Darren Kennedy: Style dilemma
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Q: Do you know where I could buy a women’s tuxedo. I know it’s a weird request, but I saw a photo of Victoria Smurfit wearing one and it looked fab. I've looked high and low and can't seem to find anywhere that sells them. I hope you can shed some light for me.
Joani, 35, Wicklow
A: The classic tuxedo looks super-chic on a woman. Very few women dare to wear one but, if done correctly, the result is simply stunning. Stella McCartney, Donna Karan and Joseph are just some of the designer labels known for creating chic tuxedos.
One difficulty you might encounter with a tux, unless you've a very slim frame, is finding the right cut. This is where tux-inspired separates come in useful, as it's easier to find the right combination of sizes for your individual shape. An elegantly tailored tuxedo jacket, such as Stella McCartney’s wool one (€1,195 at Neta- Porter), will instantly update your capsule wardrobe. It is expensive, but it's a piece you'll have for life. White is big news this upcoming season and brings a refreshing take on this look. J by Jasper Conran at Debenhams has a white suit that I really like the cut of ( jacket €120, trousers €68), while Zara’s white jacket with contrast black lapels (€99.95) is a covetable evening piece.
Team this monochromatic style with a pussybow blouse and jewellery for a more feminine look. We're also seeing bold block colours, such as this candy-pink version of the white jacket from Zara (€99.95) and the deep-blue, drop-level blazer from asos.com (€92.65).
Q: I usually shy away from colour and end up wearing black or dark grey. I'm quite sallow skinned and my friends are always saying I should try brighter colours, as they would look well on me. Where do I start?
Siobhan, 37, Clare
A: Bright colours and sallow skin are a match made in heaven and you should embrace it — you'll most certainly find it easier than people with typical Irish skin tones to pull them off.
Ease yourself in by introducing some colour to every outfit. This could be as simple as wearing some brightly coloured footwear or simple accessories. This will help you feel more comfortable in colour, so it's not a complete shock to the system.
This tan leather jacket (€149.95, Carraig Donn) is a great addition to any wardrobe and will give a lift to a darker base. Once you're feeling more confident, it's time to start introducing colour to the rest of your outfit. Colour is in abundance for spring/summer, so you won't be wanting. This Tahari blouse (€105, Arnotts), with it's gorgeously gathered neckline and cutaway shoulders, will inject a myriad of colours to your look, as would the 1950s-style floral skirt (€17) from Penneys. While you're still getting used to wearing colour, my top tip is be strategic about where on your body you place it. Don't wear the brightest colour on the parts of the body you’re conscious about. You'll be surprised what some colour can do on the dullest of days.
Q: I am flying to Los Angeles in a few weeks and I’m looking for advice on what to wear travelling. The flight is roughly 12 hours long, with a small stopover in New York. I would like to be comfortable yet fashionable, and I want to avoid wearing jeans if possible as I find them very uncomfortable when flying.
Aoife, 33, Dublin
A: The keywords here are comfortable yet presentable — you never know who you'll meet on your journey. And should there be even the remotest chance of an upgrade, you'll want to look the part to be considered.
By all accounts, it's wise to avoid jeans on long flights. I advise a smart-casual pair of trousers. This beige pair from M&S (€47.50) ticks all the boxes, looking super-chic but with a nod to the utility trend. For something slightly different, these grey trousers with braces (£32.99, New Look) are ideal as they are not too fitted and are at a great price.
Flying has a tendency to make your limbs (and especially feet) swell slightly, so it's always best to wear items that have a little bit of give in them. The air conditioning can also play havoc too. Wearing several different layers will help you regulate your temperature as necessary. Zip-up tops are very useful, but they tend to look very casual. Capes offer a very chic alternative and are perfect for travelling, as they have a blanket effect. This one from Jaeger (€285, Arnotts) is stunning and definitely a keeper. A more walletfriendly, but equally eye-catching, version is the striped cape from H&M (€24.95).