Tuesday, 20 February 2018
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Autumn 2016

Stephanie Berkeley reveals her October collection...

I don’t know where this type of comparison phrase originated, or even why it has become so popular; but it certainly has. And you’re bound to have heard it many times:
Breakfast is the new lunch.
YouTube is the new TV.
White is the new black…

I’ve got a new one for you. September is the new January.

January is the official start of the new year, and I always get a burst of renewed zeal at that time, but for me, September also gives the same feeling of an empty calendar and a clean slate. The air seems charged with possibility and renewal.

Think about it; September is a starting point. Most of us started school in September (and now that we’re parents – our children have started back to school by September too). It is the start of the Strictly Vs X Factor (#TeamStrictly) season – a perfect time to curl up on the sofa with a take away and bottle of wine and it is (almost) the start of the autumn season.

September is a brilliant month because your skin is still glowing from the summer sun, the weather is gently creeping into lovely, bronzed autumn and you can begin making the transition into your winter wardrobe.

So if September is the new January then this month marks the new February, so why not use now as a chance to reflect, refocus and rededicate yourself towards your goals? This is “buckle down” time, a good time to make yourself, and your health, a priority and get into a routine and into shape for Christmas (yes it’s less than 100 days away folks) before the black hole of weight loss begins in December!

This is exactly what I have been doing this month aided, most capably, by the brand new business venture of friends Mel and Niamh Boyle who have recently opened OMMactive; a shop on Belfast’s Belmont Road and their online offering (ommactive.com) selling high end luxury activewear, nutrition and beauty.

After too many years of doing absolutely no exercise and watching as my husband and his friends get into the best shape they have ever been in, I have decided if you can’t beat them, join them and have adopted mindfulness, embraced the active life and discovered the benefits of healthy eating. Now before you panic and declare that I am having a mid-life crisis let me reassure you that I still love shopping, I still love carbs and I still love my bubbles!

I began this journey in a pair of Jim’s old running shorts and a Rolling Stones tee but have recently treated myself to a full outfit from Lorna Jane, Australia’s biggest activewear brand from OMMactive. It looks great and is effortlessly stylish encouraging me to push harder which makes me feel awesome!

Speaking of awesome I have fallen head and heart over heels for the trendiest shoe of the season – the loafer! Icon of the collegiate style, and must have for Autumn Winter 2016-2017, they have become the cool girls’ ultimate accessory of the season. Gucci’s Jordaan slim-shape loafer has been popping up on Pinterest for a few months now and, true to form, the high street has followed suit with a choice of colours and styles – metallic, pastel, print or backless. If swapping your weekend wear boots or wedge trainers for old-school loafers or if you don’t know how to wear them and you are looking for inspiration, I would suggest matching them with a long-sleeved dress, a pair of boyfriend jeans or, if you prefer a more classic look, try wearing them with a midi-pleated skirt. I nabbed a pair of Topshop’s Karter loafers and I just love them!

Speaking of pleats, I did mention my current obsession with the midi-pleated skirt last month and I have to admit I have four of them but, as well as being extremely flattering, this constitutes the perfect day to night look. Daytime with a short sweatshirt and trainers/loafers and switch it up in the evening with a cami and strappy sandals. It really is the ideal choice for us busy working mums used to a 10 minute turnaround!

New skirts, new shoes and a new sporty outlook – I’ve decided that thinking about this time of year differently, is well, different! And taking action on that thought is one way to start to get new and better results. Plus, it’s always fun to have people wondering what you are up to, isn’t it?

Style File

Must Watch: It’s back. September 29 sees the welcome return to our screens of series 3 of “Spot the Location”, otherwise known as The Fall on BBC2. Oh yes and there’s the small bonus of regular doses of Jamie Dornan #swoon

Must See: It’s all about girl power in this year’s Belfast International Arts Festival with a programme packed full of inspirational and powerful women including: Caroline Criado Perez, journalist, campaigner and writer of “Do it Like a Woman” perhaps best known for her involvement in campaigning for Jane Austen to appear on the £20 note (Friday October 14),
Lisa McInerney – Irish author of Bailey’s Women’s prize-winning “The Glorious Heresies” is in conversation at the Black Box on October 22 and the visual artist referred to as “the heir to Tracy Emin’s throne” – Sarah Maple – whose exhibition, Maybe She’s Born With It, along with Nicky Minus and Gina Wynbrandt, runs in the Naughton Gallery until November 27, taking a fresh and humourous look at reclaiming the word “feminism”. There’s loads more classical, folk and jazz music, theatre, dance, poetry and cinema so check out the full programme and book at belfastinternationalartsfestival.com

Must Do: Belfast FASHIONWEEK returns from October 20-23 with nightly catwalk shows and an array of fabulous fringe events including Style Sunday and the new ‘People’s Catwalk’ where anyone can experience a day in the life of a model. Tickets start from £20 and also include a fabulous goodie bag. Find the schedule at belfastfashionweek.com*

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