Q I had my second child five months ago, and while I managed to shift most of the baby weight, my hips are still quite large. Nothing I do seems to work to get them back to the size they were pre-babies. How can I dress to make them look smaller?
Gillian, 34, Kerry
A The trick to camouflaging a larger hip lies predominantly in the style of trousers you wear. The first thing you need to do is get some wide-leg trousers. These are in trend at the moment, so you'll be spoiled for choice. Warehouse has this gorgeous navy pair for €60.
Note: it's not boot-cut styles you're after, as these tend to narrow at the knee and will just add emphasis to the hip and thigh area.
You also want to balance the body out with colour and texture on top, which will draw the focus away from the hips. For instance, this cream cardigan (€30, alwear) with shoulder detail will bring attention to your shoulders and neckline -- exactly what you want.
The length of the tops/jackets you wear is crucial, too. They should hit the top or at least the middle of the hip, which has the effect of bisecting the hip, making it appear smaller overall.
Wearing heels will certainly help. Even the smallest heel will give you a longer leg line visually and make you appear longer and leaner overall.
Q This year I want to really improve my shoe collection, so that I'm not always relying on my black strappy heels. What styles should I be looking out for?
Anna, 27, Dublin
A As with many things in fashion, this year footwear has gone retro and harps back to the glory days of the 1970s and style icons such as Bianca Jagger, Farrah Fawcett and Ali MacGraw. Some beautiful shoes will complement jumpsuits, floral dresses and wide-leg trousers.
From sophisticated heels to wedges and sandals, it's about making a statement and putting the finishing touches to a powerful silhouette. Carl Scarpa has nailed it with its Giulietta cut-out clogs (€95) and the Sansone leather, lace-up shoe-sandals (€130). H&M has some killer designs coming in store shortly, including these delicious, contrasting, lace-up wedges (€59.95).
If you're seeking something a little more playful, this patent polkadot pair (€29.95, also from H&M) should tick the box and won't break the bank. If you want to splurge, however, the Zenith gold heels by Brian Atwood (€660, Brown Thomas) are stunning.
Q I get stressed every time I have to assemble an outfit as I can never find anything to wear, despite the fact that I've a wardrobe busting at the seams with clothes. How can I have so many clothes, yet still feel I've nothing to wear! Is there any way to overcome this dread?
Bernadette, 41, Cork
A The ‘I've nothing to wear' syndrome is common and, often, it simply boils down to preparation and organisation. To overcome it, a wardrobe de-cluttering session is in order. Timing here is essential. Pick a time when you know you've nothing else demanding your attention so you can approach it feeling relaxed, confident and clear-minded. It's important to make sure you don't discard anything too hastily.
If you're a bit of a hoarder, keep to the rule that your wardrobe has a limit. Your mantra should be, ‘Something new in; something old out’. Simply put, if you introduce a new item, get rid of an old one; unless it's a classic, timeless piece, any item in your wardrobe that hasn't been worn within the past year really should go. Likewise, for any items that no longer fit as they once did.
Finally, place all the items you plan to get rid of into a black bag. Keep said bag for a couple of days before donating/disposing of it — just in case de-cluttering remorse sets in!