What Kind of Clothes Do They Wear in Ireland?

Updated April 17, 2017

Ireland does not have a standard dress code, with the possible exception of school uniforms for students. As a result, there is a range of clothing options available to Irish people, who dress according to personal taste. Traditional clothing, like Donegal tweed, is still worn by men in Ireland, which is often in contrast to the short skirts seen on trendy teenage girls. Irish clothes are best described as a combination of function and personal style.


The Irish fashion scene is much like that of any other Western culture--constantly changing, varying among individuals and influenced by celebrities. Short dresses, skirts, tights, scarves, belts and skinny jeans are common with women. Although Ireland tends to be cold in the winter, women (particularly those under 25 years of age) can still be seen wearing skimpy clothing. The Independent, an Irish newspaper, suggests that a man's "core wardrobe" should include a pair of straight leg jeans, chinos, cotton plaid shirt and a dark-coloured wool sweater.


Irish people wear clothing depending on what kinds of activities they are about to engage in. For example, people who work outdoors wear rubber boots (called Wellingtons) and many layers for warmth. People who work in an office usually wear traditional business suits or black trousers and skirts, along with collared shirts and ties for men. University students tend to follow trends, which can be seen on Irish fashion blogs such as Ireland can be very rainy and windy, cool in winter and mild in summer, so outer layers are often added to accommodate the weather.


Traditional clothing in Ireland is still worn today. Aran sweaters are common, particularly with tourists, but are worn by Irish people as well. These originate from the Aran Islands on the west coast of Ireland, and are thick, hand-knit sweaters. In the past, each family had their own stitching pattern, so a person could be identified by their clothing. Modern female Irish dancers still wear traditional peasant dresses adorned with ribbons or a sash. The specific style of dress reflects the school or level of skill associated with an Irish dancer.


Irish women tend to wear boots of various styles. These range from ankle-height to just below the knee, and can be flat-soled or high-heeled. Boots are a sensible choice in Ireland because of the cool weather and rain. On the other hand, ballet flats are a popular choice for Irish women, despite their impracticality. Scarves, belts and handbags come in a selection of colours and sizes, and are used for fashion as well as necessity.


Ireland has many chain clothing stores, called "high street shops," around the country. These include TopShop, Next, Oasis and JCPenney. These chains have shops around the United Kingdom and Europe, so Irish fashion can closely resemble that of other countries. Additionally, designer brands popular in Ireland include actress Sienna Miller's clothing line Twenty8Twelve and model Kate Moss's TopShop line. Boutique clothing stores and markets are also popular places to shop.

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About the Author

Lauren Fitzpatrick was the official blogger for Busabout Europe in 2008, and has contributed to Transitions Abroad. Her subjects of interest include international work and travel, fitness, and deaf culture. She holds a Master of Arts in travel writing from Kingston University and a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Indiana University.