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Image / Style / Fashion

Stylist Irene O’Brien on her favourite fashion finds


By Sarah Gill
03rd Apr 2023
Stylist Irene O’Brien on her favourite fashion finds

From her does-it-all coat, to her wear-everywhere handbag, here are Irene O'Brien’s favourite fashion finds.

Fashion presenter, style consultant, and advocate for conscious shopping and clothing care, Irene O’Brien is a stylist who encourages her viewers, readers, listeners and personal clients to celebrate who they are by wearing clothes they truly love –in a way that makes them feel the absolute best version of themselves.

Host of The Gilded Thread – a podcast relaunching this week that sees Irene chat with her guests about their story so far, told through their stand-out style memories – Irene’s passion for clothing informs all aspects of her life. Here, we get an exclusive glimpse into her enviable wardrobe.

How would you describe your personal style?

I kind of feel like that’s like trying to describe your personality; no matter what I say, it’ll likely be completely different to how others see it! I know my personal style is pretty confused, so it really does depend on the day. I will plan for my week but invariably throw aside garments hanging expectantly on closet handles; instead there will be a flurry of action in the closet and I’ll come out wearing something completely different. Mood dressing, that’s my thing. Often colourful, rarely figure-hugging, generally not-quite-right.

The go-to shoe/trainers

Santa brought me a pair of studded Pinko stomping boots for Christmas 2021 and they haven’t come off my feet since. They’re the unicorn of stomping boots: deliciously clumpy but light as feathers. I’ve worn them all winter, all summer and to every occasion in between. RIP all the studs I’ve left behind along the way… I think of them often.

The does-it-all coat

Coats are up there with my favourite things to invest in (along with sunglasses). In Ireland we’re wearing them 80% of the time so to have a fun, well-cut, happy option is to do yourself a great style favour. My enduring love is a handmade military green and pink coat with a mandarin collar and gold buttons that I bought at Cow’s Lane market years ago. The shape is so great that you could literally wear it with nothing else and still feel dressed. Any coat that achieves that is a does-all number for sure.

The perfect jeans

Original Vintage Levis – 501s or orange tab. Often copied, never matched. They *must* be vintage so the denim feels as budge-proof as the sheets on a hotel bed. Stretchy denim makes me sad.

The must-have knitwear

We are so, so spoilt for perfect Irish-made knitwear. My two favourite knits are an oversized cream Aran cardigan with traditional leather buttons by IrelandsEye that my mum travelled miles to get me during the pandemic. And a super-soft navy cable knit from Aran Woollen Mills that gets the almost impossible balance between chic and comforting. Coloured knit vests are my dream addition for spring.

The everyday jewellery

My ‘Red’ nameplate necklace is a permanent fixture around my neck. It’s a copy of a cheap necklace that was originally bought with my then-boyfriend in New York’s Chinatown to mark our engagement. Irish jeweller Edge Only recreated it beautifully when the original was lost. One of my favourite gifts ever. Oh, and hoops. Gold hoops every day.

The wear-everywhere handbag

Although I have a stupid amount of bags in all shapes and sizes, it’s a now bashed-up brown leather studded bum bag that I originally bought in a Marrakech souk and that I have wrapped around me most days. I’ve had the leather strap repaired when it wore through – I found myself lost without it when it broke. It’s the joy of hands-free for me. Big bags just end up stressing me out as I overfill them, lose everything in them, and feel completely out of control as a result!

The Sunday cosy casual look

Quilted jacket, soft brushed cotton top, oversized overalls, slouchy cashmere socks. Simply add rubber boots and sunglasses for a forest walk or remove padded jacket for wine on the couch.

The ultimate pyjamas

COTTON! The LNH edit pyjamas come in loads of brilliant prints. I recently bought three pairs ahead of a special trip to Paris for my sister, my mum and myself. They made an occasion of things before we had even left, and have been much worn and loved since. But of course, your fella’s t-shirt and a pair of big knickers always works well too.

The party look essential

A giddy glint in your eye. Every outfit works with that. And bare legs kissed with Body Blur. They just dance better that way.

The most treasured piece

It would have to be anything I have that belonged to my mum, especially as she’s always able to tell me where and when it was purchased, and how she felt about it at the time. A kilt that my dad bought for her as a gift in the 70s is a particular favourite. The stories that clothes tell are the best stories, in my opinion!

The wishlist item

An original 1970s Halston beaded jumpsuit with long sleeves. The places that baby could take me…

The vintage shop to know

Just across the road from each other are Dublin’s oldest vintage store, Jenny Vander, and the vintage basement in Om Diva, both on Drury St. And both are a joy to spend time in. I always leave feeling inspired and with a little spring in my vintage-loving step.

Who to follow for style on social media

I adore Advanced Style for colour and a dopamine hit. And Billie Piper and Chloe Sevigny for originality. And for the most pleasing content to look at, it has to be Accidently Wes Anderson.

The beauty essentials / self-care ritual

My latest self-care is to drink a large glass of water every morning before anything else. Ground-breaking it is not, but those little commitments make it easier to feel like you’re winning at self-care. I do sleep way better when I’ve spent ages gleaming and creaming my face – I use the Jan Marini 5-step programme from Monkstown Laser Clinic which I find magic. And *actually* flossing is the icing on that routine cake. It’s a smug sleep when that happens.