Darren Kennedy: Style dilemma
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Q I'm desperately looking for a nice lace dress but have yet to find anything I like. Ideally, I'd like one that's not actually vintage, yet has vintage flair. My budget is €75-€100. Thanks.
Elise, 37, Clare
A: Lace has always been one of my favourites and over the past couple of seasons it has made a comeback, with fashion darlings Alexa Chung, Olivia Palermo and Scarlett Johansson all sporting different takes on the look.
For vintage-inspired lace, Warehouse has got the balance right with this cream dress (€72).
I find that pairing a cute lace dress, such as this, with some brogues creates a romantic but not over-girlie look.
Tan is the obvious choice, but don't be afraid to mix it up. Schuh's Mindy brogue (€85) comes in tan, green and purple.
For black lace, the flamenco dress at French Connection (€90) is sensual but not overly suggestive.
For a summery take on lace, this maxi dress with insert lace panels (€59.99, New Look) also works the trend for all things white.
Q: I've a christening to go to in a couple of weeks, which also happens to be the first time I'm meeting my other half 's extended family in the UK. They're all lawyers, and I know I shouldn't be, but I'm so nervous and really want to make a good impression. I've no idea where I should even start with an outfit. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Eithne, 33, Athlone
AMeeting potential in-laws for the first time, you'll obviously want to make a good impression. Regardless of who is going to be there, the most important thing is that you feel 100pc confident in your chosen outfit. What's more, it is a religious ceremony, so that needs to be considered. This means you don't want to reveal too much flesh.
A: top such as the green patterned one by Jaeger (€305, Arnotts) paired with a fitted skirt such as the camel pencil skirt (€35, alwear) creates a smart look that's not too over-dressed. For some reason, many people seem to favour black at christenings. I'd say don't be afraid to go for colour — it's a celebration, not a funeral! This red zip dress by Linea at House of Fraser (€104) makes a strong statement colour-wise, while being demure and figure flattering. Team it with some nude heels.
Sticking with red, Kaliko has a floraldetail dress (€160) and Fee G has a cropped jacket (€182), both in Clerys, which create a great look for an occasion.
Q: I just turned 29, but I feel I dress more like a 39-year-old. My wardrobe consists mainly of kaftans and floaty dress-style tops that I normally wear with quite baggy trousers. I have a good waist and chest but hate my big hips and thighs. They are much bigger than my top half, so that's why I wear floaty. I want to dress my age, but I'm not sure how to go about it.
Carolyn, 29, Dublin
A: With a few key tricks up your sleeve, you'll be dressing your age in no time. Like most women, your proportions differ on the top and bottom halves of your body. This is completely normal. It's just a matter of learning how to dress for your shape.
At the moment, you dress in baggy, shapeless clothes to disguise your hips, but you are actually drowning out your entire figure. This will make you appear bigger and quite shapeless. The easiest way to address this is by wearing separates. On top you'll take a smaller size, so choose items that are well cut and fitted to emphasis your waist and cleavage. This spotted top with brown belt (€30, alwear) will do just that, while the belt will cinch in your waist and bring emphasis to your shape. Avoid prints or anything garish on your bottom half.
A cropped fitted jacket or blazer is a must. Zara has a good selection, including this black cropped jacket (€99.95) and, for a real summer look, this white blazer with gold buttons (€139.95). Both will bring structure to any outfit. Accessories will finish off the look, and wearing a heel will elongate your overall silhouette. The raffia wedge (€49) from Next will bring you from day to night.
All prices correct at time of going to press