Wellies_2_036I used to be stylish. I sort of fancied myself as a girl who stayed on top of fashion. Of course, this can only objectively be spoken by someone who is clearly no longer stylish. Oh, how I loved creatively putting together a bad-assed ensemble each day to wear to my office/production shoot/post house where there would be many more bad-assed style icons, each striving to be the baddest-assed of them all. Ok, maybe it wasn’t quite that glamorous, but let’s just say that I did take my fashion personae very seriously. And still do. Well, now I guess I’m just trying to. The truth is, I am still sorting out how to dress here…in farm country and in Ireland in general. I think I’m in desparate need of a Farm-over!

Sizing in Ireland and the UK is vastly different from the USA–and I don’t mean that in a beneficial way. Irish sizes go up two sizes from American sizes. So, if you are an 8 in the USA, you are a 12 (or maybe even 14 depending on the brand) in Ireland! A bit of a blow, indeed. I was a size 8…even a healthy 6 on good days (though on certain days of the month I could also quite possibly go up to a 10) so the size change was definitely a tad bit disheartening to me. I am still trying to work out if Richard meant an Irish 10 or American 10 when he guessed my size in the early days of our relationship…naw, won’t go there. Hmm, perhaps he just meant I was a “10”? Ha! When I got pregnant I gained 3 stone (42 lbs). A few weeks after I had Geoffrey I remember fretfully getting onto the scale, only to see that I had lost only 1 stone(damn digestive biscuits!). At that point, I basically gave up on shopping because I refused to buy a size 16-18 based on the sheer principle of it. I decided I would shop for my son instead. This is why he has the wardrobe the size of a Gap Kids store.

Not only are sizes different, but regrettably, styles are as well. When I initially came for visits to Ireland, I’d always look forward to bringing home some very chic 80’s inspired Top-Shoppy blouse, vampish high boots or deconstructed little jackets to flaunt back in the States…very swish in 2003/4.  Now, I can’t be bothered with most of the drivel that I see in the local shops.  A/Wear, Topshop, BT2, Zara, H&M have all been obsessed with trashy 80’s looks for forever or so it seems. I am sorry, but I am done paying hundreds of euros for throwbacks from the 80’s….can we please move on? I rarely see anything that I am truly inspired by, which is no fun really, but does make the bank account happy I suppose. I know the 80’s have taken over the USA too, but at least there are also real alternatives such as J. Crew, BR, AK, Anthropologie, GAP–even Target, if you’re in need of a reprieve. And while I love to browse the new collections by Vivienne Westwood, Karen Millen, Orla Kiely, McQueen and all the European designers in Harvey Nichs or BT, that means a 2 hour drive to Dublin if I want to see the best of it. I sorely miss seeing the latest displays from classic American designers like CK, RL,DK, MK in the big department stores that were basically right around the corner from me.  I guess the good news is that now that I usually only shop in the USA everything seems like such a better deal with the current decreasing value of the dollar.

Having said that, even if I wasn’t bothered by the size issue and if everything didn’t look so damned 80’s, I still wouldn’t know how to dress here! As I noted before, the weather is always a wee bit wet and windy so my fantasy “farm look” comprised of cute circle skirts with tees and Wellingtons never really works in real life. Besides women here don’t consider Wellies to be stylish in any way, shape or form and wouldn’t dream of wearing them outside of their home garden. And, if I could still fit into my pre-pregnancy wardrobe: various types of skinny jeans tucked into my favorite high boots, dainty silky blouses with shiny little tuxedo jackets, matching cashmere skirts and shells worn with bare legs and kitten heels, (yes, I am grieving this loss)….none of it is practical in my new life. When I try to wear sportier things like windbreakers, fleeces, cargos, sneakers, I just feel like a boy. Alas, not ladylike at all.

Hence, my search continues for my best Irish farm girl wardrobe…..

The suggestion box is open.



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7 Responses to “Major Wardrobe Malfunction”

  1. Hello to every body, it’s my first visit of this webpage; this
    blog carries awesome and really fine stuff for readers.

  2. Amanda says:

    I’m just finding this blog, and am thrilled to find an online food-blog presence that I can finally identify with. I’m also an American living in Ireland, except as a graduate student (living in the Burren), and while it’s been a truly magical experience, I can completely relate to all of these day to day ‘struggles’ you document with such humor and perspective. The wardrobe thing, especially has been a shock! As you said, one has all sorts of pinterest-inspired fantasies of strolling through fields in tweed, a flat cap, and oxfords, only to find that something like that is the quickest way to become the laughing stock of the village. Haha.
    You have a fantastic way of capturing the magic and frustrations that occur sometimes simultaneously when living somewhere so new.

    I saw a few posts back that you made salmon tacos with chipotle chilies in adobo sauce. Do you know of anywhere on the West Coast, specifically around Galway where these can be purchased (or even in Dublin)? I use them in so many of my go-to recipes, and while I’ve learned to embrace new go-tos (colcannon, all. winter. long) I have at one desperate point, had to ask my family to ship me to two very precious and rationed cans from home. Thanks, and best of luck with everything!


    • imen says:

      Hi there Amanda! Lovely to hear from you….i love the Burren! Gorgeous, albeit a bit scarce on people =) You can buy the chipotles from my friend Lily in Dublin…she has a shop and also online: http://www.mymexicanshop.ie ships same day. We should get together…..are you anywhere near Burren Perfumery? I love the tea rooms there. Imen xx

  3. Your living my dream I have to say… My daughter wants me to marry an Irish man just for the accent. My ex had a southern USA accent.. but he is gone because of a bad go with the drink and drugs and violence. So now it’s just me and my 3 wee little ones and my youngest is DeafBlind http://www.kodiakmylittlegrizzly.com
    I will follow your blog for sure… Love the movie P.S.I love you and Leap Year

  4. Oh dear, I dream of living the dream in a country cottage or farm with loads of Tamworth piggies… wearing circle skirts with polkadots ans red Hunter boots… I shall keep on dreaming 😀

  5. […] a fantastic entry on  her blog in its earlier days about wardrobe difficulties in rural Ireland: Major Wardrobe Malfunctions. READ IT!!! Amen SISTER! Honestly, I feel the exact same way as her. I don’t buy clothes out […]

  6. Kim says:

    I know some friends in the UK shop at Boden (http://www.boden.co.uk/). I’ve always kind of thought it was a classy, country look. I’ve never shopped there (I’m not great with online clothes shopping), but they swear by it and it does have some cute stuff!

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