My Top 5 Black High Waisted Skinny Jeans

I am a huge fan of all styles of jeans, from straight-leg to boot-cut, mom jeans to boyfriend jeans, the list is endless! There is one sytle that continues to be timeless, however, and that's high waisted black skinny jeans, which are both classic and versatile. They are a common essential in most girls wardrobes. After four years of trying numerous different styles with clients I have decided to share my top 5 pairs. Hover over any of the pictures for links.

Do let me know if you purchase any of the jeans and if you would like any styling suggestions I would be happy to give advice. Have a lovely weekend.

Orla

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. Using an affiliate link means that I receive a % of the revenue made from purchasing products through this link. This doesn't affect you as the consumer or the price of the product.

My Top 10 Check Blazers

Hi everyone!

It feels like forever since I have written a blog post! It has been so hectic with our recent move to the Middle East, but I’m delighted to say that I finally feel ready and motivated to get back to business. As some of you are already aware I am going home to Ireland next week for a fortnight of work with clients which I’m pretty excited about. Honestly, I feel so far removed from winter coats and chunky knits at the moment - it makes a nice change! We are currently living in a small, historic fishing town on the Mediterranean coast, where shopping unfortunately is not an option. Although, it is a small price to pay for living in such a beautiful and unique place for 6 weeks. I had to spend a lot of time doing my homework online, researching all the latest trends and what’s in the stores at the moment. When I return to the Middle East at the start of November we are moving to the city of Beirut, so this will no longer be an issue! The style is absolutely amazing in Beirut I am honestly so excited tat the prospect of living there for a year. The fashion, food and culture is pretty cool - it’s easy understand why it’s known as the Paris of the Middle East.

When it comes to my list of wardrobe essentials, a good blazer is right up at the top. I am delighted to see that check blazers are as popular as ever this season. I lived in a Maje blazer last year and I cannot wait to wear it again next week when I go home. The 30 wears challenge was never in doubt when I purchase this piece. I layered mine with cami’s, tees, knits and hoodies (not all at once of course!!!) I also paired it with jeans, dressy trousers and shift dresses. The double breasted blazer is very popular at the moment, personally I love it but I don’t think it’s a shape that works for everyone as it can add volume.

Do let me know if you purchase any of the pieces below and if you would like any styling suggestions I would be happy to give advice. I look forward to seeing some of you when I am home.

Orla

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. Using an affiliate link means that I receive a % of the revenue made from purchasing products through this link. This doesn't affect you as the consumer or the price of the product.


Maje - The Best Bits

Last year I chose some of my go-to labels and picked out my favourite pieces. It got great feedback, so I decided to do it again this season. If you follow me on social media you'll know how often I wear this label. Although Maje is a little more pricey than the highstreet, I think the quality defintely matches the price-tag.  I have their pieces for years, and I'm still wearing them today. Below are some of my favourite pieces from this seasons collection. I hope you like them. 

Click on the image for links to the products. 

High End Wardrobe Essentials (Part 2)

This is one of my favourite posts because it includes some of my most beloved possessions! I’m definitely the type of shopper that focuses on quality over quantity, especially in the shoe and accessories department. As you may have seen from my recent post, I own very few shoes, and even less handbags. I tend to get around 3 years (plus) out of most of my shoes (especially the high ones), and 5 years (plus) out of my bags, so I don’t mind investing. 

My Shoes: The very first pair of expensive shoes I ever bought was a pair of Christian Dior peep-toe navy heels. I got them as a gift for myself the day I got engaged! It's crazy to think that was over 9 years ago. Since then I have treated myself to a pair of  Manolos Blahniks, Jimmy Choos, Christian Louboutins, Gianvito Rossi and Golden Goose. All of which have been a great success, except for a pair of Louboutin five & 1/2 inch Mary Jane heels that I literally could not walk in. It was a very expensive lesson in choosing the correct heel height. Since then I usually opt for 85mm heel. I know it’s a bit sensible but the comfort means I get a lot my use out of them. I can wear them to work too, which is important to me as I can be on my feet a lot. 

My Bags: My first investment bag was a Chloe around eight years ago. I still have it, and its still as perfect as the day I bought it. I definitely think the more I spend on something the more I respect it, but I do try to justify its cost by using it as much as possible. After Bobby was born I got a Prada bag as my push present! I initially bought this bag for shopping with clients but I have to admit I find it too heavy to carry for the day. I now use it for work in GTI and its a perfect size to carry my notes, a small laptop, makeup and my wallet. I also use my small Marc Jacobs navy camera bag a lot . This a bag I highly recommend, but if you can stretch the budget I love the Givenchy one too. I recently bought the YSL Kate bag -I never had a bag i loved for special occasions or just nights out so this bag definitely fits that brief. I use a Sandro cross-body dusty pink bag in the summer, which some day I'd love to upgrade to the nude Mulberry Darley. So, that pretty much sums up my entire bag collection! I did warn you it really is not that exciting ;) 

Continue reading below.........

Tips for buying expensive shoes:

  1. Always try them on first - shopping online is risky especially with shoes as sizes vary so much. I am generally a size five but in some heels I now find I am a 4.  
  2. Choose the correct heel height - think realistically remember the 30 wears rule
  3. Ask if they need to be soled - surprisingly some of these brands recommend you get your shoes soled immediately 💁‍♀️ 
  4. Ask have they different shoe widths - some brands offer two different widths for narrower and wider feet. 
  5. Don't choose a shoe because of the brand alone, unfortunately the higher the price  does not always mean the high the quality.
  6. If you are buying a pointy heel, ask if the front dents. My nude Jimmy Choos dented across the front after the first few wears and it really annoyed me. Fortunately they replaced them for me but I would be reluctant buying them again. A good tip is stuff the pointy part with cotton wool to prevent this from happening.
  7. Calculate the cost per wear. I do this when I want to justify a expensive purchase 😜.
  8. Stick to more classic styles when you are investing so they won't date. 
  9. Always choose a style that will guarantee a minimum of 30 wears.

Tips for buying expensive bags

  1. Aways shop at a reputable store or online shop
  2. Be careful of online offers. If an offer looks too good to be true, it usually is. Unfortunately there are rarely discounts on designer bags, especially their staple pieces
  3. Check what materials are used in the bag - is it 100% leather?
  4. Check the lining - it is as beautiful on the inside as on the outside 
  5. What colour is the lining? Bright lining makes it easier for find things in your bag
  6. How can the bag be cleaned?
  7. Is a cleaning service or repair service part of their after sales service?
  8. Does the bag hold its shape? I sometimes find I need to stuff some bags with scarves in order to hold its shape.
  9. Has the bag adequate storage. i.e zips, secret pockets, phone storage etc 
  10. How versatile is the bag? Calculate the cost per wear by estimating how many uses you imagine it will get and divide it by the price. For example my Prada bag cost €1850. I have it now for over three years and imagine I will be wearing it for at least another 3 - 6 years in total. On average I used the bag at least 2 days a week so thats 104 days a year, so 6 years equal 624 days in total! Costing €2.96 per wear! 
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Boucleme Hair Products Review

I should start by explaining I barely ever change my hair routine. I’ve basically used Umberto Gianni products for the last 15 years - until I was introduced to Deva Curls 2 years ago by my sister-in-law. I loved using the Deva Curl products, but the biggest problem was getting them shipped to Ireland. I ended up paying an extortionate amount of money on postage!  I was searching for comparable products to Deva Curls and so was delighted to come across the Boucleme range (on thecurlylookdublin instgram account). They are a small UK based company, so their products were easily accessible online and they also have stockists in Ireland (I will link them all below). Their products are quite similar to Deva Curls - they are free from sulphates, silicones and parabens and they smell amazing!

See full review below.

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If you have curly hair then you know the struggle; it tends to be a lot drier and more brittle than other hair types. Curly hair needs a lot more nourishing ingredients to help hydrate and strengthen it. My hair is typically fine and trends to naturally fall very flat on my head. So, not only am I looking to form the perfect curls, I also want to create as much volume as possible. Therefore it is essential that the products ingredients aren't too heavy for my hair, in turn weighing it down. 

  1. Step 1 - Cleanse This is a zero foam cleanser, if you haven't used one before you might find it strange that it doesn't create a lather. The harsh foaming detergents strip all moisture from hair, leaving curls dry and frizzy. Be careful not to use too much. In the past I never brought curl specific shampoo and conditioner, but I really feel this shampoo is a game changer.  
  2. Step 2 - Conditioner  This is the only product that didn't work as well for me. My hair tends to get very knotty when I am washing it so the conditioner wasn't strong enough to tackle my situation. My hair is highlighted and this makes it drier. I am going to get the intensive moisture to see can that combat my problem. 
  3. Step 3 - Curl Cream This is my favorite product. I put it in after I have finger combed my hair. Ensure your hair is soaking wet. DO NOT towel dry your hair.  I find all curly products work best when applied to soaking wet hair. I use 3 pumps of the cream and turn my head upside down and apply it from the root to the tip.  I used the Boucleme towel to scrunch up the curls and take out the excess water. The cream has a really nice texture and smell. 
  4. Step 4 - Defining Gel I really like this product. The texture is much nicer than the sticky Deva Curl gel and the curling results were much better for my hair. I put this product in directly after the Curl Cream. I only had to use a small amount of this product (size of €2 coin). I applied the gel from the root right through the curl. I used the Boucleme towel again to scrunch the curl and remove the excess product and water. 
  5. Step 5 - Pinning My Hair When I don't plan on scrunch drying my hair straight away. I pin up my hair using hair claws (the best ones can be purchased in Boots). This is an important stage for me as I need plenty of volume as I have fine hair. I often repeat this stage after my hair is dry to create even extra volume. When pinning your hair, divide your hair into 8/10 sections and roll the curls into individual sections and pin it to the scalp using the claws.
  6. Step 6 - Drying My Hair I generally put it on full heat and full power (although I think you should use a lower heat for best results). I personally don't like the look of jelly curls (i.e curls wet with product) so it's important to me to fully dry out my hair so there is no look of product left in the hair. While drying my hair my head is usually upside down to introduce volume.
  7. Step 7 After Drying My Hair I often repeat Step 5. Using the claw clips to pin up my hair gives it even more volume.

The Boucleme range has definitely suited my hair type. I loved the results. Curly hair can definitely be hard work, but with the correct products it makes the process worth while. I would highly recommend the Boucleme products. Here is the link!

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High End Wardrobe Essentials

List of Wardrobe Essentials

Coats/Jackets 

  1. Navy Coat - Acne 
  2. Camel Coat - Max Mara 
  3. Navy Coat - Stella Mc Cartney
  4. Leather Jacket - Acne 
  5. Light S/S Jacket - Burberry   
  6. Marni x Stutterheim Raincoat  
  7. Casual Jacket - Moncler 
  8. Denim Jacket - Acne 
  9. Navy Blazer - Balmain
  10. Black Blazer - Theory 

Skirts/Tops/Knits

  1. White Tee - Acne
  2. White Shirt - Theory 
  3. Blue Shirt - Theory
  4. Striped Top - Saint Laurent
  5. Navy Cashmere - J Crew 
  6. Black Knit - Joseph 
  7. Black Polo/Turtleneck - Raey 

Trousers

  1. Black Jeans - J Brand 
  2. Blue Jeans - M.I.H Jeans 
  3. Black Trousers - Joseph 
  4. Navy Trousers - Joseph 

 

12 questions to ask yourself when your online delivery arrives?

Hi Everyone, 

I hope you are having a nice week!

I'm going to assume that in this world of E-commerce we are all aware of the general rules for online shopping; i.e ensure its a trustworthy site, don't divulge too much personal information and, if the offer looks too good to be true it usually is! So, with that in mind I'm going to share with you how to handle the most perilous side of online shopping; what to do once your clothes arrive!

Before I had kids I must admit I was not the biggest fan of online shopping, I love the whole shopping experience and getting to try on the clothes. Since having children however I have finally found the benefits of online shopping! Time is one luxury the little ones do not afford you, so being able to shop from the comfort of the couch as they sleep is a big win. Although I am obviously in the shops a lot with clients, I rarely have time to go back and pick up pieces for myself. It's better that way anyway, as it ensures I don't impulse buy any of the beautiful clothes you get exposed to, and financially you are much better off. You could literally spend the money as you earn it! 

  • So, once you've made your purchase and it arrives at your door, what should you do? First, try it on immediately and ask yourself the following question
    1. Is it the fit right? 
    2. Do I have something to wear with it ?
    3. Do I have to buy something else new to complete the look? If so, is it worth it?
    4. Can I afford to complete the look? 
    5. Can I style it a number of different ways?
    6. Is it a seasonable piece or can I wear it in summer/winter too? 
    7. Will it date quickly?
    8. Will it get a minimum of 30 wears ? 
    9. Is it as nice or nicer than what is already in my wardrobe?
    10. Do I love it?
    11. Does it suit my lifestyle, my body and my personality?
    12. Do I have something similar already in my wardrobe? 
  • The biggest test for me is 'How soon will I wear it?" If you really love something you should want to wear it immediately or as soon as possible (maybe the next wedding, party or night out). Basically, you should be dying to wear your new purchase. 
  • Return it immediately - "if its not perfect its not right"! Don't leave it hanging around the house. Even if it didn't break the bank you don't want your wardrobe getting clogged up with mediocre bits! 
  • Stick to labels and retailers you are familiar with - this way you know your sizing and you are familiar with the returns policy. I learned this lesson the hard way when I paid €77 to return a dress to the States, and that was after it cost €36 postage in the first place! 

I have linked the different looks below. The orange jumper is sold out but click here for a similar one.

I hope you found this post helpful. I would love hear your feedback on instagram. 

Have a great week!

Orla x 

Shoe Essentials

How many shoes is too many? .....I have had clients with over a 100 pairs of shoes in their wardrobe, yet struggled to find the right shoes to match an outfit.

I think shoe trends can come and go very quickly but there are some classic styles that I consider wardrobe essentials.

When I decided to do a blog post on shoe essentials I started the task by looking at my own wardrobe and seeing what shoes I own and what shoes I wear most often. This can be a helpful task for you to consider doing at home so you can see where you are duplicating and where the gaps are. I found that I have 19 pairs of shoes in total,  all of which have passed the #30wears test except my silver boots and my navy heels (which is probably down to my social life more than the shoes)!

Over the years I have really tried to focus on quality over quantity especially when it comes to shoes. I really want to be sure that each pair will get a minimum of #30wears to justify the expenditure. One of the important points to consider when buying shoes is to choose a height you will realistically wear. A lot of the designer labels (e.g Jimmy Choo, Manolo's, Christian Louboutin) have 3 different height choices. Also be careful with sizing, I seem to have gone down a size with so many labels. 

Below is my curated list of shoes that I think should see you sorted for any outfit or occasion. I hope you find it helpful. I would love to hear your feedback on instagram.

I will share my personal shoe collection with you on Insta stories during the week. Most of the shoes linked below are in my closet or similar styles to what I have. 

Have a lovely week xxx 

#30wears: Check Blazer

Hi everyone! 

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and had a good start to 2018! 

This year I'm really going to focus on Wardrobe Essentials for everyday use that are versatile, easy to wear and will prove the golden 30 Wear rule! If you have been following me for some time I’m sure you are already aware of the #30wears challenge. The initiative was set up by Livia Firth at Eco Fashion (Colin Firths wife), with the aim to stop impulse buying. When you are about to buy a piece of clothing ask yourself, am I going to wear it a minimum of 30 times? If the answer is yes then buy it, but you will be surprised how many times the answer is no. So many of my clients have come back to me saying this has completely changed the way they shop. The one area where I can find this challenging is when shopping for a going out look or special occasion looks. So I try to share my clothes with friends and family and visa versa instead of buying a dress or top to wear just once. I have even loaned dresses to some of my good followers for weddings and events in order to try to achieve the 30 wears status! 

As you probably know by now, Sandro is definitely one of my favourite labels. Every season I buy at least one piece - and to say they get 30 wears is an understatement! When I saw this blazer I knew immediately it would be a great addition to my wardrobe. I love pieces like this that work well with what I already have. When purchasing a new piece I always advise clients to think of how it will work with existing pieces. If my client has a wardrobe full of clothes, yet has nothing to wear, I usually find that they are focusing on finding something special (i.e "something different" or "unique") instead of good basics when shopping. This is all well and good, but only if you have the wardrobe essentials nailed first.

I chose 3 very simple and easy looks for the blazer. They are all made up of my key wardrobe essentials.

  1. In the first look I wore the white Cos collar, a simple fine navy knit and blue jeans. This is definitely my signature look. I think it is a look that works well on almost everyone and it’s so easy to achieve.
  2. The second look is my grey uniform; grey jeans and grey knit. This look really needs something to funk it up, whether it’s a chain, scarf or some cool runners. I chose an oversized cashmere scarf from Cos. I also wore wine platforms from Zara with it. Grey is definitely not for everyone and but it’s a great alternative from black, blue or navy jeans. 
  3. The third look works with almost every blazer, jacket and coat in my wardrobe. I wore skinny black AG jeans with a fine knit polo neck from Cos. The black boots are from Acne. If you don't have a good pair of black jeans and a good black knit in your wardrobe I would put them on the top of your shopping list for 2018. If you want it to look really sharp keep your black jeans black (with dye) and invest in a good knit.

I hope you enjoyed this post and found it useful. I would love to hear any advice or comments you may have on this subject! 

Orla xxx 

 Jacket - Sandro -  click here for link    Knit - COS -  click here for link    Detachable collar - COS -  click here for link    Jeans - Seven - click here for link 

Jacket - Sandro - click here for link

Knit - COS - click here for link 

Detachable collar - COS - click here for link

Jeans - Seven - click here for link 

 Blazer - Sandro -  click here for link    Black polo - Cos -  click here for link    Black jeans - AG Jeans -  click here for link    Boots - Acne Jenson -  click here for link

Blazer - Sandro - click here for link

Black polo - Cos - click here for link

Black jeans - AG Jeans - click here for link

Boots - Acne Jenson - click here for link

 Jacket - Sandro -  click here for link   Cashmere Grey Knit - Marks and Spencer's -  click here for link   Jeans - Joes -  click here for similar    Shoes - Zara - sold out -  click here for similar

Jacket - Sandro - click here for link

Cashmere Grey Knit - Marks and Spencer's - click here for link

Jeans - Joes - click here for similar

Shoes - Zara - sold out - click here for similar

The look below is from a previous blog post!  

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Wedding Style

Happy New Year everyone. We celebrated in style in Mount Juliet for my cousins wedding.  Mount Juliet is definitely one of the nicest hotels in Ireland and the perfect setting for a winter wedding. Since posting my pics to Instagram stories of the wedding I have been inundated with messages asking about everyone’s outfits so I figured the best thing would be to do a quick blog post linking the outfits. 

p.s Most of the outfits are linked below. 

  Dress -  Folkster €150 ,  Shoes - Manolo Blahnik , Belt - Ribbon from Hickeys 

Dress -  Folkster €150, Shoes - Manolo Blahnik, Belt - Ribbon from Hickeys 

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Brenda’s Navy Dress - Cari's Closet 

Ann’s Dress - Covet Dress Hire  (no link available!) 

 Aine's Dress see link above!

Aine's Dress see link above!

 Andrew's Suit - Tom Ford 

Andrew's Suit - Tom Ford 

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Clare’s Black Off the Shoulder - see pic above ☝️ 

Katies Cream Dress - Needle and Thread  - sold out - see similar here

Elaine’s Wedding Dress - Kathy deStafford  

My Dress - see pic above ☝️ 

New Year Resolutions

We are currently on a three-and-a-half hour car journey to my cousins wedding in Mount Juliet, so I decided to pass the time by compiling some New Years Resolutions! It’s something I’ve never done before, so hopefully by committing it to my blog it will make me more accountable 😜.

  1. The #30wears Rule. This is one of my golden rules with it comes to styling clients. If you can’t see yourself wearing it at least thirty times it doesnt justify its purchase. I must admit in 2017 I made two or three bad purchases. One was a full length black dress from Maje I bought on sale (don’t be fooled by a bargain 🙈), & the other was a navy velvet jumpsuit from Finnery (see pics below). Both of which I like but they aren’t going to get the 30 wears any time soon 🤦‍♀️. The #30wears rule is also a good way of justifying that designer bag. I’m currently deciding between an YSL and Chloe! 🤔I think the Chloe is more practical for every day use so I think the cost per wear will be much better. 
  2. Less time on social media. I want to be more constructive with my time on social media. Last year I deleted the Facebook app off my phone and it made a huge difference! I have since lost my password to log back in and I’m not missing it one bit! I obviously have the business app on the phone that allows me to post content to Facebook but it doesn’t allow you to see other accounts. Instagram is my guilty pleasure I could spend endless amounts of time scrolling aimlessly through feeds. This year I’m really going to try and stop ramdomly checking in on Instagram and only follow accounts I am geniuely interested in or want to engage with. 
  3. Support more local, ethical and sustainable brands. This is a topic I cover with my students and I find it very interesting. It’s also quite challenging because of the cheap and easy temptations of the high street. Unfortunately some of the more sustainable and ethical brands aren’t as accessible (and are more expensive). In 2018 I hope to be more ethical in the choices I make. I also hope to create a list of labels that have the right ethos and share it with you all.
  4. Travel more. Now that the kids are a little bit older I hope we can do way more travelling. We may even have a very big trip coming up in 2018 that I will look forward to sharing with you.  
  5. Further Education. I love doing part time courses. Since finishing my Masters in Corporate Stragey and People Managment  in NUIG I completed a number of part time courses in London College of Fashion. I spotted one in Fashion Consumer Behaviour. I thought the topic would be very interesting for me as a stylist so hopefully I will have the opportunity to pursue that in 2018. 
  6. Spend less time on my phone. A few months ago I set an alarm on my phone to turn it off for 3 hours every evening from Monday to Friday from 5.30 to 8.30. It’s such a busy time in our house, I felt the phone was too much of a distraction and tbh most evenings I look forward to turning it off.  Over the Christmas I’ve completely gotten out of the habit so come Jan 1st I’ll look forward to  resetting my phone alarm again. 

 

 

 

Christmas Day Looks

Hi Everyone, 

I can’t believe it’s less than 7 days to Christmas! Ever since I was a kid I always loved the idea of getting a new outfit for Christmas Day. It was the one time of the year where you were guaranteed a completely new outfit, being the youngest of five that was a real treat! I remember I used to love going to mass and seeing what everyone was wearing, because that’s obviously what you are meant to do at mass!😜🙏🏻

We usually go to my mum’s house in Mayo for Christmas, where we start the day by visiting our relatives and neighbours in the morning and then basically spend the rest of the day eating in mums. I always try and wear something a little dressy but comfort is high priotity with the two kids, not to mention all the food I will be eating 😋.

I hope you see something you like below, be sure to send me a pic if you purchase! All the images are linked. 

Have a brilliant week! xxx  

 Tommy Hilfiger €199  (click here for link)

Tommy Hilfiger €199 (click here for link)

& Other Stories - The Best Bits!

& Other Stories is definitely one of my favourite brands at the moment. What I most like about this season is all their fab knits and shoes. Ever since I first came across this label five years ago in London it has been my go-to place for online shopping, so i was thrilled that they opened recently on Grafton Street. I bought the orange jumper three weeks ago and I love it! The bad news is its nearly sold out! They also have it in black, which is probably more versatile tbh. I absolutely love the black dress below - this could be an amazing look for Christmas. I also love the purple knot dress, its such a great colour and style, and it would work any time of the year. If you haven't already tried the sock boots I would recommend you do - they are so flattering on. Finally, the black boots below are almost identical to the Acne Jenson boots for one third of the price. I hope you find something you like. Have a good week! 

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Christmas Party Dresses

Katie Moore and I have collaborated again to pick out some of our favorite Christmas party dresses. I'm conscious that party dresses can sometimes be a bit of a one hit wonder so this year I personally tried to choose a piece that I could see myself (and my sisters and friends;)) wearing lots #30wears. Unfortunately my Zara Metallic Blazer Dress sold out, which is mad because I literally bought last week online. Fingers crossed it will come back in. Next week we are going to share our favorite black tie gowns as Katie's brother is getting married at Christmas. All the dresses are linked below. Enjoy. 

 Other Stories - €89 

Other Stories - €89 

 Zara €59

Zara €59

 Nasty €26.60

Nasty €26.60

How I get my Curls!

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Hi 

I hope everyone is having a nice week.

Thanks for all the lovely feedback on my Zara dress. Such a shame it's sold out already. I assume it will be back in stock soon. I can't wait to restyle it for my next night on the town! So many of my friends asked to borrow it so it will be hitting the 30 wears in no time!

The most frequently asked questions that I receive are almost always about my hair. To be honest I find this so flattering as there are times that it just won't behave and can drive me mad!

Finding the right products to suit your type and texture of curl is most important. This can take time, patience and money. Your product choice may also depend on the type of look you hope to achieve. For me, the perfect curly hair day means having lovely spiral curls with plenty of volume at the roots. My hair is actually quite fine, which means I cannot afford to grow it too long or the curls can really drag.

I personally find that curls are quite complex and temperamental. The typical curl scenario is that you'll have the best hair day ever when you have nowhere to go!Finding the right products that work for your curl is a very personal journey that evolves over time. Often what might work for my hair may not work for yours.

That said I really hope that you find this post helpful and have time to give me some feedback about what products you find successful.

Steps
1. Washing My Hair
I only use Deva Curl No Poo(Shampoo) and Deva Curl Conditioner every second or even third time that I wash my hair, as I find it goes quite limp if I use (shampoo and conditioner) product for every wash. My best day for curls is when I just completely soak my hair but don't use products. 

2. Post Hair Wash
Directly after washing my hair I wrap my hair with a 100% cotton cloth (usually just an old t-shirt or a muslin cloth). I don't use a towel as it absorbs too much water out of the hair ad introduces frizz. I find it's better to keep your hair VERRY wet before you put the styling products in.

3. Brushing My Hair
When possible, I try not to brush my hair after washing it. However, when I don't use shampoo and conditioner I have to give it a quick brush as it can get quite knotty. I trend to brush mine directly after washing it.

4. Adding The Styling Products
a. I start by putting 3 squirts of the Deva Curl Miracle Curl Plumper (Texture and Volume) product into my hair. I rub it betweenpalms and apply it generously from root to tip. I think this is great for adding volume and shine.

b. For me, this is the most important stage. I have been using the Umberto Gianni Curl Whip Mousse for years and I think it works best for my curls. I have tried others products throughout the years but I always end up going back to it! I generally use three large handfuls of mousse. I apply it generously at the root and pull it through to the end. Turn your head upside down and scrunch the excess product out using your muslin cloth.

c. Then I use 3 squirts of the Deva Curl Ultra Defining Gel. Rub the gel between palms. Tilt head forward then scrunch gel all over very wet curls.

d. Once the hair is soaked with products (then) turn your head up side down and use the muslin cloth to scrunch up the curls. Again it's important not to use a towel here as I think it absorbs too much of the product and introduces frizz.

5. Pinning My Hair Once you have finished scrunching your curls, it's time to pin it up using the claw clips(these can be purchased in Boots, Penneys, H&M etc). This is an important stage for me as I need plenty of volume as I have fine hair. This isalso handy if you don't fancy scrunch drying your hair straight away. I often repeat this stage after my hair is dry to create even extra volume. When pinning your hair, divide your hair into 8/10 sections and roll the curls into individual sections and pin it to the scalp using the claws.

6. Drying My Hair I use a diffuser dryer called Babybliss. I bought it in Boots pharmacy for about €40 and it seems to do as a good a job as any! I generally put it on full heat and full power. I personally don't like the look of jelly curls (i.e curls wet with product) so it's important to me to fully dry out my hair so there is no look of product left in the hair. While drying my hair my head is usually upside down to introduce volume.

7. After Drying My Hair I often repeat Step 5. using the claw clips to pin up my hair gives it even more volume.

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General Tips for Curly Hair
1. The claw clips are the best way to achieve a spiral curl and add volume to a curly head.
2. Use the claw clips at night to pin up your curls, sometimes day 2 or even day 3 are even better hair days.
3. Don't use a towel to dry your hair, use a cotton t-shirt or a muslin cloth.
4. Avoid using shampoo and conditioner each time you wash your hair! Unless you have invested in the Deva Curls No Poo.
5. Go to a hairdresser that understands curls! I go to Laura at Raymond Skelton in Galway. I think it's best to cut curly hair when it's dry and curly!
6. Fully dry your hair so there is no evidence of the styling product as to avoid jelly curls!
7. Once a week use the Umberto Gianni intensive conditioning treatment.
8. I currently USE Deva Curl No Poo and Deva Curl Conditioner. But I also found the L'Oreal Elvive colour protect shampoo and conditioner good. Most shampoos contain dehydrating detergents, Deva Curl offer a non-lathering shampoo alternative. Unfortunately it's only available in the US but it is possible to buy online through Sephora.com.

I hope you find this post helpful and have time to give me some feedback about what products you find successful. 

Have a great week, x 

AW Wardrobe Essentials

Hi all, 

Wardrobe Essentials are very important to me as a stylist as I feel that in order to have a wardrobe that works well for you, you must first build a solid foundation by investing in key key pieces. I am not suggesting that you go out and buy each and every piece on the list but instead try and decide which pieces will best work for you. If you have any queries about any of the pieces or if you feel I have omitted any important piece I would love to hear from you. Have a lovely weekend. 

Orla x 

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Less is More!

I showed my students The True Cost movie in class today. It is a documentary that focuses on Fast Fashion and and the massive toll it is taking on humanity and the environment.  It jumps from the glamorous catwalks of Milan to the slums of Bangladesh where the clothes are actually made. The documentary is very powerful and such an eye opener. I could not recommend it highly enough and think it is a must see for everyone - especially if your wardrobe is over flowing;). I've had an interest in this area ever since I first started teaching on the Fashion courses in GTI.  I could never claim that I am the most ethical shopper, but I do think that being aware of these issues allows me to make much better shopping decisions. I do try to encourage clients to be more conscious shoppers by spending time thinking what works for them and their wardrobe in the long term, instead of falling foul of disposable fashion where consumers are incessantly shopping yet having nothing to wear. 

As a class we spent time researching the brands that were considered ethical. I must admit we found a lot of conflicting evidence in our research. For example, the documentary depicts the likes of H&M and Zara to be some of the biggest offenders yet we found an ethical fashion index which contradicted this. Therefore we decided to contact a number of different agencies to find the one true ethical index.I look forward to passing on this information to you all soon. 

As a stylist my Fashion Philosophy has always been to focus on these 5 main points:

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As a stylist my Fashion Philosophy has always been to focus on these 5 main points:

  1. Always chose quality over quantity 

  2. Invest in wardrobe essentials 

  3. Calculate the Cost Per Wear for each garment

  4. Ensure a minimum of 30 wears rule with each garment

  5. If in doubt, leave it out!

Zara - The Best Bits

I have such a love hate relationship with Zara. On the one hand it has some of the best fashion on the high street, but on the other the customer service can be so infuriating! The extra long check out queues, the tiny fitting rooms, the messy shop floors, ....all drive me crazy! Yet it's still not enough to keep me from coming back! 

Here are some of my favourite pieces at the moment; you can click on any of the images for links to the website! Below are a few suggestions on how I would like to style them. 

The Camel Coat - I love a high neck on a coat so I love this style. If a coat doesn't have a high neck I feel it can look really bear without a scarf. 

The Flower Print Midi Dress - I'm not a huge fan of print but I made an exception for this dress. I love the shape of this dress but I feel its slightly out of season so I'm hoping I wear mine more next summer. The one that is linked is slightly different but I think it's actually nicer. 

Red Boots - I've wanted red boots for some time now, so I'm still trying to decide between these two. I love velvet but I feel the others may be more durable and practical. I love the idea of styling them with a scarf from the tweed project see here, my camel coat and jeans. 

Navy Velvet Jacket - I just love the look of this jacket.  Navy and velvet are two of my favourite things this season. It's a little similar to the Maje navy velvet bomer jacket but a fraction of the price. I think it would perfect alternative to the puffer jacket. 

Check Blazer - I've already spotted this all over Instagram but I'm in love - I'm blazer obsessed in case you didn't notice! I love the idea of styling it with all black, all black and the red boots, or with blue jeans and a black tee. 

Cream and Navy Chunky Knits - I love chunky knits for this time of the year. These two look great and I love the idea in theory of styling them with a skirt,  but being realistic I don't think thats a look that will suit the average shape (if that exists;))! I think chunky knits work best with skinny jeans and boots. 

Camel Cashmere - I love cashmere jumpers, I really like the way Zara styled it with the white tee and jeans. Alternatively I love camel and grey together. A word of warning - cashmere is almost impossible to keep (see my blog post on how best to look after it)

The Blazer Dress - I can see this dress being styled so many different ways and suiting a lot of different shapes. You could try it with or without tights or wearing boots or stilettos.

 

My Go To Places in Galway

I feel very fortunate to call Galway my home! I don't think I have ever met somebody who doesn't love the place.  I moved to Galway in 1999 to start college and loved it pretty much from the word go. Although I have lived in both Dubai and Dublin for periods, I always felt my heart was in Galway! Over the years the food scene has improved enormously so much so we are spoiled for choice. I hope you find this helpful?

  Favourite restaurants   - Kai & Ard Bia hands down!    Drinks  - Tribeton, Universal,   Pizza  - Dough Bros    Lunch on the Go  - Mc Cambridge's & Kashab    Sushi  - Kappa Ya    Coffee  - CoffeeWerk & Press, Urban Grind    Hotel  - The G    Wine & Chesse Board  - Sheridans

Favourite restaurants  - Kai & Ard Bia hands down! 

Drinks - Tribeton, Universal,

Pizza - Dough Bros 

Lunch on the Go - Mc Cambridge's & Kashab 

Sushi - Kappa Ya 

Coffee - CoffeeWerk & Press, Urban Grind 

Hotel - The G 

Wine & Chesse Board - Sheridans

  Nails  -  Shelley’s Beauticians   Lashes  - LashLuv By M    Hair  - Laura at Raymond Skelton    Make Up Artist  - Aisling K    Spray Tan  - Sara Duffy 

Nails -  Shelley’s Beauticians

Lashes - LashLuv By M 

Hair - Laura at Raymond Skelton 

Make Up Artist - Aisling K 

Spray Tan - Sara Duffy 

  Favourite Clothes Shops  - Willow and Brown Thomas  More detailed shopping post coming soon! 

Favourite Clothes Shops - Willow and Brown Thomas

More detailed shopping post coming soon!