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Image / Fashion

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


by Marie Kelly
03rd Aug 2018
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Kate Gleeson is owner of online boutique Diffusion.ie. Here she explains how she navigates pulling together professional attire that feels and looks right when the temperatures rise.

I like to dress in a relaxed, timeless and feminine style, but with a unique edge. Diffusion.ie stocks many of the labels I like for both work and weekends.

I don’t get hung up on big brands. I love unusual labels, such as Xenia Design from Croatia, which we stock and which has a very exciting collection for AW18. I also adore the soft tailoring from French designer Chloé Stora. It’s a really great workwear option. Footwear from Nude of Scandinavia always sells out on our site, as the shoes are cool, comfortable and perfect for work.

At this time of year, it’s so important to choose fabrics that are breathable. We stock 100 per cent cotton shirts from French brand Hana San, which are fabulous. I always avoid clingy materials and bring a change of shoes and top to work, so that I’m ready for whatever the day – or weather – throws at me.

I love accessories and statement necklaces, but if I’m going to a meeting or giving a presentation, I always keep my outfit simple. Over-accessorising can cause unnecessary distraction. At work, the focus should be on you, rather than your jewellery. Less is more.

I try not to impulse buy, as it’s usually a disaster! The most precious item in my wardrobe is actually a John Rocha cream coat I bought from my own bricks-and-mortar boutique, Diffusion in Clontarf, before I moved it online three years ago. I will never part with that coat.

I think how women dress in the workplace has become more relaxed. But before each new season, it’s a good idea to look at what you have in your wardrobe and freshen it up by adding an interesting print, a pop of colour and some unique shoes. Don’t be afraid to update your look – hair and make-up included.

Kate wears Victoria blouse, The Shirt Company, €109; silk cami, Gold Hawk, €156; cropped trousers, Votre Nom, €119; Petronella shoes, Nude of Scandinavia, €239; all at diffusion.ie.

Photograph by Veronika Faustmann, make-up by Aisling Kelly.

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