Real Women: The Ethical Silk Company's Eva Power on rethinking dress codes

Eva Power is the owner of The Ethical Silk Company (theethicalsilkco.com), an Irish online retailer that sells ethically produced silk pyjamas, scarves and pillowcases. Here she explains to fashion director MARIE KELLY how she has developed her own unique signature style, and why she thinks more women need to rethink their workwear


I run my own business, so I'm lucky I have no dress code. I tend to wear casual clothes day to day, shirts from Cos and jeans by Levi’s, unless I have a meeting, in which case I’ll opt for a silk top from my own brand and a pair of pants from Whistles or a skirt from Carolyn Donnelly The Edit, whose clothes I find perfect for work. Whatever I wear has to be comfortable. Life is too short to feel uncomfortable, plus I have a business and two children to focus on. Clothes can’t be a distraction.

ICYMI: How online retailer Kate Gleeson balances a professional look with pieces that will keep her cool in the heat

Dressing for meetings at the height of summer can be a challenge. Again, comfort dictates what I wear, so it’s usually a pair of fluid trousers and a top or a midi-length skirt; anything shorter doesn’t feel right. I always wear natural fabrics because they’re breathable. I’ve learned my lesson buying pretty synthetic tops that trap the heat and make hot summer days unbearable.

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I think women sometimes forget when dressing for work that an outfit has to look good and feel comfortable, whether they’re sitting, standing or travelling from A to B for a meeting or lunch. An outfit can look and feel great when you’re standing upright in front of a mirror, but will it be restrictive when you’re sitting down, or awkward when walking in a hurry? I also think women need to find an alternative to black tights in summertime; a sheer stocking or cigarette pants, perhaps? It makes me hot just looking at women in black tights at this time of year.

 

Eva wears a Mulberry silk sleeved top, €80 at The Ethical Silk Company; print trousers, €130 at Whistles; scalloped edge handbag, Kate Spade, €250 at Arnotts.

Eva wears a Mulberry silk sleeved top, €80 at The Ethical Silk Company; print trousers, €130 at Whistles; scalloped edge handbag, Kate Spade, €250 at Arnotts.

My wardrobe is a complete mix of vintage, high street and designer. I have vintage tops from each of my grandmothers, which I wear regularly, but I’ll also buy high street and designer occasionally. I like to buy clothes that I’ll wear for years, so I’m not too bothered with what’s in fashion each season – if I like it, I’ll wear it. I love brogues, and as I’m a size six, I always check out the men’s shoe section, as sizes sometimes start at six, which opens up a whole new world of shoes to me.

The most treasured pieces in my wardrobe are those that belonged to my grandmothers. They’re each more than 40 years old, and whenever I wear them, I always receive a compliment. In general, vintage clothes are well tailored and made to last – it’s really noticeable in the finish, cut and detail.

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COS is one of my go-to labels for workwear. The aesthetic is simple and clean, which works whatever is scheduled in my diary.

Relatable reads: Brand consultant Sive O'Brien on finding her unique personal style

                                  Sarah Gill of Seagreen boutique on how she found her signature style

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