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.

Support your local high street

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I often wonder about the future and despite Fermanagh being quite far behind much of the UK we have come a long way in terms of fashion and technology. I often laugh at old pictures of me and my friends from school and the fashion we used to wear. We didn’t have much selection of shops here in Fermanagh when I was growing up and even less when my parents were growing up.  I am thankful for the great selection we have now and although some people moan about the fact that there are certain shops that we don’t have we should be thankful for what we do have and support our local businesses.

Studies show that a staggering 80% of us are shopping online rather than supporting our local high street for even the simplest of things. Many will say this is due to price, ease of access, choice and variety and modern technology. You could say that this is a natural progression in the modern world; however I find it very sad to see stores closing and our high street half empty.

Despite the ease of access of internet stores you can always argue that a high street store has its advantages. Firstly we are known here in Fermanagh for our excellent customer service and friendly approach. You just don’t get the same customer service, if any at all, from an internet store. Think about it, if you compare how many times you have been let down by an internet store and how many times you have been let down by a local store I would say the majority of us have been let down more times by an internet store. I for one have been let down more times than I can remember by different internet stores mainly due to the wrong product being sent, something being broken or damaged or the wrong size. In many cases when getting a refund or exchange you have to wait for a long time and this is after having sent several emails. How much easier is it to just walk into a shop, explain the situation and either get your refund or exchange there and then.

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With an internet store you can’t actually see, touch or try on what you are buying. You are taking a bit of a risk especially if you need it in a hurry. Yes it is easy to power up your laptop or tablet or even your phone and just click to buy however it is also easy to just pop into town try on and hand over your card and you have it instantly.

Although many internet stores have reviews, tips and advice on the products you are buying there is something a little more reassuring about speaking to a local expert about a product face to face and them actually demonstrating or showing you how the product works before you commit to buy.

Although I feel at the moment there is no immediate danger of the internet taking over in Fermanagh, it is likely to happen if more and more of us continue to ignore our local stores and shop online. I am not saying never shop on the internet, let’s face it there are certain items we simply can’t get at home, however instead consider shopping locally instead if you know you can get it locally. I think we would all agree that it would be a very sad sight to see empty towns and villages and no nice shop windows to look at.

There’s no place like home

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Back in July I had the most amazing and unforgettable holiday in Dubai where I enjoyed lots of sun, relaxation, luxury dining, amazing fashion and to top it all off I also got engaged in the 7 Star Burj Al Arab hotel, an evening I will never forget. However despite the amazing experiences I had I was soon to discover that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Throughout the entire holiday I felt like a celebrity. The shopping malls were huge with everything from high end designers like Dolce and Gabbana and Chanel to high street stores like River Island, H&M and also privately owned boutiques. The main thing I noticed about Dubai was that the locals use the Mall as an escape from the harsh temperatures outside. For this reason the malls in Dubai are more than just a shopping trip they are a whole different experience. In the ‘Mall of the Emirates’ for example as well as picking up your groceries and a wedding outfit you can also go skiing in the huge indoor ski centre with real snow.

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Dubai really is a fashion paradise however for such a forward thinking, multicultural and ambitious state it can be very reserved and backward. I knew before I went that Dubai had strict Muslim values however I wasn’t prepared for just how strict they actually were. I was there during Ramadan, which is the Islamic month of fasting but unlike some other countries the UAE also expect tourists to observe and respect their holy month. For us this meant no leisurely ice creams or milkshakes in the mall while shopping in fact the only place we could get anything to eat during daylight hours was in our hotel.

I can respect them for being so serious about their religion to fast all day however they rely on tourists and many of their religious values can actually make tourists feel uneasy. For example I was shocked to find that many of the malls have rules of conduct such as no public displays of affection, no short trousers or skirts and no exposed shoulders (I found this out as I was walking through the mall in a strapless dress).

On one shopping excursion to one of the Souks (traditional shopping stalls) I felt so uncomfortable as though I was being stared at and there were no women to be seen, I had to buy a shawl to cover my head and shoulders. I felt a bit sorry for the local women especially when I saw one trying to make her way down an escalator in sky high heels covered completely from head to toe in black robes and a veil completely covering her face, not even cut out for her eyes (the traditional burqa).

It made me appreciate where I come from and being able to have the right to choose what I wear and being treated as an equal in society. At one stage I was having a look at the Arabian section in River Island and two girls came along dressed in niqabs (black robes with only their eyes showing). I couldn’t understand what they were saying but I knew they were excited about a short skirt they were both looking at. I felt a bit sad for them because although they could probably wear it in the privacy of their own home in public it would be covered up in their robes so no one could ever see how good it might look on them.

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Although Dubai is a fashionista’s dream and I will always treasure the memories there really is no place like home. In Fermanagh I have the freedom to walk down the street in whatever I choose, I can let my hair down, wear makeup, say hello to a stranger on the street and most importantly I am not treated as a subordinate to any man.

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.

Allis Vintage Trend Report – Global inspiration


Spring is on its way and Allis Vintage are ready and waiting for it! We can’t wait to kiss goodbye to long dark evenings and the chill in the air.


One of spring summer 2014’s upcoming trends is Tribal, safari, ethnic or whatever you want to call it. On the world’s catwalk’s designer were thinking globally in terms of their prints. They weren’t just influenced by the obvious African inspired prints but also Asia, the Americas and also even Europe.

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Allis Vintage have their own unique take on this trend with one of a kind and a few handmade items from the past brought to life today with a modern twist. Get your own unique version of today’s trends from a past life at Allis Vintage.

Do it the Allis Vintage way


Allis Vintage are all about not only bringing you one of a kind unique and fabulous items of clothing to make your wardrobe that little bit different to everyone else’s but we also strive to keep up to date with whats going on in the world of fashion.

As much as we believe that people should not be ruled by trends but instead ruled by their heart’s desire we do believe that is important to present our vintage items in an appealing fashion forward way. We understand that many people are put off by vintage clothing purely because it’s pre-loved and ‘old fashioned’. Allis Vintage however strive to promote Vintage as a good choice for fashion forward fans of all things unique.


Owner Sharon Irvine (me!) selects each item of clothing with a particular woman in mind. She is effortless, chic and timeless and is always one step ahead in the style stakes. I don’t have any specific age group in mind when I select my range but I do believe the right person will find the right item that suits them. To quote Sex and the City I believe that Vintage is like Couture if it doesn’t fit perfectly its a disaster! I hope you enjoy my collection.

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Spring summer 2014 the Allis Vintage way!


So we’ve seen how they did it on the fashion capital’s catwalks and how this has translated to the high street but how will you choose to wear this season’s styles?

Although I always keep track of what is going on on the catwalks, like designers I prefer to set the trends myself. I prefer to do my own thing and although I do follow the occasional trend just to get in on the action I prefer to select my line of vintage clothing myself on what I think people will love.


I always select timeless pieces that will never go out of style, items that will help you stand out from the crowd, special one of a kind pieces that will make you feel as special as they are. Every item that I select give me a tingle of excitement and when I style them on my mannequin and photograph them for sale (although my photography skills are quite poor) I give each item of clothing a vintage name to match it’s hidden personality.

Giving each piece of clothing a name not only helps me to differentiate each one and helps me to remember them but also makes them that little bit more special to me, almost like naming children. The best bit for me is actually seeing my clothes on people. When I buy in a new item I always imagine what it will look like on a person what they would wear with it and what they will wear it to.


For Spring Summer 2014 I have selected some new (old) items from 1960s, 70s and 80s which are fun, bright, a little bit whimsical and a lot of quirky. As always I will be getting more stock in through out the season but I hope you love what I have selected for now! All items are for sale so get in touch!