Dressing for Irish weather: An impossible task?

This isn’t the way to dress for Irish weather (via Wikimedia Commons)

Ah Ireland. Beautiful scenery, friendly people, and… rain. It’s surely a uniquely Irish phenomenon that you can wear sunglasses and carry an umbrella at the same time and have a legitimate need for both of them.

There are many great things about Ireland but the weather is not one of them. It’s not just the rain or wind, but the unpredictable nature of our climate. Nobody knows what’s going to happen next. Not Met Eireann, not the postman up in Donegal, not even your granny’s cat.

So then, what’s the secret for dressing for Irish weather and looking good? It’s terribly depressing flicking through Vogue’s spring/summer issue and then glancing out the window at leaden grey skies. Given that so much of our fashion inspiration comes from the catwalks of sunny Italy, New York or even the slightly warmer climes of London, Irish girls might be forgiven for despairing. Fear not! Style can be achieved in Ireland’s climate.

Well, firstly, invest in a good coat. Every girl needs at least two coats- one for the rainy season (autumn, winter) and one for the less rainy season (spring, summer). We’re lucky in a way because our winters are just cold enough to be stylish. We can go for the whole Dr Zhivago  look without undergoing Dr Zhivago-style frostbite. A warm, practical, winter coat doesn’t have to be the North Face abominations so beloved of American tourists. There are a range of options from the high street. Last season was great for military and duffel coats in particular, with fur (fake!) trimmings for extra warmth. Many stores are selling off their winter stock now so with military style still looking to be relevant next season, snap up a bargain. Next season is all about luxe and the 20s trend looks set to continue, meaning even richer and more luxurious 20th century charm.

Looks like rain Ted (via Wikimedia Commons)

Heading into this time of year, wearing a winter coat can leave you feeling uncomfortably warm, so it’s transition time to your spring/summer coat. Winter coats tend to be in dark and dull colours, but you can brighten up your look with light, bright trenches. Penneys in particular are great source of coats if you’re looking for something that won’t break the bank.

A red or navy coat in particular, in trench or jacket style, is a simple way to capture a Parisian look. Sure, everyone knows anyway it rains almost as much as it does in Ireland over there.

The practicalities of dressing for the rain are many. Lets start with the shoes. Converse and their ilk are a stylish way to dress casually, but there are worse than useless in the rain. Same goes for ballet pumps. Boots are a must. Another option is the very fashionable brogue. Teamed with plain socks, they are an upto dateand practical way to clad your feet. Next, the bottom half. Jeans are a no-no unless they’re skinny and ankle length, any bootcut jean that drags off the ground will soak you up to the knees. Denim is a disaster to get dry, so bypass jeans altogether in bad weather and go for leggings, or trousers. A skirt or a dress is probably a more practical option on a rainy day, as tights dry quickly (and bare legs even quicker, if you’re hardy enough) so if you do get soaked while going into college, you won’t be soaked all day. Careful with dresses on windy days!

An umbrella is a must-have investment and in the last few seasons, we’ve seen a plethora of cute brollies. A cute, cheap umbrella is not always the strongest, so it might pay to invest in something a bit stronger and more expensive. A-Wear in particular have a good collection of big umbrellas.  I’m hoping that someone will make golf umbrellas cool as these are probably the only type that can stand Galway weather.

Layering is a trend that is the Irish girl’s friend. A warm woolly cardigan over a a dress can look cute and help stave off the shivers.

Strangely enough, Ireland has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, probably because everyone in the country refuses to go indoors on our week-long summers. So when it does get warm, protect yourself. Don a hat and shade and don’t forget the sunscreen!

Well, we can hope.

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