Spare us all…it’s January

No matter how hard we try, there is no avoiding the month of January. At one point in time we may have hibernated around this time of the year but unfortunately this is not the case now, no matter how hard some of us try to linger in our PJs or stay stuck under our comfy quilt. Our priority today is to stay healthy in mind and body. There are times when it looks like 2020 just put a wig on and reappeared as 2021 but please remember that it is only early days yet, stay hopeful, and colourful, and smile – even when you feel like cursing everyone, including the donkey down the road. 

Hot Pinks at Spring/Summer 2021 Chanel Ready to Wear

We can only control what we each do ourselves; it is futile to believe that we can have control over anyone else. I was slapped with that reminder, as we buried our cat yesterday – poor little Jimmy. Try as I may, he loved his freedom and always stayed at the back of our house and garden but his curiosity got the better of him eventually. The road must have looked very attractive and it was there that he met with his demise. We are all sad and I’ve been asked a few times why I didn’t keep him inside all the time, but how could I take away his freedom and try to control it? He loved roaming with the dogs and stalking them and he had a wonderful, albeit short life, full to the brim with fun and games. If you are wondering why I am telling you all of this, it is because we have lost our freedom and we are all undoubtedly struggling now. Our routines and day-to-day habits are askew and we are afraid to even think about what the future holds. All I can say is be a ‘Jimmy’! Have fun whenever and wherever you can, find a new way to enjoy yourself, find new habits that don’t involve incessantly watching the news, googling the daily numbers or starting every conversation with ‘Strange times…’ So what if you have gained some lockdown pounds or hit the festive sweets with the vigour of a lion stripping a carcass, you will lose it again if you really want to. If not there is elastic in almost everything now, so ‘Happy Days’.

If there is one foolproof way to feel better, then it simply must be NOT to live in leggings if you are working from home. They fall into what I call the ‘danger zone’. It’s all too easy to go from day to day in them, as they are just too comfortable. There is nothing wrong with slipping back into them after dinner in the evenings but they prove to be detrimental to keeping your weight on track. They just grow with you, silently and without you noticing at all. That is true for all of the loungewear this year; it is soft and comfortable and overly stretchy. While most people won’t even notice a few extra pounds, your ‘good’ clothes will immediately scream ‘imposter’ when you try to jam yourself into them…at least that’s what I think they roared when I put on a skirt the other day. On the plus side (no pun intended), the weather has been encouraging us all to get out and walk or run, so let’s be grateful for that. Try to continue to make an effort at looking your best. Let’s be honest, if you are not going anywhere, it is easier to not have to make any effort at all with yourself but that has a knock-on effect and it’s not a good one. If you, pre-Covid, used to wear make-up every day, then continue to do so now. It will boost your mood and at the moment we need to grab on to anything that does this. The same goes for your hair; style it as if you were going out to work. There is no better time of the year to smother yourself in body lotion, your skin is crying out for hydration. I’m back to letting my feet linger in a basin of hot water and Epsom salts, the best and cheapest detox for the body, and my feet feel amazing afterwards. My face gets a mask of pure Molaga Honey once a week – you won’t find a face mask that will contain as many vitamins and minerals to feed your skin. It is a bit messy and sticky but the resulting glow is so well worth the effort.

Can I suggest that you spend an evening or two revamping your wardrobe? Pull everything out, absolutely everything, and lay it across your bed and anywhere else that you can. You’d be amazed at how many items of clothing we all forget about or have never even worn – it might work perfectly with something else now! Every season brings with it some new colour combinations, so don’t be afraid to mix and match. The addition of a colourful scarf can and must never be under-estimated. It’s instant PZAZZ, especially when we tend towards darker colours this time of year. 

Bobble hats are always a cute addition for a casual look but a bucket hat is trés chic with a long trench coat or oversized jacket and jeans. It is a fresh addition, especially if you love hats. Rediscover the art of ‘belting up’ by throwing on a belt over anything. Obviously, they work very well with jumper dresses but certain winter coats can have a new lease of life just by adding an eye-catching belt.

One of the quickest ways to fall into ‘wardrobe humdrum’ is to choose similarly shaped pieces over and over again. If you always wear very fitted clothes (like me), then opt for something loose and oversized and do it at least once a week. It’s quirky and new and fun. Smart pinstripe loose trousers can look incredibly smart with an oversized jumper, brogues and a smart handbag, especially if you keep your hair neat or tied back – it gives a more sculpted look. Believe it or not, the denim skirt that has been hiding away, whether it is a mini or knee length, needs to be pulled out and worn with knee-high boots and a smart chiffon blouse; 10/10 for smart casual with this look.

It looks like ‘hot pink’ will be one of the biggest colour trends for 2021, so keep an eye out. If you already have some in your wardrobe, it looks strikingly bold worn with black. Check is still going strong and since we will need coats for quite a while yet, you could invest in a check coat that adds colour over black or denim. Skinny jeans will never go away but they will take a backseat to looser, ripped denim – you might even have a pair at the back of your wardrobe that still fits so check them out.

It is an absolute must that you seek out some playful prints to get 2021 off to a fun start. They are sure to put a smile on your face and perhaps to anyone you might meet during the day. Don’t be afraid to pair ‘bold colours’ – it is a refreshing look if not for the fainthearted. Shades like red, blue and green in individual pieces look fantastic together. Skinny jeans with a sharp blazer create the ideal combination of casual and sleek and are a great look for when we can go out to dinner once again.

You might have a little more time than usual right now so use that time to benefit ‘you’. Take time to google new looks and ‘how to do it’. Don’t be afraid of failure – experiment to your heart’s content until you find what works for you. Challenge yourself and repeatedly push yourself to step outside your comfort zone.

My message to you for January is to stay safe, stay connected, have fun, give lots of virtual hugs and, like Jimmy, go out and explore where you can, but safely. Spring is on the way… we will bloom again.

Louise O'Dwyer

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

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