Friday, January 29, 2010

SS10 Collection from Fee G

I always love to give a nod to Irish fashion designers and today's fashion favourite is the Spring-Summer 2010 Collection from Fee G.

Famed for high quality, luxurious garments and a fun, fashionable twist, Fee G is a brand on the rise. You can see the full collection on, but in the meantime, here are a few of my favourite looks from the current collection:

Not forgetting this beautiful blue number that I purchased myself from Isobel Boutique in Adare, Co. Limerick last week:

To find your local stockist, contact Fee G 01-4606035.

Yours in style,

Label Fables

How do you react to the following two words; clothes tags?

It curious how something as innocuous as a piece of cardboard can be a source of great joy and great misery. "I'm normally a 12 but these trousers are a 10" I overheard a women exclaim with delight in a changing room yesterday. At the same time, another woman trying on a pair of size 12 jeans squealed in despair that she needed a size 14. One women joyfully skipped out of the shop clutching her size 10 trousers. The other, left the shop empty-handed, glum and forlorn.

The amazing thing was that both these women were the exact same size and shape and thus would certainly fit in the same clothes. But, the cardboard labels told them differently - and look at the psychological impact it had. It seems that nothing will cut you down to size quite like a clothes tag.

Women are often overly concerned with the size number on the label and this can in fact limit their shopping experience drastically. Remember, the number is just a guide, created by a factory; it's not the definitive assessment of your shape.

In my experience as a personal shopper, I've met women who refuse to buy a certain item because of the size quoted on the label, even though the garment looks amazing on them, and often makes them look slimmer!

It's important to remember that if you squeeze yourself into a sightly-too-tight-but-it-is-in-your-desired-size garment, you will inevitably look larger than you actually are. You are better off to go with a larger size, and promptly cut the label off when you get home if it affronts you! Nobody will ever know except you - any you won't care anyway when you know you look great.

On a shopping trip in Wallis yesterday, I put this principle into practice. I found The Perfect Dress in where...their "Petite" section! Petite...I'm 5'9"! But let me tell you this dress fits like a glove; it hugs me in the right places, has an extremely flattering length, and the colours make my milk-bottle-white skin look vibrant and healthy (the lilac is slightly stronger than it looks in the image). It just proves that labels are there to be flouted.

Speaking of Wallis, boy is their Spring-Summer 2010 collection amazing! Have a look at to preview (and perhaps purchase!) a huge selection of delectable dresses, sleek workwear and amazing affordable jewellery.

Yours in style,

Friday, January 22, 2010

To Layer or not to Layer?

Last week I told you about my recent hairdressing infidelity.

Today, I have an even bigger confession resulting from last week's choppage; after 15 years, I finally bid adieu to my 'layers'*.

*Cue dropping of jaws and gasps of disbelief from the hairdressing fraternity.

The verdict: I wish I did it 14 years ago!

Let me take you all the way back to 1995, when 'The Rachel' was in fashion. Oh you were at nothing unless you were sporting Jennifer Aniston's sleek, bouncy 'do. Shur didn't it look so easy and healthy and altogether lovely!

So of course, where Jennifer Aniston led, I (and half the country) blindly followed. Bye-bye lovely, controllable locks; hello frizzy unmanageable shock. And what a shock it was indeed at 14 years of age to realise that the sleek, bouncy 'do ain't so easy to do after all - especially when one has thick, course, unruly hair like I. Oh the folly of youth.

So, what caused the frizz I hear you say? Twas those darned layers. Coarse hair + short layers = hard-to-manage hair. The layers were simply too light to keep in check - my hair needs weight and length to keep it quiet.

So, for the last 15 years, I fought the frizz with an artilliary of ceramic straighteners, leave-in conditioners, straightening serums...even a household iron at some stage. Adding to my woes was the rainy Irish climate; every time I set foot outside the front door I required several scarves and industrial-strength umbrellas to shield the mane from the rain.

So what eventually convinced me to get rid of the layers?

A fortnight ago I misplaced my hair straightener; as a result, my hair went into a state of frizzy delerium. Finally I snapped: "that's it, I'm not putting up with this any more", and so, last Monday, I instructed a gobsmacked hairdresser to "cut it all off". Thankfully, instead of my drastic plan, she rather more reasonably suggested that I cut it all one length.

The results were astounding. Overall, I lost 4" in length, but I have gained FREEDOM, and at least an extra 2 hours in the week! I can't believe how easy it is to manage - I'm like a walking "Wash and Go" advertisement! While my hair isn't poker straight, it is full, healthy and dare I say bouncy, with minimal frizz. I'm quite simply amazed.

Admittedly, an equi-length hairstyle ain't the most exciting look in the world, but I'm happy to live I can jazz it up easily with accessories and colour. A satisfactory trade off I think.

Yours in style,

Tune in later this week for my top tips on fighting the frizz. AWOL?

News just in...

Stylish Irish website has been reported missing but Cyberspace is not treating its disappearance as suspicious.

Website administrator and proprietor of Style By Caroline, Caroline Ryan, admits that the site is currently unavailable but has declined to comment on reports that the site is undergoing a major makeover. ""All will be revealed in a few days." she commented.

We'll bring you more on this story as it unfolds.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fashion Trends for SS10

Fashion Quizmaster:
"Caroline, describe Spring Summer 2010 fashions' in 5 words."
"Romantic, playful, flirtatious, glamorous and bold."
Fashion Quizmaster:
"Ding ding ding, you are correct."
"Can I have a star in my copybook please?"
Fashion Quizmaster:
"No, you are at least 20 years too old for stars and anyway I am a figment of your imagination. Get blogging will you and stop trying to be clever!"

Harsh eh. Gosh, Fictitious Fashion Quizmaster is no fun. Thankfully, SS10 is lots of fun - wait til you see what trends lie in store!

Predominant themes: Elle Magazine summarised the overriding themes perfectly; “flou and flirtatious”! Romance and 60s Trompe L’Oeil dominate; by stark contrast however there’s also a newfangled fusion of military and tribal...figure that one out!

Sporty Chic: In contrast to the romantic influences dominating the SS10 collections, there is a dissident luxe-sportswear movement in evidence too. Tennis, golf, soccer and dance uniforms influence this season’s fashion in the form of pleated skirts, cropped pants, hot pants, sweat pants, hoodies and crop tops.

Pretty fabrics: Soft and feminine with an ethereal or vintage feel. Popular fabrics include; crochet, lace, sparkle, tulle, jersey which of course you will prettify further with ribbons, bows and There’s also lots and lots of sheer fabric about. In-keeping with the romantic theme, you’ll see lots of flounces, folds and draping too.

Prints: Bold prints (particularly trousers) are very much en vogue. Expect to see plenty of tribal and ethnic prints on the rails very soon.

All-in-one ensembles: They were very much in fashion last season and they’re back again, albeit with shorter hems and brighter colours. I’m talking about all-in-one numbers i.e. jumpsuits and playsuits!

Borrow Your Boyfriend’s: Boy shorts and boyfriend blazers are all over the place. Make sure to balance out the square masculine look with feminine accessories.

Jeans: Ah the poor crathurs are in an awful way this season - distressed, torn, ripped, patched and faded. You’d feel sorry for them.

Underwear: Defying it’s very name, underwear is very much on show this season, starting with visible bra straps (have a look at the fantastic if your bras need a creative lift!). New this season also are ‘hotpantaloons’ which are described as bottom-revealing bloomers (in lace of course). Elsewhere, knee-high and over-the-knee socks will be huge.

Swimwear: Like underwear, swimwear seems to be tiny this season. I won’t go on any further; it’s simply too cold to bear thinking about baring!

With that, I'm off to destroy all my leftover sequins and shoulderpads from AW09! Here's to a fun, frivolous and fantastic fashion season ahead.

Yours in style,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Irish Women & Body Image

I came across a very interesting article in this week's Limerick Independent concerning a recent survey of Irish women's attitudes towards their body shape.

The Kelloggs Special K Fabulous Survey, revealed that an overwhelming 61% of Irish women aged 20-30 would like to be slimmer and only 31% of those surveyed are happy with their current size.

Imagine, 7/10 twenty-something females are unhappy with their shape.

I am dismayed but not altogether surprised by this statistic. As a personal stylist, I meet many women with self-image issues that negatively impact on their confidence, relationships and sociability. Yet, these very same women have beautiful figures and gorgeous faces.

The real irony here is that there is, of course, no such thing as the perfect shape. 'The Perfect Shape' is a fantasy created by glossy magazines and advertisers. Paradoxically, it is our imperfections that make us perfect...and magic knickers if necessary! In the words of Baz Luhrmann (Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen), "(your body) is the greatest instrument you'll ever own". Love, nourishment, care and pride is what it needs - not unfavorable, unfair comparisons to airbrushed models.

Back to the survey, I was intrigued to note that those polled in Munster appear to be more satisfied with their body shape than the national average. In Munster, 44% of twenty-somethings would prefer to be "a little smaller" and a further 10% yearn to be "a lot smaller". Whereas 40% are happy with their current size, which is significantly higher than the national figure of 31%.

I'm curious as to why to Munster women appear happier with their shapes but I'm not going to make any suppositions. In any case I'm more concerned that we as a nation improve our collective confidence and be happier in ourselves. Encouragingly, the seeds are there; the respondents in this survey believe that the best style years lie ahead for them.

On an even more positive note, 87% of those surveyed nationally agreed that women can be stylish no matter their size. Well I'm debunking that statistic right now; in actual fact 100% of women can look stylish no matter their size, it's just a matter of finding flattering clothing styles and colours and wearing them with pride...and a smile!

Yours in style,

To find out more about dressing for your body shape, see my website,

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hairdressing Infidelity

Today I cheated on my My Lovely Hairdresser. And I feel wretched.

Before I fill you in on the whole sorry saga, let me first of all tell you a bit about My Lovely Hairdresser. As her name suggests, she is very lovely. Not only is she a dab hand with a scissors, crucially she gets the balance right between "chatting time" and "OK! Magazine time", plus she serves fancy biscuits with the tea. See, lovely.

However, today I strayed. And as if that wasn't bad enough, I went to the hair salon down the road. Oh the guilt!

In typical cheater fashion, I'm quick to defend my infidelity (eh,ease my guilt) with an excuse; My Lovely Hairdresser doesn't work on Mondays and I needed my tresses tending to in advance of an important day tomorrow (more of that anon).

I'll even be honest and say that I quite enjoyed The Other Salon. Nice décor...check, soothing music...check, tea & biscuits...check, massage chairs...check, sudsy shampoo...check.

Yet, I have a gnawing feeling in my stomach since that won't go away. What will I say to My Lovely Hairdresser the next time I see her? "The Other Salon meant nothing to me"..."It will never happen again"...I could deny the whole thing...except that my hair is 4 inches shorter and a visibly different style.

Will My Lovely Hairdresser take me back I wonder? If she does, will things ever be the same again?

Yours in shame,

Monday, January 11, 2010

Make-up Trends for SS10

Continuing with our theme of Spring-Summer 2010 fashions, here are the make-up trends that I'm marvelling at right now:

Luminous skin: When is luminous skin not in fashion I ask! Use light-reflecting foundations, powders and highlighters for a fresh-faced,healthy look. Avoid product overload however or else your skin will just look shiny.

Sunkissed Skin: Ah you gotta love a bit of bronze! Tinted moisturiser, bronzing powders, bronze/gold shadows etc.

A Tale of 2 Eyebrows: This season’s brows are either very strong or else bleached out. Talk about a dichotomy! As your eyebrows frame your face, the bleached look is hard to carry off. Strong brows are a more flattering and easy look, in my humble opinion.

Lovely Lips: Strong lip colour is very much in fashion. However, like the eyebrows, nude colour is also en vogue. The common thread seems to be a matte texture; keep the gloss to the eyelids (see below).

Smokey eyes: We’re finding it hard to relinquish this Winter favourite. Make an easy transition to Spring by choosing lighter hues (e.g. inky shades, petrol greens etc.).

Glossy Eyelids: This is a great editorial look, but perhaps not the easiest day-to-day look. Nonetheless, nothing will have you looking trendier this season than a slick of gloss over your eye-shadow.

Yours in style,

Friday, January 8, 2010

Prevent Falling on Ice

This is not intended to be a particularly stylish blog entry, but in light of the current "cold snap", you might find this tip useful for navigating icy patches on foot.

Get a pair of large mens socks, sports socks or ski socks, and put them on over your footwear. You might get some strange looks, but the grip provided by the socks will prevent you from slipping on the ice.

Yours in style,

Reese's Pieces

As the saying goes, "one man's trash is another man's treasure".

In a recent interview with In Style UK, Reese Witherspoon revealed that she regularly hosts clothes-swapping parties with her galpals: "There are three of us who wear pretty much the same size, so we'll get together on a Friday night and I'll bring clothes I want to trade and they'll bring theirs."

I'm always saying to my clients that there's no point in stuffing unloved, ill-fitting or unworn clothes in the back of your wardrobe. I love Reese's idea of swapping clothes with friends. Not only do you get to have a really fun time with your pals, you also give old clothes a new lease of life. Better again, it's free!

Yours in style,

Hair Trends for SS10

Like this season’s style trends (see upcoming post), the hair trends for Spring-Summer 2010 are whimsical, romantic and verrry verrrry feminine (apart from a glaring grungy gel look, but more of that later).

Having scouted the catwalks, here are the Top 5 most fashionable looks:

  • Long, straight hair: This look is sleek, glossy and oh-so-healthy looking. Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock (pictured below) sported this look with aplomb at last night’s People’s Choice Awards in LA.

  • Long, wavy hair (side parting): This style sounds deceptively easy; in actual fact, it can be difficult to achieve a balance between waves and curls, likewise waves and frizz! Similarly it can be challenging to maintain this look. Nonetheless, if you do wish to try it out, arm yourself with a can of hairspray and good large rollers. Look at how well Penelope Cruz carried off this look at the New York premiere of Nine (pictured below).

  • Plaits / braids: I don’t think I’ve worn a plait since primary school, but having seen the relaxed side plaits sported on the runways, I’m tempted to give plaits another try. The key to getting this look right is to ensure that the plait is ‘strategically messy’ i.e. it shouldn’t be too neat, but it must not be downright raggy either. Wear with a side parting.
  • Classic Updos: Think soft chignons and sleek twists. Very Jackie O / Audrey Hepburn. The look is gentle, feminine and chic.
  • Slicked-back hair: Ooooh, I’m not too sure about this one. Basically, you take a dollop of gel and work it through the hair for a slicked-back wet look. It’s very hard to wear though as you could very easily look like you haven’t washed your hair for a fortnight!
As for accessories, the following items will be all over the high street shortly:

  • Minnie Mouse hair bows: Thank/blame Lady Gaga for this trend. Since Cheryl Cole wore a super-sized bow on X Factor last November, the fashion mags have been going mad for them.
  • Feather headbands: In as many colours and sizes as you can imagine!
  • Ribbons: Chic made simple. Buy a roll of ribbon from your local draper supplies store or haberdashery for tuppence and make your own simple band to suit your outfit.
Yours in style,


Monday, January 4, 2010

Colour trends for SS10

This colour palette for Spring-Summer 2010 is good enough to eat. Not my words, rather the esteemed opinion of Vogue Magazine, who deem ‘ice-cream colours’ as being the hottest hues this season. However, if your teeth are aching at the thought, why not opt for less saccharine neutrals like tan, taupe, khaki, or the perennial Spring-Summer favourite, bright white?

Carrying over from last season, grey is a popular choice, as are metallic shades (gunmetal, pewter, silver and bronze).

So far, so safe. Thankfully, banality is avoided with a strong performance from one my favourite shades, green. Apple, emerald, kelly and teal are the fore-runners, but you can be sure that the other 36 shades of green are lurking about somewhere too. Elsewhere, cobalt blue and bright yellow are flying the flag for my newly-adopted home county.

In terms of finish, there’s no holds barred this season with matte, mute, luxe and lustrous all popular choices.

For a detailed overview of this season's preferred colours, I suggest that you check out the Pantone Colour Trend Report for Spring-Summer 2010.

Yours in style,

Ring out the old, ring in the new

’80s-inspired fashion. Anyone else getting a wee bit tired of it?

You couldn’t look sideways over the Christmas without being blinded by sequins or impaled by pointy shoulder pads. Joan Collins c.1984 would have struggled to compete!

However, all good things must come to an end, or as my wise mammy would put it, “enough is as good as a feast”. And in the same way as I can’t look at a Quality Street without feeling queasy, I’ve had more than my fill of all things 80s.

While I have yet to find an antidote for Quality Street excesses, at least my ‘80s hangover’ has been cured with the long-awaited arrival of the Spring-Summer 2010 collections! Having cast my critical eye over this season’s spread, I’m glad to report that there’s lots to laud and applaud. Best of all, there’s not a sequin in sight!

Stay tuned for more...

Yours in style,

Friday, January 1, 2010

Piste de Résistance! (Part 1)

Skiing. I should like it. I mean, I like the outdoors, exercise, a challenge...but dear God I have never been more useless at a sport in my life! All that cold, ice and falling – it ain’t for me folks. Before you say “give it a chance, Caroline”, believe me I have; despite THREE separate skiing holidays to my credit, I have barely graduated past the baby slopes. In fact, on a ‘blue’ slope in Val Thorens last year, I was in such a muddle that I had to get a ‘lift’ from a passing skier (it involved me riding as a pillion passenger on the back of his skis – not to be recommended but it did get me to safety). See, I’m a disaster.

Although the actual skiing left me cold, there are many aspects of a skiing holiday that I warmed to very much; the chocolat chaud, the après-ski and, of course, the fashion!

I have outlined below some ideas for your skiing trip. I have sourced these products for a variety of domestic and international stores/websites, plus I was made sure to include a broad selection of prices to suit all budgets. Don’t forget that there are many local stores where you can purchase your full skiing wardrobe (e.g. in Limerick, in Cork & Dublin, etc.)

1. A good warm ski-suit (with plenty of pockets) – you can buy these cheaply at Watch out for specials at Lidl and Aldi too! Don’t forget that you can hire a ski-suit from local specialist stores (c.€50 per week).

2. Thermal long sleeve vests e.g. from (€19.99).

3. A light-weight fleece e.g. Berghaus Flurry Fleece from (€69):

4. The best ski gloves you can find e.g. North Face Banshee Triclimate Gloves from (£44)

5. A good woolly hat that covers your ears e.g. Tundra Handknit from ($40.95).

6. A warm scarf (that’s not too chunky) or a neck gaiter e.g. North Face Neck Gaiter from (£18).

7. Proper ski socks (trust me, you’ll know the value of these when you’re lugging big heavy boots) e.g. Miss Naughty Ski Tubes from (£5.50).

8. Protect your eyes from the rays with a dark pair of sunglasses/goggles. See a fantastic designer selection on

Skiing is one thing; 'apres ski' is a whole other game! Tune in next week for my apres ski style recommendations.

Yours in style,

Another Solution for Hairloss

Juicy is a sister-salon to Couture in Adare, which is renowned for trendy tresses. Like it's sister-salon, Juicy has a fantastic team of expert staff, offering you a vast range of cutting, styling and colour services. If you're into your interiors, the funky décor in itself is worth a visit!

Amongst its services, Juicy offers a wig-fitting service to clients who have experienced hair loss through medical treatments, alopecia or other. Consultations and wig fittings are conducted by a trained, experienced specialist at in a private room.

Address: Racefield Centre, Dooradoyle, Limerick.
Telephone: 061-308522

Yours in style,

Stylish Solution for Hairloss

I am an avid reader of the County Living section of the Farmers Journal. I like their down-to-earth, no-nonsense approach and their lifestyle features rival any of the Irish glossy publications. Every week I pick up wonderful tips and this week was no different...

In this week's edition I came across and excellent recommendation for, which is the brainchild of Athlone-based designer, Ursula Hanley. Ursula designs and manufactures beautiful and affordable headscarves, turbans, bandanas and nightcaps, which are created specifically for women who have experienced hairloss or baldness.

Ursula's business us goes to show that triumph can come from adversity; Ursula's sister Sheelagh lost her hair following successful chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. During her recovery, Sheelagh found that wigs were too hot and uncomfortable to wear but she struggled to find a practical, not to mind fashionable, alternative.

Whilst watching Samantha Jones' character on Sex and the City battle with breast cancer, Sheelagh lamented that none of Samantha's beautiful, stylish headwear was available in Ireland. This inspired seamstress Ursula to develop a range of her own. Ursula selects the softest stretchiest and most beautiful fabrics, out of which she creates comfortable, secure and stylish headwear (see example pictured left).

To view the full range, check out

Yours in style,