Let’s keep it casual…

Despite our internal craving for all things glam, there comes a time when we just want to keep it casual. Our style that is. But there is equilibrium where sparkly meets tracksuit and I call it “smart”. Typically at the weekends, we like to brush off the week, send the suit to the dry cleaners and don our Saturday finest, the most popular being jeans and a top. The definition of casual clothes has evolved over the last number of years as Ireland is now the home to some of the most renowned retailers, both indigenous and international. We can, without fail, style ourselves comfortably and affordably. I had the pleasure of interviewing British fashion legend, Gok Wan last week and we talked of Irish style in general and he thinks we got it sorted. So if Gok thinks we have style, how do we balance the chic with the comfy?

Look to labels

There are several labels that have achieved this. Schmacher stocked in Les Jumelles, Galway is one brand who knows casual. This season, the brand has matched muted tones like stone with big trends, like cropped pants, tailoring and maxi skirts. But this collection struck me for its one overriding quality – versatility. Each and every look will take you from day to night by adding an accessory such as a statement necklace or scarf, and changing shoes. My tip for the daytime is to wear flats, like ballerina pumps or brogues and change for a wedge heel to completely transform the look for an after work cocktail.

Another label to look to is Tommy Hilfiger, who pioneers the nautical trend this season. Stripes are the unofficial insignia of the brand and the stores have a great selection (turquoise strip top, from a selection available at Tommy Hilfiger ). I love these tops and they are a great long lasting investment; the cotton is of exceptional quality which will maintain its shape and texture. These tops look great with mid length skirts and leggings.

But one thing to note is that casual does not mean natural tones, like beige or cream (which contrary to belief are two completely different colours ). Spring Summer has introduced bright neons as well as pastels to our colour wheel. Experiment with these; white linen pants offset colours like yellow, royal blue and neon pink beautifully (Tie-dye top, Topshop, €45 ) or try a floral print jacket with jeans (floral blazer, Penneys, €25 ). And the colour trend also extends to your feet! There is a huge selection of brightly coloured footwear to get your toes excited (Pink platforms, TK Maxx, €49.99 ).

And the celeb to watch for

The casual look is not something we see outside of paparazzi shots, but this year pay close attention to Miranda Kerr, Victoria Secret model and wife of Orlando Bloom. She is the queen of cool and if there is anyone to take inspiration from, it’s her. A fan of long skirts paired with leather jackets, and girly dresses and cardigans, Miranda is this generation’s Audrey Hepburn in terms of look and persona. To get Miranda’s style into your own wardrobe, take a look at BooHoo (www.boohoo.com ) for dresses in chiffon and cotton, and TK Maxx who have hit trends such as tunics and cardigans (sequin cardigan, TK Maxx, €26.99 ). Now the leather jacket is hard to find at this time of year, but Heatons have a great biker style jacket that will keep you warm on a chilly summer’s evening. A leather jacket looks great over a dress and can take something casual to really chic (leather jacket, Heatons, €39.99 ). And not to forget, this will carry through to next season as well!

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