How to dress for the four-seasons-in-a-day Irish summer
From go-to denim, to culottes, to layers - some favourite summer staples
Dress sense for the Irish summer
Dressing for Irish summer weather and its unpredictable vagaries presents exasperating challenges, when one minute we are languishing in a heatwave and digging out the swimwear, the next dealing with humidity, sweat and ruined hair styles, only to be followed by heavy tropical downpours.
Wellies may get you safely through the puddles but are not a good look when the sun shines again and shades are needed instead. Heading away on an Irish holiday means packing for four seasons and maybe finding all you needed was to prepare for one because it was so hot and all those raincoats, rubber boots and wetsuits remained unworn.
We’ve all been there. We know that the Wild Atlantic Way and a whole host of favourite Irish summer places pose their own sartorial demands but who can countenance transparent plastic rainwear ponchos and runners pouring out from tourist buses at the Cliffs of Moher on a wet day? The ideal emergency downpour staple is a light, black hooded packable nylon raincoat that folds flat like those from Hunter – it’s a better and clever option for variable Irish summers.
We asked four cool Dubliners about their favourite summer staples and why the pieces they wear work so well in this variable climate of ours.
Aisling Farinella, stylist
“I swear by my polka dot Converse runners which are great for walking and look cool – I got them in Nowhere on Aungier Street and wear them everywhere. I have a black flowy silk dress with a lot of volume – an easy trapezy shape that is really nice to wear in humid weather. It’s by (the Irish designer) Natalie B Coleman whose label is stocked in Made at the Powerscourt Centre. My blue denim jacket by Miu Miu bought in Brown Thomas is very light and goes with everything.”
Brian Teeling, fashion and fine art photographer
If I am working during the week and at meetings, for a professional look, I’ll wear a pair of light wool black trousers with dark burgundy Marni shoes and a cotton shirt and a slightly oversize jacket by Our Legacy from Indigo & Cloth in Temple Bar. If it’s sunny, I’ll have my Sun Buddies shades, a Swedish brand which I buy online and silver jewellery by All Blues. If it’s raining, a pink Stutterheim raincoat. At weekends, for more casual wear I prefer a waterproof utility vest with pockets by the German brand Kind of Guise – so I don’t have to carry a bag – grey leather perforated trainers by Etsy and a pair of Nike football shorts or cotton/nylon tracksuit bottoms that are really light and breezy and don’t make you sweat.
Sonya Lennon, co-founder Lennon Courtney
I have never used an umbrella and never worn a raincoat. For me it is about being smart and being cool and having an extra layer if it’s cold that can be removed if it’s warm. If it is pouring rain, I stop and have a cup of coffee. My mainstay this summer has been a little pair of white culottes with a white tie sleeve shirt, a little short-sleeved navy cardigan from a previous season and navy shoes also from a previous season. And I always carry sunglasses. At the moment I am transiting between gold Miu Miu aviators and a pair of silver-framed Aviators and am about to get prescription lenses.
Helen Cody, designer
I walk the dogs every morning, so I am addicted to trainers particularly those from Balenciaga and if it rains I wear a really lightweight oversize Napapijri puffa jacket in rain-repellent fabric which I bought in the Île d’Yeu in France. I wear one of my own white shirts from my Shirt Project collection – it’s an oversize cotton pique shirt split at the back so it’s airy and light and has grosgrain ribbons on the sleeves. I wear it with jeans (these are by Citizens of Humanity from Brown Thomas) and a pair of boots or a pair of heeled silver sparkly shoes by Pollini covered in moving matt sequins which I bought in Milan. I always wear jeans and love J Brand, but also DL 1961 (a New York brand) which are the most amazing black jeans that wash well, don’t fade and are not so skinny that you look like you’re wearing leggings; I have worn them for years.
Sonia Reynolds, co-owner of Stable, Westbury Centre, Dublin
As I walk and cycle a lot, I usually wear little flat mesh leather mules that I bought in & Other Stories. I am in the shop all day so I need to look fresh, and I like a white shirt or simple cotton knitted tops – I have one from Cos and another from Adolfo Dominguez in very fine wool with three-quarter length sleeves which is lovely and light for this weather. I match them with fun cotton trousers in bright yellow or green denim or linen. And I use a different scarf every day from our collection for a pop of colour or an extra layer. I have two macs, one is in light navy cotton from Havana by Hache and the other is a sample of our new mac, lined with linen which will be launched in July or August. It can be worn all year round and is perfect for showers, walking or cycling.