Making a Christmas wish-list? Liadán Hynes has a mix of joy bringers and practical essentials for these tricky times to inspire your present-buying and self-gifting.
This is essentially your college hangover uniform of O'Neill's tracksuit bottoms but make it fashion. We responded to Lockdown One with a wave of crafting and baking. Tie-dye tracksuits (joggers and a sweatshirt) are what remain of that. What started as a home-made skill has become a trend. We are fully on board with anything that allows us to wear a tracksuit, while also appearing as if we have made some sort of effort. For Irish versions of the tie-dye tracksuit, see Instagram: @tiedyebyjj; @tiedyedesignco; @todyeforbyjohanna
As our social lives continue, for the most part, to take place outside, a coat is the most important item in your wardrobe this year, both in a practical sense, and also because it's probably the only piece of clothing most people are going to see. What you're wearing underneath doesn't really matter right now - it's not getting much of an outing.
Typically, we wouldn't be buying winter coats this late in the year, but you're probably at the point where you're ready to change things up. And if 2020 has taught us anything, it is that what's typical doesn't count. Two, or more, winter coats are allowed. There are two ways you can go with your coat. Either: Practical and functional - "What will keep me warmest as I sit on a park bench catching up with a friend?" Or: "Nobody can see what else I'm wearing, this is my outfit, goddamnit. I want this coat to sing".
A long raincoat, remarkably hard to find, would be a boring gift on other years, but welcomed by most this winter (see iClothing's long-line raincoat, €59.99, available in red, navy, blue, white and lilac). In the ultimate fusion of our current two main modes of life - we're either at home in what are essentially dressy pyjamas, or outside socialising/braving the elements on yet another walk - see the kimono coat. It's basically a dressing gown that's a coat.
Below: Coat, €300, Custommade, Arnotts
3 House shoes
Wellies aside, what we currently need from our shoes is not the capacity to stand up to outdoors exposure, but more the ability to draw a line between the time we are spending at home working, and the time we are spending at home doing whatever else you do to while away the hours between walks and meals.
You might think 'house shoes' is just a fancy way of saying slippers - you would be wrong. House shoes are a sort of mash-up of mules, Birkenstocks, slides, Ugg slippers, and loafers. First up, they must be comfortable. Typically, either for reasons of weather (sandals in January), or their essentially delicate nature (pastel marabou mules), 'house shoes' are not suitable for the outdoors. But they make you feel like you are not slobbing around the house in your pyjamas during the working day. They help draw that little boundary between the hours you're on and off. When it's too dark in the evening to put a walk between you and the working day, the simple act of taking off shoes, and putting back on the slippers, can help. Essentially, if your boss asked to see your shoes as that day's Zoom meeting to ensure you are properly dressed (it's happening), they would know the difference: these 'house shoes' are not slippers.
Above: Mules, €17.99, H&M
4 Dressing gown
Let's face it, there will be days ahead, particularly when January feels like it is taking a year in itself, when you simply cannot face the world. But when the workload doesn't allow for a duvet day, then rolling out of bed, throwing on a really beautiful dressing gown and leaving it on until the next Zoom meeting requires you to at least put a jumper on over your pyjamas, might be the thing that gives you the kick you need to start the day. An adult blankie, essentially.
Main Photo: Dressing gown, €83, Boden, Next, next.ie
5 Bubblegum pink
This one is simple; nothing is as instantly cheering as a dash of bright pink. Which makes bubblegum pink one of our favourite trends for spring/summer 2021 - god knows, we will need whatever we can get to lift ourselves after Christmas.
If you're not feeling up to pink, Pantone, the Colour Institute, has forecast colours that inspire optimism and hope, but are also flexible - ie can work all year round - will dominate palettes next year. These include pale floral shades that might suggest a spring garden, and timeless earthy tones.
Above, Dress, €370, Roisin Linnane, Arnotts
6 Mini skirts
Chief among the trends of things we are only going to wear because we hardly ever leave the house is the mini skirt. The opposite to loungewear, obviously, but similar in that both are items we wouldn't wear much in normal life. A tracksuit wouldn't cut it in the office, and a mini skirt is simply too much hassle; who needs to consider whether your colleagues can see your underwear every time you even slightly bend down?
But when you rarely go outside, who cares? So for those days when you feel like getting ridiculously dressed up, only to sit around the house again, mini skirts are not quite the new midi - nothing will ever replace our beloved midis - but they can provide an instant hit of fashion joy.
Above: Leopard-print mini skirt, €160, Sisters by Caroline Kilkenny, Arnotts
7 Zoom accessories
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that Zoom meetings are going away any time soon. So for 2021, go big and bold with your facial accessories. We favour headgear; earrings feel a little too 'hey, let's party' for a work meeting. Bejewelled hairbands or dramatic 'turbands' (more than a hairband, less than a hat) both cover a multitude - roots, unwashed hair for unexpected last-minute meetings. They are up there with ring lights as the accessories no WFH desk should be without.
Above: Luxury 'Amethyst' turband, €75, Emily Jean Millinery, emily-jean.com
8 Dance gear
Is a night of dancing with friends top of your post-Covid-19 list, even though it has been years since you've done it? It's top of ours, too. Until then, we can at least dress the part and dance around our kitchens. Metallics, lurex knitwear, sequins, and satin slip dresses (worn with trainers and chunky knitwear, because you're not actually in a club).
Above: 'Ada' sequin collar, €65, Heidi Higgins, heidihiggins.com
9 Ankle Wellies
You possibly already own a pair of wellies - knee-length, roomy things for mucking about in. That's not what we're talking about here. For the remaining winter months, a pair of ankle boots that just happen to be wellies, but work with any outfit, is going to be your most hard-working wardrobe piece. Essentially, your wardrobe now needs items that are practical, weather resistant, and can seamlessly work with pieces you would have worn pre-pandemic.
Above: Wellies, €31.45, Regatta, regatta.ie
10 Rain running gear
Sea swimming, and the need for dryrobes, have been largely put on pause for the moment. We're runners now, and as such, we need the proper gear to keep going, whatever the weather. Above: Reflective running jacket, €58.97, adidas, adidas.ie