Irish fashion faux pas
Seeing the Brazilians parade in G-strings and the Germans cavort in socks and sandals, you would think us Irish have nothing to be ashamed of, sartorially speaking. Yet a glance down Grafton Street tells another story. Are our ill fitting jeans down to our genes? Perhaps, but whatever the reason, we Irish have some signature fashion faux pas all of our own.
In no particular order, here are our five favourite Irish fashion disasters - which one are you?
The label lover
Let's face it, the noughties were good for this brand of Irish superwoman, but the last few years have been tough. In 2004 a career in recruitment was a one-way ticket to a big Range Rover, a big watch and an even bigger handbag, but since the bubble burst her blow-dry isn't quite as immaculate and the aisles of Brown Thomas seem a little hollow.
Once upon a time other Irish women looked on in admiration as she took out a second mortgage in pursuit of Louis Vuitton, Guess, DKNY and Ralph Lauren, but these days it seems that bigger labels aren't better labels and networking at her local boutique just isn't as profitable as it once was. New York and Harvey Nichols have sadly become Kildare Village, but thankfully she can still afford to dress the kids in Juicy Couture.
Sins include: Being a fashion clone, being a fashion snob, looking like a fashion sandwich board with giant logos everywhere, missing the point.
With her beauty business in the doldrums, she has more time on her hands these days and for anyone nearby with fake hair that can only spell disaster. As the seasons change and the sorrows of winter become the joys of spring, the thoughts of our WAG wannabe turn from learning how to say 'labioplasty' and return to her favourite subject - how to become more tanned.... with whiter teeth .... and bigger ....
We may scoff, but her sin isn't the act itself, it's in her lack of imagination. For all the time she devotes to her appearance, her true fashion crime is that somehow she always manages to look as fake as the rented mansion in a shoot for Hello magazine. Whatever the fashion question, there is only ever one answer - a funeral in November? A Communion in March? The loss of a gel nail while scratching at the eyes of a love rival in Krystal? The answer is always to slap on more orange.
Sins include: Fake tan, fake nails, fake hair extensions, fake eye lashes, fake designer clothes and accessories, loving the colour pink and white jeans.
Miss Comfy can currently be found frolicking through the racks of Penneys dreaming of her graduation and Ireland's reward for all that hard study - a bar job in Australia.
With her parents seemingly in no hurry to have Miss Comfy pay her own way and with only months left on her Business and Spanish degree, you can't blame her for living in a constant sportswear crisis, she could dress better, she should dress better, but the truth is that she finds the comfort that nylon gives just too addictive.
Fake UGGs, leggings and GAA jerseys are the building blocks of her wardrobe. Thankfully, Miss Comfy knows she's dressed badly and lays the blame firmly at the feet of her parents. Having brought her up on a diet of Lauren Conrad, the Olsen twins and Monday Night Football, she now knows nothing more glamorous than Tuesday night drinks promotions and smudged winged liner.
Sins include: Pyjamas outdoors, Ugg boots, leggings, tracksuits, football/GAA/Rugby jerseys, ski jackets for going to McDonald's, shopping exclusively in Penneys.
Fast approaching the big 3-0 and with no man on the horizon, you might think that Plain Jane would invest less time on her choice of wheat-free organic soda bread and more time on not looking like the frumpiest mannequin in Laura Ashley. What she should do is dress more like miss WAG wannabe, but what she does do, every single day, is dress more and more like Kirsty Allsopp. Why?
You see, the central preoccupation of our Plain Jane is her slavish devotion to the conventional. Floral dresses, tights and cardigans are worn until June and then safely vacuum packed until early August.
When it's time to play, out comes something strappy, not too snappy and decidedly unsassy - with ballet pumps. She'd rather spend her days dreaming of quitting her job and writing a novel than think about fashion. Until that day comes, the subject of style is a blot on the horizon.
Sins include: Buying 'nice suits' for work, dressing like a waitress, ugly shoes, granny dresses, high necklines, low hems, shopping in Next, serial shopping for black pants.
She has a fashion blog, she wears what you wouldn't, and then she posts it online, so she can bore us all with the details. She dresses with a passion for individualism but still manages to look like every other girl who ever walked through the door of her local charity shop, but worrying about the little things isn't going to get her a pair of nearly new leather brogues.
Whether it's a floppy hat she stole from nan's wardrobe, a crocodile bags she got from Etsy or some not-so-faux-fur she stole from a party, one quick look through those big glasses without the lenses and you know she hates your outfit. Why, because she wore that last week, in fact, she invented that look and you stole it. She talks, thinks and judges everything by what we'll all be wearing next month. Ask her where she got that dress, and she doesn't tell you the shop, she tells you the decade ... like ... how random!
Sins include: Wearing every trend regardless, dressing like a clown, dressing like a bag lady, looking ridiculous, looking you up and down.