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Licentiate Columns

Licentiate Column 23/06/11: Holiday Dressing

If January is the time to self-combust with jealousy over the amazing scores your friends make in the sales and May is the month to burst into flames with envy at friend’s amazing summer weddings then June is the month to be immolated over where they go on holidays (if you aren’t already figuratively burnt to a crisp).

One friend is in perpetually tropical Brisbane, one is in Crete, another is inter-railing around Germany. Me? I’m sitting here, writing this in a granddad-style navy knitted cardigan with dried ketchup on the sleeve. It’s a glamorous life. The green-eyed monster and I are very happy to live it. All this burning envy is doing wonders for my tan.

I would never begrudge friends or family a break from their hard work. But if there’s an equivalent opposite to begrudging a holiday (and if there isn’t there should be), I do that to myself.

Staying stylish on a sun holiday is an obvious oxymoron. As a rule, holiday clothes are very small (to stay cool and maximise tanning) or loose (for expanding bellies after too many Sex on the Beach and pizza dinners). Combine the two and you’ll look like you’ve gone to a costume party dressed up as a sexy circus tent.

There are some girls who just do summer well. They have long legs, bronzed skin, natural highlights and can rock denim hotpants like no other. These girls live in faraway places like Sydney or LA. They don’t live in Trabolgan or Bettystown.

Irish women have an advantage when it comes to mysterious, windswept, modern Wuthering Heights style. We can dress for changeable weather among the best of them. All-day sun? We’re just not prepared for that.

The average Irish women will not bring her own clothes on holiday. She will buy a brand new holiday wardrobe, which includes several pairs of Jesus sandals, shorts and cotton vests for daytime and thin cocktail dresses with wedges for night (because heels don’t hold up well when trudging through sand).

It’s a standard uniform. An excellently distilled uniform at that. The genius of the Irish (or British, our Ibiza/Crete/Majorca partners in crime) women’s holiday wardrobe is that it represents a complete break from reality. It is true to the spirit of a summer vacation.

It’s a break from work, from your everyday life, from obligations. Why not leave your own style sensibilities in the wardrobe, at home, where they belong?

Planning a wardrobe is stressful. Holidays are supposed to be stress free. It makes perfect sense to cull the stressful elements and take your existing outfits out of the equation.

Ridiculously floppy hat? Throw it in the shopping basket! Red, heart-shaped Lolita frames? No holiday would be complete without them.

Take a break from your style and invent a whole new way of dressing. And if you want to borrow a ketchup-spattered cardi, I just might know where you can get one.

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4 thoughts on “Licentiate Column 23/06/11: Holiday Dressing

  1. Aghhh, loving this week’s column! Every word is so true. Especially the Jesus sandals. Proud (sort of) owner of them! :)SarahD

    P.S. I am also sporting a fabulous cardigan matted with food, no ketchup, though. Stylish!! x

  2. Al says:

    As someone who has been selling shoes directly to the Irish public I see everyday the “uniformed” summer ladies coming to the store, each to get their identicle Jesus sandles. (which might just about last the duration of the holiday before a strap snaps)

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