January 20, 2021

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5 practical and stylish pieces of clothing you need in your wardrobe right now

Looking for a wardrobe update, but don’t want to spend money on clothes that might be left sitting there? Our fashion editor Clodagh Dooley shares her top picks of clothing items that are long-lasting, but will also spruce up your look post-lockdown

Hands up who else discovered an addiction to online shopping throughout lockdown? I know I’m not the only one! But it’s good to treat ourselves every now and again, especially after a stressful couple of months.

Although I placed quite a few orders for new clothes over the last few weeks, I always made sure it was items that I knew I would wear over the coming months. For example, if I was looking to buy a dress, it would be something I could wear during the day too. No point buying one only for nights out because god only knows when the next proper night out will be! And you can absolutely forget about buying high heels, because who has time for them right now?

So if you’re looking to treat yourself to some new stylish clothes these days, while spending your money responsibly during these uncertain times, here are a selection of items I’ve purchased recently and think are worth adding to your shopping basket. These are garments that are:

  • Reasonably priced
  • Will stand the test of time
  • Versatile for smart or casual
  • Are available to buy online and in different variations

Denim boiler suit

I have wanted a blue denim boiler suit for as long as I can remember, but could never find the right one for my shape or one that didn’t make me look like I was going painting or working on the farm! And then the ones I did like were always sold out.

So I was delighted when I came across this one from Missguided. I feel that a boiler suit is best worn in a slightly looser fit rather than a tight fit, but you don’t want it completely swamping you either. And this was perfect, because it comes with a matching belt which nicely cinches in my waist and the legs of the boiler suit weren’t too tight or too loose, they fit perfectly. The material isn’t too heavy, however, I wouldn’t advise wearing it on a very hot day like I did! But this denim jumpsuit is ideal for wearing around on Irish summer days with a pair of white trainers, and then you could probably even dress it up with heels if you’re heading out to dinner. 

I ordered the Missguided jumpsuit in a size 8 and all of the sizes still seem to be available at the time of writing this – which is a surprise because I thought it would be a sell-out! 

You can also get the boiler suit in a cream or pink colour. 

Smock dress

Here’s a bit of background history: a smock was, in fact, a work garment traditionally worn by rural workers back in Britain in the 18th century. The smock style has come a long way since then and there are now many women on Instagram wearing these ‘smock dresses’. 

Smock dresses are typically loose and shapeless. While I’ve seen many people pull them off so well, I felt that personally they would look a little unflattering on me. That was until I came across the ruffle-style smock dresses. 

I love this Bershka tiered-ruffle white dress I picked up from ASOS for just €22. I’m about 5’7/5’8 in height and I ordered a size 8. The length was perfect – the dress was just a bit above my knees, so thankfully not too short. While the dress was slightly oversized, the tiered ruffles added some structure and it was a nice fit. It can be worn casually during the day with black boots or black Birkenstock-style sandals and a black leather jacket (ultimate rock chick/festival vibes) during the summer, or with tights during the winter. You can also dress it up by night with a pair of black high heeled boots. Because it’s white, it will go with pretty much any colour. 

However, the polyester material is quite light, so you do need to wear a nude slip and nude underwear underneath. But what I love most about the smock dress is that it is both super comfortable and stylish at the same time. I’ve since invested in two more ruffle-tiered smock dresses. I bought another one from Penney’s in an ecru tone. I can’t get enough of them!

Face mask

Ok, so a face mask is more important for health and safety purposes rather than fashion purposes. But if we’re going to be wearing them for the foreseeable future, then why not invest in a non-surgical fabric one that you actually may like wearing?

I bought a gorgeous pink printed mask for €10 from a local fashion designer, Shannon Tynan, who also designs beautiful scrunchies (I even got one to match my mask!). And there are many other Irish designers like Shannon to purchase unique face masks from. There’s Bébhínn McGrath, who handmakes linen face masks (€10 a mask) and you can also find reusable cotton masks for €13 each on faceit.ie.  

You won’t only be getting a stylish mask, but you’ll also be supporting local businesses, which is so important now more than ever.

Strappy sliders

I never really looked twice at Birkenstock sandals before, until I saw them all over Instagram during lockdown. They’re a plain, two-strap sandal, but put them with the right outfit (like a smock dress or a pair of joggers) and they look very cool.

That said, I didn’t really want to hand out over €40 for a pair. I know the support in the real thing is probably better, but I decided to have a look online and see if I could find the best next thing. It’s amazing how many sites actually do a similar version of the two-strap sandals. 

But it was on my first outing to Penneys, that I discovered the perfect pair. They looked very similar to the original Birkenstock, and with a brown base, black straps and gold buckle, they work well with everything from jeans and joggers, to dresses and shorts. I live in these ones around the house now, they fit perfectly and are comfortable for everyday wear. And I’ll definitely be wearing them out-and-about with more summery outfits when the sun shines again. While this particular sandal isn’t available to buy from Penneys online, only in stores, you can still find similar ones on sites like ASOS or check out these ones from New Look.

High-waist trousers

I purchased these high-waist trousers from Zara in oyster white for an event post-lockdown. They are probably one of the best buys I have made recently. They’re comfortable, but are also very slick. You can wear them with a crop-top when we can finally go out properly again, but you could put them with trainers and a slouchy cardigan for an everyday look. I’ll also be wearing these with a black top and flats when I eventually return to the office.

I loved the fit and style of the trousers so much, that I actually went back to Zara and purchased them in pink! I had purchased the white in a small, but I felt the extra small fit that bit better around the waist, so I bought an extra small size in the pink pair. 

The trousers don’t seem to be available in pink on the site now, but they are available in white, as well as camel, black and sea green. At only €29.95 for the trousers, I think I’m going to have to invest in another pair in a different colour! Plus, the trousers have pockets – always a winner! 

Did you upgrade your wardrobe with any practical and stylish clothes during lockdown? If so, let us know your best buys! Make sure to follow us on Instagram