Style File: Bennie Reilly

Bennie Reilly has been one of our biggest style crushes for years and we were lucky enough to sit down and interview this effortlessly cool lady for our latest Style File. The reality is that Bennie makes fashion look easy and sexy, and for that we salute her. Find out more below about how Bennie, singer for Little Xs For Eyes and incredible artist, approaches her look…


1. Style plays an important role in how we present ourselves to the world. How would you describe your style?

“My style is pretty simple, comfortable but cute. I’m not super trendy, my wardrobe has a foundation of very simple items – jeans, blouses and cardies mostly – but I’ll mix in some vintage pieces and unusual jewelry to give it a bit of pizzazz.”

2. What are some of your vintage pieces you’ve bought over the years?
“Whenever I’ve been lucky enough to visit New York I’ve taken a trip to The Beacon’s Closet in Williamsburg where lots of my most cherished vintage possessions have been found. On my very first trip there ten years ago I bought a green and blue striped, woven top that I still adore and remains in amazing condition considering how much wear it gets. Another piece, a burgundy corduroy bolero with a lace collar and shoulder pads, doesn’t get as much wear, it’s a bit too fancy, but I love it and love imagining who owned it before me.” (Check out our blog on Williamsburg vintage here: )

3. Any tips you could give to the amateur deal digger?
“Make sure you’re in a patient mood and have plenty of time on your hands. And try on everything you fancy, even if it looks weird on the hanger it might look great on you, as is often the case with vintage clothes.”

4. As an artist how do you collect your visual ideas in terms of inspiration?
“My work is mostly based on images from the natural world so I get a lot of my source material from nature books and journals like Natural Geographic and from photos I take on long walks. I sometimes find inspiration in fashion magazines too, if I come across an object or pattern or colour theme I really like I’ll cut it out and add it to my visual scrapbook.”

5. Who is your favourite female artist and can you tell us what you love about her work?

“I have many favorites so maybe I’ll chose an artist that Carousel fans might enjoy. Lisa Yuskavage is an American painter; she’s mainly concerned with the female form and paints strange, slightly erotic images of voluptuous, slightly cartoonish, women. Her paintings have a 70’s vintage feel to them because of how her subjects are styled and softly lit.”

6. As a singer in a band, your style also plays a huge role in your life. How would you describe your stage style and what frontwomen have inspired your look?
“Stage style is tricky. Its really important to feel comfortable on stage, you don’t want to be adjusting straps and tassels between each song or worrying about falling off your heals and into the drum kit, but it’s also important to feel a bit fancy and a little bit sexy when you’re being watched by a lot of people. I usually opt for something pretty but low-maintenance. A little tea dress or a fancy top and skinny jeans.”

7. You collect animal jewellery and have quite an amazing collection! What sparked your interest and what’s your favourite piece?

“I just love animal imagery, on clothes, in art, on jewellery. I started buying brooches on eBay a few years ago; I’m always keeping my eye out for unusual pieces. Whenever I go abroad I’ll check out flee markets and antique shops. My favorite piece is a little mouse made out of mink; he has tiny sapphire eyes and a teeny leather tail. He tends to freak people out a bit so I have to be careful where I take him.”

8. It’s Sunday afternoon and you’re off out for a day in town- perfect outfit?
“In spring time I’d chose ankle grazer blue jeans with a colourful blouse tucked in and a comfy pair of loafers or sandals.”

7. It’s Saturday night and you’ve hit the town- perfect outfit?
“Time to get the legs out, so maybe a short high-waisted skirt with a loose t-shirt or blouse tucked in lots of beads and some heals, good sturdy heals, I’m not a fan of stilettos.”

8. Best outfit you’ve worn onstage?

“At our last headline gig I wore a little black A-line dress with cap sleeves and a low back, it was very simple but flattering and really comfortable, ideal stage wear!”

9. What was it like appearing on the Late Late Show? How did you pick your get-up and how did it feel watching the band back on such an iconic Irish program?

“I spent a full 8 hours in town the Thursday before the show, I visited every shop at least twice and shed a tear in more than one dressing room! There is so much pressure to choosing an outfit that 200,00 people are going to see you in and of course on that particular day I decided I didn’t like any of the clothes in the world. Just before the shops closed I took a deep breath, reviewed everything I’d seen that day and picked the most promising items – a sleeveless check shirt and a high wasted black leather skirt -not my usual look, I was taking a risk! In the end we were all really happy with how the performance looked, it was shot and lit really nicely and I think my risky get-up stood the test.”

For more on Little Xs For Eyes head here:

For more on Bennie’s beautiful artwork head here:

Carousel Diaries: Coachella Fashion 2013

So, if it’s ok with you guys, we’re gonna pretend we are not hanging out in (still) chilly Dublin, but rather lounging in the desert of Indio, California this weekend. We’re picturing ourselves in the warm, dry sun in our favourite summer dress and worn in true blue leather boots enjoying just one of the BAZILLION bands playing that we love. So, since we can’t be at Coachella we have decided to pick some of our favourite fashion from the festival and made a little playlist of all the music we’d love to be hearing live this weekend.

First off: We worship at the church of Solange Knowles. Does this girl do any wrong? She just looks so happy in her electric pink 60s pattern skirt. We love you Solange. Keep up the good work.

Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson: Diane’s greatest accessory might be Mr. Jackson on her arm in this photo, but we love her simple approach to festival style. Short shorts and a worn in black tee. Fool proof. (Send Pacey our love…)

Next up you’ve got Kate Bosworth and her lover Michael Polish. Kate is a longtime Coachella fan and each year she looks amazing. This year we like her simple pulled back bun and sort of Mongolian themed vest?

And finally we’ve got one of our style icons: Kirsten Dunst. Some could argue that Ms. Dunst isn’t trying hard enough, but that’s why we love her. She tends to do it right, simply.


She’s Still The Queen: Alexa Chung is our most favourite so far in her belly baring crochet crop top and perfect denim cut offs. Clapping. Lots of clapping.

Coachella Katy: Not our most loved look from the pop princess, but she looks happy so who are we to judge?

Rita Ora: Love how much fun Rita Ora is having in this colourful number with her tongue and cheek top!

Finally, it seems Flower Power is all the rage again. Think we can get away with a head full of daisies this summer?

We’ll be watching Coachella as they stream it online here:

And we’ll be listening to our playlist which we’re sharing with you below!


Father John Misty “This Is Sally Hatchet”:

Japandroids “Younger Us”:

Polica “Wandering Star”:

Wild Nothing “Paradise”:

Kurt Vile “Baby’s Arms”:



Carousel Diaries: We Heart The Mindy Project

Ok, can we please talk about The Mindy Project? We are completely obsessed with the show and can’t get enough of star Mindy Kaling and her style. Not only is the show extremely funny with a killer will-they-won’t-they love story, but it also features the American comedian in a colourful, to-die-for wardrobe.


Here Mindy wore a gorgeous mint green peplum pinafore dress with patterned silk blouse. The school girl look never looked so good.

You may remember Mindy from the U-S version of The Office where she annoyed her way into our hearts with her obsessive love for show writer B.J. Novak, who also appears as one of many love interests on The Mindy Project. She plays a successful gynecologist who, although rocks some serious geek chic glasses, is more concerned with her hair being shiny and her romantic status than her career. Sound shallow and empty? It would be if the half hour comedy didn’t cultivate such warm, flawed, adorable characters.


Mandy’s wardrobe is packed with bright, bold statement colours and shows how a woman with curves can maximize her best features with a brave sense of style. There’s no hiding behind billowy tops and shapeless dresses. Whoever is styling her for the show is doing some incredible work and we’d love nothing more than to raid Ms. Kaling’s closet.

Also: We might be a little in love with Mindy’s co-worker/friend (for now), Dr. Danny Castellano. Dream Boat.

Be sure to catch season one of The Mindy Project and follow the hilarious Mindy Kaling on Twitter @mindykaling. More on the show here:

Carousel Diaries: Mint Condition

Us girls here in Carousel like our style to be in mint condition so we thought we’d share with you some of our Yumi (more like YUMMY!) greeny pastels as well as some recipes on how to make your own mint lip balm and delicious mint juleps to brighten up your April days.

We adore the Yumi Collar Blouse in white and minty green.!prettyPhoto

And since those temps haven’t quite reached summer highs we’ve also got the Yumi Boat Print Cardigan in a pastel that will make you feel springy all day…

So what would make us feel even more fresh? Some homemade mint lip balm of course! We found out how to make it at






What you’ll need:

Cool mint lip balm

  • 2 tablespoons of white beeswax pellets (1/2 tsp for leaves)
  • 4 tablespoons sunflower oil (1/2 tsp for leaves)
  • Few drops of cool mint flavour oil
  • Teal food colouring


  • 6 small acrylic pots
  • P1 address labels
  • Self adhesive clear film
  • Aqua washi tape


  • Mini leaf mould
  • Pipettes
  • Microwavable glass jug
  • Microwavable small glass jar
  • Metal spoon
  • Scissors
  • Sharp knife

And here’s how to make it:

Start by placing the beeswax pellets and oil in a glass jug and heating in the microwave on low to medium power until the beeswax pellets have melted. Remove jug from microwave and stir with a metal spoon. Using a pipette, add a few drops of mint oil. Add a tiny amount of food colouring to jug of liquid. Stir mixture with metal spoon and continue adding colouring till you achieve desired shade and colour is even. Using a clean pipette, transfer lip balm to pots.

In a small glass pot, melt half a teaspoon of beeswax with a teaspoon of oil in the microwave until beeswax pellets have melted. Add a drop of cool mint oil and stir with a metal spoon. Then using a clean pipette, fill leaf mould with lip balm. As soon as the lip balm turns white, use a sharp knife to remove excess from back. Wait a minute then turn out leaf on to top of aqua cool mint lip balm. Repeat until all cool mint lip balms have a white leaf atop. Leave to set for one hour.

Wrap washi tape around each jar to secure lids. Double click on the artwork above, which will open it up in a new page, and print onto a sheet of P1 address label. Cut a rectangle of self adhesive film large enough to cover all the labels and adhere to printed labels. Carefully, using a sharp pair of scissors, cut around edge of labels then remove backing paper from the labels and attach to bottom of cool mint lip balm jars.

And what better way to cool down than a Mint Julep?

Here’s how to make one, according to

4 fresh mint sprigs
2 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
1 tsp powdered sugar
2 tsp water
Muddle mint leaves, powdered sugar, and water in a collins glass. Fill the glass with shaved or crushed ice and add bourbon. Top with more ice and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve with a straw.

Carousel Diaries: How To Take Special Care of Vintage

As vintage connoisseurs here in Carousel we know the importance of taking good care of your vintage pieces. So our latest entry in the Carouse Diaries is how to take special care of vintage.  The items that you have searched high and low for are decades old in most cases and require special care to take them through the next few years! As they are one of a kind, it is truly important to learn the best ways to wash, store and clean your special pieces. Our lovely Betty has some tips via video for you here:

Here are some more tips on how to clean stains from any vintage clothing you have:

  • Makeup:
    The best thing for makeup is to rub a slice of white bread over the stain.
  •  Perspiration: For sweat stains you can make a paste of baking soda and water or salt and water and rub into stain, rinse well. Make a paste of crushed aspirin, cream of tartar and water and rub into stain. Let stand for 20 minutes and rinse well.
  • Grease: For grease you can apply water without detergent or it will cause the stain to set. Oxy Clean® may remove grease, but be sure to use a spray (either prepared or manufactured version) or make a paste. Remember not to wet the fabric with water first and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Rust: Rust can be a big problem when it comes to vintage. You can stretch your garment over a pot of boiling water (being sure to avoid getting remaining fabric near the heat) and sprinkle with fresh lemon juice, rinse well. Repeat as many times as necessary. Do not use pre packaged lemon juice as they have additives and preservatives that may affect the fabric.

Everyone who has ever stepped foot into a classic vintage shop knows that well loved clothes can also come with a strange smell sometimes. Here’s a way to help eliminate odors:

  1. Fill a bathtub half way with the hottest water possible
  2. Add 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to the hot water (if the odor is particularly strong, more vinegar can be used)
  3. Hang the smelly clothing above the tub, as close to the water as possible without actually touching the water
  4. Shut the bathroom door and leave overnight!

Another helpful hint is that vinegar can also help get rid of many organic stains like grass, wine, tomato, coffee, and perspiration! Just rub, dab, or soak the stained area in vinegar. Because vinegar so mild, you can repeat this process as many times as necessary and then launder as usual.

Other ideas include using an at home drying kit or a hand held steamer.

Don’t forget:

  • Make sure that your vintage garment is washable before putting it in water.  Use liquid detergent instead of powder. Before washing check for weak seams, holes or frays.  Use cool to warm water to avoid fade or running of garment dyes and spot clean first before washing.  After washing lay out the garment on a drying rack, never in the dryer.*  Always dry clean rayon, silk, wool, velvet, and any garment with beading.  Be sure that your dry cleaner is experienced in vintage fabrics!