Bairbre Power on fashion, shoes and other adventures
I adore shoes and little did I know when I chose 'Imelda' for my confirmation name at the age of ten quite where this whole footwear mania was headed.
This month, I'm rather conflicted on the footwear front because we are waving goodbye to the flat boots and as spring arrives, relying less on that winning formula of pumps and dark opaque tights and going into the territory of neutral nude shoes that go with everything.
Just as I got used to carrying a smaller handbag, now I'm having to scale up again and resort to the 'hide heels in your handbag'. So, if you see me heading down a dark alleyway, you'll know what I'm up to - swapping heel heights without being spotted!
I'm a big fan of writer and blogger Susanna Lau, aka @Susiebubble, and she really got it to right on a visit to Kildare Village where she matched affordable, neon-trainers with a Louise Kennedy gold/orange designer coat.
Oh, how the snobbery about trainers has shifted. At London Fashion Week last week, the number of trainers (albeit posh ones by Mary Katrantzou, Valentino and Gucci) were thick on the ground. Irish designer Louise Kennedy has been proselytising about the merits of using your luxury wardrobe buys 24/7, and she proposes 'coming down to earth' and mixing up your cashmere coat with white jeans and a tee with flat shoes. It makes total sense.
Last year Louise undoubtedly surprised her old-school customers when she matched up weekend looks with Converse trainers at her seasonal fashion show. And this season, she espoused that notion again with metallic moccasin-style Tods. Half the women at the show were only dying to swap their vertiginous designer heels for a pair of those comfy flats.
Anyone who dreads the hassle of peeling off clothes and shoes at airport security will salute Louise's common sense at getting your smart casual - 'can I please be upgraded' - look sorted in advance so you don't end up boarding with trainers/slippers in your hand.
Recently I took myself off to a little sortie up the M1 to visit Shoe City in Castleblaney, Co. Monaghan, and see the giant store which has hundreds of styles. The Imelda in me couldn't resist a snoop and I saw the new styles from Amy Huberman's Bourbon range and the striped 'Houston' (far right) runner from the Tommy Bowe 'Her' Collection, €39.99, available in stores nationwide and online from lloydandpryce.com.
Legs effect for Kathryn
One lady who has a remarkable variety of shoes in her life is Kathryn Thomas who spreads the love between heels, hiking/climbing boots and trainers. The Operation Transformation presenter has seriously toned legs from working out in the gym with Siobhan from Bodybyrne.
When hiking in the country, Kathryn wears the Salomon, Quest 4D GTX boot, €194.99, and her preferred running shoe is the Saucony Guide 7W, €124.99, all available from the Great Outdoors, greatoutdoors.ie. Kathryn's boots will be getting even more service after she launches her Pure Results Boot Camp - a diet-orientated, seven-day training programme run on Inish Beg island, west Cork, from April to June this year.
When it comes to high heels, Kathryn virtually sticks to one shoe - the 'On Tops', €85 from Office. "They are really, really comfortable and I have quite a few pairs of them, three pairs of black patent and I also have them in a few colours," she says.