Ten fashion mistakes to avoid this season

This summer, more that any other, we are bombarded with fashion trends, not only in the shops but in the media. Tantalising images of the latest fashions and “must haves” are everywhere.

On the plus side there are styles, colours, patterns and fabrics to suit all ages, sizes and shapes. However, the bad news is that the possibility to make mistakes is endless.

Due to the bad weather shops have a lot of summer clothes in stock and are using the sales as a way to sell these at reduced prices. We all know the temptation to buy that totally inappropriate outfit just because it is reduced by 70 per cent.

So what fashion blunders should you avoid this summer? Color Me Beautiful Galway based image consultant Mary Hearne has some pointers to steer you in the right direction.

1. Buying an item you do not need. This is a common sin and most of us are guilty of it, especially at sale time. Before you buy something there are a few questions you should ask yourself, she advises.

“Do you really need it? Does it suit you? Will you get much wear out of it? Does it go with anything else in your wardrobe? At 70 per cent off it is no bargain if it is going to sit in your wardrobe.

“You should be able to enjoy wearing each garment you buy. Before you hit the shops - ‘shop your wardrobe’ - and do an “I need” list. Learn a little about what suits you and what works for your figure, lifestyle and budget.”

2. Over-embracing the floral trend. This is another common pitfall. This season big bold statements are making the news in floral and graphic patterns. Everything from dresses to tops to trousers is influenced by flower power. But be warned! Bold floral patterns are not for the petite figure or the straight down body shape. Leave them instead to the willowy 5ft 7 and over women.

“When in doubt avoid and go for some of the lovely solid colours - greens, blue and reds - or do it the French way by buying neutrals, navy, taupe and white.”

3. Saying ‘yes’ to dresses in all shapes and styles. Dresses are one of summer’s darlings but that does that mean that you can don any type and look good.

“Dresses to be avoided - unless you have had advice re your body shape - are the batwing dress, the belted dress (good if you have an hourglass figure ), or the fifties dress with the full skirt, even if it is reduced from €250 to €45 (you know why - not everyone can wear it well! ).

4. Choosing the wrong trouser shape. Mary Hearne says the most common mistake women make when buying trousers, apart from selecting large patterned and floral styles, is the leg shape.

“We have peg, tapered and power stretch styles but for these you need a slim. straight leg shape and these are more flattering in a solid colour. With the cropped or capri styles avoid the length that stops at the widest part of the leg, ie, mid calf.

“If wearing a floral pattern in trousers be sure to wear a plain coloured top. Jeans come in wonderful solid colours so go for a patterned top but ensure that the size of the pattern is in proportion to your size. If you are 5ft 3 inches or under, wear the same colour top and trousers as this will give the illusion of being three to four inches taller. Wear with high heels or wedges for added height.”

5. Buying very high heeled shoes. These look great, elongate the leg and dress up your outfit but they will have a short fashion life.

“This season there is a great choice of shoe colours, including floral patterns (yes again ). Heels are seriously high - up to six inches - but a word of caution, they will go out of fashion very very quickly. It is best to opt for an investment pair of nude mid heels. These will go with most of your summer clothes and will take you into autumn. Neutrals are wise buys too but avoid white shoes. Another big trend is the ballet pump. These are good with long dresses and capri or cropped trousers.”

6. Looking like a drowned rat! This is a fashion “no, no”. With the unseasonable weather you must be prepared for wind, rain and sunshine (all in one day ). Jackets are good fashion investments and if you make the right choice it will see you through until winter. Leather versions are in vogue right now. Opt for a neutral colour or dark green - a top colour this autumn - and wear with jeans or over a shift dress. And this season’s key tip - match your bag, in bright red, shocking pink or soft peach to your lipstick, not your shoes. You will be a trend setter.”

7. Wearing socks with sandals. This only applies to men - children are exempt. The weather may be cold and wet for summer but there is no excuse for committing this cardinal fashion sin.

8. “Too short” shorts on men. City shorts or Bermudas are all the fashion rage this season for males. In spite of the weather we see them worn everywhere, in the supermarket, going out to dinner, the pub and even, at the theatre. A word of caution though, there are three common mistakes men make when wearing city shorts, according to the image consulant. (1 ) Wearing them too short - they must be worn just below the knee. (2 ) Wearing the wrong footwear and tops - they should not be worn with sandals rather sneakers, loafers or a suede mocassin to cut a dash. (3 ) Never wear them with a formal shirt. T-shirts and polo shirts work best for the colder weather. So, wear them with a long sleeved T-shirt under a contrasting polo shirt or add a neck scarf for a trend setter look.

9. Overdoing it with fancy florals. Men, like women, must exercise caution where florals are concerned, warns Mary Hearne. “With so many floral and bloom patterns around it is tempting to go for them. But unless you are going to Hawaii on holidays forget the florals. Go for the wonderful checks, tartan and stripes or a solid colour instead. If wearing checks or tartan wear with a plain or solid colour top.”

10. Opting for sharp tailoring to hide a paunch. Many men believe that a crisp fabric and expensive tailoring will disguise the fact that they have had their hand in the cookie jar on too many occasions. This look will not make them look slimmer, she says.

“The opposite is true. Go for the American cut softer style in a relaxed fabric. The best fabrics are flannel, wool, cashmere and soft woven twill. Avoid belted jackets and fitted tops, tight jeans and sharp geometric patterns.”

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