The look of the Irish; Fashion, Irish style
To celebrate the upcoming launch of Damo & Ivor’s brand new television show, JOE takes a look at some unique fashion favourites! We’re a long way from the catwalks of Milan and Paris, but there are some clothing choices you'll only see in Ireland.
Blue twine as a belt
This particular fashion trend may never have left rural Ireland, but it is surely only a matter of time. Generally employed by gentlemen farmers of a certain vintage, the ubiquitous blue twine is not chosen to pick up the farmer’s eyes, or to match his Ford tractor. It is used for its famed durability, and it has kept many a man’s pants up in both emergency, and non emergency situations.
The unending popularity of the Irish made deck shoe continues to baffle. While most trends last mere months if they are lucky, Dubes (Dubarry deck shoes) have been popular for over a decade at this point and continue to be the footwear of choice for many youngsters around leafy south Dublin and other affluent parts of this fair isle. They’ve even made it into the Urban Dictionary, so they’re like, totally, here to stay.
Ireland is not unique in loving to wear sports team’s shirts as casual wear. But the popularity of GAA shirts in Ireland is off the charts. From babies to grannies, everyone seems to own one, or a special edition pink one, and the shirts are not just for matchday. Oh no. At every conceivable Irish gathering, there will be a GAA jersey, and when you are on holidays, if you haven’t spotted one within 24 hours you’ve gone somewhere more remote than even Bear Grylls would consider.
Rugby shirts are approaching similar critical mass.
Wearing two polo shirts at once
A Dublin 4 phenomenon that can probably be laid squarely at the feet of Abercrombie and Fitch. To be honest, it’s great for them as they get you to buy two bits of kit instead of one. Having the collars popped is a must too.
Socks and sandals
To paraphrase Billy Joel, we didn’t start this fire but by God we have kept pouring the fuel in. Probably the best known of all fashion faux pas, you will still see the socks and sandals combo at alarmingly high intervals in Ireland. We know the weather is very changeable here, but make a decision and stick with it. Warm weather; wear sandals. Cold weather, socks and shoes. Don’t mess with that simple formula...
Wearing lifejackets in the pub
We have been advised that this is a definite thing in parts of west Cork but if you have spotted it elsewhere in the country do let us know. Laziness after a hard days yachting, precautionary in case a wave hits the boozer or a way of making sure everybody knows you have a boat. It’s definitely one of those three options.
The old story about Americans wandering around an Irish town and wondering if they were in an Olympic village is probably apocryphal but entirely understandable at the same time. The humble trackie might be the most common sight on Irish streets and we have a feeling that most of the wearers aren't on their way to or from the gym.
That said, they cut across all social classes, only the brands change and EVERYBODY has a pair, even if they won't admit it.
Like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and red lemonade, Ireland is the last place that these denims are popular. Wiped off the face of the earth by skinnier models in most of the western world, the bootcut jean lives on here in fine numbers, dragging its soggy hem around like a badge of honour.
While not as popular as it once was, any lunchtime trip to your local Spar at the weekends will still bring you face to face with someone dressed for bed. Somehow we have grown to accept this, even embrace it a little, and it has become an Irish fashion statement. The statement being, we love bed and can’t be arsed getting changed to go get some fags, the paper and a loaf of bread.
For more insights into Irish style, sort of, check out the new series of Damo and Ivor, which starts on MondaySeptember 16 at 10.00pm on RTÉ Two.