Post by T.M.
When I was preparing to study abroad in Norway way back when in the noughties I tried to figure out what kind of clothes were worn over there. Reindeer pelt? Long Johns? Well, it turns out that student style is pretty much universal – but you know that already, don’t you? You probably Googled it. I didn’t have that luxury back then.*
However, there was one sartorial item that I never could have predicted would be popular anywhere in the world, style-wise, and that was The Welly.
Also known as ‘rubber boots’ or ‘rain boots’, Wellingtons were harshly looked down upon by anyone who didn’t work with mud or water in Ireland when I was packing my suitcase for my Scandinavian adventure. But in Norway – well they came in all shapes and sizes and colours and patterns and everyone wore them. They also wore sensible coats and jackets that didn’t soak through when caught in a rain storm (of which there were many.)
Some people may be reading this and thinking – what’s the significance? If that’s you, I’m presuming you are not Irish and therefore, you are unaware that the majority of our fair population is allergic to sensible clothes. We are not at all ignorant to the fact that it rains practically every day and that that rain is often freezing cold and accompanied by wind. So why is it that when I was walking to work yesterday morning not one soul was wearing anything remotely rain repellent? And why were there more broken umbrellas than pigeons on the streets? I just don’t know! I’m shaking my head and rolling my eyes and trying to come up with an answer as I type. It’s a mystery. Any possible answers on a postcard please! Or in the comments section below.
That’s not to say that we don’t wear wellies. We do! In summer, at festivals. We can thank Kate Moss for that.
A few years before La Moss donned her infamous Hunter’s pair – they have to be Hunters – CM and I embarrassed our friends by turning up to Oxegen wearing our fetching green farmer-esque boots. We didn’t care – it poured the whole time and our tootsies were thankful. In those days some people wore flip-flops to festivals! But after Kate Moss turned the tide, a festival uniform was born.
Last year I went to Electric Picnic and the weather was glorious and girls were still wearing the uniform of jean shorts, vest top, light green parka-style jacket and wellies. I’m not judging, that’s pretty much what I wore too, because that sort of outfit makes perfect sense.
What doesn’t make perfect sense is not digging out those often-times expensive wellies to walk to work in on a wet day. The only explanation is that it’s simply not very chic. I actually did see a woman wearing miniature versions with plastic bows and the like on them that were…cute.
That said, when I lived in South Korea you would get strange looks for not wearing wellies during monsoon season. Even the Gangnam girls wore them to protect their delicate hooves.
I say we start a movement to make wellies year-long acceptable footwear for all in Ireland – who’s with me?
*I did have Google, but there were slim pickings image-wise.