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Monday, March 17, 2014


While I love, and mostly wear, bright colorful clothing, the quintessential prep colors are generally held to be pink and green.  Don’t get me wrong, amidst the rainbow colors in my closet, these two are well represented and are often worn together . . . except on March 17th.

Let me start by saying I don’t possess an ounce of Irish blood (my heritage is from Germany, Switzerland, and Luxembourg), and yet on St. Patrick’s Day, I’m an active participant in the “wearing of the Green.”  But how did this tradition begin?

My St. Patricks Day Outfit.
Mint Green Shirt: Polo Ralph Lauren
Green Corduroy Pants: Lands' End
Tie: Vintage
Shoes: Bostonian Cordovan Cap Toe
Socks: Bugatchi
Watch: Timex
Watchband: Brooks Brothers
Beads: Just For FUN!

There are many legends that explain this and I’m not certain that we can point to any one them definitively.  I suspect they have all played a role in inputting this tradition. 

Let me first give some background to St. Patrick.  Patrick was actually born in England (not Ireland).  When he was in his teens he was captured and taken to Ireland where he was sold as slave.  After a half of dozen years or so, he managed to escape and returned home, where he converted to Christianity and later became a priest.  Eventually Patrick would become a Bishop and would choose to return to Ireland to evangelize the natives. He mission succeeded, and the entire island was converted to Christianity.  Patrick died on March 17, 461, and remained a relatively obscure person until a resurgence of interest in him grew several centuries later, leading to his canonization and the celebrations honoring him today.

It’s interesting to note that Patrick’s original color was actually blue and not green.  So how did green become the traditional color associated with him?  There are many thoughts on this.  Some say it’s to represent the lush green countryside of Ireland, while others point out the habit established by pre-Christians of wearing sprigs of green on the Vernal Equinox, which happens just days after March 17th.  Still others will mention the legend of the green shamrock that Patrick used to teach about the Trinity. The truth is, no one knows for certain.

One thing we do know, is that as time went on, whether for religious or political reasons, people took to wearing green shamrocks on their clothing on March 17th, thus the “wearing of the green.”  Eventually this custom evolved into wearing green clothing, and that tradition has continued on to today.

Regardless of how we arrived at it, green is definitely the standard color for St. Patrick’s Day.  With that in mind, here’s hoping you’ll be “wearing of the green” today too!


(Top image is from

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