I tried some high street vinyl style and it was seriously sweaty
I had my Ross Geller moment.
We've all seen and laughed at that episode of Friends when style icon Ross Geller tries his hand at some fashion-forward leather trousers.
Yes, it ended exactly how we expected it to - in total disaster - leaving me permanently terrified to try a pair for myself.
However, with the recent rise in popularity of vinyl, my interest in those types of materials has peaked yet again.
Everyone from Rihanna to Alexa Chung has been rocking vinyl head-to-toe and it has never been more appealing to me.
However, falling between a size 12 and 14, I wasn't too sure if the trend would be as kind to me as it is to them.
And if you've walked down any high street recently you'll have spotted that they've paid attention to the rising trend.
From trousers to coats, high street rails are getting very shiny and I've been very tempted to invest.
However, before parting with this month's paycheque, I decided to give this style a good try and headed up and down the high street to see what they had on offer.
After gathering some inspo from Pinterest and Instagram, I headed into town to see how achievable the look actually was.
Slim Patent Trousers - €39.99
After passing through a few too many times over the last few weeks, I knew H&M was well stocked when it came to vinyl. This pair of 'Slim Patent Trousers' was proudly displayed in the window so I rooted through the rails until I finally found the last few.
After my last shopping experience in H&M when I went looking for skinny jeans, I learned that sizing up is very much recommended.
So grabbing a size 16, I headed to the dressing rooms for my first try on.
Wriggling into these super slim trousers, I could already feel my body temperature rising.
While I did feel these were quite flattering on and definitely gave me a similar feeling to wearing sucky-in knickers, the way the lighting reflected off the material made it look quite the opposite.
Thanks to the lighting, it looked like I had just eaten my body weight in pasta and I couldn't ignore the ever-so subtle wedgie either.
With a weird amount of excess material around the backs of my legs and the rather bizarre feeling between my thighs when I walked around, I politely handed these back to the sales assistant and left disappointed.
Patent Skirt - €27.99
On my way out of the shop, I noticed a glimmer of light bouncing off this patent mini. Styled with a glorious red jumper, the look was very similar to many I had double-tapped on Instagram over the previous few days.
While it looked very short, especially for someone who pre-selects 'midi' when shopping for skirts online, I was willing to give it a go so I grabbed a size 16 and headed back to the dressing rooms.
With all sights of my 'summer glow' gone and with enough hair on my legs to make a second jumper, I wasn't that prepared to be getting my legs out clearly.
The skirt was most definitely short, but thanks to the stiff material it didn't leave me feeling that sense of nervousness that it would blow up and reveal much more than it should.
I loved the added detailing in the zips and the D-ring belt, and felt a lot more comfortable in it than I expected.
However, I do think it was still a little shorter than I would feel comfortable going out in so again, it was returned to the lovely sales assistant who, at this point, was surely sick of seeing me lurking around.
Faux Leather Mini - €19.95
Zara did not have as much to offer as I thought they would. Expecting to be trying on dozens of options, I was heading for the door empty-handed before I spotted this number.
While technically classed as a 'Faux Leather Mini', I did think it's wet-look would feed into the whole vinyl/PVC trend.
Now, I think I deserve to be forgiven for initially thinking this was some sort of corset belt. Yes, it was pretty short but after the somewhat success of the H&M skirt, I was feeling brave.
Trying a size L, the waistline fell at the most unflattering of places, however, I thought the skirt might look nice with my big jumper untucked and I imagined pairing it would my Old Skool Vans and a pair of fishnet socks - how cool am I?
However, I could hear the voice of my mother in my head saying 'God, tis very short, isn't it?' and I would have actually felt more comfortable wearing this as a corset belt rather than a skirt.
After peeling this off and taking five minutes to fan myself, it was a pretty immediate and firm no for the Zara skirt.
From the minute I saw this skirt, I knew I had to try it on. With a choice between black, maroon and khaki, I only had to decide which one to pick.
Opting for the khaki, I grabbed a size 14 but worried it would be too short, as most Topshop 'mini skirts' are for my 5ft 7" frame.
Clearly a fan of the vinyl skirts at this stage, I was confident that while I'd love this skirt, it would be far too small.
However, surprisingly the skirt left plenty of room around the waist and fell comfortably around my thighs and hips.
While it was definitely as short as I expected, the stiff material again made it more comfortable. I loved the colour, however, as any true monochromatic dresser will tell you, I couldn't help but think 'this would look great in black!'.
And while I possibly could have sized down to the 12, I do think the fit wouldn't have been as flattering thanks to the previously mentioned optical illusion the lighting and vinyl material combo can cause.
This was definitely the first item I felt the urge to purchase, however, I wanted to wait to see if I could try on both a size 12 and a size 14 from the Topshop Tall range so as to make an informed decision.
Vinyl Pink Fur Collar Coat - €130
There was one item in particular that I was dying to try on for this piece - and this coat wasn't it. No, it was a beautiful burgundy vinyl trench coat and it looked an absolute dream.
However, with no vinyl trench in sight, I grabbed this 'Fur Collar Coat' instead.
'Pink fur' is not something I would naturally gravitate towards, but if this shopping experiment had taught me anything, it was that some things can surprise you.
Grabbing a size 12, my expectations for this coat were pretty low, and unfortunately, the reality lived up to that.
With both an unflattering shape for my figure and no idea how I would incorporate this into my everyday wardrobe, I was pretty quickly convinced that this was not something I would ever wear.
However, as I squinted till my eyes were nearly closed, I did feel more confident that some sort of vinyl coat could still be a possibility for me.
Still dreaming of that burgundy trench, I left with a layer of sweat under my clothes and plans to scour the internet for a more flattering (and cheaper) version.
Vinyl Biker Jacket - €30 (approx.)
On a trip to London in August, I headed straight to Penneys (Primark) on Tottenham Court Road to see what winter options they had in store already. After seeing the below trench popping up on Instagram, I was pleasantly surprised to see a shorter biker option available too.
From what I can remember it set me back around £20, so I can't imagine it would have been more than €30 here.
Living in my black faux leather biker jacket for the autumn months, I thought this bad boy would be a jazzier alternative and perfect for night's out.
The fit is not the most flattering of all the biker jackets I've tried on, however, the length was perfect, which is oftentimes tricky to find.
Just as I thought, pairing the jacket with a black jumper and jeans, the shiny fabric added a touch of interest. It also looks great on a night out over a trusty LBD or with the classic jeans and a nice top uniform we Irish girls rely on.
This was a winner for me and thanks to the Penneys price tag, didn't hurt the bank balance too much.
Patent Block Heel Ankle Boots - €39.99
Vinyl/PVC/Patent, whatever you want to call it, boots in that material are dominating shoe sections of every high street shop at the minute. However, most of them come with a pretty hefty heel which is annoying for someone that classes runners as their staple shoe - like myself.
Enter these bad boys.
These New Look beauties seemed perfect. The right heel height, the right amount of detailing and in a cool black/navy hue that I could see myself getting a lot of wear out of.
What can I say about them?
They cut off at the right place on my ankle and were tight enough that they didn't look bulky, but not so tight they would actually cut into my skin.
The heel was also a comfortable height for day-to-day wear, however, thanks to the dressy look of the vinyl, I could definitely see myself wearing these on a night out.
With a simple, yet noticeable zip detail at the back, these were the vinyl boots of dreams for me so off with the tags and into the wardrobe they went.
Patent Leather-Look Midi Skirt - €29.99
This was purchase was so out of my comfort zone, I was so confident I would be sending back, I would have put next month's paycheque on it.
'Red Patent Leather-Look Midi Skirt' - words I would never have thought I'd see on a receipt but I was willing to try it all the same.
Opening my New Look package, I had more regret then than I did when I clicked 'Confirm Order'.
It would most definitely be too small, it would most definitely make me feel like an inflatable doll and it would most definitely make me look like an overfilled bag of Malteasers.
But... I was totally wrong.
It fit like a dream, I didn't feel like I had bought the last item from the bargain bin in No Name, and I felt - dare I say it - super sexy in it.
Yes, even with a few lumps and bumps on show, putting this skirt on was like how I can only imagine Clark Kent feels everytime he pulls open his shirt to reveal that glorious 'S' on his chest.
I felt great (although a little sweaty) and in something I thought only Rihanna could pull off. My sudden confidence was wasted on only the mirror on my landing.
With absolute delight, I threw away the receipt and started thinking about when I would give this purchase its first outing.
After taking a cold shower to cool down, I reflected on all the pieces I had tried on.
A style I thought was totally out of reach for the average woman, a style I thought would only belong in the confines of my Pinterest boards, a style I thought would leave my confidence feeling a little rattled actually resulted in the total opposite.
While not everything I tried was a success, I did learn that it's always best to try something on, no matter how much uncertainty you might have.