A Half Pint of Fashion Commentary on Northern Ireland
Fashion can be such an expressive thing. I should clarify: I think it is an expressive thing even if you aren’t really trying, that in itself, says something. When I packed my bags for my trip to Ireland, I focused mostly on neutral coloured layer friendly warm pieces. I knew my usual flair would be somewhat limited to luggage space. I hoped I would find inspiration from locals.
The locals have delivered. To be fair, I’ve only been to a few places within Northern Ireland at the time of writing this. That said, I’ve noticed some themes, or adoption of trends dare I say. There are those that are playing the fashion game and those who aren’t so much. All over the North it seems to be quite casual, almost street-like I’m–wearing-this-all-day in tone. Fashion communicates so much about a place and what the values of people are. As always, I’m curious about what people are saying with the items the put on their bodies.
A few days in, here are a few things I’ve tracked so far.
Loving the Faux Fur
There are more stops along the trip but one thing is for certain, the adoption of faux fur and fuzzy coats is incredible. There’s teddy, there’s shearling, there’s mottled, and there is fuzzy. The cool, wet climate is perfect for a huge sized cover up that’s easy to plop on or whip off and makes a impactful one-and-done statement. A bold coat goes a long way to expressing what you’re into. I can’t help but think that fuzzy jacket in Ireland is like the long, black puffer coat back home: everyone has it, wears it, and I question because everyone else wearing it too, are you kind of sick of it?
Swapping Yoga Attire for Track Suits
If you’re looking for a sporty option, Ireland has you covered. The look is football inspired – that’s soccer, duh – top and bottom matching digs. Big brands include Adidas and Umbra (remember Umbra, right?) or you could always wear your favourite team (but not inside a pub to keep things friendly). The room in the thighs and tush and snug at the calves look sets it apart form the tight from head to ankle look that’s so prevalent back home.
Animal Print is Huge
Those who follow the runways and fast fashion’s quick response can easily acquire the current animal print craze. This is especially true for leopard and snakeskin. Here in Ireland it is incredible how many people are wearing it. T shirts, coats, short tight skirts, long flowing skirts, shoes, and bags. Every high street chain store I sauntered past is chock-a-block full of options. This is one look I love whether it is en vogue or not. I’m delighted I tucked a few pieces in my bag from home.
Insanely Tight, Ripped Jeans for the Boys
Fellas - especially the younger crowd as seen walking past university districts spilling out of pubs and cafes - are wearing 80s rock band type are-they-painted-on jeans. Tight, mid-rise with slashed up knees that would take a true expert to fray so specifically. The jeans are so very close to the body that you can see the contents of the jeans pockets with laser like certainty. Keys, check. Wallet, check. Condoms, I sure hope so!
Hair and Makeup Trends Differ by Assumed Age
Similar to North America, trends taken up by the young and old may differ. Some mature women keep up, some don’t. Likewise, some younger gals don’t go with the flow and others run the rat race. That’s per usual. What I have noticed, however, there seems to be a divide somewhere around 30: younger crowd on the full face highlight train – woot woot – and the ladies who have not mastered the art of blending. I’m talking thick, dark, pencil rimmed eyes, cake-like face makeup, and intense lips. Part of me wants to share “how to” videos from Queens on how to blend, and the other part of me want’s to celebrate them doing them just the way they want.
In the Pub, Anything Goes
Slip into any pub and you’ll get a mixture of folks wearing the above, plus the folks who - I’d like to think - wear what they’ve always worn. There is a relaxed, take-me-a-I-am nonchalant attitude that’s a touch badass with a pinch of blasé. A bit like, I’m here, enough said, now let’s get a pint.
There is a vibe here that I feel I’m picking up on. It may be trite to call it a quiet punk vibe but it rings true for me. There is a complicated history in Northern Ireland that I believe fuels the refreshingly direct and helpful nature that locals have shared with we tourists along the route. They are happy to help and seem delighted that we chose to visit. Though they are pensive and somewhat delicate in explaining their history – as there are many sides to every story – at least they are sharing it one pint and trend at a time.