Fashion meets compassion: Limerick’s Carrie Barrett on looking good and helping others

Limerick fashionista Carrie Barrett

MOYROSS native Carrie Barrett – better known on Instagram as @coveted_by_carrie – doesn’t take fashion too seriously. And she still manages to look effortlessly flawless as she documents each fit with her signature hand-on-hip pose.

A scroll down Carrie’s Instagram feed and you’re instantly greeted with a wave of vibrant, energetic, lively colours and a rush of positivity. On the face of things, Carrie is a local style icon. And deservedly so.

But what many may not know about the wife of Treaty United manager Tommy Barrett is that she worked for almost a decade with Limerick’s ADAPT Domestic Abuse Services, first as a women’s services support worker before moving on to facilitating workshops on trauma, domestic abuse awareness, and healthy relationships.

ADAPT help women and children reclaim their lives in the wake of domestic abuse. Speaking to the Limerick Post, Carrie says often when women experience coercive or domestic abuse, their identity is stripped from them, and it can be hard to resurrect the person they once were before their essence was eroded by an abuser.

Carrie believes that fashion is a low-stress way for women to dip their toes back in the water while rebuilding what they lost. She recommends for some that dipping into the wide spread of Limerick charity shops can be a great place to start for some women who may have built up guilt or trauma around spending.

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Blending her passion for fashion with her compassion for her sisters around her, Carrie is establishing herself as a force for female empowerment.

“We can look fabulous without spending a fortune, by supporting each other and helping other women,” she says.

“Working in ADAPT, I was very aware of how difficult it is for women to put themselves first – especially single women and single mothers – and not feel guilty. I think, in general, women are conditioned to feel that they need to serve and sacrifice themselves.”

But compassionate Carrie says this shouldn’t be the case, adding that it’s important for women to meet their own needs first.

Currently studying at MFA in Playwriting, Carrie still makes a point to support ADAPT when she can, sharing news from important service updates to special items on sale at the organisation’s Parnell Street store (@adapt_charity_shop on Instagram) to her growing social following.

Most recently, she’s even taken to modelling the store’s wares to help get the word out.

“I loved the bits I tried on but I had to leave them there for other people,” she laughs. “There was no point in me showing them and then customers can’t have them.”

The Moyross woman believes that the ADAPT shop is a powerful way to make an impact in the community.

“I’ve witnessed how women and children benefit from the shop, it brings in a lot of money that’s really needed. It goes directly to women and children who receive supports, that includes outreach as well. It’s going directly to the source.

“It’s going back to make another woman feel good. It’s a win-win.”

Discussion her own ongoing fashion odyssey, Carrie describes her style as “changeable”. She doesn’t like to box herself into one signature look.

“I dress for my many personalities,” she quips. “I like to play and have fun with fashion and express myself through fashion creatively. It’s a way of communicating to the world. I don’t take it too seriously, it’s a bit of fun, and it’s a bit of art.”

Carrie’s outlook on dressing is that if it triggers joy, she’s going to wear it and damned to anyone who doesn’t like it.

Though she confesses that despite her carefree manifesto, there have been times when she’s experienced the ugly side of the fashion industry and the pressure it can put on people online. She admitted fears that her own account may generate insecurity in her followers.

“It can be quite damaging and superficial, that feeling that we’re never enough and that we have to keep buying, changing, and keep up with each other. There’s an insatiable appetite for more.

“I didn’t want to feed into that. I want to focus on fashion as fun, but also as a way of empowering ourselves as women.”

She spoke too of her own experiences of societal pressures distorting the way she viewed her sense of self.

“After I had my kids, I remember opening my wardrobe almost limiting myself like ‘Oh now I’m a mother, I can’t wear this anymore’. I purposely changed my style because I thought I needed to look a certain way because now I was a mother.

“It didn’t last very long because it was like ‘This is boring. I feel boring. Give me my crazy clothes again.’”

Dopamine dressing – the concept of dressing in colours that help boost your mood – is a philosophy that Carrie holds fast to.

“Wearing bright colours or pieces of clothing that have sentimental value helps us feel good about ourselves and helps our mood.

“If you’re having a difficult day, put on a piece of clothing that reminds you of something that will help raise your mood.”

For anyone in need of ADAPT’s services, help is at hand on 061 412 354 or via email on ADAPT’s rapid response helpline is also available on 1800 200 504.