Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I was sorry to see on the news that a school in Cork has now asked girls to bring their own toilet roll to class, to help cope with rising costs in the recession. It's understandable the school must cut back where they can to lessen the strain on educational resources: however, I can't help but imagine awful situations where girls are left hopping in the corner, dying to use the bathroom but being refused for forgetting to bring toilet paper in their bag.

Extreme perhaps, yet it reminds me of my Dad's stories about school in the Fifties, how he walked there barefoot across hot coals for six miles each day. I know for a fact he had a bicycle but he uses his dramatic tales as a reminder to us of how lucky we were growing up.

The Cork story is an indication of how expensive essential items have now become. For years, my Mam was alarmed at my expensive toilet roll habit - grabbing it to dry my hands, absentmindedly, as well as to cleanse my face twice a day.

“Use the cotton wool,” she would scream at me!

I thought she was overreacting until I moved in with my boyfriend who is now equally appalled at the amount that gets used for everything from blotting lipstick to cleaning the kitchen counter.

“Use the jay-cloth,” he screams at me!

Girls, it seems, have wasteful habits, despite our knack for spotting a bargain. I woke at 5am last week to hear my boyfriend and his friend discussing over a bottle of whiskey their girlfriends’ wasteful ways. I overheard our friend reveal his lady likes to have the hot water on all day while out at work. '”And she likes the heat on all night when we're in bed,” he exclaimed aghast.

I grabbed my slippers and a glass and headed to join this ridiculously exaggerated conversation and defend my friend in her absence.

There's no talking to them though: apparently I throw out countless edible foods because I follow the use-by-date on the pack. One squeeze of Fairy Liquid is all I need, jay-cloths last for months if you wash them … these are all things I have yet to learn.

My boyfriend has been very good though since my salary has drastically decreased. There are certain things however he refuses to buy, jay-cloths, Fairy Liquid and toilet rolls, these are always left for my visits to the shops, even if it means hopping all the way home like those poor girls in Cork might be.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Woops, I've been neglecting the blog of late after promising myself I would up the anti on it and make more regular posts! I've been soo busy though between landing a new free lance PR client - WhatSheWears.ie - check it out, trying to get my column done this week as well as landing a couple of weeks work filling in as a researcher at 4FM..so nice to come home feeling tired!

Haven't had as much time to indulge in blogs and magazines as usual this week but while doing some X Factor research for work I came across this picture of Cheryl Cole, in my eyes, having an unlikely understated style moment..I've mentioned before I'm not a huge Cheryl fan, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to avoid her, especially as I am a huuge X Factor fan..I do absolutely adore her here though, pictured in a maroon wool Vanessa Bruno dress teamed with Rupert Sanderson heels..she looks demure and elegant with the structured dress adding great curves to her teeny frame..I had recently spotted a similar shaped dress in Warehouse that would work wonders on girls with actual curves (ahem me!) and it's on my hitlist for the Christmas season, perfect with my new spotted sheer tights from Oasis!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sales of men’s pyjamas have risen by 30% in the last year, indicating a link between the recession and a trend for cosier nights in. I’m not a fan of men in pyjamas – t-shirts and boxers will suffice. It’s a squirm I seem to have picked up from my Mam who never bought the boys in our house pyjamas and if they received them as presents they would mysteriously disappear before long.

I am, however, a big fan of pyjamas for myself! For years after a busy day at work the first thing I would do upon arriving home was free myself from the constraints of binding clothes and sometimes be in my pjs as early as 7pm on a winter’s night. Mostly it was a hybrid of a pyjama- tracksuit outfit, a trend I know most of my friends have adopted for nights they are staying put.

It’s not surprising then to hear that sales in women’s pyjamas have tripled in the last decade, given the amount of girls who love nothing more then settling on the sofa in fluffy flannel ensembles instead of restrictive skinny jeans and tights.

However, the outdoor pyjama wearing fad in Dublin, is not something I condone – it is the ultimate sign of laziness. I recently witnessed two girls in their late 20s at a local shopping centre on a busy Saturday afternoon – both clad in pink pyjamas, fluffy slippers and complete with full length dressing gowns and smug smiles. As numerous honks sounded from the car park, they seemed delighted at receiving such attention for their ridiculous look.

Now working from home I admit that my pyjamas often stay put ‘til after lunch. But I would never wear them further than my front door. I know the recession has slowed down life for many people, myself included, but really there is no excuse for this outdoor pursuit.

As well as the demand for regular pyjamas, retailer Debenhams has reported an increase in sales for boudoir inspired lingerie. Suspenders, fishnets and basques have all become increasingly popular in the last two months, confirming perhaps that couples are spending more evenings at home together in the face of the recession.

More time for romantic nights in is definitely a perk of the current climate and most women don’t need an excuse to get excited about lingerie. I just hope the pyjama goons around town don’t catch on to this current sales surge and start going to Spar in silk stockings and lacy bras instead.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

This Friday and Saturday the 9th and 10th of October, sees the 'Secret Boutique' in Dublin open its doors to the public. With a range of statement pieces from labels such as Pink Soda and the amazing Irish designer Pauric Sweeney, the 'Secret Boutique' promises fashionistas an intimate shopping experience to remember.

The 'Secret Boutique' is a private space in Dublin's city centre, giving lucky customers the opportunity to avail of specially discounted goods several times a year. For autumn/winter the 'Secret Boutique' has a collection of Pauric Sweeney's gorgeous bags, like this electric blue python leather style. With his designs decorating the arms of Agnys Deyn, Lindsay Lohan and Jennifer Lopez, Dublin style mavens can also feel like a star with one of his hand crafted stuctured totes for a recession-tastic price.

You can become a fan of the 'Secret Boutique' on facebook or email me for more information on the secret location! Shhh..

Monday, October 5, 2009

Since the recession began the trend for 'clothes swapping' has emerged as increasingly popular with a range of swap shops and swapping parties happening across the country.

The current climate has encouraged many girls to part with some of their best loved but unsuitable clothing, the need for cash finally forcing them to accept they will never again wear something that has hung in their wardrobe for too long! I have become a willing swapper in recent months due to my cash-starved account with all the job hopping and swapping this year!. Like myself, many women may take a few years to really 'find' their style and figure out what works for their figure, resulting in a huge pile of unwanted clothes that may never again see the light of day outside an overcrowded wardrobe. Swap shops hello, hotpants good bye!

The Frock Exchange in Skerries opened in May of this year in response to this growing demand. This stylish swap shop is drawing dedicated shoppers from all over Dublin and further afield with a variety of clothes, shoes and accessories from a host of designer and high street labels.

Situated on Thomas Hand Street in Skerries, just twenty minutes north of Dublin airport, The Frock Exchange offers the best in casual and occasion wear with labels such as Armani, Prada, Chloe, Gucci, Diane Von Furstenberg and Valentino flying off the rails for a fraction of their original prices!

Ladies who bring clothes or shoes in good condition to The Frock Exchange can discuss with owner Louise a price they are happy to sell their garments on for. The shop then operates a sale or return policy after one month and gives 50% of the cost back once the item is sold, a great incentive for hoarders to make an extra euro during the recession!

The Frock Exchange is open from Tuesday to Friday 10am til 5.30pm and Saturday 10am til 6pm. Contact number is 087 253 9632 or email enquiries to thefrockexchange@yahoo.ie

Another swap shop currently causing fashion chaos in the city is the Swop Shop in Temple bar, where an actual bartering system takes place rather than any cash exchange. This is Dublin's first and only fashion 'exchange' store, offering customers the chance to swap like-for-like clothes. For example, a customer wishing to offload an item from Savida can swap it for something of a similar worth, Vero Moda perhaps.

However, owner Adele doesn't generally accept too much from Dunnes or Penneys as the stuff is so cheap to begin with that it is hardly worth passing on second hand. Swop Shop has a great variety of styles and sizes with an impressive collection of designer goods. If a swapper doesn't find an item they like initially they will receive 'swap credit' for next time they visit the store. Love this place!

For more information visit www.swopshop.ie

Image here is Sara Berman animal print satin tie dress from Urban Outfitters now available at Swop Shop

My X factor obsession is starting to take hold again after judges' houses left me more than excited this weekend! My style crush however, unlike the rest of the world is not the overstyled and predictable wag Cheryl Cole, but rather cheeky presenter Holly Willoughby who has a more relaxed and fun approach to her outfits without needing to starve herself to slim into them..

Im bored with Cheyrl if I'm honest, I think she needs a hair cut and I can't help but feel she consults a stylist every time her lipgloss needs re applying. Holly on the other hand seems to really know her own body and while her style is centred around floral and fifties style dresses, she knows what works for her and sticks to it without ever looking dull.

I too am a big fan of the dress this past couple of years, since discovering the flattering effects it has on my figure..skirts and dresses are great, if, like me, you prefer to show off your legs and waist while concealing a bigger bum. It's all about working your best bits!

I love that Holly wears a lot of high street on the X Factor as well, she has great taste - in fact this season she has appeared in three of the same dresses I already have! If only I had that hair as well..

While fashion this season has seen a return to 80s trends, in the Irish music scene there is a revival for all things 90s, thanks to tribute band Smash Hits!

Smash Hits! are a unique and entertaining tribute to the golden era of early 90s dance, pop and R'n'B, made up of experienced musicians performing the best of classic tracks from artists such as Vanila Ice, Snap, House of Pain and MC Hammer! Since bursting onto the scene in May they have played at both Oxygen and Electric Picnic as well as landing a residency in Tripod...for a nostalgic trip down your teenage memory lane check out their next Dublin gigs in Tripod on Oct 3rd and the Sugar Club on Oct 17th or keep your ears peeled for nationwide dates!

While perfoming on stage, lead female Orla Breslin, also a member of Irish band Republic of Loose, digs out her chokers and bumbags for true 90s style..scrunchies and puff jackets have also made an appearance! In real life however Orla prefers to skip the 90s style favouring sequins and leggings for ROL performances and a more laid back look when she's not singing..I caught up with Orla to get the spill on her style..

How would you describe your style Orla?
I would say it's girlie with a bit of a rocky edge.

How much would you spend a month on clothes?
It depends really on the month and if I get to go abroad, on average I would say 150 euro.

Any recessionista tips you want to share with us?
Keep an eye on the sale rails and join a covers band so you can wear all your old clothes! Not a fan of vintage stores anymore, used to love them but find the style has gone a bit stale. Also, never buy vintage shoes, have done it so many times and always end up paying to have them reheeled and resoled - just buy them new!

What are your favourite shops?
Topshop and American Apparel.

Do u have a style icon?
No one in particular, but I recently saw a picture of Zoe Kravitz and thought her style kicked ass.

What five things in your wardrobe could you not live without?
My black and gold studded ankle boots from Topshop, my AA hoody dresses, my brown leather satchel from Barcelona, my quarter inch jack gold pendant and my black hooded leather jacket.

What's your best fashion buy?
Best buy is a black sequined mini dress from Joanne Hynes which I wear to death and was worth every penny.