January – like a Monday but longer

Let’s face it: January tends to be most people’s pet hate! The days are dark and gloomy and the nights are cold and wet. Some say they are broke, some are consumed with guilt after ‘doing the dog’ on their healthy diet over the holidays and the ‘dreaded flu’ is doing its rounds with great gusto. A few days into January, I had to put my sidekick Poppy to sleep, my only ‘inside dog’, leaving me more than a little sad. I always imagined her with a voice like Queen Elizabeth, following me around, making sure that everything was done exactly right. Of course I’m also angry with her for getting old and leaving me with two teenage boys, a husband and two very boisterous enormous male dogs. Poppy brought feminine energy to our house – she was small, delicate even, very sensitive and agreed with everything that I said. So this January feels like a very very very long Monday! 

There has to be something out there that can save this dreaded month and make it ‘get-through-able’ and it is WINTER SALES and lots of shopping! Brands need to rotate current lines and make room for the hugely anticipated spring styles, so there are many great deals in every shop that you go into. The clever shopper will have her research done; she knows to leave fashion on the hanger and to look for style. She wants investment pieces that will last more than one season. One of the best things about winter sales is that you can buy things that you actually need and can wear right away and for a few months after. A shapely down jacket will keep you warm, protect you from the rain and, what a bonus when you end up paying a fraction of the original cost!  

Over-sized sweaters won’t be going anywhere any time soon, so it’s well worth snapping up one or two. I found a gorgeous zebra print one with a sweet V in the back; it’s ready for my next night out with a pair of skinny black jeans. Don’t be afraid to go fuzzy ¬– fuzzy sweaters are glorious. Make sure to balance your look with sleek jeans, wearing a big jumper with loose trousers is more boho and student-like.

The Western trend has hit big and big it will stay for the foreseeable future. Cowboy boots of old were generally uncomfortable and always seemed to cut a woman’s leg in the wrong place. Designers have made sure to nip and tuck and soften in all the right places, making sure that whichever pair of cowboy boots that you buy will last on your feet from early morning to very late at night. The variety of shades available is fantastic; there are probably 20 shades between dark brown and light tan that will leave even the pickiest shopper smiling. You can wear them with anything; they ‘funk up’ a tired old dress, add wow to a simple skirt and top and give jeans a fun party girl look. 

The prairie dresses of last summer will be around again this year, so if you shy away from the tough cowgirl look then flaunt your femininity in a sweet prairie dress. Keep a lookout for one that you can wear now and right through to the summer. You can opt for the flowy option; ruffled, tiered or high-neckline, whichever tickles your fancy. They look so sweet with a denim jacket and cowboy boots. 

Plaid skirts and thin knit sweater combos are simply divine. Rather than opting for a black top, choose a vibrant colour. If you haven’t worn a polo neck yet this winter then now is the time; wear it with a plaid A-line skirt and finish the look with statement earrings and those cowboy boots. Effortlessly cool, this look has been around before but seems all the sweeter this time around.

There is always a little black dress (LBD) in the sales that will grace every curve on your body – you just have to do a lot of looking and a lot of trying on to find the perfect one. Big sleeves will be around for a while, so don’t be afraid to choose something very different from what you would normally wear. Never ever allow anyone to tell you that you have too many dresses in your wardrobe. 

This is the time of the year that most of you might not think to look for sunglasses but if you are a ‘label queen’ then you will get some fantastic designer sunglasses in the sales. 

The 2020 Golden Globes red carpet was all a glow. While most divas seemed to opt for either stunning statement earrings or a sparkling neckpiece, the colour trend was either blue or green, with Taylor Swift opting for a glorious pair of sapphire and emerald statement earrings. Perhaps your arm might be easily twisted if you see any sale signs over costume jewellery in those colours now. Like a LBD, elegant sparkle is exactly what every woman needs or should already have.

Isn’t it amazing how easy it is to get lost in style? I do, all the time. There is nothing better than seeing how a slightly different shape or a different length or colour can make a woman feel beautiful. I wish more women could see just how beautiful they are, with make-up or without, hair perfectly groomed or thrown up in a sloppy bun, in a little black dress or jeans and a top. It never matters whether you are wearing a Dior top or a Penney’s top, it’s how you hold yourself in it.

‘And in her smile I see something more beautiful than the stars’ 

Louise O'Dwyer

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

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