How to dress for Irish weather will continue to challenge me, I think, for a while yet. And it is on the subject of dress that I find myself feeling most confused about my new home and it’s inhabitants. For years, I have always made passing comments about Irish girls’ dressing habits (not that the men don’t present a whole other set of curiosities, but that is for a later date), but never really focused as much on the dressing habits of female Dubliners as I have in the past few weeks. I would like to dispense some of my opinions and maybe start a conversation so that I can better understand what is going on here.
Disclaimer: I do NOT consider myself a fashion expert. I have faced dressing challenges many times based on how I was raised, my income, and my sense of style (whatever that is). I am an actress, who is not working at the moment (however, my visa just came through so hopefully this is not for long!), and has enough time to investigate a bit of the mystery surrounding Irish fashion.
I welcome all comments, because I really want to know why it is that a majority of Irish girls give off a slight orange sheen, why their hair is straightened until it takes on the appearance of autumn straw, why it is rare to see anyone without make-up (and a common occurrence to see WAY too much make-up), and why young teenagers are allowed to go out of the house looking like Shakira’s back-up dancers. Not to mention the fact that everyone is making the same fashion mistakes because everyone is buying exactly the same clothes from shops that sell ‘the look of the moment’ at prices that guarantee the garment will last for just about a moment. It is hard to find clothes that are different from store to store to store. I suppose the lack of individuality I find in Dublin is one thing that seems so odd compared to NYC.
I want to state that I have many Irish girl friends that I adore. None of them conforms to this stereotype I have thrown up 100%. However, I have spoken to most of them about my confusion on this issue, and they all agree that there is something that makes Irish women stand out; and standing out because of the amount of fake tan is not necessarily a good thing. I love my Irish friends’ who are boys as well; but I do think that it is telling that only two out of eight of my closest male Irish friends have Irish girlfriends (one is a wife). That means the majority have either American or English girlfriends or are actively seeking non-Irish birds. What is going on?
I won’t put all of my questions into one day’s worth of blogging, but I just wanted to get the ball rolling. In a country that doesn’t get much sun, why is it important to have (an obviously fake) tan? Why all the makeup (I think, though I would be interested to hear other’s thoughts, that it is far more than what American women tend to wear)? And why do most Irish ladies purchase (lots of) clothes that are less than 30 Euro, don’t always fit well, and are highly flammable? These are just some of the questions I will be exploring in the coming days. I’m sure I will discover more….