to the fashionistas that you've been reading your rule book and act as a reminder that fashion is fun.
Tights by Wolford, €39 at Arnotts, 12 Henry Street, Dublin 1. Tel: 01-805 0400