A fleeting trip to Dublin Airport this week to collect a friend left me horrified, standing open-mouthed in shock, in the middle of arrivals. I do not know if I am ordinarily oblivious to it, or maybe its because most of my male friends are gay and work in fashion, but OH. MY. GOD. How are so many Irish men still so poorly dressed? It looked like a had just been stood up at the altar, standing there on my own in the middle of the airport, gasping at the horror around me.
I am not going to make a swooping generalisation here. I can quickly think of a long list of many a straight and utterly stylish Irish man. I could easily sit here now and write a separate article on the inspiring and innovative fashion movement of the modern Irish men walking the streets of Dublin today. Minimalistic and contemporary, with a strong Nordic influence, it looks like these Dublin men have taken a masterclass in tailoring (and blow drying quiffs). In fact, I may just write this very article in the coming weeks. However, it was not stylish Irish men who left me traumatised in the airport, but the exact opposite. I felt like I had taken a trip back to the early '00s, to some corner shop on Monaghan high street.
I have decided to play up to the complete 'Fashion-Gay' stereotype for this article. I am being full on Queer-Eye-For-The-Straight-Guy on your unsuspecting and unstylish ass. Irish men with no interest in fashion, who roll out of bed and put on the same old top and jeans they had ten years ago, this article is aimed at you.
If anything you own/does makes it onto this list, I implore you to immediately put a stop to it. You deserve better. As do your loved ones.
1. Checked Shirts
They were stylish(ish) when you were 15 and in 3rd year. The fact that you are still wearing them, but in a larger size, is a difficult concept to grasp. You found something you liked once, many years ago. Now you look lazy and unstylish. Let the checks go. Let them go.
2. Metal Clasp Belts
These are amusing. Like, they should be in a comedy skit. Remember when you wore these as a child, and it was cool to have the excess belt part hang down over your jeans? Well, the sad, unfortunate truth is, there are men still out there pulling their belts closed with a metal clasp. Your jeans may be held high, but your head should certainly not be.
3. Gelled Hair
General rule - if we can see the gel/tell you've used it, you're using too much. That wet-gelled hair look is a thing of a long gone past. Men's hair now should look like it naturally fell into that beautiful shape. Move over to a small bit of wax or paste and don't forget about the brilliance of hairspray. A man's head full of gelled, hard, spiky hair should be used to scare off wild cats. Nothing more.
Out in full show or just creeping through at the top of a t-shirt. Equally as VILE as each other. Anyone who wears a chain makes me feel unsafe. Please don't take it off to strangle me.
5. GAA Jerseys
KEEP THEM TO THE PITCH. Or GAA field. Whatever its called. There is nothing you can say to justify wearing a GAA jersey as part of your daily attire. If you think it is acceptable to wear a GAA jersey and a pair of jeans and leave the house, you need help. Don't give up on yourself, you deserve more.
6. Old Baggy Jeans
I think as Irish people, we all know the exact jeans I am talking about. They're old, they're faded, they're clumpy and baggy, and they have no shape. AND... they can get even worse. You know when they have loose, torn bits hanging off the bottom that drag along the ground? Stop it, I'm going to get sick.
7. Waistcoats and T-shirts
This is a real country boy who wouldn't know style if it slapped him in the face with an issue of Vogue Hommes, tries to get dressed up for a special occasion, type of look. If you're bad enough to pair a t-shirt with a waistcoat, you're probably pairing them with the jeans described above. This look is so unstylish I think Coppers would refuse you. Let me guess, you also own a pair of Vans? It's time to take a serious look in the mirror at yourself, or, at least ask your girlfriend to tell you what she really thinks of your clothes.
They're made for sport or the gym, that's the end of it. You can just about (barely) be excused wearing them indoors when you're so hungover that you're violently getting sick into your girlfriend's handbag. If you find yourself leaving the house in a tracksuit (top or bottoms) ask yourself one simple question: am I about to do some exercise? If not, it's time to go spend four minutes of your time choosing real clothes, so you can rejoin civilised society.
9. Black Suit and Brown Shoes
Surely this is self-explanatory? Well, obviously it's not since people actually commit this heinous fashion crime. Look, if you can't grasp why just take a mental note of this and avoid this combo at all costs. As a side note - this look can actually be done and look really well, however, this article is targeted at men with limited-to-no fashion knowledge, so lets just not even go there. Avoid this look.
10. Clunky white runners and bootleg jeans
Now I am not talking about stylish trainers or Cons with skinny jeans, but rather think American Dad in a hillbilly movie based in Alabama. Big, clunky, white, awkward runners with a hideous bootleg jean grazing above them. I feel like sneaking up behind them and holding a match to their laces until the whole shoe goes up in flames. If this is a look you know you are guilty of, you need to reevaluate your priorities.
11. Graphic Tees
Graphic tees belong in 2008. They should not be allowed to progress into our current years. I want to see an election poster go up with this as the party slogan. 'Graphic Tees belong in 2008. They should not be allowed to progress into our current years. Vote for us'. They'd certainly get my vote.
Are you guilty of any of these fashion crimes? Or know an Irish man who is? Tag him with this article to let him know!
Rob Kenny is a Fashion PR executive, who most recently was on the PR team managing Joan Collins’s and Naomi Campbell’s press trips to Ireland.
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