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Getting the Look

Getting the Look – Top Trends for Summer 2012

Here in the United States, this weekend marks the unofficial start of summer – Memorial Day! This means that the North American Nationals is right around the corner. Nationals isn’t a huge time to see new costumes, but it does tend to cement the trends that debuted at Worlds or the All-Irelands. For example, the big rhinestone tiaras that debuted at last years Worlds were huge at Nationals and confirmed that they were going to stick around for a while. The same is true for the asymmetric design and soft skirts. Just like the store versions of runway trends, we get to see what the rest of the Irish dance world loved from Worlds and will be rocking going into Oireachtas season.

For a refresher on the trends from this year, check out the recap of the All-Irelands trends. All of these have stayed popular (especially: the ballet shrug and open corset look) and will mostly likely continue throughout the summer. But, what will be interesting is to see which new trends since the All-Irelands will stick around this sumer.

So, what are we looking out for this sumer? There were some new styles at Worlds that have created such a buzz they’re already trends. Here are those likely candidates:

1. Celtic Knotwork. This one should really go without saying. This trend truly started at the Oireachtas season and became huge at the All-Irelands with Gavin and Celtic Star debuting some amazing Celtic Knotwork dresses. Look for this trend, featuring large than life Celtic Knotwork dominantly in the design, to continue for a while.

Celtic Star

2. Knotwork Outlines. And speaking of Celtic knotwork, this offshoot of the trend is also going to continue for a while. A rope type knotwork outlining the edges of designs and dresses was very popular at Worlds. It’s an easy way to create visual interest in a design while rocking the popular knotwork trend so it’s likely to continue!

Eire Designs

3. Colored Outlines. Another outline trend! This trend outline the edge of the skirt in a sharp, contrasting color. Celtic Star led the way on this one and Gavin is fast adopting it. Again, it’s another easy way to create visual interest and contrast in a dress. It looks particularly great in a less-is-more design.

Eire Designs

4. 3D accents. A good rule of thumb in Irish dance fashion is if it looks cool and is easy to replicate, it will likely be popular. 3D accents fall right into that rule! The most popular accent is a bow on the left side of the skirt, like in the yellow dress above. Gavin has been leading the way on this trend, but I would bet that it won’t be long before we see other designers using this technique.

Eire Designs

5. Sequins. Everywhere. In every possible configuration. Sequins popped up here and there last year, but have arrived with a vengeance this year! There are so many ways to rock this trend – as an accent, as a whole bodice (like the yellow and silver dress above), as a bodice and a skirt (like the silver dress below), in stripe form, in circle form. So many options, so few dresses… Typical Feisonista problems.

Eire Designs

Celtic Solo

6. Stripes. For those not wanting to go the Celtic knotwork trend, geometrics have also been very popular. Stripes in particular are definitely having a moment. They’re everywhere from full bodice designs to skirt accents and everywhere in between. Here’s a version that features a striped ballet shrug!

Eire Designs

7. Lattice Bodices. Another geometric trend that’s having a moment. These were popular in 2008 and have returned again. The modern update is adding accents around the edging of the lattice to make it appear less blunt. It’s a bold look that looks great on stage and Gavin has been all over it recently – look for it to continue into the summer.

Eire Designs

8. Silver and Gold. Particularly in the older age groups, dresses with silver and gold accents have been popular recently. With the ability to transform even the harshest design elegant, look for this trend to continue – especially amongst the older dancers.

Celtic Star

9. Natural Hair and Side Ponytails. I’m moving this trend to the likely position. It’s gained traction since the Oireachtas and several top dancers embraced it at Worlds. I don’t think it will sweep NANs but I think there will be a good number of dancers rocking unconventional hair styles. Work it.

Eire Designs

There were several looks that popped up several times at Worlds, but we’ll have to see how the masses react at Nationals. Here are the contenders:

1. Unconventional Fabrics. I love this trend – it opens up so many options in design. A few dresses popped up recently with unusual patterned or textured fabrics. They were mostly used in skirt design, but a few made their way to bodices as well. The best are the fabrics that aren’t too busy but add enough interest  to keep the dress looking fresh. For example, take Therese Corless’ dress which uses a subtly patterned red fabric to create an awesome effect. Below is a picture of one of the textured skirts from Gavin.

Jimmy McNulty

Eire Designs

3. Off the shoulder. We’ve seen a few off the shoulder dresses pop up over the last year, but this year we’ve seen a new twist on the off the shoulder look. It’s more of an elegant draped fabric look that you would see on a formal evening gown. Very The Princess Diaries. Check out the look here.

4. Floral. “Floral for spring? Groundbreaking.” In the Irish dance world, it is somewhat! A few dresses have popped up rocking floral prints and accents. It’s a bold look but very fresh and fun. It will be interesting to see if it will take off!

5. Lace. Lace comes and goes in Irish dance, but there were a good few dresses with lace accenting and overlays at Worlds and All-Irelands this year. I always love lace so I hope it takes off. As with florals, the key is to keep the rest of the design simple. This one is one of my favorites.

6. Sheer Overlays. This look isn’t a new one in Irish dance – I remember a dress that had this look when I started dancing in 1999 – but it’s a new one recently. It’s a very Riverdance design that creates a dynamic look on stage. It won’t be for everyone, but there were a few that popped up at Worlds and I’d bet on a few more popping up over the next few months. They’re also perfect for summer shows! This dress isn’t quite an overlay, but it gives the same effect.

Siopa Rince

There’s been so much going on in the skirt realm recently, I gave skirts their own category! The ever-shifting skirt category:

1. Skirt Embroidery and Applique. This trend has been around for a few years, but is really gaining some traction this year. It might finally be time for this look to take off!

 Celtic Star

2. Ribbon Skirts and Soft Skirts. These have been popular for a while, but the 2012 version is updated to combine the two looks. It’s a clever way to add dimension to a dress while keeping the ease of a soft skirt. I’m willing to bet that you’ll see a lot of these at NANs! The ribbon/soft skirt is in the middle of this picture. I love the other skirts on both sides as well! More on updated panels below…

Jimmy McNulty

3. Feather Skirts. This is the trend that launched a thousand voy forum posts. Love it or hate it, you had an opinion about it. It will be so interesting to see if more pop up at NANs!

Eire Designs

4. Wide Skirts. This is another look that debuted at Worlds this year. Irish dance dress skirts have always been wide, but this skirt kicks it up a notch. It creates a pretty cool silhouette so I’ll be looking to see if this catches on at Nationals. Check out the look here.

5. Updated Panel Skirts. Could it be? A return to paneled skirts? Maybe. There were several updated panel look at Worlds this year! Each designer had their own take on it, so I can’t wait to see what skirts are looking like at Nationals. May the best panel win!

Siopa Rince

Eire Designs

Heidi Bird

6. Layered Skirts. For a very elegant and regal dancer, this look is a fun one. A good few dresses had fabric draped over the skirt, giving the design a very 1800s posh feel. On the flip side, there were dresses with sharp, geometric layers that felt like a modern update of the 5-100 panel dresses from a few years ago.

Celtic Solo

Celtic Star

7. Scalloped-edged skirts. Because everything is cyclical in fashion, scallops look like they’re coming back into fashion again. It’s a bit of a play on the petal skirts Gavin debuted last year, updated to have a scalloped edge. It will be interesting to see if it takes off!


That’s what to keep an eye on for this summer! What’s your favorite new look? Did you see anything else?

Stay Fashionable, Feisers!



3 thoughts on “Getting the Look – Top Trends for Summer 2012

  1. I love getting emails from feisonista is there any vests that you think are fashionable

    Posted by Matilda | May 28, 2012, 9:59 am
  2. Do you think the asymmetric style bodices are still in style? I need a new dress but I don’t want to spend a lot of money on an outdated design.

    Posted by mgirishdancer | June 20, 2012, 11:27 pm

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