Magnificent March

January and February are done and dusted, the two months of the year that most people are very glad to see the back of for one reason or another. Magnificent March is upon us, this is my favourite month and not only because it’s my birthday month but also because there is new life emerging everywhere! There is, undoubtedly, a certain comfort in knowing that brighter days are so close you can almost smell them. That said, many a St. Patrick’s Day would leave you confused, as to when you had unknowingly moved to a dark Siberia…

From a tourist’s perspective, if you google what to wear in Ireland in March, the list wouldn’t exactly encourage you to come here, warm fleeces, waterproof pants, mix of long and short sleeved cotton t-shirts, thermal layers, quick dry pants and a woolly hat, scarf and gloves. Thankfully, most Irish people have a much better sense of style than that. We now take excellent care in choosing flattering out and about clothes, snugly fitted jackets, exceptionally cute bobble hats, streamline and supportive walking pants and the trendiest of footwear.

Despite the fact that the weather may dictate ‘cover up’ attire for a little while longer, what should we be looking to buy in the shops now? Lingerie is taking centre stage in the ready-to-wear world, as opposed to its usual seat underneath it all. While most of us will avoid this trend, you will see lots of dresses, skirts, and tops, with garter-like straps dripping from the hem, a look that will carry on all season long. Big blazers with a wisp of material or a little piece of lingerie underneath, perhaps a look for the ‘younger ones’ but the rest of us will find lots of pretty tops with boning and hook and eye detail, very sweet for a night out! Flimsy little slip dresses will cover lots of racks in the shops, the hope is that ‘melting hot’ days are ahead and we will all snap them up.

Little House on the Prairie dresses are everywhere; they are so versatile and feel good. The variety of floral patterns is breathtaking and you are sure to find a colour combination that you will adore. Sometimes we wonder what type of footwear to wear with them; I suggest flat long boots or flat ankle boots. When the weather picks up a little you can wear with pumps or converse (to add a little bit of attitude) and of course, flip-flops will be a sensational add-on in warmer months. These dresses are relaxed wear and can tend to look a little stuffy when you dress them up – keep them casual, it can be a very flattering look.

Suits are very much still ‘on trend’. This season the designers decided to add in waistcoats and some are even giving you the option of Bermuda short suits for the more casual gal! I have to say that a trouser suit is a MUST HAVE for any professional woman and they don’t come cheap if you want an excellent fit, but will be well worth investing in. That said, I struggled to find one myself, I went on a mission and unfortunately had to buy outside Ireland to get exactly what I wanted. A suit with a pair of long shorts will definitely be a trend to watch this season, obviously not a look for all of us but there is a certain woman that will crunch this bold look, especially in a khaki or biscuit shade! A three-piece suit is very definitely a power look for any woman who has the confidence to wear it and if you don’t have the confidence, fake it until you do and wear it anyway.

You either love pinstripes or you hate them but I have a feeling that some of you may be persuaded to re-think your dislike of them with the current season’s must-have loose pinstripe trouser. The print is subtle and versatile and it has been a while since pinstripe has graced the runways so it was welcomed back with lots of open arms this time around. Whatever your personal style, there is room for a pair of pinstripe trousers, just find the shape that flatters you. Michael Kors went with a very classic pinstripe suit whereas Balmain chose to run with the trendier loose trouser and the high street stores are sure to follow on suit with affordable copies.

If you like 70s-style, it is everywhere, so you can shop to your heart’s delight. From retro minis to decadent accessories and mod prints – I’m really looking forward to seeing this style on the streets. Groovy button-down shirts with the-bigger-the-collar the better, 70s-esque style are to be worn hanging well outside your blazer, it’s a screaming 70s style! Cropped sweater vests may not be the easiest item of clothing to know what to pair with, so look at what the designers have done for ideas. Imagine a shearling-lined suede vest over a mod floral mini dress…a major ‘WOW’ look but very cute when executed properly. Suede was everywhere during that infamous decade so we are seeing the return of the suede-fringe jacket. They can look very chic over denim. Suede skirts will make an appearance in the office with many designers opting for a more professional than street-wear cut. Every single piece of 70s style clothing puts a smile on my face; it was the era of non-rigidity and ‘who the hell cares’…a wonderful time it seems!

Summer tropical prints are sure to get you booking somewhere steamy and remote and craving some sunshine on your skin. There are so many dresses with fruit or nature-inspired patterns, some even look good enough to eat or take a picture of! While many of us, me most definitely, will not be purchasing the biggest 90s comeback of the season – The Tube Top – there is another option for us to show a little skin but not too much – scarf print pieces or giant scarves tied into a top…they can be sensational and best of all unique. Be sure to find yourself a slinky silky number for those balmy nights out that we hope are not too far away. Have a good long look around the shops, take your time, choose what you like and then encourage yourself to be a little brave also and step, ever-so-slightly, outside your comfort zone.  One thing is for sure, this Spring/Summer season has an endless supply of ‘fun’ clothes and you need to make sure that you pick some up, make ‘fun’ your new wardrobe must-have and the best accessory you could ever wear!

You gotta have style. It helps you get down the stairs. It helps you get up in the morning. It’s a way of life. Without it, you’re nobody. I’m not talking about lots of clothes, just enough.” Diana Vreeland  

Louise O'Dwyer

Louise O'Dwyer is an Image consultant based in West Cork

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