Style Study - with Vicki Raine

Letterkenny teacher Vicki Raine has fast become a local style icon, having set up her own blog earlier this year.

Polka Dot Raine‘ is a paradise of fashion inspiration for women, where Vicki shares carefully styled outfit posts with the latest looks for all occasions. She also shares snippets from her life as a  mum of two girls and as a Home Economics teacher at Errigal College.

We talked to Vicki this week about her style icons, her best advice and how clothing gives her confidence.

Here is Vicki’s Style Study for Donegal Woman:

How would you describe your personal style?

I have no real definitive style. For me it is important to look and feel good and clothes and how I style them can help me achieve this. Looking good gives me a confidence I don’t have naturally. I would say I like smart/casual looks for work and love dressing up to go out.

Who is your style icon?

My nana was my style icon growing up. She always dressed impeccably going to her work. Each outfit she wore had co-ordinating bag, shoes and umbrella!

Today, I avidly follow Pippa O’Connor on Instagram. She wears high street clothing that is affordable and easy to wear. She always seems to get it right! Others include, Irish stylist Celia Holman Lee (67) and Lorraine Keane(44) style columnist with VIP magazine and Expose presenter.

Vicki judging at Trash N Fashion 2018


What is your favourite piece of clothing?

I have a dress that I bought in Zara about three years ago that I’ve actually worn out more than once (most unusual for me) – I love its floral colour combination and how comfortable it is. I love its versatility, dress it up for a night out, pop some nice flats on and wear it by day – perfect! Even my friends and sister have worn it, so nice!

What inspires you when choosing an outfit?

Ultimately the occasion. I try to ensure that my outfit is always appropriate for the occasion. And if I’m unsure of the dress code I’d rather go overdressed than underdressed. I can spend weeks planning an outfit and will most definitely turn down a last minute invite as I wouldn’t be mentally prepared.

How would you accessorise an outfit?

With a pair of good heels! Being a petite 5ft 2” the classic heel really completes the look.
I also like earrings – a fun and inexpensive way to lift a look. Recently I’ve started to appreciate the value of belts – they can change a look entirely and also enhance the silhouette.

What has been your recent fashion purchase?

Tough question as I’ve had a lot on recently and have been on a shopping binge. I bought a beautiful dress from the Exquise range at McElhinneys for my daughters confirmation and I also purchased a somewhat ‘controversial’ polka dot dress from Topshop. I call it controversial as it received mixed opinions from my followers on my Facebook page and I know a lot of my friends don’t like it. That said I planning to wear it to a 30th birthday party!

Oh, and my best buy recently has been a ‘little’ bandeau top. I was amazed at functional it can be and because it is so short it doesn’t create bulk around the waist line!! I will be buying them in every colour.

Topshop dress

Where do you usually shop for clothing?

My first stop is River Island. Every morning I check the ‘New Arrivals’ section on the RI website. It’s like my daily fix. I find their clothing range encompasses a broad age range, comes in an excellent range of sizes including petites and curvy figures and the quality is very good. I also love Topshop, Zara and more recently H&M (great for holiday clothes).

For that Special Occasion outfit McElhinneys is my go to store. The staff there are amazing and their personal service is second to none.

Dress: Exquise at McElhinneys

Do you have any favourite local fashion boutiques?

That’s like asking me to choose my favourite child! Think that we are very spoiled here in the North West with so many little gems of boutiques. I love making a day trip to them with friends. A little retail therapy followed by coffee and cake – perfect!

What are your wardrobe staples?

A good pair of jeans that are comfortable and can be worn day or night. A few dressy t-shirts and a good blazer. A ‘nice’ dresses for that unexpected occasion is essential. And for me some ‘good’ leisure wear. Not just for the gym but for my dressing down days in June, July and August (teachers’ holidays).

Do you follow trends?

Yes I do. I like keeping up to date with fashion.

Heels or flats?

Now that really depends. To work I wear either, greatly influenced by my energy levels. If I’m in flats I buzz about the place but they can make me look short and frumpy. Heels give me a sense of authority and being a (small) teacher that’s important. I always wear heels going out as I’m petite and a nice heel elongates the body and really completes my outfit.

Shoes or handbags?

Having recently cleared out my wardrobe and counting 130 pairs of shoes I clearly have an obsession with them. Bags not so many! Surely a girl can’t have too many of either though?

What is the best piece of fashion advice you have ever heard?

I remember walking to mass one fabulous Sunday morning with my nana when I was about 13. She was giving out to me about dragging my feet. It was then that she told me that a pair of good shoes would make or break an outfit. A very fashion conscious lady she was so right. Her advice has stayed with me. I find my eye drawn to the shoes when I admire people’s outfits!

What do you think of the fashion scene in Donegal?

We take our style very seriously in Donegal. Girls in particular go all out and that includes getting their hair and makeup done. I have friends throughout the country and know there’s no comparison on a night out! I love that we take so much pride in our appearance. I could easily sit in a bar in Letterkenny on a Saturday night and people watch. No better way to get some style inspo.

What has been your biggest fashion faux –pas?

That’s easy! My brother got married 8 years ago and of course I wanted something ‘different’ to wear. I also fancied a maxi dress and having seen a girl on FB wearing one I loved I was inspired to look for something similar. I got a blue maxi dress which I hated and now cringe when I look back at photos. I hated it on the actual day too and changed immediately after the meal.

If money wasn’t a factor , what would you buy?

I don’t particularly buy branded/designer goods but I do like choice. An endless pit of money would mean that I could spend constantly – it’s hard to beat retail therapy and I never get tired shopping.

How do you feel when you’re in your favourite outfit?

Like a new me. Love to complete the look by getting my hair and makeup done too.
Then, I’ll ooze confidence. Polar opposite to what I’m really like!

Check out Polka Dot Raine on Facebook for her daily posts. 

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