A|Wear spring/summer: Soften up for spring
In my younger and more vulnerable days, to quote F Scott Fitzgerald, if I wasn't reading his Jazz Age novels like 'The Great Gatsby', I was combing second-hand clothes shops, searching for Twenties fashion gems for a modern-day Daisy Buchanan look.
With the single-mindedness of a college student with too much time on her hands, I set myself a mission to uncover vintage finds.
I went searched far and wide from the pile-them-high approach at the Paris flea markets at the Porte de Clignancourt on Sundays to the cut and thrust of London's Camden market on Saturday afternoons.
However, if the truth be known, I was probably most successful on home turf, locating archival treasures at Marie Little's A Store is Born (open only on Saturday on Clarendon Street, Dublin) and Jenny Vander on Drury St, Dublin.
Baz Luhrmann's keenly awaited remake of 'The Great Gatsby' is slated for a December release and until then, you can expect a consistent drop of 1920s styling into stores through spring and summer, from the drop-waisted flapper dress to the attractive stepped design of Art Deco beading across separates, dresses and accessories.
Authentic vintage finds, by their very nature, bring their own worries and concerns such as vulnerable fabrics and potential catastrophes with delicate beading.
All the more reason to look at modern-day interpretations of Deco decadence for everyday wear.
Some of the nude palette pieces from Alwear's new spring summer collection are cute beyond belief, a modern twist on the carefree, feminine style that girls embraced in the Roaring Twenties when hemlines went up and down with gaiety.
Our main shot (left) typifies the Alwear offer for fashionable and fun-loving Daisy Buchanan in 2012.
The silver top on a nude background features a pretty and varied beading pattern that suggests a more expensive price tag than €55.
The dipped hem line skirt has the kind of flirty, diaphanous quality that flappers adored.
For post-Valentine dinners à deux, this outfit will set you back €100 while the metallic silver Carvela heels are €165 from Brown Thomas.
Don't forget the tone-on-tone ankle socks whatever you do!
The Alwear dress traditionally fell into the €40-€60 bracket, but after the company was sold last November and a new buying team installed, they are clearly targeting more expensive prices.
Case in point is the beaded chiffon dress (above) which should hit the shop rails the week after next.
Later this month, Alwear is launching an optimised version of its website so you can buy direct from your smartphone.
The new collection is not by any means locked in a vintage time warp and it includes lots of contemporary favourites in a pleasing palette of pinky beiges, creams and dove greys which suit Irish complexions so well.
It's a soft-focus, relaxed story, with lots of gentle draping that delivers a flattering feminine look, a welcome relief after seasons of hard-core bodycon.
The large snakeprint envelope clutch bag (above) is a honey of a buy at €30 and should land in stores around February 20.
Snakeskin bags will be big this season and for last-minute Valentine buys, can I direct the boys to a metallic finish wallet purse for €15.
Solve those smart-casual Saturday wardrobe conundrums with an embellished sequinned top for €80, accesorised here with pap-erbag belted trousers.
Both of these pieces arrive in store this Monday.
You can glamorise weekend workhorses such as the humble parka with the sequinned top but my favourite bargain of the week is the pleather biker jacket in sand, a wallet-pleasing €65.