The key to dressing in a foreign environment, is layers, layers, and layers! I know this is the most advised tip ever, but I’m going to break it down, and give it the customization that study abroad students in Galway desperately need. After all, isn’t everyone craving this top-secret information?
You can never have enough scarves. They are the cherry on top of any outfit. I think I only packed 6 because I knew I would buy more, and because I only wear about 3 at most. Scarves come in any color, shape, length and material, so the possibilities are endless. There are at least 10 different ways to wear a scarf. I have mastered a mere 4. The rest take precision and patience, which I lack both of. Like any tried and true accessory, you have to be careful. Treat your scarves with love and they are sure to last. If not, then you will find your favorite scarf unraveling.
Yes, I can hear your eye-rolls. Sure, many of you grew up in the 1980’s, and would like to forget many fashion mishaps of that decade. I say keep the leg-warmers alive! They are the best thing since sliced bread. I made the best decision to buy a pair a year ago. I wear them all the time! I wear two layers of warm fuzzy socks regularly, but leg-warmers are a life-saver. Colors are pivotal. They aid those of you who are embarrassed of this brilliant invention by blending in to any outfit.
Yes I was serious about layers. To be completely honest, 3-5 days a week, I wear tights under my jeans. They help contain my body heat, ward off a cold, and stay warm despite the rain/hail storms I have to battle on my walk to class. I would buy 3 or 4 pairs. You can wash them as often or as rarely as you choose. Laundry abroad matters solely on how much you need to do laundry and by how hungry you are. I’m usually hungry.
My first week in Galway was the most unexpected, intermittent rain I have ever faced, without a hood. I got drenched, I was crabby, soaked and cranky. Whenever I walked anywhere, whether it be class, downtown or the market, I got a taste of Ireland‘s fickle weather. I refused when offered someone’s jacket, because I’m just stupidly stubborn like that. But as soon as I was able, I bought the most fabulously cheap, flaming red rain jacket. It even has polka-dots on the lining! I wear it all the time. Red is my color, so it’s just an added bonus that my most worn item of clothing is my favorite color and keeps me dry. So to all of you that, like me, stupidly forgot a jacket with a hood, make sure you bring plenty of hoods to wear underneath your hood-less jackets.
5. A 4-5 month supply of makeup
I discovered this in the first month. I don’t wear much makeup to start, but before I left I made sure I had enough of my foundation and mascara to last me my 4.5 month stay abroad. Oddly enough, I was immensely relieved to find the local pharmacy carries my brands. I even found a promising shade of my signature red nail polish. I didn’t bring any nail polish in fear of a bottle rupturing all over my clothes. The point is, choose carefully what you can’t live without. For me, it was narrowing down my always growing lipstick collection. If you underestimated your supply, just make do with what’s available. There are tons of pharmacies and beauty sections of stores down on Shop St.
6. A hair brush
I’m convinced Mother Nature’s life mission is to ruin my hair, but this may be due in part to my unfortunately thin, fine hair. Nonetheless, I make due with extensive brushing, before and after I leave. Especially after I brave a storm on my walk to class, I always whip out my trusty , tiny Conair brush. With this blessed tool, I can attempt to tame my hair into a slight resemblance of my original coiffure.