STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: The Perfect Pair of Leather Pants

It began when I spotted Miranda Kerr wearing a pair with a sheer blouse, then it was Kate Moss and then I began to see them everywhere, on everyday people like you and me — my obsession with leather pants was born. I have been craving a pair for a couple of months but fear slowed down my purchase to a grave degree. A recent article in Grazia magazine confirmed that I was not the only one wondering if the leather pants revival was a fashion must-have of a fashion never have and please discard of carefully as you would other '80s throwbacks. I decided it had to be the former, they looked way to good! Now the problem I then faced was that yes of course they looked good on the likes of Moss and Kerr but how would they fair on a 5-foot-4 young lady whose favourite catwalk is the one the aristocats do when they dance?

The search was on to find the perfect pair of leather pants. I began my search in River Island and I was instantly beaming when I walked into their store on Dublin’s Henry St to find a mass of leather and faux leather trousers to choose from. I picked a leather pant with an elastic waist (common it seems), a leather two tone pant (a mix of fabric and leather for a seemingly better fit) and finally a leather legging. All three I must say were huge let downs; the first were horribly ill fitted, the second looked far from anything Ms. Moss would touch and the legging was fine apart from the fact one would need a top to go at least as far as your thighs. The next stop was Oasis, where I spotted a fab looking pair in their window display. They weren’t cheap but hey if they did the business and I felt, "Hey this is an investment buy". I was again met with a fitted waist, a baggy thigh area and an odd bootcut at the end.

By this time I was getting desperate and so I tried Penny’s (Primark to everyone outside of the republic). I was chancing my arm but I felt my expectations may have been lowered, yet at twenty euro I think you know how that dressing room visit went. Should I give up and buy some black skinnies? No!

My last stop was Zara and as I cautiously approached what looked like a pair of wax trousers (leather like material) in both Isabel Marant style red and signature black, I was saved. They fit like any good pair of jeans and the material is a fantastic lightweight alternative to real leather. The panelling is a wonderful figure fixer and they go great with any daytime or nighttime ensemble. I chose to wear them with a basics and a huge coat (it's freezing here!) but they also look great with sheer shirts, rock T-shirts and singlets.

Now that I have done all the hard work go and get yourself a pair before they’re gone!!

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Colour Yourself Happy

November, it is fair to say, has been rather drab and with such a lack of vitamin D provided almost solely by our good friend Mr. Sun, we must resort to other measures to keep our spirits and endorphins up. Winter has always excited the safe dresser as black on black is finally accepted into our day to day ensembles, yet when this fail safe trend becomes primary we find that style spotting becomes very difficult as all our Fashionista’s have blended into the evening blackness by 4:30 p.m.!

This Fashionista was spotted half way across campus as she sported these fab pair of canary yellow denims. Colour pop is the trend we are of course stressing here. The ensemble as a whole would have worked just fine with a pair of black shorts or a regular denim yet with the addition of the yellow shorts the look stands out from the crowd and brings a smile to our face. This look is easy to achieve and easy on the wallet as last summer’s neon trend can be reinvented with this seasons knits, chunky boots and leather pieces, which this week’s subject demonstrates effortlessly. Yes it may be mixing trends but this season’s A/W catwalk and high street is full of brights and patterns unlike the collections of the last few years. Perhaps the decline in the economy and overall feeling of gloom and doom has inspired designers and high street retailers to bring a sense of fun and playfulness to their looks and of course to allow shoppers to infiltrate pieces from season to season and thus saving us a pretty penny!

If you have packed away your summer pieces and thus far appear to be unable to locate anything you originally packed away (always happens!), fear not! There is a great selection of colour popping shorts and skinnies to brighten up your wardrobe until you uncover your summer wardrobe yet then realise it is never all that sunny in this fair isle! Topshop have an awesome selection of colourful shorts with inventive designs. For the boho queens check out these fab dip die shorts, for a figure flattering pair these high-waisted cerise pair will do the trick and look great with a cap sleeve knit and patent loafers. If shorts aren't your thing but you still want a colourful component to your look, River Island's range of skinny jeans really does touch all the colours of the rainbow. My picks include these magenta super skinnies that are so '70s disco and a fantastic edition to your nighttime wardrobe; I just love them! These limited edition green pair will work well with caramels and nude tones, so pair with a leopard print top or fur coat for some added wow factor. 


STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: How to Dress for an Interview

Graduation time is about for many Irish students this season and that also means it is interview time. For us girls it is presumed difficult to choose an outfit as opposed to men who can wear a suit and not have to think twice about the decision. Unfortunately this is not the case for every Fashionisto, as I have spent a number of weeks interviewing for various positions I have uncovered suits that have been good, bad and just plain terrible. This week’s column is a guide to interview dressing for the male graduate.

This week’s Fashionisto is sporting a simple casual approach to interview dressing. A loose shirt, straight legged slacks, both from Zara, and neat loafers from Topman. The look is not extremely inventive but it works for the job he is going after. The proportions are intact and the shirt is loose enough to complement the slim trouser without making him look as though he borrowed his dad’s shirt. He had informed me he did button the shirt up one more in the interview itself but chose not to wear a tie as the office is extremely casual all round. It is important to dress appropriately for the job you are going for. For example if one is going for a sales position in Urban Outfitters it would be important to encapsulate what Urban Outfitters is all about (stylish casual and more often than not, vintage dressing). In this case a pair of fitted neutral chinos (preferably from Urban Outfitters), a fitted T-shirt and a blazer would suffice; it is important to still look smart no matter what kind of a job you are going for, no one wants to hire a scruff so please remember to iron.

For business and finance positions, head to Zara for all of your tailoring needs. They offer a massive range of shirts in various fits, patterns and colours. This slim fit shirt looks great on leaner builds or this patterned piece will work well for the more adventurous (remember not to go for a patterned tie if you pick a piece similar to this). If you are a safe dresser but still want to try something new, go for a double collar with a paisley pattern slightly on show on the cuffs and inside collar. Trouser styles again are vast, so here are some perfect partners for those shirts in skinny, straight, and satin wool.

For a smart casual approach Topman houses sleek and stylish blazers as well as granddad style shirts and an array of chinos and casual trousers — take the last any of these blazers and pair them with the shirt and trouser for a perfect smart casual look.

STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful

In Dublin, it appeared that we had become invaded by a pack of yetis and Chewbacca look-a-likes. But fear not we were merely fooled by the faux fur hats, scarves, gloves and winter cover-ups that have suddenly exploded onto the streets of the Irish capital. Fur, of course, is an issue that many fashionables have debated on for decades since the attention of PETA went global, mainly from celebrity support in their campaigns. Of late some of those celebrities who posed (always nude hence the slogan "I’d rather be naked than wear fur") appear to prefer the real thing than its faux counterpart perhaps feeling that faux fur is, in fact, a fashion faux pas. Naomi Campbell is the main culprit in question who after doing a PETA advertisement she then went on to front Dennis Basso’s 2009/2010 fall/winter fur campaign. She was not in any way apologetic as she stated “Yes, I am wearing fur, but I have also made up with that guy from PETA”.

As winter is now at our door step we must decide on the appropriate cover ups to withstand these next three months and venture out of out front doors proudly, warmly and, I suppose, with a clear conscience. Ethics has become a buzz word that has surrounded fashion houses and high street chains over the last 20 years. Not only in terms of fabric usage but also those who are sewing the fabrics and importing and exporting it. Child labor and fair trade is another massive ethical issue that is the dulling shadow on such a luminous industry. With high street chains such as H&M, Marks and Spencers and Topshop all stocking fair trade capsule collections at affordable prices that are wonderfully stylish there are many choices for the conscious Fashionsita. New York Fashion Week saw a "fair" amount of talent including Max Osterweis aka SUNO’s A/W 2011 collection. It includes pieces and fabrics made by up and coming Kenyan designers as well as pieces made in New York. The pieces are wonderfully modern and stylish proving you don’t need to wear items that are more faux pas than fashionable to be on-trend and stylish.

This week’s Fashionisto was so covered up I could barely see his face but he looked so cosy in his H&M hat and scarf and Fat Face woolen jumper that he had to be snapped. The hat style is all over high street this season in a variety of colours and textures and all including a faux fur trim. H&M have the best variety with this full on faux fur number of this leather style piece that is sure to attract attention as well as keeping you warm. The sweater is a full on CJ (Christmas jumper) that is perfect for this season and as this is last year's collection Fat Face did not dissapoint this season with this lambs wool knit with a signature Christmas pattern. H&M's concious collection for men and women is great for A/W and if wollen hoodies aren't your thing check out this recycled wool tweed waistcoat with a leather trim. It's very English heritage and is perfect for cold evenings. For a warm fuzzy feeling (that dosn't just come from your newest knit) log on to for the largest collection of fair trade mens and womens clothing online. This winter Fair Isle cardigan will provide all the warmth that you need this season.


Trends in general stem from bygone eras, hence why we now have trends devoted purely to decades alone. '50s swing dresses and cigarette trousers, '60s colour popping and mini dresses, '70s sequins and flares, '80s shoulder pads, '90s grunge and noughties — well, you see here we encounter a slight problem. We are currently living in a postmodern age that is founded on the concept that we can no longer "make new" but must simply "make do". I do agree with this statement to an extent but I do feel in terms of fashion and textiles that whilst we do manipulate bygone eras we do so in a modern or postmodern way that makes it once again unique in its own right. Let’s use Chanel as an example. The fashion house has been using tweed since 1909 — during the reign of King Edward that established the Edwardian period, which in fashion's perspective is known as the introduction of tweed into the closets of the British upper class and thus establishing the trend "English Heritage". Chanel was developing her own ideas on the fabric and thus decided a chic suit jacket would be a staple piece in her future collections. The fashion house has continued to use the fabric ever since and under the capable reigns of Karl Lagerfeld the tweed jacket has been developed and become accustomed to its timeline. Take Poppy Delevigne's tweed jacket and hot pant combo at last year’s Chanel showing — the look was a million miles away from the original 1909 jackets; it was modern and very now, yet still kept that Chanel elegance and beauty.

What I am getting at here is making past trends current and now yet still keeping the essence of where the trend originated from. This week’s Fashionista has gone all Sherlock Holmes on us and sported a tweed swing jacket. The look is kept modern with her choice of brogues and skinny jeans yet that vintage essence is kept firmly alive on the top half with an air of '40s accessorising and makeup trends put into the mix. If we analyse the look carefully we will find that although the brogues may update the look they are still a vintage item in themselves as they originated not from modern hipsters but from men’s suit shoes in the '30s and '40s, yet by mixing so many different decades of trends and look’s the outfit is modernised in its own right —perhaps this is what the noughties Fashionistas will be known for.

To mix different eras is not all that difficult this season as so many staple pieces stem from so many different decades. Take the tweed jacket, one can go for a classic Edwardian style such as this little number or update your tweed by going for a longer '20s style from Topshop or a Chanel-inspired dainty piece again from Topshop. Pair your tweed with boyish items such as brogues from Urban Outfitters or go for some '70s trends and piece your jacket with high-wasted flares and a silk shirt or go all '60s with a mohair cap sleeve tee and a short as you like colour pop mini.

This season don’t simply stick with one trend or era mix it up and make our stylish ancestors proud.


There has always been a lack of interest or care when it came to the Victorian era and fashion. The 2009 film based on Queen Victoria entitled ‘The Young Victoria’ was an epic based on the life of course the Q ueen herself, yet unlike other Royal exploits such as ‘The Duchess’ and ‘Elizabeth’, ‘The Young Victoria’ is not remembered for it’s flourishing and extravagant costumes. The film’s costume designer Sandy Powell whose previous credits include designing those beautiful tailored 40’s pieces from ‘The Aviator’ and the magnificent dresses and coats and trousers in ‘Shakespeare in Love’ poured her heart into creating the magnificent coronation gowns and dresses for the 19th century queen and for the third time the academy stood up and took notice and thus granted her another Oscar win. From an audience point of view however fashion was never going to be a point of focus when watching the royal drama and as such it is a forgotten costume drama.

I may seem as though I am going way off the mark here but I do have a finish point! This week’s Fashionista has brought the restrictive nature of Victorian style not from a female perspective but from an androgynous point of view. The high neck shirt, blazer and skinny trouser all account for the restrictive nature of the Victorian style yet the look as a whole is inspired not by the queens, dames and ladies of the period but by the gentlemen and horsemen of the time; the look is more prince Albert than the young Victoria. This is the English heritage look at its best, with the colour pallet spot on. The feminine feel is very important when going for such a vast amount of androgyny and as such the ruffle accents are just the right amount of girlishness to make this outfit androgynous but not manish; i.e we want that mixture of Victor and Victoria.

To apply this look all you need is a clean cut blazer preferably in this seasons favourite fabric, tweed, as well as some fabulous flat riding boots like this week's Fashionista's. Accessorise with girly pendants, ruffled blouses or silk shirts to create that girlish theme. Get your own version of this lo0ok at stores such as Zara and River Island and look to Topshop for some Victorian inspired jewlery and accessories.


I took a little trip to London this weekend for recreational purposes yet as always I am constantly on the look out for fashion types. I headed to Topshop on Oxford Street where I was sure my needs would have been met. This is, of course, the store where model scouts hang out at. Yet as I looked about it had seemed that Philip Green had hired a whole bunch of people to advertise his brand and dressed them all practically the same; there was no excitment of inventiveness in any of it. I wondered about Oxford Street for a while longer before heading back towards the tube, taking the side streets as we went along and as I walked out of a random Starbucks on a small back street I came across this week's Fashionista — London's fashion reputation was still intact.

I suppose we could talk mainly about that wonderful collar but lets take a moment to look at the ensemble as a whole. We have three lables in the mix-blink and you may miss them! A beautifully modest Dior long strap bag, Cholé shorts and those classic Chanel pumps. The look is as extravagant as it is expensive. We got colour clashing, double collars, prints and daytime meets nighttime all in the mix. It shouldn't work but it does. The Peter Pan collar has been about for a little while, creating an air of playfulness to any look, as it does here. The beaded collar adds an edge of drama that usually only the night can handle yet just like the London October sun, it shouldn't be there but it is and yes we love it!

This is risk dressing as there are so many things that could go wrong, but that's what the attraction is here. I don't have a problem with Topshop followers, in fact I reference Topshop pieces almost every week, but this look in so individual and at the same time incredibly chic. To achieve this kind of look money is a girl's best friend, but if like many money is merely an acquaintance, choose just one well-made piece to tie the look together, like this vintage collar, which, in fact, is probably the cheapest item in this look. For similar stand out accessories River Island have a great range of costume jewellery but Topshop (see I always do it!) has a wide range of collar necklaces to create ladylike modern looks.

So, this month, and like this week's Fashionista, it is all about rule breaking and being an individual.  


"Hey There, Delilah" is a song made famous by a band called the Plain White Tee’s and so this week’s column is in a way a homage to that group (well their choice of name anyway), as this week were all talking about the plain white tee.

The basic tee has been a go-to basic for as long as fashion itself can remember and became a distinct trend in the '50s that was popularised by movie stars (not much has changed there then). Actors such as James Dean and Marlon Brando created a laid back achingly cool association with the plain white tee that was rolled up just slightly on the cuffs to act as a practical holder for cigarettes or to act as a kind of muscle tee. Paired with a simple pair of dark wash straight leg jeans all the look required was a certain amount of attitude and as such all ones accessory issues were solved.

In today’s world the plain white tee has been a go-to for girls yet for some time the James Dean look was not associated with an overexertion of masculinity, but quite the opposite. Yet with the Olympics being on the minds of many designers at Milan and of course London Fashion Week (the hosts), the white tee has been brought back to its former glory. Nicole Fahri created a chic sports S/S '12 mens collection based around white tees, vests and muscle tees that were inspired by '20s sportswear, as well as '50s icons.

This week’s Fashionisto shows us his own take on the white tee, by pairing it with a great pant from Zara that’s formal yet casual due to the jean like material. It looks great tucked in, just like Brando, and the leather belt breaks it up to create that sleek physique. The look requires a lean structure to work from so as with all trends it is important to know your body type to understand what works best for you. This look is about confidence as accessories are kept to a minimal. The Vans and laid back beanie make this look youthful and gives it that student edge that CollegeFashionista loves.

White T-shirts are two a penny yet fabric is key. Lycra must only be chosen if one is planning a cycling excursion or is actually competing in the 2012 games, otherwise cotton is favourable. Fat Face pride themselves on their organic fabrics and do some of the softest tees on the market. For a more fitted look Topman of course has a massive range of basics that go from xxs to xl. For this Fashionisto's great day to night trouser Zara has a great range for autumn/winter.


Oh it’s getting chilly out there on those Dublin streets, so it is highly important to keep the most heat radiating part of your body under wraps with a fashionable accessory — the woolly hat. This accessory is mainly saved for the deep winter but it has been making an appearance since the beginning of the festival season. Of course, much of the woollen hats sported at such festivals were the result of unwashed or unbrushed hair, but for many it was a style choice and one which I am fully on board with.

To carry off this look, long hair is really a must if you don’t want to resemble a homeless person. Reference Nicole Richie, the Olsens (the homeless reference cannot wholly be separated here) and Keira Knightley. The woolly hat is a perfect accessory that provides interest, warmth and a laid back urban feel to any outfit. 

This week’s look is all about mixing winter accessories with autumn pallets and fabrics. The look is not ready for any cold fronts but the anticipation is there and the hat dresses down the prim blouse and the tailored trousers to give that downtown Alexander Wang esque look that is oh so now.

From a designer point of view, wool has always been a recipe for success. Mark Fast has developed a whole fashion house based purely on knitwear and has presented us with fantastic collections of woollen dresses, tops and, of course, hats. Annalisa Dunn and Dorothee Hagemann are two successful designers and businesswomen whose knitwear business, Cooperative Designs, showcases a variety of woollen styles that include numerous different hats and accessories all inspired they say by the '90s rave culture; "We watched the video for East 17’s "Alright," which is black and white in an urban landscape and we also thought about the clubs we used to got to n the ‘90s to listen to drum and bass music." Urban Outfitters are currently housing the most recent collection where you will find some great winter wonders such as this piece that will keep heads happy for many months to come.

Topshop always have a great collection that arrives in store at the end of august. Their cult "pom pom" hat in mustard is a winner for this season. River Island as always have an array of kitsch berets, acid coloured pom poms and novelty numbers. Zara and H&M always have great collections of hats that arrive a little later, so keep your eyes peeled. 


It was a night of divas, indie rockers, designers and serious Fashionista’s and Fashionisto’s alike. Dublin’s Brown Thomas was the host for Vogue Fashion Night Out. I went along to see all that the store had to offer and got some first had insight and inspiration from the designers, buyers, directors and wardrobe experts.

First up was famed Irish designer Louise Kennedy who was playing host to her own A /W 11 collection on the night.

CollegeFashionista: So Louise, the new collection appears to be inspired by a few different eras, what was the general inspiration for the collection as a whole?

Louise Kennedy: It is really taken from the ‘30’s 40’s and skirt lengths have gotten longer quite a lot of slips which clients are loving. It’s all about tailoring, textures and tones. 

CF: Do you feel there is a variety for younger buyers in the upper market, considering the current climate and buyers anticipating a different clientele?

LK:  If anything we have seen a younger client basis, I mightn’t have my weekly picks ups but clients are going to save for something that they know they can put their own styling to. Irish women in general are very style aware and style conscious but not dictated by fashion and have a sense of what works for them in their lives.

CF: How do you feel about the way college students dress in general?

LK: I love the freedom of the individual; I think college style is great. You can nearly see the ones who will have a place in fashion, it’s not a copying of a style, they have their own identity. We have a lot of younger intern girls working with us so I see it on a daily basis. It’s interesting to see the maturity and tailoring creeping back in in the last three years. Anybody who truly loves fashion has their own sense of their own style and will slightly tweek it from season to season. My belief is that the great Fashionista’s truly know what works for them. 

I had a similar encounter with Brown Thomas’ fashion director Shelly Corkery

CF: How do you feel the recession has affected your choices for buying in this year’s collections? Is it all about investments?

Shelly Corkery: Yes definitely. We have changed the way we look at buying things in and what will work for our client basis. It is really all about the investment pieces, you can see a lot of good quality coats that will last season through season. We have moved away from ‘fad’ buying or trends that go in and out very quickly, people are more careful and clever with their spending and their fashion.

CF: What do you think of the college dresser?

SC: I think it’s great, there is so much freedom in it. We do get a lot of young designer buyers coming in that are regulars but we also get the young students who may buy one item and pair it with some high street items and make it their own and it looks fabulous! Take this season’s Isabel Marant tassel boots, items like that are great for young buyers who want a designer item that will last and also stand out.

Irish accessories designer Una Burke had a little chat about the impact of celebrity on her own designs and career

CF: So Una your pieces are very individual with inspiration coming stongly from medieval armour. It is pure leather craftsmanship, how has this individuality aided you in your design career so far?

Una Burke: I am a leather worker first and foremost and then a fashion designer. I love working with leather and in the future I don’t want to restrict myself with fashion alone. The celebrity thing however was great, it has impacted my career a lot. I was contacted by Lady Gaga’s stylist in 2009 looking for me to create a design, so during 2010 I was sending pieces back and forth and finally on Valentine’s Day I created the final piece (which nearly ruined my relationship!), but it was fantastic exposure.

CF: You have of course also created pieces for Rhianna and Daphnie Guiness

UB: Yes Rhianna wore one of my pieces at an event in Hamburg which looked fantastic. Daphnie als borrowed some pieces and that was probably one of the best moments for me; she is a true fashion icon in my mind.

The event was a fantastic triumph for Dublin fashion and Brown Thomas, and I for one will be back next year to get some more insider knowledge.