Summer fever

Posted on: 6th May, 2014

Category: Image

Contributor: Louise O'Dwyer

We have been blessed with some heart-warming sunshine recently — it’s just enough to ‘shift’ us into gear for what will hopefully be a glorious summer! We might still be wearing our boots but I must admit my toes have made a few shy appearances too. So get out your body brushes, exfoliators, hard skin removers, masks, moisturisers, heavenly scented body creams and ‘start using them’. We all buy them and we feel good when we buy all of these things to make our skin, hair and nails shine but…for God’s sake, what goes so terribly wrong between buying them and using them? We promise ourselves that we will use every last bit of every bottle, promise ourselves that we will make the time to pamper every part of our body — but it doesn’t happen! I’m including myself in this, I’m a disaster, I tell my daughter to pamper herself but I rarely do it myself. How about we all make a pact to ‘do it’ from now on? The benefits will give us all such a boost and the compliments will definitely be flowing so here’s to loads of smothering and pampering.

If you have all of your summer style safely tucked away, then it is very definitely the time to get it all out. Everybody thinks that they have very few really nice summer bits until they actually look through what they have…it’s always a pleasant surprise. That said, there will always be a few bits that will have to be binned, some white clothes don’t stand the test of time very well and if you think something is gone off white, don’t hesitate just get rid of it — the key is to wear your white bits as much as you can during the summer season, so that you get great value for your money and if they only last one season, who cares! With practicality to the forefront of everyone’s mind these days, then I suggest that you do not go summer style shopping without first looking through what you do actually have, refresh your memory and use what you have to build an even better summer wardrobe.

Re-jigging your clothes to create a personalised capsule wardrobe to fit in with your own style will result in a better wardrobe than an afternoon with your credit card — and be a hell of a lot cheaper. Pare down your clothes into basics that all co-ordinate with each other because this is and always will be the cornerstone of classic style. Build it around a base colour — black is the obvious one for the winter season whereas white, cream, camel or pale blue provide a cool base for those warmer months. Then, very simply, add in pieces that you know are good colours that reflect your eyes or suit your hair colour or skin tone. It’s not rocket science but you can mess it up really badly if you just go shopping without a plan. Once you have chucked out clothes that don’t fit, clothes you don’t like and clothes that seem to have appeared through some sort of a time warp — your wardrobe will be pretty basic anyway and it will be glaringly obvious what is missing and what you need more of!

Believe it or not, the perfect white t-shirt is essential and equally chic when worn with jeans or under suits or open shirts. It is elusive so persevere: look for opacity, stretch and washability. This is the one thing that must always look pristine and I will now include white shirts or blouses in the same category. If you find the perfect fit, buy one, wear it, wash it, check it doesn’t shrink or bobble and then go back and buy 10 of them. If it’s a white casual shirt get two and likewise if it’s a gorgeous white blouse, you will regret it if you don’t and when you do, you will pat yourself on the back many many times!

The idea of having a sense of style seems to terrify some women, they just can’t seem to get their heads around it and think that they couldn’t possibly do it themselves without the help of a stylist. This is such a destructive thought pattern, of course any woman can create their own style but like anything else in life that is worthwhile it takes an investment of time and this is the crux of the issue — do you believe you are worth spending time on yourself to make yourself shine and bring out the absolute best in yourself? If you are alone while you are reading this, then shout out in a very loud voice ‘yes, I am worth it’. To hell with it, even if you are in a crowded room or coffee shop, shout it out anyway, be brave! Now I am going to let you in on a little secret that makes such a huge difference to building a successful wardrobe and creating signature style — style also means ‘life-style’. There is no point in wearing tight, chic dresses or pencil skirts and delicate blouses on a daily basis if you are a stay-at-home mom with a six-month-old and a two=year-old — its just not practical and how the hell can you have fun and snuggle time with your kids if you are in formal ‘stuffy’ clothes. Don’t misunderstand what wearing comfortable clothes means — it does not always mean a track suit, it regularly lends itself to glamourous (but comfortable) jeans, cute pumps or boots and a fitted but stretchy top and eye-catching scarf. Being practical is the key. On the other hand if you are a high flying executive or manager, then it is expected of you to have very well-fitting suits, and if your budget stretches to it, then get them individually tailored to fit your body exactly —lifestyle dictates.

So what’s in the shops and better still what should we all be buying? Cream, khaki and brown are the perfect neutral building blocks for this time of the year and are ideal for layering under brighter colours. Khaki or brown well-fitting shorts will add class to whatever else you are wearing and a few chunky gold bangles or cuffs will add that little bit of much sought after ‘chic-ness’. With lots of strong pinks/berry shade and strong blues popping up all over why not wear them together — playing strong colours off each other looks really well and makes a ‘wow’ statement. Every style of skirt seems to be in style right now and that is very definitely a good thing, wear whichever style suits you best and yes there is a skirt style that suits every shape available and if you can wear leather — ‘of course, wear it’!

There is a lot of very bright yellow and strong orange stealing the show in the shops. It looks gorgeous but how practical is it, especially on our Irish skin? Canary yellow is only for those with very dark hair and very sallow skin so be careful. If you opt more for a mustard shade then you will look classically gorgeous. Blondes need to be very careful when it comes to any shade of yellow, your work will definitely be cut out for you here but you will find a shade that will work — if all else fails you could limit yellow to your finger nails or toe nails! Orange is a great colour to work with, it blends with almost every other colour and don’t be afraid to wear it with another strong colour. An orange top paired with a floral pattern cut-off fitted trouser is a breath of fresh air, cool, chic and easy to wear and works great with heels, pumps or even flip-flops.

Logo t-shirts are everywhere and most logos will bring a much sought after smile to your face. Even the celebs are wearing t-shirts with their own name on them so it’s definitely a big trend. Teenagers and those of you lucky enough to be in your 20s can wear whichever logo you choose but from 30s up be age appropriate or else just use them for lounging around the house or in bed!

I’m always up for a laugh — life is so very short so you have to live as much as you can and laugh as much as you can absolutely everyday. I’m hopeless at telling jokes or relaying a funny story and I applaud those of you who can. I try to find lots of fun things to do, things that get your heart racing and the adrenaline pumping. I’ve always loved karting and am proud to say that the last time we went I beat my husband and my two sons every time. Recently, I decided to try a new ‘fun’ thing — paintballing! Doesn’t every girl dream of dressing up in combats and shooting people? Maybe it’s just me, but what a laugh — hours of fun, hiding behind trees and rocks and reaching your target without being completely covered in paint. What’s really great is that we discovered FUNMANWAY, just outside Dunmanway, local and lots of fun. I am definitely going back to have my guts rattled in a Zorb ball, imagine bouncing down a hill suspended inside a giant transparent ball — go on, try it out, you will definitely know that you are ‘alive’!

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