I would love to say that I have a fabulous sense of style. However in truth, as a mother, my favourite fashion accessory is a set of hand prints on clean pants. I once regularly wore matching necklaces and dangly earrings, but now I do so at the risk of being strangled or ending up with earlobes bigger than a Masai warrior. I have been known to wear blue and black at the same time, and also double denim (but that was so long ago it doesn’t count). And thanks to the Stacey and Clinton version of “What not to wear”, I’ve weaned myself off the teenage boy look of jeans, hoody (albeit one with a cool logo) and coloured trainers (when you see my feet you’ll see the reason comfort is a must). So now that I’ve fully justified the hypocrisy which is about to unfold, let me embark on a rant about the fashion wardrobe of travellers.
We have just had the most amazing holiday in the South of France (sounds so divine, and it was) and to Spain (tapas, oh tapas my friend, you are delicious). Now if this statement alone doesn’t conjure up enough jealousy in you yet, let me post a couple of pictures to rub it in...
Back to the topic... What I don’t understand about people on holidays in gorgeous locations, is that for some reason their sense of taste goes out the window (assuming they had anything to begin with), and they seem to think its okay to wear the most horrid things.
To make things easier, I’m going to start with some generalisations by race. The Pommy and Irish tourists I saw (I’m sure they are going to just love being put in the same fashion disaster basket) certainly took the biscuit when it came to ugly bathing accessories. There must have been a kaftan sale on at Heathrow/Dublin airports on hot pink kaftans which were then worn over chunky bodies (they are see through people, you are not hiding anything). There was the girl with the tattoo on her bum (well if you going to get a discreet tattoo your left butt cheek is not a bad choice) but she was wearing a transparent tankini (also in an ugly shade of pink). The most common fashion feature of the Pommy/Irish tourist category was the burnt redder than you can ever wish to imagine skin, bearing tell tale white marks where legs had been bent, sunscreen missed or man boobs which had created shelter. But the standout highlight from this category, was the Irish lady who came to the pool each day in black and white leopard print bathers, an almost matching black and white skirt, and an almost matching velour shawl that handily doubled up as her beach towel.
Let me move on to the people of my kin, the Dutch. The Dutch can be congratulated because with the exception of some older couples wearing coordinating khaki (what is it with holiday makers wearing khaki?), the Dutch for the most part seem to wear the same as at home. I don’t know if this is because they are too tight to buy ‘holiday’ outfits, or whether the casual wardrobe is the domain of many Dutch people. This made it very easy for me to spot the Dutch people before hearing them. And no, it wasn’t the blonde hair and being tall, and all looking the same that gave it away (tongue planted firmly in cheek here). For the women it was leggings!
I’ve been pondering for ages why Dutch vrouw’s are so committed to wearing leggings (they look tres cute on 4 year old girls, but grown women?). I have reasoned they wear them so they don’t show their knickers when they are wearing a skirt and riding their bikes. However they didn’t seem to be on bikes while on holidays. For the Dutch women not wearing leggings it was the white pants that gave their nationality away. In the Netherlands no sooner has than the sun coming out on a pleasant day, the vrouws are out and about looking carefree and happy in their white pants/shorts/skirts. This has been some form of fashion culture shock for me as the well known but unspoken rule in Australia is this... If you are over a size 10, you do not, I repeat never, wear white on your bottom half unless it is white shoes, and even then they are questionable.
But the final fashion feature of the Dutchies was their brown skin. While I was away, I loved to scoff at their sunburnt skin, but no sooner had the evening past and the sun arisen the next day, these people would come out sporting a fabulous suntan. Not like the Pomms/Irish that looked much worse on the second day, the Dutch people I saw looked gorgeous and bronzed after hours in the sun. And yes I have repressed jealousy as my sun damaged Aussie skin is covered in moles and spots due to a misspent youth at the beach.
The Spaniards regardless of their age or sagginess of their boobs clearly saw that bikini tops were not required. And the slim young French girls were big fans of butt accessorising super short denim shorts. The kids under 5 wore with a mantra, “I shalt not be seen near the pool without floaties securely attached to each arm”. And crocs (how I hate crocs) were the most common child footwear. Havaianas (how I love ‘em) have clearly become a great Brazillian thong export (that is the thong that gives you toe cleavage rather than bottom cleavage). For those with young babies Bugaboo’s were mandatory, and those with older babies/toddlers (and the smarts to work out big prams are a pain in the proverbial) then Maclaren strollers were the absolute must have beach/pool accessory.
So while the fashion police were not present on my holiday. They would have been seriously busy handing out tickets and taking into custody people for fashion crimes. They could have started with this person who looks curiously a lot like me.