Friday, November 27, 2009

Suits you sir!

"Clean shirt, new shoes,
And I don’t know where I’m goin’ to.
Silk suit, black tie,
I don’t need a reason why.
They come runnin’ just as fast as they can,
‘Cause every girl crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man."

ZZ Top were right; there's nothing quite as dapper - nay sexy - as a besuited gentleman...and it turns out I'm not alone in this view; in fact, the sartorial merits of The Suit discussed at length on the Ryan Tubridy show on RTE Radio 1 this morning!

It turns out that this discussion was prompted by a book that Louis Copeland sent as a present to Ryan Tubridy (he being no stranger to dapper tailoring either) entitled "Sharp Suits", by Eric Musgrave. See

Which leads me nicely into telling you about a meeting that I had with Louis Copeland earlier this year. He hosted a Men's Tailoring & Style course for the Irish Image Consultants Institute at his Flagship store in Capel Street, Dublin, and generously bestowed the following top style tips for gentlemen:

1. Choose your suit colour carefully: When purchasing a suit for general-wear, go for darker colours which are more versatile, less likely to show up stains and are longer-wearing than lighter-coloured suits. Navy is the most popular selection amongst Irish men as it flatters Irish skin-tones.

2. Every gentleman should own a blazer: Louis recommends that you should invest in a good-quality blazer that you can get years of wear from. There’s nothing a like a blazer to smarten up an outfit! Avoid wearing a suit jacket as a blazer as this is an unconvincing look.

3. Choose trousers to suit your build: If you are carrying a bit of weight, go for a pleated trouser, which will be more comfortable to wear. It is also advisable to wear braces if you are carrying weight around the tummy area. If you have a slim build, choose flat-front trousers.

4. Jacket & shirt sleeves: The jacket sleeve length should end just below the wrist / at the base of the thumb. Elsewhere, Louis recommends that 1/2” of your shirt cuff should be visible below the sleeve of your jacket.

5. Accessorise with caution: Match your belt, shoes & socks to your outfit i.e. if you are wearing a dark-coloured suit then wear a black belt with black shoes & socks. If your trousers have belt loops then wear a belt (preferably leather). Lastly, wear long socks so when you sit down you won’t flash any flesh!

For more helpful advice on men's style and tailoring, why not book a personal consultation or personal shopping trip with Style By Caroline. See for contact details.

Yours in style,

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving thanks for my DKNY Cozy

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

My one and only true Thanksgiving experience was in New York last year, with two of my favourite people in the world! Over the course of our visit, we indulged in every cliché possible; a huge turkey dinner, the Macy's Day parade, the Rockettes Christmas spectacular...and of course the post-Thanksgiving sale at Macys.

12 months on, and given the day that's in it, I must express my gratitude for my favourite NY08-Thanksgiving-sale-purchase, my DKNY "Cosy". A rich royal purple in colour, and made of the softest Merino wool, my Cosy has been a loyal companion over the past few months of dreary weather.

Not only is it extremely soft and warm, it is also incredibly versatile as it can be worn in no less than 12 different ways. See the DKNY look-book for inspiration on how to wear your cozy,

If ever there was a good wardrobe staple, this is it (for me at least). It's so easy and comfortable to wear and it will transform any look. It says it all really when it looks as good over a simple pair of jeans as it does over classic little black dress!

My DKNY Cosy was quite pricey at $160 but, given the amount of times I've worn it, it owes me absolutely nothing. Plus, given that the DKNY Cozy has been around since 2003 and is even more popular this season than ever, I consider it to be a great investment purchase.

There are plenty of lookalike versions on the high-street, but if you have the cash, I suggest that you get one that is made of the highest quality fabric that you can afford. If it's anything like mine it will be worn again, and again, and again.

Yours in style,

Monday, November 23, 2009

Does Your Closet Need Clothesbusting?

I caught a very interesting discussion on Ryan Tubridy's RTE Radio 1 show this morning on the subject of clutter and clutterers...two subjects issues that lie very close to my heart!

As a personal stylist, clutter and clutterers are concepts that I am extremely familiar with. So many women have little time to organise their wardrobes; with work, family pressures and other time constraints bearing down on us, often our wardrobes can easily become neglected.

A a huge part of my job is helping people to overhaul their underperforming wardrobes; after all, there's no point having unused clothes gathering dust in a disorganised vault. I help women to clear out and re-stock their weary wardrobes so that they are transformed into neat, organised and fully-functional spaces. In the process, the wardrobe owner discovers what clothing styles and colours suits them, and what they should be buying to meet their wardrobe needs.

For more information on wardrobe de-cluttering and other personal styling services, see

Yours in style,

Brush up on your Brushes

With less than 5 weeks to go 'til Christmas, I’m contantly being asked for beauty/style-themed Christmas present ideas.

In my opinion, make-up brushes are a fantastic gift for anyone who enjoys wearing the ole warpaint. A good set of bushes will last the owner for years, provided that they look after them properly of course.

The trouble with make-up brushes however is that there are loads of rubbishy ones on the market that irritate the skin, shed hairs and cause all manner of splotches and streaks. After much trial and error, I have listed my favourite brushes below, which might serve as a good guide to you.

I tend to buy brushes with natural hair as they are softer, generally last longer and give very even coverage. The trade-off for great quality is, as you might expect, high price. The recommendations below are quite pricy, but as I say, these brushes are brilliant and will last for years.

Good make-up starts with a good base. I recommend the MAC Foundation Brush (no. 190) or the Boots No.7 Foundation brush (my current favourite!). Elsewhere, I always think that foundation looks better if you buff it afterwards with a soft brush. The crème de la crème of soft brushes is the MAC Duo Fibre brush (no. 187), which is also great for applying face powder and blush. Jemma Kidd does a great ‘copy-cat’ version of this brush, which is available in most Boots stores.

I usually apply concealer with Bobbi Brown’s Cream Eyeshadow Brush (most concealer brushes are very small but this is a lovely medium size), but I must give an honourable mention to Boots No.7 Concealer Brush which is as soft as silk, easy to control and gives a lovely even finish.

I heartily recommend the under-soft MAC Powder Brush (no. 129), which can be used for applying powder and bronzer.

You can use the same bush for applying powder and blush if you like (provided that you clean it in between applications). If you prefer to use a separate brush for blush, go for the MAC Blush Brush (no. 116). For cream blush, either use your fingers to apply, or use a small Fibre Duo brush.

Again, MAC comes up trumps here. I use the MAC Blending Brush (no. 217) to build colour and I use the MAC Tapered Blending Brush (no. 224) to blend the edges for a softer finish.

To apply shadow, gel or cream eyeliner, I use the MAC Small Angle Brush (no. 266) which gives great precision and control. If I want to ‘soften’ a shadow or kohl eye-liner (say under the lower lashes) I use a MAC Pencil Brush (No.219) which gives a wonderful smoky look.

I use a Retractable Lip Brush by Barbara Daly from Tesco! Barbara Daly is a world-renowned make-up artist who Bobbi Brown credits as being the best in the business. Her diffucion range of make-up products and brushes for Tesco is excellent and this brush is no exception. I must also credit the MAC Lip Brush (no. 318).

I hope these recommendations help you with your shopping! One last tip - make sure that you only purchase your branded make-up brushes from genuine outlets. You would be amazed at how many cheap fake knock-offs there are out there, particularly in cyberspace!

Yours in style,

Note: You’ll see that I have been very generous with my MAC recommendations. However, be careful. Last year I the unfortunate mistake of buying a MAC Brush Set (Christmas 2008 Collection) which unfortunately was an entire waste of €60. Although it contained 5 genuine MAC brushes, the brush heads were very small, had poor shape and obviously made of synthetic fibres. As a result they irritated my skin and gave poor coverage. So, the lesson here is to buy the individual professional brushes (and if you like, go for the shorter handle ones are cheaper).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sweets & Treats at Sequoia Lane

Fancy an evening of classical music, mulled wine, mince pies from the Bailey Bar & Bistro and delicious confectionary from Limerick's own Pandora Bell?

Then open your diary and put a big red circle around next Tuesday, for the good folks at Sequoia Lane (you'll remember me raving about this place in blog entry a few weeks ago) are hosting a "Winter's Evening" with plenty of treats, lots of sweets and a host of special offers for you on the night.

Venue: Sequoia Lane, O'Connell Street, Limerick.
Date: Tuesday, 24th November
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm

Yours in style,

All I Want for Christmas, is Shooooes

Hi, my name is Caroline and I am a shoe-holic.

There I said it.

They say admission is the first stage of recovery; but heck, I've no hope of recovery when the most BEAUTIFUL shoe-shop in the country (recently xposed by Tv3, if you pardon the pun) is located right on my doorstep i.e. Serendipity Shoe Boutique in Adare, Co. Limerick. To make matters worse (dare I say better), Serendipity has just launched its "Christmas Wish List" campaign....

"Intriguing", says you.
"Indeed" says I!

Visit Serendipity over the next couple of weeks and create your very own 'wishlist' of items that you would love to receive as Christmas presents. Then, your loved ones can order said items from Serendipity and surprise you with them on Christmas morning!

As someone who finds it very difficult to find the perfect presents for loved ones, I think this idea is inspired. It may even be of great help to a certain Mr. Claus!

Serendipity's shoe and boot collection includes the following labels; Ann Roth, Lisa Kay, Sachelle Couture, Salvdor Sapena, Sax, Hogl, Manas, Lollipops, Bourne Wedding Shoes, Pilar Abril, Menbur and Luciano Barrachini.

If you are struggling to accessorise an outfit for the Christmas season, why not bring it with you to Serendipity where their team will help you find perfect footwear, jewellery, headpieces, umbrellas and hosiery to match.

For more information, contact Serendipity on 061-395531.

Yours in style,


Monday, November 16, 2009

Jock Shock

I happened across a very curious survey conducted by Debenhams last week, which revealed what exactly stimulates men’s underwear purchasing behaviour.

The survey of 1,000 men concluded that men’s underwear shopping behaviour is directly correlated to their relationships with women. Seemingly, when they are trying to entice a lady, they purchase their own underwear; conversely, when they are in a stable relationship, the lucky lady doesn’t so much wear the pants as buys the pants.

Debenhams Head of Men’s Accessories Buying, Mr. Rob Faucherand said: "Our research shows that you can tell when a man is looking for a partner by the number of new underpants they buy for themselves"!

In brief (sorry, I couldn’t resist!), the results were as follows:
  • 0-19 years: Their mothers purchase their underwear .
  • 19-23 years: They buy their own (up to 31 pairs annually).
  • 23 - 33 years: Buying behaviour declines to 0 (in a stable relationship).
  • 38-40 years: Underwear purchase pick up again (post-relationship break-up and looking for a new relationship).
  • 44+ years: Back to 0 (usually in a stable relationship).

According to Mr. Faucherand, "It's not who wears the pants in each household - it's who has to buy them that counts".

Indeed. And that’s the way it should stay…or for the next 7 weeks at least. Imagine, if the menfolk did purchase their underwear, what would we buy them for Christmas!

Yours in style,

Friday, November 13, 2009

Flora Oil - not just for frying!

I was cleaning my make-up brushes tonight at the kitchen sink and for the umteenth time I despaired at how hard it can be to remove waxy/oily residue such as foundation, concealer and lipstick, even when using a proper make-up brush cleaner...

Then, it hit me. That bottle of Flora Sunflower Oil sitting on the kitchen counter might just solve the problem...

I gently massaged a dollop of the aforementioned oil into each of the affected brushes...and BANG, the dirt was gone. (Sorry Cillit Bang, it's too late on a Friday night to be coming up with my own catchy catch-phrase).

To remove the oil, I cleansed thoroughly with my MAC Brush Cleanser, followed by a rinse of water.

Remember that old adage re. oil and water...yep, it's true, they don't mix! If using oil on your brushes, don't rinse them with water; instead, gently massage the brush with make-up brush cleaner. If you don't you'll be left with greasy brushes.

Now, my brushes are positively gleaming and not a trace of foundation/concealer/lipstick in sight. Plus they are as soft as silk!

Tips when cleansing brushes
  • Clean your brushes regularly (at least every 3rd use).
  • Use a proper brush cleaner (not washing up liquid / shampoo).
  • Use warm water (not hot).
  • Try not to immerse the brush handle in water as it could cause the brush hairs to become loose.
  • Lay the clean brushes on a towel to dry naturally.
  • Store the brushes in a clean, dry place.

Tune in next week for my top make-up brush recommendations (which will make for a great Christmas gift for the make-up junkie in your life).

Yours in style,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Outnet Giveaway...Outed!

Fancy getting your hands on this Marchesa silk-chiffon dress worth €3,416? Now that caught your attention didn't it!

One of my favourite websites, is
giving away this beauty in an on-line competition this week.

If you fancy your chances at winning, fill out an entry form on Hurry though as the closing date is this Friday, 13th November (lucky for some, don't you know!)

Yours in style,


How can you stay snug and warm this Winter, whilst staying band on trend? Tis easy - buy a pair of 'shoe-boots'.

Shoe-boots are very easy to wear and look great with opaque tights, leggings or even under trousers.

Check out my most recent purchase from Dunnes Stores - a fantastic (and dare I say extremely comfortable) pair of purple, velvet, platform shoe-boots for a bargaintastic €18!

The above shoe-boots are also available in black and grey from Dunnes. They are flying off the shelves so get there asap if you want to bag yourself a pair.

Rules for Wearing Shoe Boots

If you have short legs: Ensure that the colour of your shoe-boots matches your tights / leggings / trousers, which will give the illusion of a longer leg. Avoid wearing shoeboots on bare legs with a skirt/shorts (unless the shoe-boots are a nude colour), as your legs will look very stumpy.

If you have long legs: You lucky thing, you can easily carry off wearing a contrasting colour shoe-boot to your tights / leggings / trousers! With your legs, it's always a good idea to 'break up' the leg length by wearing boots, shoes with ankle straps, colourful footwear etc. as this will make you appear less leggy (and your legs won't look like stumps I promise!)

Yours in style,

Monday, November 9, 2009

Conical or Comical?

Pioneered by Marylin Monroe in the 50s and reincarnated by Madonna and Jean-Paul Gaultier in the early 90s (Blonde Ambition tour), the Conical Bra is making a comeback...thanks to Monsieur Gaultier himself as it happens!

His show at Paris Fashion Week on 3rd October (pictured below) featured a spectacular array of conical bras, and Gaultier was keen to promote their bosum-boosting-benefits: "instead of filling oneself with silicone or collagen, why not try these prostheses, which can be taken off," he chuckled, "It's perfect!"

It's amazing how quick a trend can filter down to the high street. Whether it be for fashionable reasons, or the functional reasons purported my Gaultier, UK chain store John Lewis are reporting a 33% upsurge in sales for these pointy creations.

Conical or comical?

Yours in style,

Friday, November 6, 2009

Waist Not, Want Not

Waistcoats, waistcoats, everywhere I look there are waistcoats. I’m not talking about ‘dapper gentleman’ ones. No such luck. I mean ladies’ fashiony waistcoats. Flicking through Grazia and the like, it appears that you’re at nothing this Winter unless you are sporting a woolly torso-toaster…

.. or a teeny, low-cut denim delight…

So who can wear this style?

CHOOSE IF... the top half of your body is smaller than the bottom half. A slim-fitting waistcoast can balance out your proportions, aswell as drawing attention to your neat upper half.

AVOID IF...the top half of your body is busty, boxy or large on top avoid this style as it will do absolutely nothing flattering for you.


Waistcoasts are hard to wear, in my opinion. Unless you have quite slim proportions, they can make you look bigger than what you are. Also, they can be quite ‘boxy’ and therefore don’t always enhance womanly curves.

All in all, I think this trend is best left to the youngsters (i.e. anyone who wasn’t around for the original 1980s experience).

Which reminds me, there is a photo at home somewhere of me in 1994 (old enough to know better) looking a fright in a massive REVERSIBLE waistcoat…denim on one side and thick brown chord on the other. Imagine! Of course I wore it with the mandatory Levi’s 501s. *Shudder*

Moving swiftly back to the present, if you really want to ‘get waisted’, check out where they have a plethora of styles.

Yours in style,

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Snap Happy!

I’m a divil for staking photos; I always, ALWAYS have a camera in my handbag for impromptu snapping.

I’ve recently upgraded my 'snaparatus' to a (deep breath) Panasonic Lumix DC Vario DMC-FS12 12 Mega Pixel camara. And what a great little product it is too - even for a technophobe like me! It's easy-peasy to use and the picture quality is phenomenal.

The only problem I’ve encountered is that the file size of each picture is obviously huge (between 4-5MB each) so I’ve had to resort to when uploading to the internet.

My thanks to the lovely man in Currys,, who recommended it. Plus, it was on sale too at €179!

Yours in style,

Monday, November 2, 2009

It's all Grey-vy

"Caroline, you're looking a bit grey in the face."

These are the words of my kind, well-meaning, Irish mammy when I'm tired/sick/stressed and basically look like I've been whitewashed.

Now though, my favourite make-up brand, Bobbi Brown, has given a whole new (hale and hearty) meaning to the phrase, with their sumptuous new Chrome Palette.

This limited-edition collection is the latest in a string of home-runs for Bobbi Brown. Traditionally known for favouring a nude look, Bobbi has made a few foray's of late into the wonderful worlds of colour and shimmer.

And this latest offering doesn't disappoint. Largely inspired by this season's 'in' colour (grey, if you haven't guessed by now!), the palette features 10 eye-shadow shades (in both matte and shimmer tones), as well as four lip-glosses (in varying berry tones).

Grey is a very versatile colour for typical Irish complexions (pale skin, light coloured eyes) and suits all ages. As it is quite a cold colour, I suggest that you wear a nice pinky blush (pink and grey go exceptionally well together), with a pink lip for a great Winter look. Finally, finish your eyes with a slick of Bobbi's "Granite Ink" long-wear gel eye-liner for a modern, long-lasting, defined finish.

Price and Availability: The good news is that this palette is great value at €65.00. The bad news is that it is not so easy to get your mitts on this palette as we only have limited stockists in Ireland, namely Brown Thomas Dublin/Cork/Galway (but not Limerick for some strange reason). If you don't fancy a road-trip, you can mail-order your palette by ringing any of the above-mentionned BT outlets (P&P fee will apply).

This is one that is definitly on my Christmas wish-list!

Yours in style,