Fashion

Cos A/W ’13: Elegance in Nature

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The Cos Autumn/Winter press day is a rare spot of serenity in an otherwise chaotic round of go-sees which can get slightly monotonous – you never think that a cupcake can jade you until you eat that one cupcake too many.

The Marker Hotel in Dublin’s Grand Canal Dock area was a echo of the clothes on display – carefully considered, an interesting synthesis of construction and cultivation, the varied greens of nature and the muzzy grey of concrete. Calm and cool.

Favourites included a semi-sheer white shirt dress made for layering under a deep-v denim mini dress, seamless brown women’s brogues, a stiff-fabric grey dress tailored like a scuba suit, another semi-sheer – this time a black calf length skirt – and almost every black textured pullover from the men’s section. As the collection is based on elements of nature, it’s fitting that every separate element is made even better when paired with another. It is tailor made for layering.

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Fashion

Licentiate Column 29/11/12: Vouchers for All, and to All a Good Night

Vouchers don’t always provoke this response, you know.

It is now the last week of November, so we have reached the third stage in the hellish Advent calendar titled ‘The Run-up to Christmas’. This is the part where you start to feel guilty about not having bought any presents yet – surprisingly, this is a good place to be. We still have another three stages to go, the final one culminating in fighting with panicked Secret Santa-ers over the last Ted Baker sock set in TK Maxx.

I am duty-bound to tell you what kind of party clothes to wear (sparkly over sheer) and what kind of lingerie to buy for your significant other (sheer over sparkly) but, in truth, the best Christmas present to buy pretty much anyone is a voucher (my preference is Amazon, being mercifully bereft of sheer or sparkly stuff).

It is hard to wrap a voucher – or surprisingly easy, depending on your outlook. On asking my sister for an Amazon voucher, she instead asked for a list of books that I wanted so she could wrap them herself. It seemed like an awful lot of effort to me when I could have just bought them myself with my voucher. Then again, I probably just need a Christmas special to warm my cold, dead heart.

They may seem like a bit of a cop-out, but I love getting vouchers as gifts. I am such a persnickety, contrary person that it’s often hard for loved ones to choose something for me. I also suffer from a condition known as ‘Weird Boob and Leg-itis’ which means that I’m such a strange shape that clothes rarely fit the way they should. If you need help with which vouchers to buy for who, I’m here for you.

The Cover All Bases Person – The Secret Santa person, the person who has eclectic but decidedly mainstream tastes, the vaguely trendy male cousins, the friend who is so worryingly preoccupied with her dress size that you are now scared to ask what it is – get an ASOS voucher. For those not in the know, ASOS is a global shopping platform with its own mainline range as well as a glut of other retailers. You can also support vintage sellers and just-got-started designers in their Marketplace section.

The Person Who’s Always Banging on About Needing Thermal Underwear – Marks and Spencer. People who think about thermals also think quite frequently about comfort food (I am one of these people) and Marks has an admirable selection of both.

The College Student – Topshop. Is an explanation necessary?

The Person Who has Recently Decided to Dress Like a Grown-Up - There is a crossroads in a woman’s life at the intersection of ‘Good Quality’ and ‘But I don’t Have Any Money’ and Cos is the recently-constructed bypass. The Swedish label sells its wares in Brown Thomas, so buy a BT voucher and point her in the right direction come January sales time.

For everyone else – a book token. Fashion can’t be the solution to every problem (but God knows at least I’m trying).

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Fashion, Licentiate Columns

Licentiate column 18/10/12: The Merits of the Mom Jumper

There is no kind of comfort quite like the kind you find when, on a cold day, you slip on a jumper that has spent a few minutes warming up on the radiator. It is a kind of comfort only surpassed when it’s rainy outside and said radiator is now hosting a clean pair of flannel pajamas.

It is also a kind of comfort that we’ll have to get used to this winter because it’ll be a cold one, by golly. The average temperature is shaping up to be five or six degrees every day. Come December, that will be even lower. It is definitely time to unpack the winter woolens and banish any tights below forty dernier from whence they came.

Knitwear buying can be a tricky process. There is only one type of body shape that looks good in any kind of sweater, no matter what shape or how scratchy or fluffy the wool. That is the straight up-and-down, modelly type. These women can rejoice in being able to put on an Aran jumper three sizes too big and still look great. We will not begrudge them, because skinny people need extra warmth what with having less insulating body fat than the rest of us, and all.

Especially meritorious for the woman with the in-and-out body shape is the Mom jumper. It’s not necessarily a jumper that mothers wear (mine favours a potato sack-textured Fairisle that she knitted herself) but rather a jumper that gives you the warming, maternal caress that you need on a cold winter’s day. Your jumper loves you. Your jumper will take care of you. It will not judge you if you accidentally slop tomato sauce on it. It does not care about your sexual orientation and will not spoil Downton Abbey for you if you haven’t got around to watching that episode yet.

If you’re looking for a maternal Mom Jumper, then Boden is a great place to start. The British label started business with a mail order catalogue (how mammy-ish can you get?) and specialises in very simply structured, reassuringly classic, untrendy knitwear. It’s the kind of knitwear that, if you take care of it, could last you for several years in both style and practicality stakes. Most jumpers are updated vintage shapes – the Fifties jumper is especially flattering for hourglass figures.

For a non-mumsy Mom jumper, head to Cos. The knitwear at the H&M-owned high-street chain is considered good enough quality to be sold at Brown Thomas. While Cos stands for Collection of Style, just ‘Cos’ is also appropriate – the patterns are finished with mathematical precision that requires a set of tables.

The knits are good quality too. I have my eye on a sheer black alpaca knit that will go with everything and am already living in a grey marl sweatshirt that has been updated with interwoven metallic thread. Note to self – under no circumstances should I put that one under the radiator. It’s comforting enough already without having to endure second degree burns.

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