Traditional Irish Clothing was very famous in earlier times and there were many misconceptions at that time regarding these traditional clothes. The popular St. Patrick’s Day celebrated in the US and ‘Lord Of Dance’ have created many long misconceptions about Irish clothing. Earlier when someone talks about Irish clothing, they always thought of a girl in green color bodices along with short skirts.
In Ireland, the men dressed in a shirt with large collars and a vest with a waistcoat. They wore loose-fitting trousers and knee-length boots. On their heads, they would wear the traditional Irish hat called ‘The Flat Cap’.
The women’s clothes were mainly made from linen but were more varied. For heavy workdays, they would wear a dress with an apron over it, but for everyday chores, they might just wear trousers and a shirt or blouse. On their head, they would most likely have on an elaborate bonnet that covered their neck as well as their hair.
On Sundays, the men would wear their best clothes. These were handmade by their wives and daughters; sometimes called ‘Dressmaker’s Dummies’. They would wear trousers, waistcoats, and jackets. The women wore ankle-length dresses with white pinafores over them and bonnets on their heads.
Before going to school Irish children wore a simple linen smock but when they finished school they might decide to put on a suit or a blouse for a special occasion or just to go out on a Sunday.
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The traditional colour of Irish dresses
The most notable of which was the color green which showed their Irish pride. Although people there also loved bright and build color clothing green color has a separate place in their hearts. Wearing different color clothes friends upon in which society do you fall at that time. The king of the country wore seven colors while a free man can wear only 4 colors. The slaves are allowed to wear only one color of clothes. Irish costumes are used to reflect history in their dancing and clothes were generally of bright and build colors.
Irish Clothing Traditions: Irish Traditional Jacket and Irish Traditional Hat – Bonnet
(This is a sample of the clothing worn by the Irish in the past. The actual observed is rarely worn at present in Ireland.) In Ireland, when the weather gets cold, most women wear a coat or jacket over their dresses when they go out. This is called “an aine lag”. Aine means a coat in Irish and is still used in everyday speech. The jackets were made from linen and wool material. The men wore a shirt with large collars and a vest over it with a waistcoat. They wore loose-fitting trousers and knee-length boots. On their head, they would wear a “blarney cap”. The women’s clothes were mainly made from linen but were more varied.
The journey from cloak to sweaters
Cloaks have played a vital role in Irish dressing which is long coats of black color fastened with a brooch. At that time a man was not considered properly dressed until and unless he wore his cloak. It was worn by both men and women and they were often black as black was the predominant color of sheep.
In earlier times in Ireland, there was an abundance of wool which gives rise to popular cloth known as Aran Sweater. Also called a fisherman’s sweater, it is a cream-colored, festooned heavy sweater that was worn by fishermen.
The sweater is naturally water-resistant as they are made of untreated and undyed wool. The stitching pattern was unique and represents safety, success, and luck.
There was a time when all the women wore a hat called a bonnet. This was worn not only for Sunday Mass but also for going to the market, even to the dinner table or to visit friends! The bonnets were made from linen and wool material and colors were never matched. The women wore it even at home with their hair tied up underneath it! Bonnets had ribbons that were tied under each ear then tied under each chin.
Irish dresses were always expensive as they are handwoven and hand-knitted. The dresses used in dance were expensive as they were hand-embroidered and were seen as an investment. If someone wants to look like a genuine Irish person, he/she might look for an expensive dress to look the best.
Modern Irish Clothing
In modern times, in the early 20th century sweaters were considered a modern clothing style. According to recent researches, Aran Sweaters have traditionally been worn in Ireland for centuries. At that time it was considered a normal garment, but today they are rapidly spreading and can be seen wearing throughout the world. Today, sweaters come in a wide variety and wide color range. One can choose from a huge variety and sweaters are more a part of modern fashion. But in Ireland, you can still see people wearing traditional kilts, crochets, and their favorite driving cap that is too of green colors.