Darren Kennedy: Style Dilemma
Q I'm a creature of habit. When I find an aftershave I like, I'll stick with it for quite some time. For the past 18 months, or so, I've been wearing Acqua Di Gio by Armani. I still like it, but think it's time for a change.
The fragrance market is completely saturated and I'm not the biggest fan of shopping, so I wondered if there are any aftershaves that you'd particularly recommend trying?
Tommy, 28, Carrick-on-Shannon
A Aftershaves are a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. The latest from Giorgio Armani is Armani Code and, I must say, it's a beautiful fragrance. The immediate scent is a fresh citrus that develops gradually as it interacts with the skin. My most recent discovery is from Maison Martin Margiela, which has just launched its first fragrance called Untitled. In classic olfactory style, it harps back to traditional apothecary both in scent and appearance.
The minimalist fragrance is reflected in the bottle itself, which features a round stopper and a neck tied with a simple white string. It's reminiscent of a time when the application of aftershave was more of a ritual and less about a quick dousing before leaving the house. It's available from mid-January RRP €67 (50ml).
I'm also a big fan of the Private Blend Collection from Tom Ford. If you really want a treat, they've released a limited-edition line-up highlighting the Tuscan Leather scent. It includes a selection of products on a collectable Private Blend Makassar-style tray.
It doesn't come cheap, with a price tag of €800 (Brown Thomas), but if you're a fragrance fan you will treasure it for a long time to come.
Q I'm really into wearing playsuits this year and they've become my signature style. Many of them are brightly coloured with floral prints, which were fine when the weather was warm. Now that it's winter and Baltic outside, I'm having trouble finding appropriate styles that will carry me through until spring.
Nicola, 24, West Dublin
A I have to be honest, Nicola, you're a brave woman to continue wearing playsuits at this time of year, but I salute your dedication. And the good news is that there are plenty of ways to pull off wearing them in winter. First, choosing more dark-coloured variations will instantly make a playsuit appear less summery.
What's more, give preference to full-length sleeves, such as in the tuxedo-style playsuit with black lapels (€59) from Littlewoods Ireland. Paired with black opaque tights, it's perfect for a night out and gives it a slightly more formal edge. For a more colourful take, Penneys’ long-sleeve printed playsuit (€17) ticks all the boxes.
Alternatively, you could opt for a jumpsuit. The Gold collection by Giles Deacon at New Look includes a jumpsuit with colourful lightning print (€49.99), which is bound to make a statement for all the right reasons.
QI try to keep up with what's happening in style. I rarely incorporate the trends into my own wardrobe, mind you. The country heritage look has caught my eye of late, however, and, given the weather, I think it would be very practical. I've a vague idea of what's involved, but get in a muddle when it comes to putting looks together for myself.
Deirdre, 37, Co Wicklow
A This trend is all about wrapping up in lots of lush fabrics and layers. The heritage look include tweeds, tartan, chunky knits and snug shearling in earthy tones, with plenty of texture. These items are in abundance at the moment, with some of the stand-out pieces for me being a tailored, tweed fitted blazer (€59) from Littlewoods Ireland. Zara has a similar one with leather-patch detail on the elbows. Team with a pussy-bow blouse (€24.95) and layer with this cable-knit jumper (€19.95, both H&M).
Top it off with some accessories, and nothing screams ‘cosy' more than a chunky snood. This ribbon-threaded knit snood (€33) from Topshop has it all. Finish off the look with a nice bag and some boots — riding boots, for obvious reasons, or really ramp up the winter quotient with some fur-lined boots. Zara has some nice lace-up ankle boots (€79.95), or go full-on with these boots (€206) from Topshop