If you’ve been reading my blog awhile, or if you’ve known me longer than 5 minutes, you probably already know I’m not much of, ahem, a fashion guru.
It’s not that I don’t care – I just can’t be bothered, mostly. And I’m too cheap. While I may have put in a bit more effort when I had a short-lived career in the States, I’ve just never had the knack for being in the know, in terms of wardrobe. And that’s really OK.
However, when I DO get that longing to join this century, I’ve come to enjoy “the chase.” I occasionally tune in to fashion TV shows and flip through the iconic celebrity sections of the newspaper, but the best way for me to learn what to wear is to jump into the shopping pool. This is where it gets good. 🙂
More and more, Ireland is known as a place where new and exciting fashion thrives, where daring trends are tried and where many young hopefuls are marrying their imaginations to their sewing machines. It can be horrendous. But there are also some really cool, really unique, really affordable fashions popping up on the market.
While I admittedly do most of my clothes shopping here at Dunnes and Pennys (Primark), I don’t go there when I’m looking for something nice. But neither do I go to the “High Street” shops such as Monsoon, River Island, or Coast. They’re just too dang expensive on a barista’s salary! (Don’t even suggest any real designers to me!!! I can’t even afford to spell Valentino!!!) Plus, really, I’m not too excited these days on getting a top everyone else has all over Ireland and the UK. The solution is actually a brilliant one – I’ve begun to shop the little boutiques in town, and it’s a win-win all around. It’s so obvious I can’t believe I’ve taken this long to realize it.
My favourite right now is Rouge Boutique, a funky little place across the street from where I work. It’s about the size of a walk-in closet and they also do beauty treatments in addition to selling clothes and accessories. What makes this shop so wonderful to me is the combination of three things: the staff are lovely and helpful; the fashions are fun, unique and still pretty; and the stuff in there is extremely reasonable. This Max C London dress is one I bought for my brother’s wedding in November, and I will look for any excuse to pull it out and wear it. I love how the heavy-duty zipper contrasts with the light, feminine fabric.
I got the “Hooting Owls Dress” (as I like to call it) by Traffic People at Label Lust, a little shop that unfortunately closed after Christmas. This dress was one I pulled from the clearance racks along with three great tops for only €1 each. The fabric pattern always makes me smile. Again, lovely people, lovely stuff, affordable prices. I was so sorry to see it go!
(It should be mentioned that my examples in this post are both London designers – simply dictated, by my taste, I guess! But there is quite a growing market for Irish designers too, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of their stuff pop up in the small-town boutiques as well.)
These two examples are really the only nice dresses I’ve bought in the last year…or so… and I am so excited to wear them! Not only did I get some things I’m thrilled with, but I gave my business to some small entrepreneurs and small designers. It also means I’m not spending my money on 3 or 4 cheap things I only sort-of like. I really feel like this is the way to go, at least for me!
It’s funny, I’ve heard girls say it can be difficult to find simple designs here in Ireland, like say, a plain LBD (Little Black Dress)! This is actually quite true – most things I’ve seen lately are brightly coloured and largely patterned, and if they’re plain and simple, there’s got to be loads of gaudy ornamentation around the hem or neckline! It can be a bit much, for sure. But by and large, I think I’d still rather go for something more striking – it encourages me to be a bit braver when I finally do put some makeup on and paint my nails to go out.
As and added fashion aside, I’ve been quite inspired with the articles I’ve been reading lately about Livia Firth (Colin Firth’s wife) and her recent crusade for a “green carpet” at all these award ceremonies. Even if you’re not into “silk that doesn’t kill the silkworm,” you have to admire her chutzpah in wearing gowns entirely created from recycled bits of fabric! Waste not, want not!!! I think that is fantastic – I’m all for reducing the waste wherever we can, with food, fuel, and now even clothing! If we can just get the prices down on these little numbers she’s wearing… but that’s another post for another day. 🙂