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Paul Costelloe Talks Irish Men’s Fashion Evolution

Paul Costelloe’s name is near sacrosanct when it comes to talking about Irish fashion. This famed designer was one of this island’s hottest exports in the 1980s and 1990s when his Parisian training and tailoring ingenuity saw him dominate London Fashion Week and dress icons, most famously Princess Diana. His womenswear and menswear label remains a go-to for a reliable and brilliant cut and effortlessly simple style. Next Thursday, 29th October, Paul Costelloe will be speaking about his menswear at Q&A event hosted by stylist Anne-Marie O Connor at Arnotts from 6-8pm. We caught up with the designer to talk Irish men’s fashion evolution and how good clothes maketh the man. Here are some of his best takeaways.

On how Irish men have grown up when it comes to style

Men are definitely getting braver and they’re becoming a lot more conscious. Except for a couple of my friends who could do with a lot of help.

On the perfect outfit choice

I think men are best when they’re rolled up sleeves, comfortable, a pair of jeans, trainers, and just being themselves. But wearing nice quality, well cut jeans, a well-cut shirt. It’s really about keeping it simple – and wearing some colour. Colour has become more relevant, especially if you have darker skin, it works really well. A pair of reddish trousers or a blue or khaki colour.

When it comes to a semi-formal wardrobe

Nice pair of knitwear, simple merino wool, crew-neck. And a nice pair of slacks. I think the slimmer jacket and the slimmer trousers can look really cool. It fits well with a well-tailored shirt and an understated tie. It can look really, really good.

The key to a good suit?

I think a suit makes a man looks quite attractive. If it’s well-cut and well-fitted – otherwise it can look absolutely dreadful. When you buy a suit off the rack, you should pay that little extra for the alteration, rather than just expecting it to work. It doesn’t work. No one is perfect – unless they’re model-sized, a perfect size 34 chest and a 34 inside leg or whatever. It’s worth going that extra mile. And then buying a good pair of shoes and a lovely shirt with a cutaway collar. Depending on his size, if he can wear the neck open and look good, then great. If not, wear a tie. Even a waistcoat can even work. A three-piece suit is looking good again.

How being too brave can backfire

Stay away from too much colour. One has to be careful unless you look really stunning, tanned and slim.

The trends to watch

Another thing that is happening is flannel. The old grey flannel suits have come back. They are great because they can look cool, confident, sort of preppy. It can take you anywhere.
The heritage jackets – the hunting and fishing look – they last, they’re a good investment. It’s a traditional look updated.
Men have gone mad on socks – odd colours, tartan, and argyles.

Paul Costelloe will be speaking about his menswear at Q&A event in Arnotts, next Thursday, 29th October from 6-8pm. The event is hosted by stylist Anne-Marie O’Connor and all are welcome.

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