Fashion on Holiday

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I have a slightly different fashion aesthetic when I’m on holiday, and in hot climates, than I do in urban environments (my everyday life and on holiday in big cities). I think many of us do. It’s called being appropriate.

At home, and especially at night going out, I like to dress up, wear glammy, shiny things and big stompy boots or luscious platforms. I like black pumped up with a bright colour to contrast.

But in hot climates, being comfortable and dealing with the heat figure much more prominently in my style decisions. On hols recently, I wore a green cotton knit halter neck dress with empire line a fair bit. It covered my swimming costume on the way to the beach, covered my tummy with the gathers under the bust, and resisted wrinkles being a knit. At home, I’d probably only wear it edged up a bit, with slinky black leggings and a vest or jacket over it (and funky jewellery and groovy shoe-boots).

I well remember being in Vang Vieng in Laos a few years back, and it was HOTTTT!! I was sitting there in a café (NOT a Friends one!) wearing something summery, and my husband and I saw a goth or emo couple across the road who looked a bit like we do when we go out clubbing, except with huge backpacks on their backs. All black clothing, big black platform boots (possibly New Rocks, it was hard to tell from across the road), industrial style bondage pants with straps and d-rings, piercings, drawn on eyebrows…the lot.

Now on the one hand I congratulate them for maintaining their own personal style no matter what. I almost wanted to wave to them, as they were from a similar alternative music “tribe”. But on the other, they were dressed totally inappropriately for the heat. I’ll bet the locals gave them schtick for sticking out and looking like freaks. And I somehow felt a little embarrassed for them.

If they were on holiday in Germany, or Japan, or any urban, industrialised nation, they’d fit right in. But in the heart of backpacker territory, in the steamy plains of Laos, near rushing rivers and jutting karsts, they just seemed out of place. (And how they kept their drawn on eyebrows in the sweltering humidity is beyond me – unless they set them with hairspray. They probably did!)

What do you think? Is it more important to keep your style even in tropical climes? I like to think I stay edgy in small details, but there’s no doubt I am dumbing down my alternative look. And I have my limits.

* I don’t wear Birkenstocks – they’re ugly, and do NOTHING for my wide feet.

* I pack flat or lower heeled/platformed shoes for walking around in.

* A pair of dainty mules for night is enough for going out to dinner.

* I ONLY wear crocs/plastic shoes, when actually on a river or scampering across rocks by the sea.

And look – they’re purple.

* I actually wear a cap – the only time, apart from jogging, when I do. You have to protect your scalp, and your eyes, from the fierce heat. It’s ferocious in South East Asia, man!

* I pack fabrics that don’t crush, so I can easily stuff ‘em into my backpack.

* I wear my glasses more, and contact lenses less. And leave the spooky lenses at home.

* If I’m in Muslim areas, even if it’s hot, I cover up more. I notice what the locals wear and take my cue (not so much the hijab, but whether arms are covered, knees showing or not etc.)

* In Malaysia, I wore a tank top beneath the halter dress, as the V was just too low on its own, and wore my light, long sleeved kaftan in Malay restorans.

* I don’t pack the hair straightener, instead putting my hair back in a ponytail, slick it back behind my ears, or just let the salt water set it into loose waves.

* I wear less make-up and usually only at night going out.

* I still wear a little black at times, but not all over. D still wears his same Marilyn Manson and Wolfmother black t-shirts!

(All pics except the shoes are from the holiday in Laos).

What about you? Do you compromise your look a little when on holiday in hot places? Do you dress up as much when away, as you do at home?