Smart Casual's new Kerry native co-host describes herself as curvy, eclectic and feminine

Smart Casual, IMAGE's fashion podcast in partnership with Kildare Village, is delighted to welcome a new host; Edaein O'Connell. We'll let her introduce herself...


It all started with a red coat. White faux fur collar and cuffs, with a matching hat and muff. It was my first real fashion moment.

I was four years old.

Funnily, that red coat has influenced the majority of my sartorial choices in the twenty years since. Bright colours, coats and faux fur which have become staples in my wardrobe. You see, fashion has been as much of a part of me as I of it.

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When I was seven, I made my mum take me out of school so I could enter the 'Best Dressed Little Miss' competition at the Listowel Races. I wore a denim two-piece with beige suede knee-high boots and a matching hat and I thought it was the bee's knees; I still do.

Curvy girl

As I grew older, fashion became a crutch to my insecurities. Body hang-ups, boy troubles and the general trials and tribulations of puberty were somehow lessened by the feeling the clothes I wore swathed me in. As a curvy girl, I struggled to accept my body for what it was. My friends looked different and comparison was my greatest foe. But the elaborate outfits I wore protected me. People would notice my outfit and comment, so then I knew that they were looking at the clothes I wore and not at the things that made me insecure.

My personal style has changed throughout the years. I tried and tried to dress like my friends to my mother's dismay. She would push me to try and wear a longer length in a skirt or towards dresses but I was defiantly against it. Eventually, it all clicked when I started to dress for my body shape. All of a sudden it just worked.

Eclectic

I would describe my style as eclectic at times. I like clashing prints and mixing textures and putting outfits together that you would never have thought would work. The patterns and colours may change but the one element that is a constant is the feminine shapes I gravitate towards. Midi skirts and dresses, cinched in waists and high waisted everything. I have had to be tactile in my fashion choices in a retail world that sometimes doesn't cater to my body shape completely, but this has actually made my style more individual and personal to me.

The biggest influences on my style have been my mum and my aunts, and they still are today. Growing up on a farm with two older brothers meant that girly influences were few and far between, however, my mum has always had such a wonderful sense of unique personal style as have my aunts, and they planted that love of style in me. In each of the outfits I wear today, I see a little bit of each of them.

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Dream come true

All I ever wanted was to work in as close proximity as I could to the world of fashion. I poured over IMAGE and Vogue, studying designers and photographers and immersing myself completely. Having this opportunity to speak on Smart Casual has brought that dream full circle. Being able to chat about subjects that I'm passionate about such as sustainability in fashion and Irish design and meet those in the industry that I have admired (and Instagram stalked) from afar is something I dreamed of, but thought I could never touch.

I can't wait for the year ahead on Smart Casual and I hope that you the listeners enjoy my perspective and the fresh Kerry air I hope to bring. It's going to be a very stylish year.

I can feel it.

Related: The perfect pair of high street jeans exist and here are three IMAGE staffers to prove it

Related: How to dress for January weather (and January blues): Smart Casual is back for 2019

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