Save your cash! Restyle, restyle restyle!

Simple black tulip skirt bought for £5.00 in a charity shop. Teamed with Adidas jacket and Alexander McQueen scarf for a sports luxe designer look

Simple black tulip skirt bought for £5.00 in a charity shop. Teamed with Adidas jacket and Alexander McQueen scarf for a sports luxe designer look

With Christmas just 9 weeks away many of us have begun putting money aside or in fact some have already begun their Christmas shopping. I however am one of those last minute Christmas shoppers and it’s usually a struggle trying to get things sorted in the last remaining weeks running up to the Festive season.

Having recently bought a house, a new neice or nephew on the way, Christmas just around the corner and a wedding to pay for I have had to tighten my belt in recent weeks. Before becoming a home owner I would have shopped around for bargains and was reasonably careful with my money but if there was something I wanted I would just go out and buy it. The latest hot trend had to be mine (although I would always go for a unique alternative) and I never really felt guilty about my frequent shopping .


Same skirt different look. This time teamed with vintage shirt and vintage bolero jacket. The entire look was less than £20.00

These days I very rarely go shopping  but when I do I always have to choose between outfits. On a recent shopping trip I had about four dresses, three tops, two skirt and several jumpers but on a tight budget naturally I couldn’t buy them all. It was a difficult decision but in the end I chose items that I knew could easily be teamed with other separates so I would get much more versatility and therefore better value for money.


A dressier look using the same skirt. Again this look was just over £15.00

As well as supporting our local boutiques and our high street I am also a big fan of our local charity shops. Many people are put off by rows and rows of similar colours crammed together and minimal visual merchandising but you can find some really great things in charity shops, you just have to look for them and see the potential in things.

The power of restyling. Same skirt again!

The power of restyling. Same skirt again!

If you have a weakness for clothes like me but your cash flow is restricted my advice is as follows. If you need a new outfit go for items that you can mix and match. Take my black skirt as an example I purchased this for just £5.00 in a local charity shop and it has been my secret weapon.  I have worn it casual to work, on nights out with heels, as part of a fancy dress costume and to a wedding evening party dressed up with a black top statement necklace, cashmere wrap and heels.  This has been the best fiver I have ever spent. If you have time shop around and always take a look in the charity shops as you never know what you might find. Most dresses can be worn casual so if you are choosing between a dress and a skirt; although the skirt can be used to create a broader spectrum of outfits you can still create a wide selection of outfits with a dress if you just use your imagination. With careful consideration and thinking about what you already have at home while shopping you can most definitely make your money go further.


One dress 2 looks. Add a jumper for a skirt jumper combo and you’ll have endless outfit possibilitiessDSC_0836


Stay chic in the rain

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I don’t think anyone  hopes for wet and cold weather however with all the stylish outerwear and accessories around at the moment we may not mind wrapping up and braving the elements. If like me you spend quite a few Saturday afternoons either watching the local football or hitting the high street at least you will be wrapped up in style.

Being well accustomed to wet and windy weather all through the year means that we Fermanagh folk have a vast selection of coats, umbrellas, hats and waterproof attire and despite having many coats already I may just have a weakness for a nice coat. There is certainly no shortage of rain friendly chic outerwear for us to choose from and with all the perfect rainy day outfits available there is no chance of us having a bad outfit day.

The timeless trench

A trench coat has a timeless classic look that will never go out of style. For a dressed down casual look team with skinny jeans and boots or for a more dressed up pair with a pencil skirt and heels.

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Although a leather jacket isn’t really me I do think they are incredibly cool. For a punky going out look stay dry with a leather jacket shift dress and sky high heels.

Country Girl

I am not a fan of the quilted jacket as it just reminds me of school but I do think they look good, are very cosy and especially good in our cold winter days. They are associated with a country look but are also practical in this wet and cold climate. For a dressed down look team with a shirt tunic, skinny jeans or leggings and Hunter wellies.

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The Oversized coat

This can be anything from a stylish camel coat to the more modern cocoon coat. You will certainly never feel the elements in one of these blanket like creations. For a cool street style look try teaming with a pair of bright trainers and jeans.


Although it won’t keep you particularly dry it will definitely keep you warm. Fur is a big deal this season particularly if it’s in bright colours, patterned or shaggy style. It’s not just fur coats either it’s everything from fur snoods to boleros and Russian hats.

Whatever way you choose to stay waterproof, warm and cosy this winter with all the varieties and styles of coats and accessories on the high street this autumn you will most certainly do it in style. Even if the typical Fermanagh wind and rain makes you feel as though you want to stay indoors you have no excuses for not having a great winter wardrobe.


Ladies in Leather

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On a recent shopping trip I noticed quite a lot of leather and leather look items in our local stores. I often wonder how the ladies will take to certain trends and leather is one trend in particular that I have never managed to get into myself, perhaps because the thought of trying to squeeze into a pair of leather trousers does not appeal to me or the thought of how uncomfortable they might be. I also like the look of leather jackets on other people but for some reason have, as yet, been unable to find one that suits me.

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Although the 1960s are a big trend at the moment, leather is a trend that very much stems from the 1970s and was revolutionised by glam rock and female rock stars such as Suzi Quatro. I watched a programme recently about how until artists like Suzi Quatro emerged in the mid-1970s female style was very much feminine despite how modern and open minded women had become throughout the sixties. Quatro was this breath of fresh air who almost looked like a boy but was still very feminine in her own right. Her look was completely unique and, at the time, very radical.

To this day many still have their misconceptions about leather clothing, don’t get me wrong there are some really nice leather dresses and fab leather biker jackets in our local stores at the moment but there is just something wrong about a short leather skirt. Even if dressed down with a knitted jumper and a pair of ankle boots the leather skirt will always draw you in and it just makes me think of Kat Slater from EastEnders.

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Although it’s a trend that keeps coming back it seems to be on overload at the moment, yet I haven’t actually seen that many people out and about here in Fermanagh in their leather skirts or leather trousers. To be perfectly honest I feel this is a trend that needs to be dressed down rather than worn on a night out on the town, particularly the leather skirt and heel combination (except if it’s a pencil skirt). I am not trying to offend anyone or put anyone off buying leather however I do feel it should be worn with caution.  Teaming leather with the correct items is vital and can only go one way or the other. If you pair everything together correctly it can look really good but if you get it wrong it can be oh so wrong. Try to stick with a happy medium, don’t put too much black together, try to avoid loud  leopard prints, don’t pile leather on leather and where possible try to keep the whole look very much toned down, therefore  thigh high boots with a short leather skirt are a huge a no go area.

Yummy Mummies

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With another Royal baby on the way and my sister and good friend both due in the coming weeks it’s baby boom all round. In a recent conversation with my sister she complained about how difficult it is to get trendy maternity wear here in Fermanagh and that anything she has tried to purchase online just hasn’t looked right and had to be sent back.

Believe it or not maternity wear has come a long way from the frumpy, unflattering smocks, dresses and bin bag like tunics that maternity departments used to pass off as fashion. I cannot begin to imagine what it feels like to no longer fit into your favourite skinny jeans due to a rapidly expanding bump. However don’t get rid of all your favourite clothes keep them at the back of your wardrobe to give yourself the motivation to get back into them again post baby. In this article dedicated to mums I have gone through all the latest Autumn Winter trends and adapted them to suit your bump. Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t wear this season’s hottest trends, you just need to adapt things slightly.


Although many of the shorter lengths in dresses wouldn’t really suit your bump you can still find many sixties style dresses in knee length. Peter pan collars look really cute with a neat little bump in the early months of pregnancy and shift style dresses with bold patterns will draw attention away from your bump. Wear with tights in the cooler days of autumn, which will also give extra support for your legs.

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Capes and kimonos

Blanket capes as seen on the Burberry catwalk are now everywhere on the high street and these along with kimono style jackets are a great way to wrap up during winter and give a very flattering drape effect on your bump.

Maxi dresses

No matter what the season you can always rely on a maxi dress to get you through all eventualities especially when pregnant. Whether it’s a shopping trip with the girls or a wedding you can up style or down play any maxi dress to fit the occasion and the great thing is it will always make you look slim. Try a pop of colour for a more trend setting look.

Cosy Knits

Although some of the bulkier knitted jumpers and fur coats will probably do nothing but make you feel frumpy there are some great longer length knitted cardigans on the high street at the moment that will look flattering against your bump. As well as this if you want to look on trend this season yet don’t like the idea of a bulky fur jacket why not opt for a much more flattering longer length tweed jacket  or long line blazer, which will elongate your torso and give you a neater looking figure.

Blogs – a fashion forward outlook for Fermanagh


Social media has taken the world by storm and has taken over our lives in the space of just a few years. Many of you will have Facebook or Twitter accounts or both but these days it’s not enough to simply be on Twitter and Facebook. You’ve got Snap Chat, What’s App, Instagram and my personal favourite Pinterest and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Nowadays people use and rely on social media for everything from organising a birthday party to selling a suite of furniture and whether we like it or not this is the way forward. Even here in Fermanagh, which can at times be pretty behind when it comes to gadgets, fashion and forward thinking Social media is an everyday tool to people of all ages and backgrounds and is used in countless ways.

As a fashion journalist I use social media a lot for research mainly for staying up to date with all the latest fashion news, trends and cutting edge fashion that you don’t see anywhere else. Social media enables me to go places and see things without even having to leave Fermanagh. For my research I often find blogs (a web log or regularly updated web page, written in an informal style as a diary or report of certain interests or goings on) incredibly useful and in fact I use my own blog as a way of reaching a wider audience beyond Fermanagh. Even though Fermanagh is quite a small place I know social media is widely used here so I put a call out using Facebook to see if I could find any local fashion and lifestyle bloggers and just as I suspected I got talking to several interesting people.

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Printed Skull Ink

I was already aware of Donna McCabe’s strong local social media presence through her Blog ‘Printed Skull Ink’. She came up with the name through her background in fashion and textile design and love of skulls. Her blog is a review of local fashion and lifestyle businesses and events. Donna strongly believes in promoting and supporting local businesses to ensure their survival. In the upcoming weeks she will be covering Belfast Fashion week and organising a charity photo shoot for breast cancer awareness.

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Allis Vintage

Allis Vintage is my blog ( in which I talk about all things unique, one of a kind and the weird and wonderful fashion world around us. In my blog I do like to discuss local fashion matters but I also like to explore the world around me as well as bringing a little bit of Fermanagh to the outside world. I have had great comments from as far away as New Zealand and India so its great to promote local fashion to people across the globe.

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Secrets of a Twenty Something

Lisbellaw’s Victoria Stokes’ blog and website,, explores everything from beauty and fashion to dating disasters and celebrity gossip. Although it is aimed at twenty somethings it is a good read for all ages as her regular blogs discuss topics that effect women of all ages.

Man oh man!

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I must admit on nights out I always have a good look around to see what people are wearing and it does really impress me when a guy makes an effort to look good, choose his outfits well and try to be a little different from your average.

At a recent event I attended it was almost as if the guys there were in uniform because nearly every man in the place was wearing a checked shirt, jeans and brown shoes. The one or two guys who did stand out were the ones who weren’t wearing checked shirts and jeans and it just made me think that although all of those men made an effort to put on their best going out gear they obviously don’t mind looking like every other man in the place.

If a girl went out and spotted another girl in the same outfit as her she would most definitely be mortified but if a man does it he doesn’t seem to care. Maybe we women care too much about our appearance or about what others think of us.

For those Fermanagh men out there who are interested in fashion, take pride in your appearance or if you’re just sick of the check shirt jeans combination and fancy a change here are some of the trends that will feature on the high street here in Fermanagh.

Gentlemen wear checks

So far we’ve seen it on local celebrities such as Rory McIlroy and Steven Nolan and this look is set to be a popular alternative in terms of tailoring. By checks I am not talking about checked shirts but checked suits although I have noticed a few guys teaming checks with tweed suits which made a welcome change.

Military Vs Marine

Autumn winter will see a mix of military inspired looks including military jackets, utility shirts, bomber jackets and parka coats and also a marine inspired look. Although marine may seem like more of a summer trend it works well for winter with heavy duffle coats and woven knitwear.

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You will usually find at least one menswear trend that corresponds with women’s wear and in this case it’s the 1960s trend. In the case of menswear it’s all about the ‘stovepipe slacks’, polo necks, shirts with slim ties and a clean cut appearance. For style inspiration check out the Beatles circa 1964.

Animal magic

Animal print was featured on the London and Milan menswear shows however in terms of high street fashion in Fermanagh I don’t know if some of the looks will be such a hit. Any Joey Essex wannabes will love this trend as much as he does. For this trend you don’t necessarily have to go the whole hog but perhaps just a t-shirt or shirt to experiment a little with a different print.