It’s fair to say Limerick isn’t best known for its fashion. Traditionally a laid-back, old-school Irish city with more of a love for culture than trend, the west coast hub has rarely garnered much tourist love, though we can’t help thinking it’s the tourists who are missing out.
From a fashion perspective, though, the area is on the rise, with a number of colourful boutiques leading the charge alongside popular high street chain Brown Thomas. Here are the lovingly curated little corners you should check out…
The Ivory Closet
The Ivory Closet has garnered a huge local reputation, largely for its fantastic dress hire service, which is beloved by everyone from school leavers hitting up the prom to celebrities heading for the TV studio (see below). Much of what you’ll see in here isn’t for sale, then, but the regular selling off of high-end dresses by top designers makes it one of the best places in the city to look, whether you’re in the market for a rental or a purchase. Also, they’re extraordinarily helpful. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for the latest sales deals.
A popular (if rather pricey) high-end city centre boutique on one of Limerick’s most fashionable streets, O’Donnell’s has been going since 1946, bringing well-known brands to the city in a range of formal, business and informal styles. Their collection includes a host of local designers well worth exploring as well as seasonal offerings from the likes of Mos Mosh, Gardeur, Chamonix and Eden Row. This is a carefully curated spot with packed shelves and a popular online shopping option.
Housed in a 1930s cottage in gorgeous Adare, Isobel Boutique still feels surprisingly of the moment to explore amid the town’s thatch and crumbling old buildings. Stock includes the latest from Roberto Cavalli, Red Valentino, Zeila and Oky-Coky. Catherine Zeta-Jones was a visitor when she stayed in the town, and with a fashion-conscious staff not afraid to speak their mind, you might catch a little of her style. It’s a trip outside the city, but both the boutique itself and the town of Adare are utterly charming.
Sinead’s Boutique in tiny Annacotty, a few kilometres from the heart of Limerick City, is aimed largely at the middle-aged market, with a particular specialisation in dresses designed for the mothers of brides and grooms at weddings. That might sound particularly niche, but Irish weddings are notoriously large, and they’re certain to snag more than specifically the mothers. There’s also a broad range of formal wear, from evening gowns to casual dresses, aimed at ensuring the guests of honour look their best (it’s worth noting this isn’t a wedding dress shop; there’s no fancy white dresses).
A real home-grown talent, Caroline Mitchell produces her entire collection in the city, and it’s largely colourful and classy. This is not a boutique as such (though you can contact Caroline about dropping into her suburban studio, which is by appointment only). Mitchell stocks locations throughout the country (including several in Dublin). The private appointment is the way to go if her work grabs you, however, since you can benefit directly from her expertise and discuss specific designs. Heavy on crochet, embroidery and delicate detail, 20years of experience has taken her to every major fashion show in Ireland, and her knitted dresses are particularly unique and memorable.