Inside the Wardrobe of Ireland Top Designer Emma Manley

I opened my wardrobe up to the Irish Examiner recently and got deep down and dirty about everything in there. Some pieces Im proud of, others not so much, but we all learn from our fashion mistakes right?! You might spot a Manley or twenty in there! 

Describe your closet in three words.  Packed. With. Manley.

What are your closet staples? Leather skirts, leather t-shirts and trainers. That’s me, most days.

What’s your signature piece? No matter the weather, I’m a legs out kind of a girl, so it has to be a leather skirt. In winter, I love layering chunky knits and in summer, I contrast lighter and sheer silk tops with leather skirts. It’s always a leather skirt day to me.

Which item in your closet makes you happiest? Why? This season it’s the Harper culottes from Manley AW16. I’m not a massive pant wearer but there’s the kind of pair you want to wear all the time and this is it. I wear them with brogues for daytime cool and with statement heels for date night.

Do you carry any emotional baggage in your wardrobe? e.g. regrettable purchases; items you refuse to part with? Why or why not? A Versace men’s smoking jacket I found at a flea market when I was interning in New York. I’ve contemplated framing it for memory’s sake but I’m afraid I may need to wear it again!

How do you organise your closet? By garment. My wardrobe is mostly trans-seasonal and I hate mixing garment types together so it’s the only way for me. Within those garment groups, I colour code where possible. It doesn’t stay that organised for long, believe me.

Top tip for hanging, folding or storing garments, especially leather or special pieces? Don’t squish leather items into a closet that’s full. Give them space to hang and breathe so you don’t get stubborn creases in them.

Whose closet would you love to raid given half a chance? Angela Scanlon’s. That girl has serious style.

Do you have a go-to piece for getting dressed on the fly for an event? My Manley Lee dress. It’s an LBD but with a difference. It’s loose-fitting so there’s no ‘I hate my tummy’ issues. Its black patent leather collar gives it an instant cool stamp and the fact that it looks as good with brogues as it does with heels means you can be dressed for anything.

What keeps your closet humming and happy? Every few months I take everything out, give it a good clean and put everything straight back in refolded, rehung and in general revitalised.

Favourite brands or garments (are you a loafer gal or do you live in dresses) that make your space uniquely you? Brogues of any kind with almost any outfit. I’m forever on the move so heels aren’t often an option. Buffalo shoes are my go to and they answerable for my metallic brogue addiction.