Pictured from top left: 60s look from Rochas SS12, round tortoiseshell sunnies €20 on ASOS, Celine platforms, Kate O’Dowd, Burberry Mercer clutch (€1,194 at matchesfashion.com), Jo Malone Red Roses cologne.
As a teenager, Kate O’Dowd scraped her pennies together and even endured bank loans in order to fulfil her fashionable desires. Now, as IMAGE magazine’s Assistant Editor, she’s a little older and lot wiser about compiling the perfect capsule wardrobe each season.
Her “fun, understated and feminine” style is underpinned by a recent bravery to “dress outside the box”. The only thing Kate refuses to try? “Feathery fascinators. They are the epitome of all that’s wrong with Irish style.” Read on to discover Kate’s expert shopping tips and style tricks.
Spring/Summer 2012 designer collection
I always adore Jil Sander who this season is keeping the love alive with the usual spectrum of feminine semi-minimals – crisp whites, punchy pastels and sharp pyjama prints. My favourite colour schemes come by way of Jonathan Saunders, with all the shades of sherbetty rainbow on loose-fitting schoolgirl shapes. And lastly, I came very late to the Mad Men party (only on Season Two now), and the deeper my obsession grows the more I feel like I am Betty Draper (minus the repression and depression), so the early 1960s glamour at Rochas really has me captivated.
S/S trend and how you’ll be wearing it
If I wasn’t growing more pregnant by the day, I’d be living in peplums in every shape, form and colour. I love how the extreme nip just before the pleating makes every waist look neat (and especially how that wondrous pleating allows for substantial pasta-expansion). Alas, the peplum will no longer conceal my burgeoning belly, so I’ve retreated to all things oversized, smock-like and (though I never thought I’d see the day) empire line. Trend-wise, only footwear is my friend this summer – and the orthopaedic comfort of flatforms proves perfect.
Indigenous shop in Dublin
Shops like Smock, Bow, Dolls and Havana are what keep a credible fashion scene alive, in Dublin. I think it’s a shame that there aren’t more and that we’ve lost some really good ones (like Circus) along the way. But these ladies always offer inspiration and wardrobe treats to those who appreciate them.
Shop (clothing or otherwise) in another country
I recently visited Stockholm and totally fell in love with its fashion (and the perfect humans wearing it). The Acne flagship, of course, was like Mecca – while the Cos flagship, just around the corner, sated my lust when I couldn’t afford to buy anything in the former. (Check out our Stockholm city guide).
Go-to piece in your wardrobe
A vintage white blouse I bought in Bow. It’s crisp and boyish, with shirt collars and a loose, straight shape, but has delicate broderie anglaise detailing on the shoulders and (slightly capped) sleeves, which add an original touch. This goes over jeans, under sweaters and dresses, tucked into skirts and in any other fashion I can think of.
If someone were to give me €695 (anyone? … no?), I would most certainly pick up a pair of these Celine platforms. Every time I’m in Brown Thomas, I swoon over them and my frumpy feet cry. Though, really, they shouldn’t be such whinge-bags; they have a perfectly chic and very comfy pair of Acne sandals on them, most days.
I’m mostly quite scruffy on the bag front, favouring battered old satchels above all else – at the moment I’m wearing one that my Mum bought me for €2 in a charity shop; it’s ripped in three places, the strap is tied on (because the buckle is broken) and I love it. I alternate between one of these and a mushroom Pauric Sweeney sporty tote that tips the balance between smart and cool, quite nicely – and what I have my eye on for all the glamorous garden parties I’ll be attending this summer (pah!) is the Burberry Mercer clutch (€1,194 at matchesfashion.com) – absolute perfection.
I’ve been wearing Jo Malone Red Roses Cologne for years. It smells of the perfume you make from crushed petals, as a child …like a real rose garden, fresh and not at all heavy. People always compliment me on it – I think it reminds them of their Nana.
Best Bargain Buy
My best bargain buy, this summer, has to be a pair of round tortoiseshell sunnies, which were €20 on ASOS. I wear them everyday, they’re sturdy and I think they look much more high-design than they are. Plus, I’m a demon for loosing sunglasses, so buying €300 pairs is a no-no, for me. Win!
Though, wardrobe-investment wise, I bought a gorgeous vintage Chanel dress in the Designer Exchange, in Celbridge, last year, for under €200 – it’s a nude trapeze-style shirt dress, in a luxurious jersey-silk. I feel so grown-up when I wear it; I’m sure I’ll always have it.
I used to splurge a lot when I was younger – when I was in college, I once took out a bank loan to buy my wardrobe for the season. I was still paying it back a year later. I also spent over €1,000 on a MiuMiu bag when I was an intern, then took it out every weekend and completely ruined it.
As I’ve gotten older, my tastes have grown more sensible and I do most of my shopping in COS (where the only way you can splurge is by bulk-buying … and that, ahem, never happens). I buy one or two good pieces a season – this summer, it’s been a Jonathan Saunders dress and some Acne sandals – and mix them with the best highstreet and vintage bits I can find.
- Gillian BrettTweet