& Other Stories: The Dublin Début

When A-Wear closed the doors of their Grafton Street premises three years ago, it seemed unlikely a similar tenant would be found to replace them. HMV briefly languished there before leaving a gap once more more.

Thankfully, & Other Stories snapped up the lease and have transformed the vacant building into the epitome of Scandinavian chic. I attended their launch evening last night and I couldn’t believe I was in the same building! (No shade A-wear..)

I’ve been looking forward to this since H&M opened their beautiful College Green store. And when the invite alone is this pretty, you know it’s going to be a good event.

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Arriving at the store, I was warmly greeted with a mini size Moet champagne with a cute compliment inscribed. I could get used to that kind of treatment!

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There were also juices and water on offer from handsome waiters, a DJ playing and 30% off everything in store that evening! I was immediately envious of the DJ’s shift dress, a gorgeous holographic creation.

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I used to love wandering through the various floors of A-Wear and the new Other Stories makes the most of the space available. On the ground floor, there’s a mix of makeup, candles, body products, jewellery, underwear and clothes.

Shoes reside in the basement along with bags and funky accessories such as velvet phone cases. The top floor is devoted to dressy pieces.

If IKEA and H&M had a baby, this is what it would look like.

The entire shop is painted white with marble and wooden shelving. Cacti and plants are dotted throughout the store.

Other Stories offer 10% off to customers returning packaging from their cosmetics and for textile recycling also. Having said that, they use a lot of paper to wrap products so that’s a tad counterproductive!

My favourite area of the store was the top floor. There were so many gorgeous pieces on display, from a holographic skirt, soft forest green t-shirts, lacy tops and leather dresses. The majority of the collections are quite simple but chic.

I also loved the shoes, from turquoise mules, silver snakeskin flats and heeled boots, there were loads to choose from.

The bags were also amazing from mock croc totes, Chloe lookalikes and  PVC satchels.

& Other Stories have a higher price tag to go with the beautiful clothes but some of the pieces were quite affordable with 30% off. Unfortunately I still have to buy all my Christmas presents so had to exercise restraint this time!

I could sit here all day telling you how fabulous & Other Stories is but nah. Go see it for yourselves! It’s opening today at 12 pm, 26-27 Grafton Street and there’s a treat for the first 50 customers..

I couldn’t leave without buying something so I got a beautiful iridescent green nail varnish. On our way out we also got a goody bag. At first I thought mine was jewellery as it came in a beautiful little box but it was actually a set of three lipsticks! I can’t wait to try them. They were €15 each separately so it was a very generous gift.

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Galloon Burgundy lipstick. Pic: Otherstories.ie

Thanks to the lovely staff at & Other Stories and Baluba for a great night. I will be back soon wielding my Visa debit card!

Hope you all enjoyed this post and let me know your thoughts on the new store.

Thanks for reading as always and don’t forget to check out my InstagramTwitter and Facebook page here.

Edel

 

 

 

Dupe bag alert! Designer lookalikes for under €20!

Dupe bags have a bad name, we’ve all seen (and bought at least once) tacky counterfeit bags on holidays abroad or at dodgy markets.  These days I’m on a quest to find cute dupes for a fraction of the price and here’s where to get them.

There are loads of dupe designs online from Chiara Ferragni, Gucci, Chloe to high street cult brand Skinnydip.

I love  Skinnydip London’s range of bags, they’re cute and quirky  statement pieces. But for a novelty bag they can be quite expensive, sometimes €40+ for a  small bag that can’t be worn everyday. Plus they sell out fast!

Recently I stumbled across bags on Shein.com which are an EXACT dupe for the Skinnydip bags but much cheaper!

chill pill

They have a dupe of the ‘Chill Pill’ bag which is sold out on Skinnydip and was about €35. From what I can see the  only difference is the width measurements are slightly different although they may have confused height and width. It’s made of the same material and provides the length of the chain (120cm) which Skinnydip didn’t specify. It’s currently €18.98 on Shein.com and €17.60 on Romwe.com.

Another popular Skinnydip design was the’Tequila’ hip flask. This is about €35 and sold out on the Skinnydip site. Selfridges.com had about 3 in stock for the same price.

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The Skinnydip version…Pic: Skinnydip.com

On Shein.com, the bag comes in four different colours and is on sale at €19.10. I really want the turquoise version! The Shein silver one has a cheaper looking finish, it looks like it’s covered with big glitter flecks, while the Skinnydip one has a smoother looking finish. Measurements are slightly different again, the Skinnydip one looks a little larger. The silver one is also on Romwe for €18.53.

I’ve also found a very similar though not identical dupe for this ‘popcorn’ bag which was originally about €28 from Skinnydip. This was later reduced but then sold out.

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Popcorn bag. Pic: Skinnydip.com

The Shein version is actually cuter in my opinion and is €16.37 at the moment. They seem to be the same size. The Skinnydip one is mixed materials while the Shein is 100% PU.

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Popcorn bag: Shein.com

There are loads of other Skinnydip dupes available on Shein and Romwe from flying spaceships to milk cartons so go check them out!

These ‘Chloe’ style bags are currently on sale on Romwe.com. The black and gold version is €19.46 and €25.94 for the beige and cream.The black and gold one actually looks quite expensive.

While the blue two tone one is to die for and less than €20!

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Two tone bag €16.58. Pic: Romwe.com

Super blogger Chiara Ferragni now has her own line of accessories and they don’t come cheap. But you can nab a clutch bag with Chiara’s ubiquitous winking eye design for €13.89 on Romwe.com!

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Winking eye bag. Pic: Romwe.com

This small wristlet bag is a great Gucci dupe and quite classy looking. Also less than €20 from Romwe.com.

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Clutch bag. Pic: Romwe.com

And for a Moschino lookalike, try this ‘leather jacket’ bag from Romwe.com again less than €20.

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Jacket bag. Pic: Romwe.com

As for a dupe bag to avoid see below…

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‘Campballs Soup!!’ Pic: Romwe.com

Obviously, these bags will reflect the price and won’t be made of the same material of a designer bag (with the exception of the Skinnydip bags of course) so don’t expect too much from them! I’ve bought from both sites before but only bought a bag from Romwe which was fairly decent quality and got a lot of compliments!

Both of these sites have lengthy shipping times and similar prices so it’s best to suss out the individual deals/discounts before buying. There are other similar sites to these which also sell dupe bags but these are the ones I know best.

Hope you’ve all enjoyed this post, let me know if you liked these dupes and if there’s any I missed! Leave me a comment below and let me know if you’d buy a dupe bag.

Thanks for reading as always and don’t forget to check out my Instagram  and Facebook page here.

PS I’ve been shortlisted for the Blog Awards in the best personal fashion category, if you’d like to vote for me, just click here.

Edel

Shopaholic Online

internet shopping

I buy a lot of my clothing online and thought I’d share some of my favourite sites and experiences.

ASOS.com

Possibly the best online shop. Massive array of products and brands, their own brand is excellent quality, they deliver pretty quickly to Ireland and their returns procedure is simple. Standard delivery is free to most parts of the world. I’ve purchased from them in America and while the delivery took longer, it was simple to make a return there also. I love the  site layout, photography and styling. ASOS have good sales and I’ve gotten genuine bargains. Among the stuff I’ve bought includes jeans, brogues, dresses, a handbag and a bikini. I’ve tried a lot of different products and so far been happy with everything!

To order you have to create an account with Asos. You have the option of saving a credit/debit card which is very dangerous/handy depending on how you look at it!

ASOS Marketplace.

This site stocks vintage and independent labels. I haven’t bought from the site yet but it’s great for styling inspiration. Some of the boutiques can be expensive but I’ve seen some great unusual things on there also. Favourite brands include We are Hairy People and Florrie Jane’s Vintage. Plus it’s a great site for independent retailers to establish themselves.

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Cactus print shorts and top from We are Hairy People
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Party ring crop top from We are Hairy People
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Clothing from Florrie Jane’s Vintage

Etsy.com

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I love browsing Etsy. Lately I’ve been shopping for accessories like this galaxy chain from Gina’s Tie Dye.

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The chain was beautiful and I received it really quickly. Unfortunately the pendant fell off the second time I wore it! However I may have been just unlucky. Gina very kindly sent me a replacement necklace which I was thrilled with! This shop has loads of amazing stuff such as ying/yang tie-dye t-shirts and beautiful one-of-a-kind halter tops.

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Photo courtesy Gina’s Tie Dye

I’d been looking for lightweight lace bras like those from For Love and Lemons but cheaper! I struck gold when I found these beauties from Lovy House on Etsy. They are not like a traditional bra so don’t expect a lot of support from them but they are gorgeous!

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I bought the black one pictured above. The only drawback is the lace is slightly itchy! They have a gorgeous selection of lace underwear. Delivery was quite quick considering this shop is based in Vietnam.

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Lovy House lace bra- exactly like For Love and Lemons but much cheaper!

Etsy focuses on promoting handmade or customised items only and is a great promoter of independent fashion. I’ve also bought studs from them for my own customising. You can also give feedback when you receive a product and payments can be made easily through Paypal. The only annoying thing about Etsy is that if you are buying from different stores you have to make each purchase individually. As most shops are small businesses you will generally have to pay delivery charges. I haven’t had to return anything to this shop yet.

Romwe.com

This is a huge online Chinese shop which ships all over the world. Their printed sweaters are my favourite items and they have great unique clothing. They are cheap and have lots of “flash deals” where certain items will be on promotion for 24 hours only. Delivery does take a while but that’s to be expected from China.

Romwe sizes can be quite small also so bear this in mind. I haven’t bothered returning anything that didn’t fit (only once this has happened) as the return would cost the same as the original purchase. I’ve bought a sweater, a skirt, rucksack and a dress from them. The dress was the only unsuitable item being a little too small but it was only €11 so I gave it to a charity shop.

Oasap.com

Oasap is a store which I’ve only bought from once. I bought a pair of printed leggings which were very unusual and cool. The size was good but the colours were quite different in real life and also the fabric was less shiny and slightly transparent. Jury’s out for now! Delivery took some time.

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How they looked online….
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How they looked in real life!

Stradivarius.com.

I decided to try Stradivarius’ online shopping service which is quite new to Ireland. The process is quite simple, you order an item either to your home and pay for delivery or you can pick it up in store for free. I bought these cute blue espradilles.

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You get an email when the item is sent and a text when delivered in store. Returns can be done in store also.I thought it took long enough for it to be delivered considering the stock is only coming from Spain.

Nastygal.com

Previously I devoted a whole post to this site as I went through an obsession with it! Nastygal have an emphasis on daring sexy outfits and bohemian clothing. I’ve bought one dress from them which was nice but the material wasn’t great quality. They are based in America so again shipping takes some time.

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN SHOPPING ONLINE!

How soon do you need this item? Many shops may take 2-3 weeks with standard shipping.

Will you be able to return it easily? Read the returns policy carefully, some shops may charge for returns or may not allow returns on sale.

How much will delivery cost? An item may appear very cheap until you add in the cost of shipping! Is it worth it when you have allowed for delivery charges? Some shops have a discount if you buy several items but you may have to spend a lot.

Will it look like this in real life? Remember the camera lies and the item may be a different colour/texture to how it appears online. If in doubt read the description to see what material it is and what care it requires before buying. Some stores will let you ask questions and others allow previous customers to leave feedback which is generally the best indicator.

What are the sizes like? Probably the most important factor to consider, check the sizing guide very carefully and read any comments/feedback regarding sizes. Some sites have vintage “free size” items which will pretty much fit a size 8-12 depending whether you want to wear it baggy/long/fitted etc. Others describe items as “runs small”, “runs large” or “true to size.”

When buying from independent retailers, check that the payment methods are secure and that sellers have good feedback. All the sites I’ve listed are reputable.

Happy shopping all! Hope you have enjoyed this post, thanks for visiting the blog as always. You can like my blog on Facebook here if you’d like to see more. I’ll be preparing my next post on the Sea Sessions festival in Donegal, stay tuned! 😉

Why we are obliged to support striking retail workers.

This is an opinion piece on the recent strikes by Dunnes workers and the issues currently facing retail employees in many companies nationwide. I tend to keep my blog very light-hearted most of the time but sometimes there are more serious issues on my mind. Particularly as my blog has a focus on fashion and consumerism, I feel it is vital to be aware of the people who work for large retail companies and the struggles they face. This is something I’m really passionate about and I hope it will create understanding why such strike action is necessary.

The recent strikes by Dunnes Stores workers have brought issues facing retail employees, such as low and zero hour contracts and the minimum wage rate, back into focus. Among the problems highlighted by the workers were lack of hours available, hours being spread out in a manner which prevented them claiming social welfare payments, despite meeting the criteria, and bullying and intimidation by management.

As a former retail worker, I sympathise with their struggles. Imagine preparing to work for 7 hours, paying for a bus or petrol, making a lunch and washing and ironing a uniform only to be told after 3 hours “Go home, we don’t need you.” This is the reality those who work in retail fear every single day.  If you are working a three hour shift at €8.65 per hour, you will have made €25.95 for the day. Based on a 15 hour contract with shifts spread over 5 days you will make €129.75 per week and will not be able to claim social welfare for the days worked.  If the 15 hours were spread over less days, employees entitled to part-time social welfare payments could still receive part of their payments. However most companies do not take this into account.

Contrast this wage of €129.75 per week with a 25 year old who can claim €144 per week on social welfare and a person over 26 who can claim €188 per week.  (Welfare.ie.) It’s astounding that someone can make more money on social welfare than from part-time work. Those receiving welfare have absolutely no incentive to take a part-time job as they will make less money and have to pay tax.

Naturally some workers only need a part-time contract due to other obligations. However, zero hour contracts, which have been introduced by several companies such as Xtravision, are beyond unethical. A zero hour contract means the employee is contracted by the employer, and obliged to remain available for work, yet the employer has no responsibility to provide them with a set number of hours per week. The employee is still “working” for the company, albeit sitting by the phone and hoping they will be called into work. Although there are compensation measures in place in Ireland to ensure an employee will receive either 25% of all hours available or 15 hours (depending on which is less) these largely favour the company and not the employee.  (Employment Rights Ireland.)

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In 2014, reviews of zero hour contracts were commissioned and the Low Pay Commission was established to examine whether the minimum wage of €8.65 is a “living wage.” Trade Union SIPTU  suggested a minimum living wage of €11.45 per hour earlier this year. (The Journal.) These reviews and investigations are long overdue. However, we require further and more direct action to support those affected.

If we don’t support these workers, it will mean more people dependent on social welfare, more people out of work and  greater social divide. Each one of us is a consumer and use the services of these people every single day.

Companies, such as Dunnes and others, should be boycotted for their treatment of staff. It’s easy for the companies to pit their employees against the customers and make remarks such as “we will lose trade and custom”, blaming the workers when customers are inconvenienced by strike action.  Some Dunnes workers have even lost their jobs since striking and making a stand for their rights. (The Journal.)These reactions are nothing more than bullying and intimidation.

However just as all retail workers have a responsibility towards their customers, customers have a responsibility towards these workers. They have “buying power” and can take their custom elsewhere. This will send a message to corporations that “cost-cutting” and “reductions” that prevent their employees from thriving will eventually also damage the company.

Strike

To learn more about this you can visit the “Decency for Dunnes Workers” page and the Mandate trade union site which have more information.

Thanks as always for visiting my blog and you can like the blog on Facebook here or follow on Twitter here. If you’ve enjoyed this opinion piece, please let me know.