2015 marks my friend Gill’s first adventure to Europe. I asked her what she was planning to take. She spoke at length about the virtues and practicalities of zip off khaki pants and her plans to team them back with a sleeveless polar fleece jacket, and top the whole ensemble off with a hat that, although making her look like some kind of mushroom, would effectively keep her protected from sunburn.
I offered that as well as protecting her from sunburn, this hat would also effectively protect her from all potential social interaction whilst on holiday. I went on to suggest that people in stylish European cities would likely cross the street to avoid having to look at the hat. And don’t even get me started on what I said about the whole polar fleece and zip off pants debacle…
Now if Gill walks into a smart bar in Paris expecting to blend in with locals…well she may as well hang a sign around her neck…
As my friend Ms. Isobel says: ‘You’ve got an accent. Guys will wanna pick you up. It’s not hard ladies. Leave the polar fleece for the next time you scale K2.’
Now of course if you want to visit Paris armoured in polar fleece – as you were. If your intention is just to stare at the Eiffel Tower and keep warm whilst doing it – as you were. If the only attention you crave is that of other polar fleece fanciers, again, as you were.
If however, you’d like to chat with locals, maybe catch the eye of a potential paramour, all I’m saying is maybe polar fleece and an unattractive hat is not your best option. Most Parisians already want to avoid the legions of tourists that infest their glorious nougat city.
Travel offers you the perfect opportunity to reinvent your style – even if that means just investing in a brand new polar fleece instead of taking the one with all the pilling under the arms and the salsa stain down the front that never came out after that night…
We staged an intervention with Gill. Here’s what happened:
Sateen cotton cuffed pant: Esprit – found brand new in an op shop for $5. Scarf and shoes: Alice’s. Belt and Princess Highway top: Gill’s own.
Short Trench: D&G, found brand new in an op shop for $30. Boat necks and stripes suit everyone. If you don’t own any striped Tees – buy some immediately. If you don’t own skinny jeans, try them on and see. Just don’t kneel down in them for long periods of time and clean the kitchen cupboards.
Cotton sateen dress worn with a jacket found in an op shop for $15. (Substitute a denim jacket and red converse for a more casual look.)
Here’s what Gill said:
‘Thank-you, I owe you my life. Now that you’ve showed me the error of my ways, I feel confident to embrace my bright future as a fabulous independent world traveller. From now on I will always read your blog. And I promise I will throw away the hat.’