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Sizzle in the fashion stakes this summer


Maggie Gibbons

Fashion is having a real love affair with the ’80s this summer. Bright colours, denim jackets, bell sleeves and big shoulders are just a few trends in the ultra-feminine array of styles for this season. This is a great time to get out of your comfort zone and experiment with colour.
The most definitive of the spring/summer catwalk colours was yellow, which showed up in shades of pastel yellow, mustard and lemon. Yellow was everywhere, and deservedly so, as it’s such a happy, cheerful colour, almost guaranteed to put you in good humour.
If you’re not feeling brave enough for a yellow garment, get yourself a scarf, necklace or some accessory in a yellow shade. If you’re still hesitant then maybe you could opt instead for the Pantone Colour of the Year, coral. This shade suits every skin tone and hair colour and is really flattering.
Decoding the avant-garde fashion on the catwalk is a major exercise. Thankfully, the fashion manufacturers and designers do the hard work for us, so by the time you shop in the boutiques or on the high street it’s been well diluted for maximum appeal to us ordinary humans. This year sees a return to femininity, dresses and skirts are longer, and the silhouette is emphasised. Ooh la la!


Wrap and mock-wrap dresses are both flattering and sophisticated. The tie at the waist gives the illusion of a slimmer midriff.
I’ve also seen a lot of elasticated waists – not the most flattering, and it can be a hard trend to pull off; it actually looks better with a belt. However, it’s a super-comfortable style, and a great camouflage when you eat too much, so bring it on!
Maxi-dresses are still around. They’re just brilliant, no dilemma when you put one on. All you need to complement it is a great pair of shades, a hat and a straw bag.

This massively popular trend from last year is sticking around for now. Knife pleating generates flowy movement and a feeling of elegance. This style is everywhere, I recently bought a gorgeous leopard print one in Tesco when I was doing my grocery shopping. I think it was about €22.

Bell-sleeved blouses and tops
I love this trend as it’s very feminine and adds a real touch of oomph to an otherwise ordinary top.

Puff shoulders
Bold shoulders are a real throwback to the ’80s, but rather than padding and hard lines, this season’s style is soft and puffy. You will also see lots of shoulder pleating and fullness.

Ruffles and bows
Shirts and dresses will be embellished with ruffles and bows for softness. Pair up with your favourite jeans for a super trendy vibe.

I must be the only woman in Mayo who doesn’t own a denim jacket, and never have! Having said that, I think it’s a fabulous addition to any wardrobe, as it goes with everything. This year you can take your pick from any number of pastel shades, as well as the tried-and-tested blue.
As for skinny jeans, leggings and jeggings – they all look fantastic, once worn appropriately. My advice is to wear longer tops once we leave the first flush of youth, and leave the shorter tops to the under 30s.

If you just buy one bag this summer, then make it the straw circular one; it’s definitely the must have bag of the season. Transparent bags will also be popular, though I can’t see it becoming a major trend – too see-through for comfort!

Hat lovers will be in their element this summer – fedora, trilby, beret, straw boater, whatever floats your boat, go for it. Hats provide both sun protection and an ultra-stylish edge to any outfit. Wear them with dresses, jumpsuits, coats and any other combo you fancy. Bucket hats are well and truly back too. Their must-have items for anyone who’d like to wear a hat without it being too outrageous.

Maggie Gibbons is an Image/Style Consultant based in Louisburgh. She can be contacted at