Summer is coming…we can always live in hope!

This is the most wonderful time of the year, days are getting longer, everything looks brighter and I do believe that it gives us more energy to do some amazing things. There is new life everywhere and very soon there will be sensational and vivid aromatic flowers filling our hanging baskets. Yes, of course there is some work involved but it’s always so very worth it. The same applies to getting YOU ready for the summer season. Last com seems to be only something the ‘boys’ can do…although I’m so very glad that we have a lot of showers, as my teenage boys take as long as I do to get ready! All jokes aside, ‘us’ girls need some ‘prep’ time. The wearing of summer clothes inevitably means that there is more skin revealed, skin that has spent many months undercover. So, first of all take a good multivitamin to boost your skin – I always take HEAD HIGH, it covers skin, nails and hair and it works, it won’t break the bank and you only need one product instead of being ‘tricked’ into buying three.

With the best of intentions, most of us faithfully promise to use body moisturiser all year round. On being pressed, most women, moi included, ‘forget’ to, so this time of the year means that we are trying to play catch-up. Best to find one that you love the fragrance of, I know that alone would entice me to use it as often as possible and find one that suits your budget. Always buy a ‘truckload’ of BIO-OIL if it goes on sale and add a drop or two into each dollop of body moisturiser before you lovingly smother it on yourself. It really helps to rejuvenate the skin and adds a luxurious-ness to even the cheapest of moisturisers. Make the time; it’s amazing how much time you will re-discover that you have when you put down your phone!

Next on your list should be sunglasses…more than one pair! I have learned the hard way many times, that to invest in an expensive pair of sunglasses only is a recipe for disaster, as I have lost them, sat on them, the dog has run off with them and chewed them before I got them back or I have (oh so stupidly) put them in my handbag, minus a hard case…they generally tend to lose an arm in that scenario, perhaps both! To top it off, I have a tendency to wear them on top of my head and forget and cause them grievous harm when I’m getting into the car. As a result, it is ‘many’ the profanity that has been uttered, all because of sunglasses, and my lack of ability to mind them. The solution is to buy one really good pair and about three ‘cheapie’ pairs. If I’m going somewhere where I will be moving around a lot, then the cheap pair comes with me but if I’m planning on staying put or have my husband with me, then I wear the good pair…I threaten myself to mind them, in fact I have a mantra..and reminding Gordon to remind me about them helps too! If you drive a lot, do invest in a good pair to protect your eyes from the UV rays, you can keep them safe in the car.

Summer bags take on a whole new meaning; I think that they can be the crazy pop of colour that we need to get us going. Some women shy away from wearing bright colours for various reasons, whereas they lovingly invest in the boldest, brightest, most colourful summer bag – and that is a wonderful thing! Even the cheapest of bags can look incredible, so don’t put any pressure on yourself to spend more than you need to. It has to be big; it has to fit some sunscreen, a body mist, bottle of water, your current book and all of your regular bits and pieces. Do try to find one that has compartments inside, otherwise you end up with a bottomless pit when you are trying to find something in it. Oh yes, and you need to fit in a little fold-up umbrella, how could I forget where we are living after all! Straw bags are top of the list this year.

Get over what other people think and wear a big straw hat if you love them. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number of women who love them, buy them and never wear them! Yes, they look good on everybody, you just need to find your type of summer hat, you might be a fedora, or a floppy beach hat or a wide brimmed straw hat. Get trying them on, they are fantastic and add instant glam while they can also cover up a crappy hair day.

When it comes to summer fashion, our bare essentials can be more on show than at any other time of the year so make sure that your white bras are still white and that any straps that could peek out are in good stead – there is no bigger let down to an outfit! If you need to invest in some new underwear, just do it. Comfort is always key but that does NOT mean that you have to forfeit incredible underwear. Check out HOT KNICKERS, they are locally created with love, and the owner/designer Ali, has added some new bits to work with your summer wardrobe!

A maxi dress or a jumpsuit falls into what I call the ’30 second perfect outfit’, make sure that you always have on or other in your wardrobe. There is minimal matching, other than shoes and maybe a hat, in fact, don’t focus too much on matching perfectly as this season, anything works with just about everything. 

Linen summer dresses have been upgraded to this year’s ‘must-have’ list, no longer tucked away in the back of the shop, these pretty little buttoned numbers are to the forefront. Wear with head held high! Loose trousers with a flattering flow always look best when they are balanced with a somewhat fitted top and a wide hat – try it out, it’s a fantastic cool look.

Make sure that you have plenty of cute tank tops and light tops in colours that flatter your skin tone. Treat yourself to a few new ones, even if you already have enough – just to warm your heart. Print dresses are everywhere and are simply gorgeous. Snap one up in your favourite colour before they are all gone.   

Try something new with your hair, even if you have short hair, use a different product or change the way you part it. If you don’t know who Pat Mulcahy is, then look her up. She is from Cork. Her hair is quite short and she does incredible things with it…always looks incredible and is a fashionista in her own right, definitely a trend setter for women over 50, and one of the nicest people that you could meet. If you have long locks, then take the time to learn how to do something new.

Flip flops are the obvious addition but what do you think about the new ‘city sandals’ with the little heel that won’t hurt your feet. Jeska Moloney (Peter O’Mahony’s fiancé) has been wowed over by them and is most definitely a trendsetter! Choose a striking colour, they are the perfect summer sandal/shoe – a little bit of height minus the pain!

You really have to be in the best head space to go shopping for a bikini or swimsuit – and that includes everybody, no matter what the shape or size. We all have our ‘pet hates’ about our bodies but the older I’m getting, I am ever more convinced that being able to go to a shop and pick out a swimsuit for either a holiday or your garden on a sunny day, is a luxury not afforded to everyone. You are who you are, don’t sweat the small stuff and when it comes to clothes size, believe me, it is ‘the small or trivial stuff’. That said, make sure that you are in tip top form and you will find it so much easier to pick out a swimsuit, focus on the colour, focus on a cut that you like. You will look beautiful in whatever you choose and be grateful for that. 

No matter what else you do this summer season, BE KIND. There is a magical beauty that radiates from kind people that cannot be quantified or explained. It is just there and everything that they put on, they make it look better than before. I have seen kindness recently, the like of which I cannot begin to explain and any mother or father will understand that when it is bestowed upon your children, your heart explodes with joy. The clothes, the shoes and the bags will come and go but I always endeavour to make sure that every man or woman who comes to me for help, leaves with a new friend, a confidante and a step further towards feeling and looking beautiful…and many giggles along the way!

To re-teach a thing its loveliness is the nature of metta.

Through loving kindness, everyone and everything can flower again from within’ 

– Sharon Salzberg  

Louise O'Dwyer

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

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