Whatever you’re doing this summer, whether it’s
strolling down the Champs Elysées, hitching a lift in the back
of a chicken truck through Jordan, or working behind the bar of
your local sweaty pub, you’re going to need to keep your
cool. What you need is versatile, adaptable, pack-able and, above
all, fashionable clothes that will take you from Paris to
Glastonbury and to the Hideous Kinkydepths of Morocco… Why is it that when people go travelling, they feel the urge
to dress up as if they were going to war? Huge, triple-zipped,
reversible, hitech, hi-gear, double combo, waterproof
contraptions with deflector and radar systems. When you arrive
all you’ll want is to look less like a traveller and throw
away the velcromulti- pocketed combats in exchange for some
normal clothes. The mosquito-repellent beige shirt will not only
repel the mosquitoes, but everyone else around you. Avoid going
to any ‘Outdoors’ shops before setting off on your
travels – the salesmen will try to convince you to buy
mysterious items, such as ‘jungle boots’ or a
‘monkey sack’. Whether you’re mountain climbing or hacking through the
Amazon, travel light, and take something that will give you a
break form the monkey- boot nightmare. Bring a loosefitting dress
for going out; try one made out of crumpled material, so you can
scrunch it up. Men should take a tip from the Bollywood star
Imran Khan and wear some kind of Indian-Kaftan top and trousers
affair, billowing in the wind. Try the dark, incense-burning
Indian shop on the Cowley Road; it’s like stepping into a
foreign country or going back to the 1970s. And if you pop across
the road afterwards, to the Greek supermarket, it might be enough
to quench your thirst for travelling altogether. Get some ‘Thai pants’, although they appear at first
to be designed by an elephant for an elephant, once you’ve
learnt how to wrap them, you’ll discover the marvel of the
design and wear them all the time. Wear them with a boob tube and
avoid the colour grey – the ultimate sweat-patch
illuminator. Black is a good travelling colour; it’s a myth
that it makes you hotter. Whatever you do, don’t wear those
‘Rah rah’ reflective sunglasses, unless you’re
going skiing, where everyone wears them anyway. Particularly
avoid them if you are dressed all in white, it’s a bit
‘scuba-diving instructor’. From the low-life of backpacking to the high life, if
you’re planning on travelling in style, romping around
Paris, Rome and New York, then leave the rucksacks behind. You
certainly can’t be a Parisian while puffing around, looking
like a Gary Larson cartoon tourist. For the styleconscious
traveller, what you need is a large Long Champsbag, £30. So, the point is to travel light and get some Thai pants. Also
take a scarf to go over a t-shirt on a cold Glastonbury night,
while swaying to Belle and Sebastian. Fashion isn’t all
there is to life and travelling, but it has its place somewhere
in that Sloaney Long Champs bag, or screwed up at the bottom of
your dust-covered rucksack.ARCHIVE: 6th week TT 2004