Aideen Finnegan and the #stiallchallenge

She’s a broadcast journalist who is mildly preoccupied by Jamie Oliver recipes and fully obsessed with Irish design. You’ll find her caffeinated, due to being up bright and early for 98FM’s Big Breakfast, or, trying to think of a witty Twitter bio. Meet, Aideen Finnegan and see how she went about the #stiallchallenge.


She’s not a regular shopper..


“Sadly I’m not a regular shopper anymore, because I’m in my mid thirties and there’s rent / housing crisis. But although I’d love to be able to shop more often, having to save has forced me to think about what I really want and really need. Mindfulness for clothes, if you will. Namaste!”

It’s a no to Vintage and a big Yes to Irish Design

“I don’t do vintage. I wish I could be Macklemore and rifle through racks until I find a gem. But I don’t have the patience, the right body shape or the instinct!I will shell out on Manley whenever there’s a sample sale, because I know the pieces will last for years without dating or deteriorating. I buy shoes in Zara or Topshop once or twice a year. I try to repair the shoes I do own, particularly when I land upon a pair that doesn’t hurt me. I’ll want to keep them for as long as I can. I have a pair of great slouch boots from Buffalo that I bought ten years ago. They’re still going strong.”

She experimented in different styles in her early 20’s

“I was all about H&M and Penneys. I was constantly trying to nail a ‘look’, and if you think about it… ten or twelve years ago there were no influencers, no YouTube tutorials or hauls and no real way to consume Street Style. I basically begrudged designers for having the AUDACITY to charge huge prices for a cotton t-shirt.

I lived in Barcelona for a while and it was all very informal. Wearing heels on a night out was mad. I still wore them of course, because you can take the girl out of Ireland etc…! Don’t mistake me for a hobbler though. I never struggle to wear a pair of shoes just because they look good. There’s nothing sadder than seeing someone limping in heels or looking visibly uncomfortable in what they’re wearing.”

She’s more conscious about quality now

“It’s not just because I want things to last, but also because I’m a cold creature who’s constantly hugging the radiator. I prefer wool and natural fabrics, and I have terrible feet so I try to buy leather shoes which will mould and soften. I suppose as you get older you become more aware of where your clothes come from and the ethics and sustainability associated with its production.

She’s a self confessed marketers dream

“When it comes to browsing and window shopping… I’m kind of a marketing person’s dream. I might not look twice at an item of clothing, but when I see it worn a certain way by someone I admire, I’ll pounce on it.”

We asked Aideen to come along to the photoshoot in her favourite pieces that she’s been using for the #stiallchallenge

“I don’t often get the legs out, but I’m obsessed with this Manley dress. The cut is universally flattering, and the shade of red is the most perfect tone of cranberry. It makes me feel like I don’t need to slap on any fake tan. I love everything about it, the fabric, the turned-up sleeves, the gold buttons and the neckline. The wool and leather coat is also by Manley. It’s so soft, I could sleep in it. I’m a real magpie too so the metallic leather hooked me in. The Nixon watch was from Raglan, a gorgeous boutique and coffee shop hybrid on Drury Street which is a Starbucks now. I’ve always loved rose gold because of my grandmother’s wedding ring. She died when I was young, and now it’s my wedding ring too. My necklace and silver rooftop ring is by Edge Only. They’re distinctly feminine, but tough! The shoes are a nude leather with a small from Topshop. They go with everything.”

So 30 days and 30 items for the #stiallchallenge, how was it for Aideen

“Pretty good. I tend to wear the same trousers, shoes and coat which frees me up to rotate my favourite tops and jackets. I know it’s not very imaginative. In my defense, I get up at 4.15am every morning for work. It’s not conducive to creativity! I didn’t include gym gear underwear in the challenge. That’s a bridge too far. Does it mean I cheated?”

The challenge has taken her out of her comfort zone

“I would generally consider myself fairly savvy when it comes to clothes. I don’t really get caught up in the hype of sales or designer x high street collaborations. But the challenge has forced me to confront the fact that although there are clothes in my wardrobe that I love, I’m realistically not going to wear them again. I love that Christopher Kane for Topshop dress with the mirrors. But when did I last wear it? It’s time to Andrea Bocelli and Time To Say Goodbye!”

The final say 

“I think I’m going to think more about what I do with clothes when I’m finished with them. I had no idea the recycled clothes industry was such a behemoth. I might try and re-purpose them somehow. I don’t know yet! But I see tailors and seamstresses in my future!”


Photography: David Gannon

With special thanks to The Radisson Blu Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin

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