Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Fashion Crush

It hit me like a bolt of blue. I have a crush. It was highly unexpected as I had no clue  who he was until I spied him on The Late Late Show in December. When he was described as being into fashion, I took one look at his get up, raised an eyebrow and sneered. I was not too impressed with his garb.

I was in Cali for Christmas so missed the full-throttle PR machine in the lead up to his first article for the Irish Independent’s Weekend magazine. I did however see him walking on Castle Market when I was with two fashionable and handsome male friends. I wasn’t looking too shabby myself, sporting a fur-trimmed coat and Hermes scarf.  I didn’t cop who he was, but he was definitely looking at us and being a single lady on the prowl I made eye contact with him. The boys began to talk about him immediately and I was, ‘Who is he again?’ Brief discussions ensued and then it was on to whatever other topic of conversation took our fancy as we headed to The Lost Society for coffees and cakes.

Then I went on to the Indo website Monday morning only to be seduced by a picture of a topless man and the line ‘Into the Closet’ – I had to click the link and read Paul Galvin’s Fashion Manifesto.

His work needs a bit more fine tuning (pot meet kettle - but I am a mere blogger and do not get paid for my humble words). I also likely think that it could be down to the fact that it is formatted differently in print with more clear paragraph/section breaks. I’ve noticed this does not always translate to online papers and can make a huge difference in the way something flows.

So all of the above issues aside, he had me at “Any man that can go out and buy his woman something she loves and feels great wearing, something on-trend, is on a winner.” This is something that I’ve always had turning in the back of my mind. I long for the day I receive a gift of clothes, jewellery, or accessories from a man that makes me gasp with delight because it is just ‘me’. Not something I picked out, or openly discussed my desire for, but that they put a bit of thought into, walked into a store and knew it was what I would like.

I am not being ungrateful - I have been in receipt of some lovely, thoughtful gifts over the years from former flames, but never in the form of the material accoutrements I love so much. I’ve never made a secret of my love of fashion to the men in my life, but it seemed it was something they would admire, but not necessarily directly participate in. Fashion is often dismissed as a girl or gay’s game.  It’s more than acceptable for a woman to spend precious time searching for the perfect wearable gift. For example, I am someone that spent a majority of a holiday looking for a gift, a watch, that was loved and lost similar to the relationship itself.

Of course, Mr. Galvin intimates that a man who does choose the perfect gift will get away with more and will receive more favours in the bedroom. This is a bit Maxim-esque for my tastes, but, boys, take a bit of advice from M. Galvin  and get a bit brave when it comes to fashion. 

Oh and Paul - you can buy me presents anytime…

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Speed Accessorising

This past Friday, I went through a 21st century rite of passage for singletons…that’s right I went speed dating. It was actually quite fun and the organisers formatted it as a pub quiz, so I got to show potential beaux the wealth of random knowledge I hold in my pretty little head.

So Thursday and Friday evening were spent pondering the eternal question - What does one wear to these things? There is a fine balance to these things...

The base of the outfit was an LBD from H&M – I actually own this dress in 5 different guises and find it is absolutely brilliant for accessorizing and dressing up/down. It’s a simple baby doll cut dress with a scoop neck and elbow length sleeves. Worn with black tights and my pewter mary janes.

Accessories? Oh god. Name Necklace? Scarf? Cocktail ring? Chandelier earrings? Which handbag?

I decided against a necklace – the scoop neck on the dress draws more than enough attention to my d├ęcolletage.  I decided to go for a pair of gold drop earrings that my mom bought me a few years ago. I like drops because they draw attention to your neck/shoulders and I have been told these are some of my nicer bits.

I then stacked two gold rings on top of one another. The main reason for the stacking is that one of them is a little too big for my fingers. The top ring is actually Avon costume and the other is a ruby ring from my parents that I received for Christmas a few years ago.

Handbag? My normal everyday is a black Marc by Marc Jacobs, which my lovely and gorgeous friend, Janice waxed lyrical about on her blog. I have a rather large handbag collection, but generally Marcy is the one that is taken out for a twirl. For speed-dating I opted for a ladylike Italian leather forest green clutch in forest green and suede gloves to match.

The Avon ring, clutch, and gloves all came via my aunt’s mother-in-law. She had some absolutely amazing pieces and I love wearing and using them as it makes me think of Maria and her amazing fashion sense. I added a touch of green eyeshadow to the outside corners of my eyes to tie it all together.

It seems the outfit and my pub quiz knowledge charmed as I have a date already! 

Now...what am I going to wear?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I changed jobs last year and decided to start ‘dressing like a grown-up’. My previous job had allowed me to wear jeans and a various combination of knit tops - there were occasions where more formal dress was required, but these were few and far between.

The past few weeks I’ve been on the early shift, which means getting up at about 6:45 am in a haze to eat my breakfast, see what the weather will be like (a superfluous compulsion of mine), get my make up on, get dressed and hit the footpath to work in less than 50 minutes.

There has been very little time for accessories in these preparations, but this morning, the outfit needed something and needed something fast…enter graduated beaded choker in sterling silver. It’s simple and matches everything. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Barrettes!!! A Post for my Mom

My mom recently lamented the fact that she never learned to style my hair when I was a little girl. While other girls were sporting intricate French plaits, my hair was usually worn straight with a fringe. The few pictures where I have a lovely crown of braids are usually taken shortly after my great aunt or another family member had styled it.

I can safely say to my mom, ‘sigh no more - your deficit in hair skills lead to my adoration of hair accessories’ and I think I wear them well.
I love barrettes and always have. They are brilliant to have around when your fringe has grown out to an awkward length between haircuts or when you don’t have the right necklace/earrings/scarf to go with an outfit.

My current collection is very pared down - a few years ago I gave a number of barrettes to my niece, who is now an ardent Sailor Moon fan due to a pair Chibiusa barrettes in my old collection. A lot of these have come from H&M, but the long pale pink one came from a Christmas cracker and the small one with rhinestones is the last one of a pair that I purchased for the first prom I went to at 15.  

I am contemplating adding to my collection, the Style Rookie is sporting some amazing Goody clips at the moment and I think they are perfect for spring and summer.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Found - Perfect Brown Shoes (I Hope!)

The last pair of brown shoes I owned that ticked all the boxes were my Eastland loafers  in middle school. Since then I have made several attempts at procuring the perfect pair.

The first was a pair of brown mod style boots by Steve Madden with a squared toe, large heel and platform. I am pretty sure I can count on one hand the number of times I wore them before they were donated to charity as they were even uncomfortable to drive in.  They were also just far too high and resulted in a Frankenstein effect with every pair of trousers I owned.

The next style was a pair of slip-ons from Unlisted. They were not terrible, but they were a bit old for my early-20s self and I only ended up wearing them to work once every blue moon.

I thought I’d finally cracked it with a pair of brown suede clogs from J.Crew. They were the right shade of chocolate brown, had an ankle strap and a wooden platform heel. Classic. Sadly I bought them on sale and in a size 10 shortly before a friend’s wedding to go with a lovely vintage dress I had planned on wearing. They were slightly too big, so worked for the wedding and for any event that involved a lot of sitting and very little walking. I brought them back to Dublin after my first return to the States and wore them twice, receiving many blisters and nearly spraining an ankle for my efforts. 

I’d never stopped looking, toying with the purchase of many heeled, flat, suede, tan, chocolate brown, and every other type or brown shoe imaginable and in the end it was always…mmm…no, sorry, you’re not the pair for me. 

Wandering aimlessly up Grafton Street pre-Christmas I spotted that Clarks was having a sale, so thought I’d pop in, assuming they wouldn’t have anything I liked in my size, which is generally the case. Then I spotted the beauties pictured here – they're low-heeled, not suede and just the right amount of old-fashioned. The remind me a bit of shoes my great-grandma had and while some would consider this a turn-off it made me love them all the more. I’ve worn them twice this week, the leather is a bit stiff so they need breaking in, but they are very promising…

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I've some baggage...Long-haul Baggage!

Once upon a time, I was a typical North American girl and a weekend trip to my best mate’s parents involved at minimum one larger than cabin-sized suitcase. Of course road trips lend themselves to 
over-packing and anything that involves at least one trip through airport security does not.

These days I am older, wiser and an expat that must make at least one long-haul journey every year so I have had to change my more is more philosophy to a less is more philosophy – even at that I usually have at least one piece of clothing that is never worn on the trip.

I am paranoid enough to pack all my valuables into my cabin baggage. My definition of valuables is laptop, camera and accessories for the holiday. Accessories usually involve at least one pair of dangly earrings, a silk scarf, vintage brooch, sunglasses and the most recent issue of British Vogue.  From there it’s baby wipes, sweets purchased as a gift for friends and family or anything that I couldn’t fit in my checked bag. My handbag holds any toiletries and items truly vital for travel, like wallet, passport and tickets.

My cabin baggage also includes a silk sleep sack. My mom bought one for me through some Christmas uber-deal a few years ago and it is AMAZING. It does not leave you shivering as the shoddy blankets given to economy passengers do (SOMEDAY I will turn left) nor does it shed all over your clothing and leave you with itchy skin. The one she purchased for me also came with a silk pillowcase and a silk eye mask. I love how warm it keeps me and how lightweight and small it packs up, plus it’s silk and who doesn’t like silk?

Packed into my checked baggage are dresses as they can be dressed up and down and are great for layering - as are cardigans! One pair of jeans, some pyjamas, socks, (unmentionables) and one or two t-shirts. If it's summer time a pair of casual sandals, a pair of dressy sandals and a pair of runners and a bathing suit or two. In winter, it's knee high boots, runners, and a pair of heeled black shoes. Toiletries are a post unto their own.

Of course, in spite of taking many trips, I usually manage to forget something important like a toothbrush, hairbrush or, as per my most recent trip, my sunglasses - and in California you always need a pair of sunglasses.