Sunday, 30 June 2013

On Personal Style.

The past year has been one of immense growth. I've become more independent because I didn't have some of my friends around as much to lean on - I had to do things by myself. I've grown intellectually because I had to do lots of new kinds of research for my dissertation. And I feel my personal style has matured and developed a lot because of this blog. In the beginning, when I did more of a personal style and outfit of the day kind of blog, I was looking at lots of pictures of myself. It made me analyse things. The self-reflection led to a lot of growth. I feel like I've really come to understand the difference between what I like and what I wear.

This is the most important distinction you can make in figuring out your own sense of style. Several factors will lead you to establishing what the difference between the two is. I have been asked by several male friends recently about this. They're at that stage in their twenties where they kind of all look the same and don't really know where to go from there. I can understand how this can happen. Some guys craft perfect images and personas for themselves but others are stunted by laziness (not judging, it's just true), lack of interest, fitting in and (in the case of many an Irish man) having been dressed by their mothers for so long. Fashion, and clothing, is relegated as a female thing, a female interest. Women are encouraged to think about their appearance - perhaps too much, to the point that it is often emphasised as their only area of worth - men are not to the same degree at all. But even women can be lost. I felt I was for some time. In a world with so many stimuli, a world where you can see what's fashionable anywhere, anytime whenever you want, it's easy to be overstimulated. How do we find what suits an individual? I can only pass on what this year has taught me personally. Hopefully, the following factors and my explanation of how they affect my personal style will help people in finding their own.

My Style

My Style by fitzpac featuring burberry

1. Lifestyle.

Obviously this includes economic factors; are you a Prada or a Primark person? Or a little of both? More importantly, (as style cannot be bought) it will decide the style of clothing you wear. Think of things such as climate. Are layers something you need to think about? Statement coats? And so on. Do you spend much of your time in offices? Are you at college or in a more casual work setting? Do you need a professional you and a casual you?

For me, my lifestyle is varied. I could be in the library and classes one day, hanging with friends the next, travelling to and from my family home or attending some event. Comfort, therefore, is a biggie. As well as pieces which can be styled several ways. Short skirts are not so much of an option for me because I tend to climb things and jump and run and bend down to find books etc. That I walk everywhere means I wear few heels. The variable Irish climate means I need layerable pieces and lots of cute coats and jumpers.

2. Annoyances/Quirks.

These are more unique, personal factors. For example, I hate having my forearms covered all the time. I don't know why, I just do. This means I can't wear anything that isn't either short-sleeved or capable of being rolled up. Another one of these factors is that I hate fuss and am permanently late/in a hurry/clumsy/all of the above. This means I can't wear anything overly complicated with lots of straps or buttons or pieces. I need clothes that are easy and don't require lots of time to put on or take off. For example, much as I prefer stockings to tights (baggy crotches are irritating), ain't nobody got time for a garter belt.

3. Body type.

This will decide a lot of things and it's one of the hardest factors to come to grips with. It requires a lot of honesty and self-knowledge. I'm short yet leggy, have boobs and I worry about my stomach area. This all affects the choices in clothing that I make and, sometimes, where I shop. I know shirts in Zara, for example, won't fit my boobs right. I know some dresses don't suit girls with curves as well as they suit more boyish shapes. I know some things will look overly-sexual on me because of my body shape. I know I'm too short for other things without looking completely stumpy. Once you come to grips with how you actually look, you can make a lot of better clothing choices and feel more comfortable.

4. Tastes.

Some people like fake tan, some people like short hair. Some people listen to The Cure and some people love the colour pink. Your tastes in appearances and in other things such as music, film, tv etc will affect personal style. I'm into the natural look and not trying too hard. I think androgyny is sexy and I was a punk as a teenager. Now, I'm influenced by more music genres and I really like modern, urban fashion. This means that I don't like clingy clothes such as bandage dresses, I have minimalist tastes, don't like a lot of prints, prefer darker colours and like an edge.

5. Moods.

However, my tastes are not always the exact same. Most of us are this way. We wake up feeling super-confident and wanna rock a bitchin' dress or feel depressed and wanna embrace our inner goth. For this reason, your moods will also decide how you dress. I rotate between three broad categories of dress; rock and roll or punk inspired, cutesy clothes and super-modern dressing.

6. Icons.

Who you look up to and your beliefs might also affect your personal style. However, this is also an area to be careful with. There's a difference between people you admire, people whose style you admire and people you admire for both. One way, if you're stumped on how to find your personal style, is to look at images of different people whose style impresses you. You'll take away things and ideas and make them fit with your own image. Hopefully, you'll avoid copy and pasting. I'm really influenced by Japanese street style, anime, labels such as Alexander Wang, Jil Sander, Valentino, Rodarte and Dsquared2, and people such as Kurt Cobain, Gwen Stefani, Jared Leto, James Dean and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I think if you look at things you like and then see how they fit into the above categories, you'll be well on your way to honing a deeply personal style!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Shameless self-promotion.

So, yeah, if you'd be so kind as to vote for me, I'd be super-thrilled. Super. 

Say no to this face - I dare you.

Picture 031A

Go, go, go, Willow & Clo!

Lately, I was fortunate enough to interview Chloe Townsend, the designer and founder of Willow & Clo, an Irish Jewellery label which has got the press all abuzz recently. And rightly so! Aside from being lovely and giving up some of her valuable time for me, Chloe heads a business with an ethical stance and a design aesthetic that I really admire.

1.What kind of pieces do you like to wear and which designers influence you?

I'm lucky in that I get to design the kind of pieces I like to wear! So I love layering the wrap necklaces in my collection and combining these with a pair of my Raindrop earrings with stones for a pop of colour! I like jewellery that is stylish yet wearable and I appreciate simple elegant designs. That's why I'm inspired by Me & Ro. The pieces have beautiful craftsmanship and I love the way all their pieces have inspirations of a spiritual nature. For me the meaning behind a handcrafted piece of jewellery is important as each piece is special to me.

2.The Irish flavour is palpable and notable in your designs, have you studied the designs of Ancient and Medieval Ireland? Would you ever consider basing a collection on something like that or do you think it too kitsch?

It wasn't my intention to create a specifically Irish inspired collection but after a trip up to the Giants Causeway I found it impossible not to create a collection based on the natural Art Deco landscape formed by the rocks there. I had been thinking of creating an Art Deco collection for a while and seeing the Giants Causeway was the surge of inspiration I needed to go ahead and create it. Its not medieval jewellery but it’s certainty ancient Irish.

3.Your bio page notes that you use recyclable materials where possible, what do you think of the efforts of the fashion world to go green? Do you think enough is being done?

I think it’s very important to be aware of where your materials come from, especially in fashion where so much packaging goes to waste, and try as much as possible to incorporate a green ethos into every brand. For me I like to use recycled packaging, I do think more can be done in this area as it is hard to find and always more expensive. If more people were to switch to Eco friendly packaging it would make it more accessible to everyone. In saying this I am very happy to see that there is definitely a shift towards the fashion world going green, the more popular the idea gets in fashion the more customers will value these ideals and I am looking forward to the day when being green is the norm.

4.Which collection are you most proud of and what do you think your greatest achievement so far has been?

The collection I am most proud of is my new Sound Wave Collection, It is inspired by music and formed using the beautiful waves that sound creates. Music is a huge passion in my life and the idea sparked from my boyfriend’s hobby of writing music. I had been working on the idea of a secret message collection and when he was editing a song I saw how different sounds make certain waves and I thought it was such an interesting way to use sound to portray someone’s secret message where only the wearer knows what it says.

I would have to say I feel my greatest achievement so far is opening my own Atelier in Dublin. It was a very exciting day when I signed the lease and got to work on the decorating. I’m one of these people who needs a space to go and work to be productive so it started out I was going to rent a space for me to do my design work, but then one thing lead to another and now it’s my design and showroom where people can come see my work too

5.And, finally, if you could pick anyone as your dream campaign girl, who would it be and why?

Mila Kunis, apart from loving her style she is also a very good ambassador for ethical jewellery. She does a lot with Gem Fields who are an ethically sourced Emerald and gemstone company. Not only does she have a great interest in the jewellery industry she embodies the Willow & Clo ethos, She Cares about her style and looking good but is passionate about where it comes from. Plus she would look great wearing it!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Debs Ideas.

So, I know it's a little early but sales are everywhere at the moment and I wanted to put together some pieces from high street stores to show how a good Debs/Prom look does not need to cost a fortune. Here are some outfits I styled in different ways for different girls.

1. Romantic Elegance.

This look is pretty timeless and classic but without being typical Debswear. I feel like it's a somewhat safe but rather reliable option. The lace on the dress is quite fun and young and stops the outfit from looking too old or overdone.

Debs - Romantic Elegance

Debs - Romantic Elegance by fitzpac featuring diamond earrings

2. Restrained Ease. 

I'm in love with this dress and feel like the whole look is very modern and unexpected without being showy or flamboyant. While the pieces are grown up, the playful pop of colour in the bag and lip keep it young and appropriate.

Debs - Restrained ease

3. One dress - two girls.

This dress from Topshop is very versatile so I've styled it for two girls - one who is a bit of a punk (as I was) and another who is interested in being a little more demure.

Debs - Lace Prom Dress - Elegant vs. Rock and Roll

Debs - Lace Prom Dress - Elegant vs. Rock and Roll by fitzpac featuring black handbags

4. The Suit - two ways.

I've never quite managed to do a suit for a formal event but I love the idea. Here's two ways to style a suit - one is more playful and the other is a little sexier. I admire any girl greatly who would do this for the Debs and pull it off.

Debs - A Suitable option -Playful

Debs - A Suitable Option - Adult

Debs - A Suitable Option - Adult by fitzpac featuring river island

5. The Cutesy Kooky Look.

This outfit is super cute and just a wee bit eccentric. I imagine it on a character in High School played by Zooey Deschanel. 

6. The Natural Babe.

This, I imagine on a natural beauty or someone with charisma and charm who doesn't need to try very hard. It's all about confidence and ease.

Debs - Natural Babe

Debs - Natural Babe by fitzpac featuring asos

7. Simple Sex Appeal.

This look is about sex but not overtly. It's the classic sex appeal of a red dress without showing too much or trying too hard. The colourful and playful accessories keep it youthful and age appropriate.

Debs - Simple Sex Appeal

And those are my ideas!

Monday, 17 June 2013

JW Anderson - S/S 2014

The new JW man has more of a wiggle and a flow. The designs are rather minimalistic and perhaps less fussy than women's garments but they move like women's clothes. The sculptural pieces are kinda divine and transcend gender barriers in some ways. They seem somewhat more wearable to me but, then, this is coming from a female perspective with a greater sense of fashion freedom. The mesh tops with a single coloured circle also appealed but the weird plastic patch really threw me. Maybe I just don't get it (as I've mentioned can happen before) but they look like bags with spare undies in them clipped to the models' crotches - not the greatest connotation ever.

 If we go back to the question of wearability, however, there are some damn well-tailored pants that as singular pieces would fit in to most wardrobes. The halter-necks for men, however, are really a garment for the truly brave. The bands across the arm, a preoccupation we've seen before, are back in several pieces and so is the flashing of flesh. The a-symmetry at play and the use of bows in a few pieces as well as the folding seem to speak of Asian influence. The word "origami" was one of the first I wrote down upon viewing the collection. Once again, the collection pushed boundaries, explored and had a sense of humour.

Whether Joe Bloggs would wear the collection is irrelevant but the questions asked by the clothes - or, rather, the questions they made us ask - are important ones. The "Is fashion art?" debate seems relevant as I often think that JW's pieces are more message or statement than clothing.

(Images from

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Confusion = derision?

(JW Anderson Mens SS14 - via

It is a sad truth that confusion or lack of understanding is often followed by derision. This is particularly true in the world of fashion. It is perhaps more likely that it is the intellectualisation of fashion which promotes elitism rather than financial divisions. Often it appears to me that much of the most avant-garde comes from those who were once misunderstood until someone noticed them and got it. “Getting it” is really important. Not everyone does. And it is this lack of understanding that causes a rift. Those who don't get it label collections as “ugly” or “unwearable” or “self-indulgent”. Those who do, feel defensive and scoff at others for being too narrow-minded or short-sighted to understand. Few things create such a divide as fashion. It as if it is a world parallel to teenage feuds over music genres. No one is truly right or wrong but merely unwilling to bend to the other's way of viewing things. Or too afraid of hurt feelings. It's all a case of miscommunication.

Of course, I am speaking largely in a general sense and about extreme opinions. It is not always so black and white as this. Examples, perhaps, are the best way of explaining the connection between confusion and derision in the fashion world. Fashion is one of the arts most engaged with by the general public and on a very regular basis. We are all aware of the fashion world and familiar with it but we are not all insiders or truly part of it. It is often those who are not in the business or the “know” that meet new ideas with confusion and derision. But this is not something that is limited to fashion. The “isions” are common reactions to the new and unknown. It is an easy reaction. The lazy reaction. Few of us are innocent of it. Take JW Anderson's A/W collection for men this year - dresses and skirts a-plenty for men. While the fashion world at large labels him a wunderkind, male friends of mine laughed off his clothes upon spying me looking at them. I'm sure most people in the street would do the same. Similarly, Chloe Norgaard was regularly lambasted last month as Vogue's Today I'm Wearing guest. Designers love her for her kooky, colourful look but many readers posted rude comments which were unnecessarily hurtful and cruel.

We do not all have to agree on matters of taste and everyone is entitled to their opinions. However, I do think it is sad that more of us (myself included) cannot accept these differences in opinion and embrace the crazy, beautiful, diverse world we live in as improved by them. Perhaps we all need to reconsider how we react to things that we don't understand and learn to give new things a chance. New perspectives are fun, not threatening! And something that we do not like or understand is not ugly. Judgement is an easy shield to fall behind but it does not promote a forum for growth or nuturing.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Weekend packing

So, last weekend I was away in the West of Ireland with friends. High maintenance is neither my style nor an option when sharing a house with 12 other people so it was necessary to pack easy, wearable, interchangeable options. As per, I packed wayyy too much yet managed to fit it all easily in a backpack. I largely stuck to a tank, boyfriend jean and light knitwear formula but also had dresses on hand in case dining got fancy (it didn't).