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.
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.
With each wedding I attend there is always some new and fashionable theme or prop that people are using. Whether it be a photo booth with wigs and inflatable microphones, floral bunting or memory trees for your guests to leave messages on it seems like Fermanagh brides are pushing the boat out more and more to have the most trend setting wedding.
Last week I was bridesmaid for my friend Claire Beacom who married my boyfriend’s brother Glen McCleery. As bridemaid it was my duty to ensure that Claire had everything she needed, whether that be a tissue to dry her eyes after saying her vows or a dash of lip gloss for photos. However, because fashion is my thing my main contribution was to ensure that every last detail was filled with style.
The last minute details are always the most stressful in my opinion because I am such a perfectionist and everything needs to be right. Last minute details like ensuring your tan is just right, your hair is clean for your up style and that you have cleansed, toned and moisturised so your skin is in tip top shape for your makeup.
As an extra little fashionable touch for the wedding I thought it would be nice to give Claire a gift on her wedding day. I also did this for my sister and thought it was a nice touch as traditionally the bride will give her bridesmaids a gift such as jewellery to thank them for being there on the day. As well as that the bride and groom will usually get the mother of the bride and mother of the groom a small gift. In all this gift giving I feel it is only fair that the bride should get something on her big day.
It is quite fashionable nowadays for the bride to have a nice new fancy bottle of perfume to wear on the first day of her new life. For Claire it was only the best, a classic and elegant perfume that suited her sense of style; Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel. I also decided to make her something personal so I made her a bridal fabric wreath in the bridal party colours with her and Glen’s initials and the date of their wedding attached.
Some other last minute touches that I thought were a good idea were flat sandals for the evening time as standing all day can take its toll on your feet. We are spoilt for choice at the moment when it comes to flat sandals and shoes. You can get some really pretty flats and although I prefer heels for more formal occasions a cute pair of flats can make all the difference when you have a long night of dancing ahead of you.
It is all the little touches like this that help to make a wedding not just memorable but also that little bit different and unique. It is probably best not to get too bogged down in the details because at the end of the day it is the celebration of love between two people and having the most important people around you that makes the day truly memorable.
Everyone has fashion memories from their childhood, some fond and some that make us cringe. Obviously growing up in Fermanagh, or in my case on the boarder of Fermanagh and Tyrone, our fashion sense would not have been as cutting edge as kids in the big cities. To us all the hottest fashion was held not here but in the big cities Belfast and Dublin. When I was growing up in Fermanagh there wasn’t a great selection of shops, at least not cool shops anyway, but now look at the selection we have.
My childhood hate was being dressed like my sister, not having my own individuality), Fruit of the Loom sweat shirts and being dragged around M&S and Dunnes Stores (which back then were not full of selection). When I was a child, believe it or not, I hated shopping and hated getting clothes as gifts because it meant my sister would also have the same outfit. I do however remember the big dressing up box at my granny Mac’s house which my aunt used to dress us up from. All those old clothes, hats and bags that belonged to my great granny are probably the reason why I love vintage clothes so much today.
Some of my happiest childhood memories were during the summer holidays and when I look back I only ever remember long hot summer days, living in shorts and t-shirts, being permanently tanned and freckled and my jelly sandals getting stuck in melted tar. The 1990’s seem like a million years ago but with all the 90’s fashion coming back around again it seems as though we are still there.
Although I wouldn’t like to go back I do have many fond memories of Fermanagh in the 1990s and lately it seems as though I am being constantly reminded of the good old days. It has been eighteen years since the Spice Girls first came on the scene and I remember getting Spice Girls badges in Smash Hits magazine and running around pretending we were pop stars.
Another memory from my past, which seems to be everywhere at the moment, is Jelly sandals. As far as I can remember I had a pink glitter filled pair and I remember them being pretty uncomfortable. I have seen lots of different versions of the classic jelly sandal in the shops across Fermanagh, even some glittery numbers. It’s not just the high street that’s loving this trip down memory lane. Designers also have their own high end take on the jelly sandal. Prada teamed cute ‘flatform’ jellies with sports socks, Stella McCartney teamed hers with strapless beach dresses and Sophia Webster went for a much more grown up ladylike look with her high heeled strappy Jellies.
Who would have thought that our childhood fashion loves and hates would come back to bite us a second time around. Although, as they say it takes around twenty years for a fashion trend to come back around again. I’m just hoping those dreaded Fruit of the Loom sweatshirts don’t come back to haunt me again.
Every day the media seems to be filled with stories about the rising obesity academic. Just last week the headlines were full of stories about the NHS funding surgery for a million more people. This would mean increasing the criteria for someone who is entitled to weight loss surgery such as the fitting of a gastric band.
At present one in four Britons are now classed as obese, with 3 million people suffering from diabetes, which is closely linked to weight gain. In the face of all this high fashion brands such as Moschino have been criticised for, in a way, making a mockery of the Wests obesity problem by glorifying fast food in their latest collection.
Moschino’s latest collection looks like an advertisement for McDonalds with models being sent down the runway in what looked like McDonalds uniforms carrying trays of ‘Happy Meal’ handbags.
It’s not just the designers who are fast food junkies, the high street have also released their own version of junk food accessories. Many would say that designers are simply showing their own version of the pop art trend that has taken the fashion world by storm at the moment however many critics feel that fashion is making a mockery of weight issues.
I personally feel that designers are just having fun with food but I can understand why people with weight problems may feel that fashion might be making a mockery of their problem. Whatever the view it is clear that Moschino have certainly caused a stir with fashionistas going particularly bonkers for the new I-phone covers featuring fries. It seems its a case of all publicity is good!
I am not and never will be a fan of country music, be it Western or Irish or anything in between, and no amount of convincing will ever persuade me otherwise. I do however have a lot of respect for those die hard fans who drive the length and breadth of the country to go jiving to their favourite band or singer.
There is something so nostalgic about going out dancing, and I don’t mean bopping around the Crowes Nest. I still love hearing stories about my grandparents going out dancing and stories about all the big dances that used to happen around Fermanagh and further afield. I love looking at old photos of my grandparents dressed up for the dances in the 1950s and 60s and it makes me a little sad that this has become pretty much a thing of the past.
When I went to see Strictly Come Dancing on tour I remember thinking how I would love to travel back in time to have been able to experience the big dance halls of the 1940s, 50s and 60s where people went out purely to get dressed up in their finest and dance the night away to a live band and alcohol never came into the equation. I love the idea of getting all dressed up and going out dancing but of course for me it would be all about the clothes and a little less about the dancing. In my imagination it would be a little bit like the ‘High School Hop’ in Grease or the ‘Under the Sea’ dance in Back to the Future.
The only problem about this lovely idea however is that there is simply nowhere for this to happen as we don’t have dances like this anymore.
There is however a niche in the market for fans of country music. You will find a country gig somewhere in the county almost every weekend. For fans of county it’s all about the music, the dancing and of course getting dressed up. Although it’s not for me I admire Country fans who go out every weekend just to dance and enjoy themselves and I almost feel a little jealous that I don’t know the dances and I don’t know the songs. It has become much more than a craze and I often wonder what attracts young people nowadays to the Country scene.
Kilskeery sisters Karen Keys, Jemma and Kerri Crozier have been huge Country fans their whole lives and were brought up with jiving and line dancing. Their love of Country came from their parents Gwen and Jimmy and has always been a big thing for the whole family young and old. Line dancing was a big thing in Kilskeery when we were growing up and the Crozier sisters always lead the dances at Girls Brigade and Youth Club. Many country fans were raised on the music but for many the obsession is a new found thing. Local musician George Bracken believes that the emergence of young and attractive country stars such as Nathan Carter, Derek Ryan and Lisa McHugh have created a hype. Girls flock to see Nathan Carter and the boys naturally follow where the girls go.
Whatever the attraction there is no denying that Country is the in thing at the moment and is here to stay. So if you want to be part of it get your heels on and do the Huckle Buck. If you don’t know what this is just ask one of your country friends, it’s a whole new experience.
For years now I have been trying to convince the people of Fermanagh and beyond to choose Vintage and pre loved fashion. I’m not saying that you should only wear vintage but instead mix it up a bit with items from the high street. I have always said that cheap ‘fast fashion’ cannot possibly be a good thing. In light of recent events with Primark, where customers found ‘SOS’ labels stitched into items of clothing, there has never been a better time to step away from the huge chain stores.
Although nothing has been officially proven, Primark have recently released a statement saying that following their investigations they can only conclude that the labels are an elaborate hoax. Having examined the labels from items bought from their Swansea store Primark believe that they have came from the same source yet both garments are from two different suppliers, one in Romania and one in India and therefore the labels must have been sewn in at a later point and not from the factory they were supplied from.
As regards the cropped trousers bought in Belfast, Primark are still investigating this with the factory in China. Whether the incidents are a hoax or not it still doesn’t excuse the fact that these factory workers do work long hours and sometimes in dangerous conditions. Look at the recent incident in Bangladesh when a factory where garments were being made to supply fashion houses in Florence collapsed killing 1,129 workers.
Although garment production does provide many in third world countries with a steady income; mass produced clothing, which is made with low quality materials, are not designed to last, hence the reason why they are sold so cheaply.
Clothing nowadays is simply not designed to last due to the fact that we live in such as fast society with fickle tastes and changing demands. Trends change so often that the fashion industry has to keep up with this and provide it at a reasonable price. With cheap clothing that you can just throw away when you are fed up with it and buy the next latest trend, what incentive is there to buy vintage or pre-loved? One major incentive is the fact that you won’t find anyone else wearing the same outfit as you. The new channel Four programme ‘This Old Thing’ hopes to convince the UK that vintage is the way to go.
At last the word is getting out there that vintage clothing is not only unique and special but also much better quality with a lot more durability than modern clothing. It’s great to see the vintage revolution spreading to prime time TV. The UK mainland has embraced the vintage revolution and in fact seasonal trends are now emerging in even vintage lines. For example people are now hunting for fifties circle skirts, tropical prints and kimono jackets; tropical prints also being very popular this season on the high street.
Unfortunately Fermanagh has not yet caught the vintage bug, however I hope that this new Channel Four programme will encourage people to consider vintage as an alternative to the high street
If like me you are loving the heat wave we are currently enjoying but not loving the thought of baring your pasty flesh and struggling with finding something comfortable but suitable to wear you are not alone. Although heat waves in Fermanagh are a pretty rare occurrence when they do come we Fermanagh folk do nothing but complain about hot how and uncomfortable we feel in the heat. Don’t get me wrong; if we were all off work or had nice cool air conditioned offices perhaps we wouldn’t complain so much. During the recent heat wave I found it difficult to find something cool to wear each day and found that the most comfortable thing to wear was a light summer dress.
In my opinion dresses are the ultimate wardrobe staple because they can be worn casual or dressy depending on how you accessorise them. The thing I love about dresses is the fact that there are so many different styles now that no matter what your shape or size there will always be something suitable for you.
You don’t have to be a girly girl to enjoy wearing dresses because there are so many different variations you will find that you don’t have to go for a pretty look, you have so many more options. For any tom boys out there you will find lots of variations of the shirt dress, tunic or sporty style dresses.
As well as simple shirt dresses that can be dressed up with heels or dressed down with flat sandals or trainers, athletic style dresses are a hot look for the summer. If neither of these styles float your boat the other key looks of the summer are simple no fuss shift dresses in refreshing pastel colours, again these can be dressed down with flats or styled up with heels and statement jewellery.
As always Bohemian inspired maxi dresses make a welcome appearance in the summer months, I usually like to team a maxi dress with a gladiator sandal or a pair of wedges. I also love a bright statement print dress either in a bold colour, a geometric print or just simple bold stripes. Bright colours just say summer for me and even on a wet summers day bright colours give you a bit of a pick me up.
The other summer dress of the moment is the 1950s style swing dress given a modern twist with graphic prints or just kept simple depending on how you like it. Style wise and depending on where you plan to wear it you could have strapless, boat neck, spaghetti straps or short sleeve. For me a prom dress will always be dressy and just doesn’t look right worn with trainers. If you want to make a swing dress look less formal team it with a pair of flat sandals and minimal accessories.
However you choose to stay cool in the Fermanagh sunshine, and here’s hoping that our heat wave will last or at least come back again soon, a summer dress is always a good choice for work, rest or play.
It’s pretty much impossible to avoid World Cup fever here in Fermanagh at the moment and I am sure this can be said for most of the world. Every other advert on TV somehow relates to the world Cup and even your weekly grocery shop is invaded by ‘’World Cup offers’. Many of you may be taking part in a world cup sweep stake or having world cup parties to celebrate the launch or just as an excuse to have a party.
It seems the world cup has also had a major influence within the fashion industry mainly due to the fact that it is being hosted by Brazil this year. You can see jungle prints, carnival inspiration and neons all over the high street at the moment and this can be no coincidence.
In terms of sportswear Adidas in particular have taken inspiration from Brazil in the release of their Adidas originals X The Farm Company collection. This unique collaboration with Brazilian based label ‘The Farm Company’ includes everything from running shorts and vests to tracksuits, t-shirts and trainers. The collection features flowers, fruit, neon colours, jungle prints and the carnival inspiration from Brazil. It is a very wearable collection that looks great either worn for sports or if you’re not into sportswear but love bold prints it is both comfortable and extremely fashion forward.
On the high street here in Fermanagh I am sure you have noticed the vast amount of Brazilian inspired prints not just in the women’s department but also the men’s. All departments have got World Cup fever with all sorts of both carnival inspired prints and Amazon jungle inspired prints.
Carnival colours such as neon pink and yellow, bright oranges and greens can be seen everywhere at the moment as well as bold statement necklaces and earrings, flower garlands and bright bold prints.
Jungle prints are the other major trend here in Fermanagh. Inspired by the Amazon Jungle of Brazil you will see everything from Parrot prints, jungle leaf prints, tropical fruits such as pineapples and bananas, tropical flowers and other jungle wildlife.
I have noticed that it’s not just Fermanagh ladies that get to enjoy the influences of Brazil. Despite the fact that many of our men will be wearing their favourite team colours over the next few weeks they will also have their choice of Brazilian inspired prints. Tropical print shirts in particular seem to be a big thing with the boys as well as jungle print board shorts, tropical fruit prints and jungle wildlife. In fact some of the shirts in the men’s department have even caught my eye and I have considered buying one or two myself.
I don’t know about everyone else but I always find packing for a weekend or a few days away a lot more difficult than for a longer holiday. With longer breaks you can pack in as much as your weight restrictions will allow. With a City break it just doesn’t make sense to lug a massive suitcase away with you when you are only away for a short time. Therefore you need to limit yourself and make the best use of the little space you have in your suitcase. As I and I am sure many other Fermanagh ladies head off on a hen weekends all over the UK and Ireland I am sure there will be lots of packing and unpacking of hand luggage to ensure you have the right things with you.
The trick for successful packing is to opt for day to night outfits. Start off with your basics like one or two dressy tops and one or two casual tops, one dressy and one more casual cardigan in case the weather isn’t what you expect or cooler in the evenings.
When you have the basics worked out then think about items of clothing that you can wear day to night and also bear in mind that you may want to get really dressed up one or two nights. I always pack a maxi dress, which can be dressed down during the day with flat sandals and sunglasses and even a hat and then glammed up in the evening with a pair of wedge sandals some nice jewellery and your hair and makeup done.
Try packing items that don’t take up too much room in the suitcase such as skirts and shorts. These can also be worn day to night if you team them with flats and a casual top during the day and change the look with a dressy top and heels for the evening. You don’t have to wear the same outfit the whole day but instead rotate and mix and match. So for example if you wear the skirt with a casual top during the day and the maxi dress in the evening, then the next day wear the shorts with a casual top during the day and the skirt again that evening with a dressy top and heels.
I always make sure to pack a few pieces of statement jewellery as it really helps to bling up an otherwise plain outfit. I will always pack two pairs of flat sandals as with city breaks you tend to do a lot of walking around and usually just one pair of heels or wedge sandals to suit all outfits for the evening.
Whatever your plans this summer don’t go overboard with your packing, keep it simple by bringing along day to night and mix and match options. This will save a lot of time, give you extra space and give you more time to enjoy your evenings rather than fuss around choosing an outfit