Q: When it comes to dressing for spring, every year I feel as if I've left it too late to start updating my wardrobe. This year I don't want to make the same mistake and miss all the best gear. What trends should I be looking out for when shopping?
Charlie, 25, Kildare
A Spring/summer generally comes with a myriad of beautiful trends, and 2011 is no exception. From vibrant, bright block colours and floral prints to innocent white and soft nudes, there's plenty of choice.
Romanticism and bohemian styles are big once again, and print lovers can rejoice -- spring/summer 2011 comes with a wide palette of floral prints in every shape and size. Some are sweet and innocent, such as this vintage floral skirt by Lila Hudson (€110, Divine Boutique).
Breezy, flowing fabrics in maxi dresses and 1970s-style flared trousers are also huge. The wide-leg pants are playful, stylish and chic, creating a fantastic silhouette. Lipsy is right on the money with this print chiffon pair (€58.50).
The classic white shirt once again becomes a key element, though bright, bold colours are also on the menu, having featured strongly in the collections of Halston, Gucci and Marc Jacobs. For the best high-street interpretations, go to H&M and New Look.
Q I am mad about wrap dresses. In fact, they are my single favourite garment — they are very stylish and good for ladies with boobs. However, it's very hard to find good ones in Ireland. Any tips on where I should be looking?
Clodagh, 32, Dublin
A Diane von Furstenberg (DVF) is the lady to thank for the fabulous creation that is the wrap dress. Created in the 1970s, it has now reached iconic status in the fashion world. It's a style that is easy to wear, loves a women's curves and creates a flattering silhouette for practically every body shape.
The beauty of the wrap dress is in its folding style which hugs a woman's body in all the right places, skimming the hips, cinching the waist and accentuating the cleavage. As well as creating the wrap, DVF is also known for her love of colour and pattern, so make a statement in her stripe print dress (€440), available in Brown Thomas nationwide. Kate Middleton created quite the stir wearing a royal-blue Issa wrap dress at the announcement of her engagement.
The high street was quick to react, with copies hitting stores within weeks. If you'd prefer something a bit more playful, check out the floral wrap from alwear for only €40. I always find wrap dresses are best worn simply, so keep accessories to a minimum. One statement piece of jewellery that complements your style, such as a necklace or wrist clasp, will say enough and allow you to shine in a fab dress.
Q I'm 34, just out of a long-term relationship and I've been rather casual about my grooming (style, not hygiene!) in the latter years with my ex. I'd like advice on low-maintenance skincare. My work involves being outdoors quite a bit and, up until now, I've never bothered with anything. There are so many products on the shelves, I have no idea where to even start.
A Many men neglect their skin when they are young, but some simple daily skincare can reap huge dividends later in life, so you're wise to start now. A couple of basic steps will really improve your skin’s texture and appearance. Get into the habit of using a good face wash every morning and evening before bed. It's also worth exfoliating once or twice a week, as it helps unblock pores, remove any dead skin and gives a younger, fresher look, actually encouraging healthier skin.
As you work outdoors, a moisturiser with an SPF is absolutely essential. Regardless of the fact that we live in Ireland, the harmful rays of the sun should not be underestimated. New Zealand brand Trilogy does a range of products specifically designed to suit men's skin. Trilogy for Men Moisturiser with SPF15 (€22.95) is a lightweight cream that provides broad-spectrum UV protection while hydrating and improving the skin’s condition.
I also like to use Lancôme for Men Energizer Total (€39), especially after having a shave. It's a very light, almost silky serum that is easily absorbed by the skin, leaving you feeling instantly refreshed.