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RETAIL THERAPY Forget e-tail therapy, it's time to get offline and shop 'til you drop

Online shopping soared during lockdown, but nothing beats a mooch around the real thing, says Mary McCarthy, who swaps her laptop for the high street for six new summer looks

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Mary McCarthy at home. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Mary McCarthy at home. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Mary McCarthy at home. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Covid-19 may have changed the face of shopping forever, but I, for one, couldn't wait to get back into the shops for a good rummage.

Figures show how more than half of consumers turned to online shopping for everything from to food to fashion during lockdown. I wasn't one of them.

Although undoubtedly handy, piling high up a virtual basket has never quite 'clicked' for me.

What looks fab on a model online, nine times out of ten looks like a black sack in real life - and gets returned.

And so, after a four month shopping drought, I couldn't wait to get back into the real thing to pick up a new summer wardrobe to lure me out of my coronavirus loungewear.

Here's how I got on after returning to everyone's favourite high street heroes.

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Mary McCarthy at home. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Mary McCarthy at home. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Mary McCarthy at home. Photo by Steve Humphreys

 

⬤ Marks & Spencer

First on my list? A utility jumpsuit - no fussing, you just climb in and they take you anywhere from the park to the pub. I spied a gorgeous one online in M&S, so after checking the website to see if they had my size in Dublin's Mary Street store, I headed in.

Straight away I knew I had found what I was looking for. Streamlined with a tapered leg, cinched waist and handy side pockets - winner!

Online I liked the light caramel, but this was a linen mix, and in the flesh I preferred the lightweight material of the soft khaki.

I noticed gorgeous underwear and activewear, but walked firmly past as I didn't need it, though I did select a white tie front top which could work in the gym or with jeans.

I tried on some closed toe beige espadrilles with a pretty rope ankle strap, flattering as they added a few inches, but also super comfy.

There was a fab range of floral midi dresses and sliders but I have some at home, so the next stop was Penneys to hunt down a rain jacket.

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Mary McCarthy at home. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Mary McCarthy at home. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Mary McCarthy at home. Photo by Steve Humphreys

 

⬤ Penneys

There was a decent range of lightweight jackets and a light green one with pockets and a drawstring waist caught my eye.

I spied three stunning jumpsuits with straps but they were too flimsy for me.

Penneys unfairly gets a bad rap on the sustainability front, but the jumpsuits, like many other lines, had a sign saying they were made using sustainable fibres.

There was a wide selection of jeans and I liked the cut of a mom pair. I also picked up a handy beige ribbed bodysuit. I liked the cropped, short sleeve version, but was unsure I had the guts to wear it.

On the way to the till, I grabbed a pair of box fresh trainers, as I had previously bought similar and they had lasted.

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Mary McCarthy at home. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Mary McCarthy at home. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Mary McCarthy at home. Photo by Steve Humphreys

 

⬤ Brown Thomas

The array of colour in the Brown Thomas window lured me in - not to mention the gift voucher burning a hole in my pocket.

I was thinking a versatile dress I could wear in summer with wedges, and in winter with tights and boots, so headed to the ever reliable Whistles section.

There were a few possibilities, but the cute pink and burgundy scallop print short dress on the mannequin stood out.

It said it was made from renewable wood sources, but mostly I bought it because I knew I would be in it non-stop.

My richer sister was with me for this part of the trip and she splashed out on a pair of Jimmy Choo dark brown leather wedges which she promised to lend me. Ka-ching!

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Mary McCarthy at home. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Mary McCarthy at home. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Mary McCarthy at home. Photo by Steve Humphreys

 

⬤ Zara and H&M

As usual, Zara could be trusted to have a good range of tops and blouses. There was a nice button up, sleeveless jumpsuit in army green but I preferred my M&S one.

I picked up a stretchy top with a front tie in a vintage red and white floral print that would go with a lovely pair of cream shorts I had bought in H&M.

H&M had nice joggers and wide trousers but I reminded myself I had similar ones already hanging in the wardrobe.

I settled on a soft shirt in Zara with a 1970s feel to it - swirly light pink and dark yellow.

On the way out, I saw a sweet floral print midi dress with a front cut out under the rib cage but I could not stop thinking, 'How do you wear a bra?'

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Mary McCarthy at home. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Mary McCarthy at home. Photo by Steve Humphreys

Mary McCarthy at home. Photo by Steve Humphreys

 

⬤ Dunnes Stores

Dunnes is always good for a hat, but when I saw the cool straw sun visors, I got one of those instead. They don't blow away and if it's really hot you can shove your hair in a bun or ponytail.

There were nice necklaces, but I have lots of those kinds of thing, so I picked up some on-trend double hooped gold earrings. Then a high-waisted lemon print ruffled midi skirt stopped me right in my tracks. It looked a bit like a Dolce & Gabbana one I spotted in Brown Thomas.

I could picture myself drinking wine in the park decked out in the lemon skirt with birkenstocks and a string top, or if it was chilly, the bodysuit from Penneys.

Or it would look nice with a crop top and runners.

Maybe I'll finally be brave and head back to Penneys and pick that one up on my next shopping excursion.

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