Sunday 20 January 2019

Breathing space... Loose layers to transition to colour and bare legs for summer


M&S Per Una top, €37; trousers, €47.50; M&S Collection earring, €17; bag, €40; and shoes, €47.50.
M&S Per Una top, €37; trousers, €47.50; M&S Collection earring, €17; bag, €40; and shoes, €47.50.
One of the five available styles of Susannagh Grogan's cotton/silk tunics, €295 each, available from Brown Thomas and
Two of the five available styles of Susannagh Grogan's cotton/silk tunics, €295 each, available from Brown Thomas and
Handmade Bow Hairband in Blue Vinyl Print €15.99
'Poppy dress' in 'blue vinyl fabric'
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

It's an interesting conundrum that we tend to save and pack away our summer clothes every year and pull them out every spring - but the same cannot be said about our winter clothes, apart, perhaps, from coats. I have a penchant for black and navy coats, but beyond those, I'm never really sorry to close the back on my winter wardrobe come March - or this year, come April.

On that topic, I am most definitely a summer girl. It's not that I've gone off and paid money to have my colours done, getting told I'm "half autumn with undertones of spring". I just like summer clothes. I like the colours and the loose layered silhouettes and, being perfectly honest, I most feel like me wearing my summer clothes because at the root of it all, I think it's much easier to rock 'confident femininity' in loose layers than in the winter, when feminine silhouettes are executed in a bodycon way.

Despite having a tower of clear plastic Ikea boxes full of turquoise clothes, each year I feel the need to buy more summer pieces. This year, I was very tempted by the new M&S Collection with its subtle florals and easy-but-glamorous slider sandals.

I refuse to ignore pretty dresses just because they don't have sleeves, and sure isn't the vitamin D in the sunshine good for your arms! Sometimes when a summer trouser suit is required, a wide-legged cropped culotte can look trés smart with a simple tied top.

The other evening, I rang designer Susannagh Grogan, and just as I half feared as I was calling her, she was climbing into a boat in Bullock Harbour in Dalkey to go skiff racing. What a woman! Total respect - I'm sure that being close to the water with an awesome horizon line is good for the soul.

Susannagh's latest collection includes silk/cotton 'thrown on tunics'. My own waistline is not what I ideally want, but I like the tunics because they can be worn to and from the beach on holidays and earn their keep at home worn with wide-legged palazzos, skinny white jeans or white shorts.

There are five different prints to choose from, including 'Floral Burst', a statement print of brightly coloured anemones; 'Blue Sea', which was one of Susannagh's classic scarf prints from 2011; 'Orange/Turquoise Bandana'; 'Orange Picnic'; and finally 'Tiles', which is my favourite. The tunics all cost €295 each, no matter the size - they come in small, medium and large. I like designers who don't penalise you for having a tummy!

For little girls who love their style

I'm a sucker for traditional smocked dresses for little girls and every summer, I used to make a pilgrimage to markets in St Tropez to buy frocks for the smallies - but no more, after discovering Cairenn Foy's brand of timeless pieces.

Designer Cairenn launched her luxury childrenswear brand a year ago and specialises in prints that evoke memories of the past, "of simpler times". Her range is stocked in all of the Brown Thomas stores, as well as Avoca and select boutiques nationwide. Her SS18 collection for kids aged 0-7 has a number of pretty dresses with matching hairbands, and the 'Poppy' dress in 'Blue Vinyl' fabric (left) costs between €48.99-€57.99, depending on the size, and features a pretty band of broderie anglaise across the front, while the hairband is €15.99. I think it would be perfect for a little sister attending her older sibling's First Holy Communion this month. "Each style is named after the little ladies in the family, so 'Ava' is named after my daughter, who is the face of the brand, while 'Poppy', 'Hayley' and 'Milly' are named after my nieces. 'Christina' is named after my mother-in-law and the 'Catherine' cardigan is named after my mum," says Cairenn, who gave birth to her third child, Marcus, eight weeks ago.


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