Luck of the Irish? From what I saw over spring break, young Dubliners’ fashion choices were sometimes lucky, and other times in need of some good ol’ American fixin’.
When I went out for my first night on the town, two words kept flashing in my mind: “culture” and “shock.” I expected freckles, fair skin and red hair and got fake tans and peroxide blondes. So far away from home, I was feeling a little too close to my (in need of touched up) roots in Los Angeles.
I’ve decided to impart to you the various fashion travesties, masterpieces and oddities that I encountered in the clubs and pubs of Ireland so that we all can avoid the worst and employ the best of Dublin fashion on this side of the pond.
The first notable thing was how similarly all the girls were dressed. You weren’t anybody if you weren’t sporting a high-waisted super-mini skirt, preferably in a metallic fabric or bold print. The sensible option, it seemed, with such a skirt, was a low-cut, brightly colored, razorback tank top. The heel heights ranged from three to six inches, mostly of the platform or thick-heeled variety. But hey, I can’t really blame these girls. If I had to wear such a wretched school uniform (think mid-calf pleated skirts and oversized sweaters in a vomit-like color) then I, too, would bare-all as soon as the sun went down.
More frightening than the homogeneous club attire was the nighttime hairstyles! Never have I felt closer to the 60’s, or the musical “Hairspray.” It was gel, product and spray to boot to keep the ladies’ bleached locks messily inflated. I observed an equal number of waist-length manes as I did jagged pixie cuts. For the longer hair, a headband straight across the forehead and tied in the back helped to maintain a standard four-inch-high bouffant at the crown of the head.
For the guys, Abercrombie t-shirts and light-wash jeans were standard, and rather American looking. The difference, again, was in the hair. Tiger stripes and hair gel can be a horrifying combination, but it’s been said that a hot man is still hot with bad hair. Irish charm was enough to make us American girls forget about whatever peculiarities were happening above the hairline.
Pictured above is Kim, a Dublin high schooler who got it right with her royal blue high-waisted jumper, menswear blazer, chunky heels and perfect accessories. When I asked if I could take her picture, she nodded enthusiastically, saying that she has a passion for fashion and that she works as a fashion merchandiser at a local boutique. I elected not to unleash my inner Perez Hilton by taking photos of fashion faux-pas, but trust me when I say that one’s neon bra and underwear should never be seen — especially not under a barely-there, destroyed Blondie concert-tee.
I guess what was most surprising about my investigation of Dublin’s fashion culture was the striking difference to the clubbing scene at Yale. And by clubbing scene, I mean Toad’s scene. Anyone could easily get away with jeans, flats and a cute-ish shirt on Wednesday or Saturday night. But then again, compared to Dublin, Toad’s is like the destroyed Blondie concert-tee of clubs.