Bairbre Power: it's cool to be natural
Packing with an eye on heat, cold and instant style
There are many times during these endless wintery days where you are desperately desiring sunshine. Recently, with the mercury climbing, I was in Cannes, waiting to do an interview and all I could think was: get me some cool clothes, NOW! I'm not talking cool as in aesthetic or fashion forward, but cool as in gentle to my skin as unrelenting sunshine beats down, burning through my clothes.
After a disappointing washout of a bank holiday (which saw us back in our winter coats on the first day of June), we will be all craving some bit of sunshine. When packing for foreign holidays, we tend to picture optimum, ideal conditions for those newly acquired sun dresses. However, as I was reminded recently, high temperatures can bring a huge amount of discomfort. And then there's humidity. And when your hair starts going curly, you simply lose the style plot and just get grumpy. Everything starts feeling uncomfortable, especially lingerie. Underwire bras feel like armour, which is why the new super-light lingerie with laser-cut seams are a must. They don't show through thin fabrics and they feel deliciously invisible on the skin.
I often take a short cut through Clerys on O'Connell Street, but I never get from A to B without stopping because I've spotted something. One of my recent coffee run discoveries was Braintree, a natural clothing company born in Sydney, Australia, now based in London with a website, braintreeclothing.com and a good selection at Clerys. The company have been championing ethically produced eco-fibres from the mid 1990s and their clothing ranges for women and men are made from sustainable fibres such as bamboo, hemp and organic cotton. Bamboo is my absolute favourite. Strong, yet silky soft to touch, it is one of those intelligent additions to your wardrobe because it recognises your needs, cooling you down or warming you up, as required, and especially wonderful on long-haul flights.
Braintree's 'Lakshmi' tea dress is full in the skirt, cut to nip in at the waist and the soft bamboo jersey - made from 70pc bamboo/30pc organic cotton - skims the figure. Meanwhile, the 'Deja' cardigan is made from 55pc hemp/45pc organic cotton, the same blend in the 'Locklyn' dip-dye singlet (pictured middle second row). Check out the Braintree website and their footscrub recipe (in the blog section) - just the thing for tired feet before they go on their holiers.
Warm and cold, we want it all at holiday time. Lucy Nagle's 100pc cashmere knits are ideal for throwing on on those summer nights when temperatures suddenly drop. Lucy's new summer collection has just landed in BT2 and Brown Thomas stores in Dublin, Cork and Limerick, and her colours include a hot pink and red jumper and a very cute grey and black striped cardi. Check out her website, lucynagle.com. Meanwhile, the 'Locklyn' dip-dye sleeveless top (€39.90), is from braintreeclothing.com and there is a matching cardi at €59.90. The indigo blue to white wash makes them perfect for wearing with denims or white jeans/shorts. Golfers, tennis players and active women who like walking in all weathers will appreciate the value of the smart Tops For Life, pictured right. Developed by Sandra Walsh, the woman behind the oh-so-handy Canopi sleeves, the tops are made from a breathable Meryl fabric, which has a ultra-violet protection rated UPF50+ in the fabric, which helps protect against skin cancer. Styles included a tank, V-neck with sleeves and a boat neck, and prices start at €45. They are available in black and white, and stockists include Arnotts, BTs, Pamela Scott and Serena in Blackrock and Sandymount, Dublin. Check out canopi.ie