From the cat­walk to your wardrobe… Grace Cahill on the fash­ion fixes that work in the real world

Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - CONTENTS - Grace Cahill

DE­SPITE MY YEAR-ROUND AF­FEC­TION for spring/sum­mer clothes, I have ques­tion marks over the wear­a­bil­ity of cer­tain creative of­fer­ings this sea­son. Yes, the mer­cury has been ris­ing and it’s a lit­tle less chilly, but there are few even­tu­al­i­ties where I could carry off a crys­talem­bel­lished PVC mini-skirt via Karl Lager­feld’s won­der­ful imag­i­na­tion. The same goes for a shirt-dress drip­ping in fringe, as imag­ined by de­signer Phoebe Philo at Ce­line.

I find tricky ‘in between’ weeks like this – when it’s warm one minute and cold the next – peak tim­ing for fash­ion mis­takes. This is typ­i­cally the time of year when I make ridicu­lous im­promptu in­vest­ments that end up sit­ting in my wardrobe with the tags in­tact. The prob­lem, I find, is that the ma­jor­ity of de­signer trends are trans­lated in ev­ery shape or guise on the high street, de­spite their im­prac­ti­cal­ity in the ever-evolv­ing and de­mand­ing wardrobe of a 30-some­thing woman.

We are, re­mem­ber, con­tend­ing with run­way clothes that look breath­tak­ing on mod­els and try­ing to work poorer qual­ity vari­a­tions of them in real life. The strug­gle has re­cently steered my in­ter­est to less di­rec­tional, trend-driven la­bels to fill the gaps in wear­a­bil­ity. That’s not to say that I’ll no longer spend hours in Zara or Mango and im­pul­sively spend but the logic is to wait un­til I’m shop­ping for some­thing spe­cific: a skirt for the of­fice or an oc­ca­sion such as a hol­i­day, a wed­ding or the races.

But where can I find nor­mal­ity in the midst of spring’s sar­to­rial may­hem? The choice is pretty var­ied but usu­ally the best places to shop for pieces that you’ll get wear out from now un­til Oc­to­ber are COS, Marks & Spencer, and brands like Joseph at Brown Thomas and Preen at Deben­hams. These tend to have a much more wear­able ap­proach to what spring/sum­mer dress­ing should look like, es­pe­cially for ev­ery­day even­tu­al­i­ties like tem­per­a­men­tal Ir­ish weather.

At M&S, state­ment midi dresses are hav­ing a mo­ment – not the ditzy print, danc­ing in meadow kind that are al­ways rem­i­nis­cent of spring, more the soft, flut­tery chif­fon jersey and crepe kind with elon­gated hem­lines that feel free but still so­phis­ti­cated (pic­tured above). At COS, new col­lec­tions are lit­tered with high-waist printed wrap skirts, A-line skirts with gath­ered pan­els and more vo­lu­mi­nous skirts with pleats. This makes the trousers/tights to bare leg tran­si­tion breezy, paired with a soft tee or shirt with gath­ered asym­met­ric bell sleeves.

If you love the ease of one piece, the store’s tai­lored cot­ton and soft jersey jump­suits are lessons in com­fort while at Deben­hams, the ver­sa­til­ity of Preen’s wrap dresses and midi skirts are prov­ing that you can in fact push a dress from a 9am board meet­ing into a late night din­ner, el­e­vated with state­ment ear­rings and heels.


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