The best month of the year

‘Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live.’ – Gianni Versace

There simply has to be a toss-up between Christmas and June for the ‘Best Month of the Year’ title! In the month of June there is an abundance of hope, joy and life (According to the Google!). We are halfway through the year and I do hope that you have found your ‘happy level’ again; that vitality for life that has been suppressed this last while. I suppose the flower most synonymous with June is the rose, the ultimate display of love, passion and beauty and smothering yourself in Nature is probably the best tonic for weary minds and weary bodies. I guess we are a bit like roses now; we are getting ready to bloom, getting back to life in all its grandeur and glory. Maybe some of us are a bit delicate, nervous even, but that is ok, because we will emerge into a breathtaking blossom once we have, like a rose bush, secured ourselves onto a good support system. That’s what I was doing early this morning, helping my rose bush, in the garden, to trail along the best path; and that is why our friends are so important – we have come through this rollercoaster more united and more ‘real’. No more time for BS-talk, it’s all very real now, real love, real support and real beauty and, there is no better month to celebrate that, than in June.

I’m loving the new frenzy around clothes and shopping and looking good, not just because it is helping our shell-shocked economy but mainly because there is a dramatic increase in the ‘feel good factor’. It is so wonderful to see so many wide smiles, not just mouth smiles but those smiles that connect to dancing and sparkling eyes. I’ve been saying it for years; it is this feature that makes a good outfit look sensational and why designers send ‘pouting young pull-throughs for rifles’ down runways is beyond me. We all want lots of colour now, the brighter the better, so brace yourself for a fashionable month. Summer is all about dressing up and getting out and we have a lot of ‘getting out ‘ to be catching up on. The best piece of advice that I can give you is to take a little time to get your summer wardrobe ready so that you can go to absolutely everything you are invited to or maybe just go to everything that is on and open!

Your motto this summer should be less is more, don’t ‘over-try’ or ‘over-match’, heels will be an after-thought for quite a while yet…maybe because we will all be moving around so much, like toddlers we will want to meet everyone and go everywhere. Stock up on flip-flops, great white sneakers and funky wedge sandals that are not too high. Jeans will always be your ‘go to’ so make sure that your post-lockdown body has the most gorgeous pair to snuggle into. I’m definitely sold on MOS MOSH jeans for comfort, that moulding or sculpting effect is incredible…especially when you are no longer in your 20s or 30s! Invest in two lighter coloured pairs; I’ll go so far as suggesting that you get a white pair – especially if linen trousers are not your cup of tea. Linen trousers can look so wonderful but they exaggerate wobbly thighs, which means that a lot of women wear long tops or a smock effect to hide it, a bit of an overload, especially if height is not on your side. BUMS, THIGHS AND BELLIES are a never-ending source of income via the weight loss world and the constant bombarding message that we must all lose weight is soul-destroying. Girls, there comes a time in our lives that we must choose between our face and our ass; excuse my bluntness but at a certain age you just can’t have both (unless you go down the surgery route and a few exceptions with fantastic genes) so pick your poison and get over yourself. Wear clothes that you like or love, not because you should be hiding a part of your body but because you are flesh and blood and real. Stay away from social media gurus, neuroscience has proven that we all feel deflated when we cannot exactly copy what they are preaching and immediately see the results – our brains are struggling with filters and fake-ness. It is your responsibility if you have young daughters to remind them continually that our world, their world, is a stage, a performance and they must learn to look behind the scenes or they will be miserable, continually searching for a visual perfection that is computer-animated.

The on-trend summer hues are to die for. I love deep or light lavender, sky blue, Granny Smith apple green, white and yellow – there is a lovely combination of innocence, vulnerability and strength to these colours and it’s easy to see why they are making an entrance now. Sweatshirts simply must be in everyone’s wardrobe, some snugly fitting and a few slightly over-sized, as they have become the cardigan of summer 2021. Be brave, go for a bright colour and if you are busty, choose a sweatshirt that has small slits on each side rather than a band around the bottom. Well fitting ‘gourmet’ leggings, impeccable runners and a dressy top with fully make-up and sculpted or well-groomed hair is another key look going forward. The outfit is complete with an oversized blazer (but not too big) and a cute cross shoulder bag or extravagant back-pack bag. Spend at least a few hours creating outfits from your existing wardrobe and then make a list of what you are missing or what will add or re-invent something that you already have. Don’t be adamant that something is ‘winter’ because you might be depriving yourself of a really cool summer look, especially with a skirt or a dress. 

Get your dresses out and get wearing them. Nobody has perfect legs, well practically nobody – so suck it up and wear your dresses. The shops are full of sweet little floral numbers that look as good with a pair of converse as they do with a pump so wearing a dress does NOT mean that you are over-dressed for your supermarket shop. Over-kill is doing your supermarket shop in a dress, matching heels, colour co-ordinated handbag and perfect hair and make-up. There needs to be a definitive line between getting dressed up and just going out; overkill tends to happen when self-esteem is at an all time low. 

Cane or straw hats and handbags are so pretty and effortlessly stylish, grab both and make them part of your summer attire. A straw hat adds a bit of ‘fun young girl’ without trying desperately hard to look younger. Skirts, whether long or short, look stunning in every season, especially summer. While prints on prints can be a little tricky, there is a knack to it. A big bold print skirt can look sensational with a small and minimalistic print top and choose contrasting colours that blend. The off-shoulder top has been trending for the last couple of years and it is a trend that is not dying off anytime soon. It is a super edgy and cool style and I have just picked up a deep red one with statement sleeves… to be paired with some jeans.

Denim skirts are visiting us again and are so funky with half boots or ankle boots so go find your perfect length, add a cute t-shirt or embroidered shirt, big sun glasses and a cute straw bag and off you go to just about anything anywhere. Floral maxi’s will be finding their way into lots of wardrobes this summer, some in a semi-flared jumpsuit variation. Go bold with the colour and super light on accessories and footwear. These glam outfits will definitely be conversation starters!

Go get yourself a ruffle blouse, they are a big and soon to be bigger hit. I adore them because they just pizazz a pair of your favourite jeans and you are ready for the limelight in a flash. In a nutshell, this summer you need to invest in a few glam blouses and wear them casually but most importantly use what you already have and have the confidence to re-invent time and time again. Be YOU in the clothes that you wear, don’t let them smother or hide you because we have missed seeing you, we have all missed seeing each other.

Louise O'Dwyer

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

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