Get set for the beach, Irish-style
AH, THE IRISH beach trip. We’ll all attempt it at least once this summer, whether that’s piling into a friend’s car at 10am on a day that’s unexpectedly turned out to be a scorcher (then spending an hour in traffic, along with the rest of the population) or braving the elements to fit at least one beach day into your scheduled holiday and sitting in your anorak chewing on sandy sandwiches and drinking slightly warm Fanta.This, lest there be any confusion, is not the beach holiday of HB ads or swimwear catalogues; you will not be debuting your tiny bikini and perfecting that oh-so-un-PC shade of golden brown. You will need knitwear. You will most probably need a raincoat and, if you bring children, they will need wellies.
For ease of changing – for that once-a-year dip into the ice-cold Atlantic or Irish Sea – a wrap or button-up dress is an excellent call. Choose your length correctly and you can avoid putting your underwear back on until you get home and are out of a hot shower (just don’t do as we once did and leave said underwear on a Co Sligo beach).
Don’t even think about wearing jeans, unless pulling tight denim over cold, clammy skin is your idea of fun (blame EL James for any such proclivities).
Instead, go for leggings or tracksuit bottoms (you will never again read us recommending the latter). A maxi dress is a great idea on several counts: it will provide excellent coverage for changing, it will protect you against the stiff Atlantic breeze, and, last but not least, it will make an excellent pillow, should reclining unexpectedly make an appearance on the agenda.
If you’re determined to throw caution to the wind, a pair of denim shorts are as summery as it gets – paired with a swimsuit, you’ll be the picture of seasonality. Just remember to bring a rain jacket and a hoodie for when the weather dips, as it surely will, at around 3pm.
Oh, and don’t forget the sunscreen – the sun may not be splitting the skies, but a whole day at sea is sure to test anyone’s melanin levels.
Reader queries: Wedding-shoes blues
I’m a bridesmaid at a wedding this summer and I’ve been tasked with picking out my own shoes. I’m the only bridesmaid, so I don’t have to match with anyone, but the dress, which goes to mid-calf, calls for a heel and I’m really not a heels person. My dress is royal blue, so I was thinking of going for something quite neutral, but I won’t last an hour in a stiletto and I’m quite conscious of my calves so I don’t want anything with an ankle strap.
– Emer, by email
First, allow me to commend your friend for having such a classy wedding, at least bridesmaid-wise (I wouldn’t like to cast aspersions on her big day; for all I know she may be walking down the aisle to a brass band playing the Pussycat Dolls’ Don’t Cha).
I have a few suggestions that may fit the bill. These bow-backed nude court shoes by sustainable footwear label Melissa (€128.96), available at Asos.com, are a really cute, girly choice and so versatile. They’re made of a combination of rubber and plastic and the soles are really soft so, despite the relatively high heel, they won’t leave you footsore.
A more classic choice, these beige courts by NW3 by Hobbs (€150) are a great wardrobe staple. They’ll look great with royal blue and they’ll work for work, too. The heel is high, but chunky enough that they’ll last, if not the night, then at least through the ceremony and, with any luck, dinner.
Lastly, these curved heels by KG by Kurt Geiger (€165) are another option. The snakeskin makes them really modern and, dare I say it, “on-trend”, while the chunky, relatively low heel and sturdy straps mean they’ll be far comfier than a pair of strappy, sky-high stilettos. They’d look great with jeans for a Friday night down the pub, too.
If you have time, do a good scout online – and when you do take the plunge, bring your purchase home and spend a few hours walking around on the carpet at home. You can always return them if they start to pinch before you’ve scuffed the soles. And remember, it’s a wedding; if people are still wearing their heels at midnight, something just isn’t right.
Read Rosemary Mac Cabe’s fashion blog Fash Mob at irishtimes.com/blogs