Yucky Duck Fashion

Yucky Duck Fashion

Monday, 23 February 2015

Rose Style Diary: Day 2 "The Interview"

Even after changing jobs in December last, the Rose of Tralee Regional interview was and still is the most intense interview I've ever done due to it's time limit. You have ten minutes to best sell who you are, your interests and what you're all about as a person to a panel of judges. It was essentially like speed dating. Speed dating with Mr World or even with the misogynististic Christian Grey. You're dying for date number two but they're playing hard to get. Jamie Doran is sitting in front of you and you have ten minutes to convince him to whisk you away in his helicopter down to the Festival in Tralee and buy you that Audi you'd nearly rob your local Credit Union for. Pick me Jamie, pick me! Feminists be gone from my blog immediately! 

It is no doubt then that I spent a reasonable amount of time dwelling over what I would wear to this quick fire rendez-vous. I had first spotted this amazing pink two piece at Kerry Fashion Week 2014 and spent the evening fixated on it's unusual symmetric drape and modern fluorescent hues. After doing a bit of research (aka Instagram creeping) I came across the designer Jocelyn Murray Boyne, a young Irish designer whom had recently graduated from the National College of Arts and Design in Dublin. Jocelyn is making strides across the pond and is currently showcasing her work as part of the 'in the fold' an installation of work by emerging Irish designers during London Fashion Week this February. 

Her work has been photography in various Irish press and shoots and her graduate collection was previously stocked in design house Atelier 27 in Drury Street. I travelled up one Saturday morning to explore their Irish collection especially, knowing that regardless if the outfit suit and clearly having 'ugly stepsister tendancies' I was going to make it fit. I had to have it. My bubble was quickly burst as I stood in front of the mirror and expectation did not initially meet reality. There was serious 'Angelina side split' up the hip in the skirt, with my underwear on show, and there was no amount of tea-pot posing or leg crossing could get away with this one. Luckily for me, I had a simple coral midi skirt at home which matched up nicely underneath and hid my modesty and I also reversed the top the other way round to reveal a higher neck-line which better suited my body shape.

I have to admit I had a certain amount of anxiety sporting this rig-out for the big occasion. It was nothing other like I've seen in the Rose competition previously, nor even in Ireland and was definitely a bit unconventional to say the least. Backed by the support of my fellow roses, I took the stride of pride into that interview room that day with my hair in a simple ponytail and Lulu Guinness' lips clutch at my side and the rest is history..

I would love to hear some feedback from you all on my look?
Let me know what you think.

Until next time Ducklings,
Love Vera Xx

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Rose Style Diary: Day 1 "Retro Love"

Ah sure it only took me seven months to shift through a disc of over 700 photos. No really it did. At this stage I don't know where to begin, so I will begin from the start. On the 21st of April last I was chosen as the 2014 Kilkenny Rose in the Rose of Tralee International Festival (read about it here). After at least ten days of double checking to see if the sash was real after waking in the night in case it was all a hallucination, it finally sunk in the mammoth journey that lay ahead; the styling that is. As I've said on many occasions, my style is a reflection of who I am and for me, these four days in the Regional Festival was similar to Laois Fashion Week in my eyes.

Let's get one thing straight here before I continue. There are 29 Irish Roses at Regionals, with 6 spots to fill in Tralee and only one automatically through from the Leinster counties. So while you may think that my pre-festival priorities may have been a bit dubious I had in the back of my mind the very real expectation that the odds were against me and to embrace the occasion with both arms and to look back on that disc of 700 photos with no style regrets. This was MY Tralee.

Supporting Irish fashion was the utmost importance to me when choosing outfits for the Festival and I was lucky to sport 8 different Irish designers over the four days in Laois, from the new grad- Jocelyn Murray Boyne to the internationally renowned Orla Kiely and all my jewellery sponsored by Kildare company Newbridge Silverware.

If the 60's and 70's fashion had a love child, THIS would be their outfit baby. Lucky for me this Orla Kiely dress ticked the length appropriateness box, with it's tulip skirt and cute boat motif. I smartly cushioned the feet with some ankle socks from Topshop inside my Sophia Webster booties, which held up well in the comfort stakes despite having the most energetic 2 hour dance off with my Rose Bud which showed up my inadequate fitness levels. I popped on my pink light spring coat from Zara as the evening got chiller and finished the look with the cream floral headpiece from the new eShe collection from Newbridge Silverware. I nearly battened down their Kildare showroom door to get my hands on it after the collection's launch a week previous last year. I got endless compliments for the quirky accessory and was even aptly dubbed 'Zena' by Daithi O'Se upon our first meeting.

Over the next few days I will be continuing to share my favourite photos with you and provide some outfit inspiration for the incoming 2015 batch and prove that it's so important to express and stay through to yourself in a class of 70 young women.

Until next time Ducklings,
Love Vera Xx

Friday, 13 February 2015

Xpose Magazine - Date Night Style & Rose News

I've been a guest blogger in Xpose Magazine now since April 2012 and I find it as enjoyable as ever contributing to the popular glossy. It's also given me an opportunity as a Rose to collaborate with brands such as Rimmel (in October 2014 issue, see below) and I am grateful for the team for that. I was asked to style up a 'date night' outfit on cue for Valentine's tomorrow and choose a quirky girly Friday look for the occasion. If your day job involves wearing an unflattering uniform then take full opportunity to whip those pins out and put your glad rags on to look your best. If you met in a nightclub or at the legendary folklore 2am shift pole in Coppers then he may have already seen you or your best (or worst even) so there's no harm in dressing more casually and peeling back a few layers of your night foundation.

These Sophia Webster have always been a conversation starter with blokes as they think on first glance that I have 'floating bows on my feet'. The Lulu Guinness eye clutch has many an occasion been passed around a group for photos, snap-chats and whatever else the social media kids are on to now. Culottes (ie long shorts) may have been last spotted circa the 80's but expect a burst of pantaloons ability to produce high kicks and side splits in this season. They also aren't easily blown up by the wind, much to the disappointment of passersby and general creeps. So fancy knickers are optional for the evening. Full outfit details are available in the February Issue available for €2.90 nationwide.

In 'Rose' news; I will be beginning all my Rose of Tralee Regional Outfit Posts in the coming days. I received a lot of positive feedback for staying true to my personal style during the festival and I hope to share the vision, designers and final looks over a number of upcoming posts. It's been a longtime coming but I finally will share my rig-outs and stories with you all soon. Thanks to Richard of Event Capture for providing the photographic memories for us all.

Finally, after Monday's 'pale post' the wonderful folks at Celtic Complexion are sending me on some beauty goodies to try out. There seems to be a gap in the market when it comes to pale cosmetics and I hope to find more natural skincare alternatives to the tan in a can.

Until next time Duckling's,
Love Vera Xx

Sunday, 8 February 2015

50 Shades of Pale: My Crap Skin's Quest for Celtic Complexion

"Bless me Father for I have sinned, it's been two months since my last Sally Hansen application".

For my fashion sins, and to the disbelief of those around me, I made a conscious decision to give up fake tan 72 days to the date ago. The environmentalists rejoice however, as the CO2 emissions lower from the demise of multiple applications of tan aerosol consumed each weekend. It all stemmed from a idea planted in my head many moons ago. As I prepared for a fashion shoot, the photographer recoiled in shock as I enquired about skin prep for the 'big day'. His answer to this day stemmed the tan-ban idealisation I've been constructing since October last year. "Why would you wear tan?" he exclaimed. "Irish women have beautiful pale Celtic complexion. Pale hues of skin are the tone others in the fashion industry especially high end alter to become alike, and yet Irish women are too afraid to express their uniqueness". That was a no to the fake tan so then and this photo shoot was in no means 'Vogue'. It stuck a cord with me as I had never met a male that was REALLY so adamant against the self application culture (other than the 'she will dirty my sheets in orange muck'), as even my own Boyfriend frequently commented that 'women look better with a tan'.

Pale Idol: Morticia Addams

For me, tanning was always about improving my skin's texture and not glow or tone. I've had Psoriasis since a teen and a common condition called Keratosis Pilaris (KP). Sounds all a bit double dutch? KP often presents as little pink or purple rough bumps on the backs of the arms and often in the lower legs which is frequently mistaken for 'shaving bumps or rash'. As I prepared to go cold turkey (and display my turkey skin), I had to acknowledge that I had to also prepare my skin for baring all. Tan such as Sally Hansen covered the pulsating Keratosis Pilaris purpleness on legs and now I was about to showcase them to prospective husbands on a night out. Big Call.

After a bit of trial and error when it came it lotions and potions on the market. I enlisted some key beauty buys which worked my own leather. I discovered Neostrata Lotion Plus last Summer and due to it's Glycolic formula, gently exfoliates the skin to improve texture and improve Keratosis Pilaris appearance. Beware of the delicacy of your skin to sun exposure when using this product and be sure to read the instructions before use. I have definitely found a marked improvement in my own legs, and it's non fragrance means it can be subtlety used by blokes as well as women. Its is available in Pharmacy's nationwide for around €28. I substituted the razor for the less skin abrasive Braun epilator and smothered my legs in MAC Face and Body Foundation in C2 with a foundation brush for nights out. This product is the only body foundation I could find on the Irish market. It's coverage neutralises the skin tone rather than covers it and it does not transfer onto clothes. Finish your skin with Benefit Bathina Body Balm for the red carpet-ready sheen on your shins.

With celebrities like Anne Hathaway, Kristen Stewart and Cate Blanchett regularly dismissing the man made golden glow on the red carpet, and with Fashion Week models and movies such as Twilight personifying pale creatures of the night why is it then we have not embraced the 'haute-couture skin look' of our own natural skin tone like we would embrace a Chanel bag if it were handed to us? Even Nicole Scherzinger herself told me she 'loved my beautiful Irish skin' as I stood next to her in London 14 months ago. Are the Irish nation in denial about their uniqueness or are we more wise in how to 'better our most natural asset'?.

50 Shades of Pale vs 50 Shades of Bronzed

My quest to spread the pale Gospel continues.
Until next time Ducklings,
Love Vera Xx

Monday, 2 February 2015

The Return of The Duck

"Tell me about when did you realised that your blog was a success?"

This was question number three I faced in my Rose of Tralee interview in Port Laoise last May over the sunny June Bank Holiday weekend. For me, I would have to believe that answering this question proves similar difficulty to being asked "when did you first realise you loved someone?" or some other proposed theory that involves deep reflection to credit its definition as success is such a personal objective state of mind. In a way, writing this post is a success in itself. 

I have had difficulty in constructing a clarifying answer to why it has taken me seven months to finally address this. As the whole idea of 'Yucky Duck' stemmed from the proposal of growing positivity from a self perception of negativity due to attitude and influence of others it is fitting that this all can be truthfully explained from that theory. My clothes has reflected my growth in confidence and now I confess my style is very much an extension of my personality. With the positive comes the negative, and we are fortunate that there is so much choice and spectrum in the Internet to find a blogger to relate to and follow. But it was the negativity I faced from unsuspecting sources which lead to a drop in self assurance and the demise of my posting.

Depending on where I would socialise in the country, people had no problem 'letting me know' exactly what they thought of what I was wearing. My idea of a night out is dancing until the arches of your aching feet find relief in kicking off those heels when you arrive home, not defending why I choose to wear a Bart Simpson shirt or no longer wear fake tan. I had made the vital error in taking it all to heart. I may not have 'gotten it right' every time but I had forgotten that overcoming negativity is a lifelong process and achievement. 

So what has changed? Knowing that I only had 12 months to embrace the Kilkenny Rose title and make the most of it, made me reflect on the question of whether I had made the most of my blog? As I sat in that seat last May and faced the 'blog success question' I could feel part sentiment, part panic awash me. But I replied with my initial natural reflex response. 

                                                     "Tell me about when did you realised that your blog was a success?"


ME: "I never expected any success when I started any of this. I was hungry to write and fashion was a topic I had gained knowledge through my experience in retail. The blog gave me a creative corner. And then Orla Kiely and Lulu Guinness were contacting me to work with them. Me with my little amateur corner of the Internet being contacted by internationally renowned brands. My blog was still a newborn and it's following not even established. And they were contacting me? They could see something I hadn't seen and it was then I wondered where all this would take me. 

That was the answer I gave the judging panel that day but it's only now I truly accept the statement I gave. I was right, it was a huge personal success, it was a big deal, and to stop blogging due to a drop in self-confidence was unjustifiable. As I countdown to April to hand back my sash I intend on using my unique opportunity to help advice but also give a wonderful insight into the Rose Festival. I will be focusing more on jovial writing, fashion topics and news with a return of some personal style posting. So expect regular posts and an emphasis on Irish fashion and new design talent. 

(Image credit: unknown)

Image via Pinterest

This isn't a new beginning but merely a new direction for Yucky Duck,
Let the fun commence!
Love Vera Xx