Autumn Winter Wardrobe reshuffle

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I highly recommend that everyone does a wardrobe clear out at least once a year. You never realise how much stuff you stash away until you start to sort through it all. As I write this I am in the middle of moving house and until now I never realised how out of control my wardrobe is. I am sure I am not the only person in Fermanagh currently moving house and this article will probably be very relevant to a lot of students who are moving out of Fermanagh to start their new life at University.

If you are anything like me and find it difficult to part with your clothes doing a clear out can be a daunting task. My golden rule is if you haven’t worn it in the last year then it’s not worth keeping. If you have time to sort through properly you should make three piles, one for keeping, one for charity shops and one for recycling. I usually separate the things I keep into autumn winter and spring summer piles so that I can store one away in another room to make more space in my wardrobe (though this is probably why I convince myself that I have less than I actually do).

Usually when I am doing a wardrobe clear out I will hold on to items that I think I can alter or fix and put them in an ‘alterations pile’ however because Im moving house and my alteration pile is getting beyond a joke I have had to be ruthless and just get rid of a lot of it. Items that are either in need of or beyond repair can be bagged up and brought to a local ‘cash for clothes’ outlet. It will surprise you how much you can get for a load of junk that you might otherwise just have thrown in the bin. At least in this case the clothes are recycled and not added to landfill.

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When it comes to my current wardrobe I will always keep things that are in season and on trend. Although it is not technically autumn yet it certainly feels like it so I feel now is as good a time as any to prepare for autumn winter and say goodbye to my summer wardrobe. You may think this means saying goodbye to bright colours and prints however this is not the case for the coming season. Striking colours such as hot pinks, electric blue, zingy oranges and lemons will stay with us well into the winter months. Also hold onto anything with a 60s vibe as this will be big news for autumn winter.

An obvious thing for autumn winter is knitwear but in particular layering. Make extra room in your wardrobe for thick cable knits, gillets and faux fur and if you have coloured fur or shearling coats most definitely hold on to these.

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An autumn winter wardrobe can often be a problem because it takes up so much space. Not only do you have bulkier clothes to contend with but also coats, scarves and boots and it’s difficult to find space for it all. One important thing to remember is that one good investment not only takes up much less space than three or four poor quality items but will also last much longer.


Have fun with fashion

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As you all know Fermanagh people are renowned for being happy however many of us don’t exactly dress the part. For many getting dressed in the morning can be a struggle and many either don’t care or don’t take any notice of what they put on. Many will say they are too busy to think about what they wear or in fact don’t actually care about fashion but in reality we all make a choice to part with our hard earned money to purchase the clothes we wear so every single one of us makes a choice to purchase what we wear.

Fashion is a serious multi million pound industry which employs countless people all over the globe from seamstresses to designers and models to magazine editors and right down to the shop sales assistants here in Fermanagh. Many will say they’re just clothes and ridiculous amounts of money are spent every day on designer goods when the people who actually put these clothes together are earning the least. It may interest you to know that the designers themselves don’t earn a huge wage especially new designers and in fact when a designer first starts out many don’t make it. Without financial backing many designers remain in debt for the majority of their career.

This time of year is always most worrying for a designer as they finish off their collections for the season ahead. They rely on public opinion therefor if a fashion critic gives a bad review they may face a financially quiet year. A designer’s work all comes from ideas, musings and artistic flair and they put everything into their work for us to wear and enjoy.

Everyone has their role to play within the industry even you and me. It all begins on a page, the items are made, displayed by models, styled and photographed for magazines, written about by fashion journalists, promoted by advertisers, bought by fashion buyers, displayed in shop windows by visual merchandisers sold by shop assistants and worn by you and I.

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So as you can see fashion is a serious industry with many designers being known for being very deep thinkers. Autumn Winter is a particularly dark month for designers as they cater for the cold, wet and dark months ahead, particularly if you think of Fermanagh. However, Autumn Winter 2014 seems to have brought a change as fashion becomes fun.

Chanel had fun with food, models danced down the runway, gave high fives and were actually smiling and laughing. They were taking selfies with the crowd and the clothes were slightly off the wall. Sponge Bob square pants and McDonalds were the inspiration behind Moschino, 1960s style space dresses at Ashish, Chanel took grocery shopping to a whole new fashion dimension and Anya Hindmarch was thinking of breakfast when she designed her collection of Tony the Tiger and Kellogg’s cockerel handbags.

Although I can’t see many Fermanagh folk dressing in Sponge Bob trousers, I have already seen one or two with the Moschino McDonalds chained handbag (although I am guessing not the real deal). I think this winter could really be fun here in Fermanagh with lots of exciting prints and bright colours making a welcome appearance in our local stores.

Sixties Fermanagh style

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One of my favourite decades has to be the 1960’s not only because it was a decade of fashion revolution and change but also because many of the clothes which are part of my large vintage collection are from the sixties and were given to me by my granny Irvine. I often look at clothes from the sixties and imagine what it would have been like to have lived in Fermanagh back then. Not terribly nice I would imagine, due to the beginning of the troubles, but I often look at some of my grandmothers clothes and imagine what she would have looked like in them. I have to say she had very adventurous taste and I can imagine her standing out from the crowd here in Fermanagh. She certainly wouldn’t have blended into the background judging some of the dresses she has given to me.

I would imagine Fermanagh was pretty backward in the sixties and in modern times it is still struggling to keep up with fashion meccas like London and Dublin and to a lesser extent Belfast.  Many girls my age and younger would have made their own clothes because they just couldn’t get what they were looking for in the shops here and they would often have to make the long journey to Belfast if they had a very special occasion because there just wouldn’t have been the choice at home.

We are very lucky today to have such a selection of high street stores and boutiques and in fact we have so much variety now that a trip to Belfast or Dublin is only called for if there is something really different that you need or you plan on making a weekend out of it.

The sixties are back with a bang this season and I couldn’t be more thrilled as I plan on getting some of those genuine sixties items that I have out on show again. For me the sixties are all about Mod dresses in bright block colours, a-line skirts (no micro minis for me), knee high boots, silk blouses and pea coats.

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1960s style is accessible to everyone and is a style that suits every shape. The fashion revolution that came about in the sixties meant that young women no longer had to dress like their mothers but instead were given a new lease of life and access to styles that made them look like themselves and not like miniature versions of their parents.

I would imagine that it took Fermanagh quite some time to catch on to this whole new outlook on fashion during the sixties so hopefully this time around the people of Fermanagh will embrace this new look much more quickly as I would imagine it will only last one season. If you’re not into bright psychadellic colours don’t worry as the look has been given more of an Autumn/Winter twist with more muted pastel shades taking the lead however if you do like a bit of colour there will also be bold block colours to play with.

Fur or Faux

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Ever since the first Neolithic man slayed a woolly mammoth and realised that as well as being useful for food it could also be used for warmth in the harsh winters by turning the thick woolly coat into a blanket; fur coats have been a symbol of status, wealth and good taste. In more recent times fur coats have become a lot more readily available in the mass produced synthetic form (more commonly known as faux fur) and can be quite reasonable to buy.

At one of my recent vintage fairs one of the stall holders had a collection of real fur coats and a few fur wraps with the head and paws still on it, which freaked me out a little. This got me thinking that although some of the other fur coats didn’t have heads attached to them they may as well have considering the fact that although it wasn’t as obvious that they came from a real animal the point is that they were once an animal.

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I’m not about to get into a debate about the rights and wrongs of fur because although I don’t agree with the whole leaving the head on look I do think that some fur coats are incredibly beautiful and elegant and at the end of the day I can’t exactly argue against fur when I eat meat.

I recently inherited a real fur full length coat and have yet to wear it however I certainly appreciate its value and its history. When my great grandmother travelled to Belfast to purchase the coat it would have been a longer and more complicated journey than just hopping into the car and making the hour and a half journey. In those days a fur coat was not only a fashion statement but also a symbol of who you were, your wealth and taste and you couldn’t get one on your local high street, especially if you lived in remote Fermanagh. Not everyone could afford to have a fur coat and therefore by owning one people could immediately see that you were someone important.

Nowadays you can buy faux fur in most high-street stores and can get them in all shades and styles for very reasonable money; however you will still find it much more difficult to get a real fur jacket and will still pay a lot more money for one. Mass produced synthetic fur can be made much quicker and costs less to manufacture and so is much cheaper to buy whereas a lot more skill and time goes into producing a real fur coat.

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During winter the fur coats always come out however this season they seem to be a lot more whacky than ever with designers such as Anna Sui displaying colourful varieties on the catwalk, Simone Rocha going for a leopard print and Dries Van Noten’s cuddly teddy bear style furs. The main difference is that most designers have opted for the faux option this season so whether you are a fan of the fake or not this season it’s all about faking it so animal lovers can breathe a sigh of relief.