Dressing up for Christmas


Christmas Day activities can run from church to kitchen, from friends’ houses to playing with children, or from a long walk to curling up on the sofa. So what dress code fits all those demands? Five fashionable people tell DEIRDRE MCQUILLANwhat they’ll be wearing tomorrow



“I usually head home on the 23rd to Connemara to my family. We immediately tear open every morsel of present that exists – we can never wait! We usually go to Roundstone on Christmas and walk Gurteen Bay, hail, rain or snow – weather is irrelevant in Connemara – and then to O’Dowd’s maybe for a hot drink after which we head home and light all the fires.

My dad breeds Connemara ponies and rears turkeys for us and friends, so he looks after the turkey and my mother prepares everything else. Us lazy children will just sit and watch. I usually wear something in angora or cashmere and I try not to do black on Christmas Day. So I’ll be wearing a really gorgeous orange angora knitted dress with a sheepskin collar around my neck and Comme des Garçons knee boots, which will annoy my dad because they are a bit rocker-looking. I’ll wear lovely cashmere socks from Monaghans with them. After dinner, we head to Ballynahinch Castle for a moonlit walk along the river, if weather permits, and finish off the night in the bar with music and drinking.”



“I love dressing up so any excuse. I usually wear a skirt with tights or a fancy top with leggings. At the moment I am loving high-neck dresses that are festive, maybe backless. I love backless and I love wearing very high heels, but I am not allowed to wear them on Christmas Day because I am taller than my two older sisters and they make me look older, so I’ll wear kitten heels instead.

And because it’s Christmas Day I’ll choose something with a bit of colour in it – like last year I wore a pink John Rocha T-shirt, but this year it will be a dress from Topshop – I love Topshop – with a little knit.

We don’t do the under-the-tree type of thing at Christmas. We get all our presents and go to our parents’ bedroom and sit on the bed and open them.

My mum will do the cooking and my dad helps along with me and my two older sisters. My sister, who lives in London, is coming home this year and I really missed her last year, so it’s going to be great to have her home.

We have family coming over for dinner and usually sit down about 5pm. I am the youngest (16) of the family on both sides and I kind of scare my relatives with my fancy clothes and big high heels because they all think of me as the baby of the family.”


Fashion photographer

“I go to my mother who lives in Knocklyon on Christmas Eve – I recently got engaged, but it has always been a Christmas tradition to be with my mother, my brother Barry and family on Christmas Day, and that is very important to me. I am not a massive fan of the commercial side of Christmas, but I love being with my family and I love the food. I dress up because I think it is really important to make the effort and I’ve just bought a beautiful black Carven dress in Brown Thomas – I’ll be carving in it, but it’s a real winner and an investment. I’ll put on an apron over it in the kitchen. I’ll be wearing it with black opaques and ponyskin flats by Eileen Shields and a vintage 1920s brooch.”


Gentlemen Please in Blackrock

“We’ll have friends in for drinks in the morning, so I dress up for that. I’ll be wearing a good pair of Reply dark blue jeans with leather suede blue boots by J shoes, a shirt from One Like No Other in plain blue and a Johnny Love jacket from a Nordic designer I picked up in New York. And red “happy” socks that the kids give me, a bit of fun. If I head down to Skerries to see the Christmas swim in the morning, I’ll probably put on an Edmund McNulty jumper and scarf under my overcoat. People come in for drinks from 11.30am and we try and get them out by 2pm, but it never works.

Ciara, my wife, does a lot of the cooking on Christmas Eve and we try to get evening mass in Skerries, although I am not usually home until 7.30pm because of the shop. But otherwise we love to walk around Skerries on Christmas Eve, because with all the lights it is a lovely thing to do and a lovely place to be.”



Owner, Havana Boutique, Donnybrook, Dublin 4

“The dress code was red last year – I love red – and it was a fantastic day. My plan this year is to wear a red Azzedine Alaïa dress with black tights and high black shoes. We don’t sit down until 5pm, because we’re out visiting relatives during the day. We have a massive number of people around the table when we do sit down. This year my plan is to have a karaoke afterwards. I love cooking and as I’ll be working on Christmas Eve (in the shop) I will have had a lot done beforehand, the turkey stuffed and I’ll have cooked the ham the day before and will have a lot of help from all the girls. I’ll be in my Alaïa on Christmas Day but with an apron and flat shoes in the kitchen. The dress is in fine jersey, it’s comfortable but stylish and it has a bit of give so I can expand.

The girls are all fashion mad – we have an extended family of four girls and a boy and last year everybody wore red. We made Christmas jumpers – I just bought them and we decorated them with Christmas baubles and even threaded Christmas lights through them – and we made all our relations wear Christmas jumpers too and we had such a laugh. It was hilarious, made a great time for the kids and added another dimension to the day.” PHOTOGRAPH: AIDAN CRAWLEY