Fashion, Licentiate Columns

Licentiate Column 28/06/12: Holiday Packing It Ain’t

Packing your life into a suitcase is hard.  Holiday packing it ain’t.  You don’t need a couple of bikinis and caftans for a fortnight of sun, sand and vat or two of sangria.  You need clothes for work, for after work, for weekends, for dates, for relaxing, for sleeping, for working out.  Basically, you need clothes for a life.

As my life is somewhat in stasis right now, so is my wardrobe.  Clothes hover about in different places: my old flat, at my parent’s house and in a tote bag that is straining like an overstuffed sausage in a corner in my sister’s room in Dublin, where I am now.

This may come as a source of shock and Benedict Arnold-style betrayal, but I am loving life in Dublin after just one week of eating, sleeping, window-licking and commuting within the capital.  It is a great city – not better than Cork, mind, just different.  There are only two glitches, and both of them are wardrobe related.

Wardrobe problem 1)  There is no wardrobe.  Well, there is a wardrobe; I just can’t use it.  After packing my duffel and schlepping up on the train, I arrived at my first port of call, which happens to be someone else’s room and found that there was no room for me.  But that wasn’t too much of a bother.  I had prepared with a mini-capsule wardrobe.  A life in a bag.

As usual, it’s a palette of black and grey that gets me through the working day, drinks with friends and dealing with the occasional idiot on the Luas.  When I think of life back in Cork, I think of colour.  Bright colours.  I think of my rainbow plaid shirt, leopard print coat, polka dot dress and studded accessories.  The is no room for pattern in my life, no room for superfluity.

I miss pattern and print.  I miss having frivolous things,  This has had some detrimental effects.  Today I went into Penneys looking for a particular pair of shoes and came out with said shoes, a top, socks, a biker jacket in a particularly offensive pewter leatherette and some kind of diamante nail sticker thingies.  Shopping in Penneys is the wardrobe equivalent of cabin fever.

Wardrobe problem 2)  When you move to a new city and every aspect of your life is in flux, it can take a while to regain some semblance of equilibrium.  This is no different with your outfit choices.  Every day you wake up, look in the mirror and think, ‘Who will I be today?’  The answer is obviously , ‘Someone who needs some new clothes – lots of them’.

It’s no wonder that trends change with the seasons and new clothes proclaim how easy it is to develop a ‘new you’.  It’s big business.  We as people seek to reinvent ourselves fundamentally at the drop of a hat; the turning of the weather and resituation in a new city are just two good excuses to try it out.

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