John Allan: Bridgetown, Western Australia, April 2021
It must be over 20 years since I came to the realisation that it’s function over fashion, comfort over couture.
There are basically two seasons in this part of the world.
Summer… where I adorn fabulous floral Hawaiian shirts and shorts.
Winter…. when I rug up in sweatshirts and trackie dacks (tracksuit trousers).
My major dilemma is whether to have the elasticated waist below or above the beer gut.
Shitty nappy look versus camel toe look.
Thong (flip flop),
Blundies (Blundstone or it’s competitor Rossi elastic sided boot)
and you’ve covered all known Australian footwear.
I haven’t laced up a shoe for over 5 years.
Our early ‘look’ was of course solely in the hands of our parents.
Any baby photos I’ve seen of myself, I seem to be wearing a dress.
More than that, there are layers upon layers of petticoats underneath.
Now there could be various reasons for this….
It could have been a christening or some other type of formal ceremony.
Or, perhaps after two boys, my Mum had prepared for a daughter.
Or lastly…. my parents were just taking the piss.
I can’t ever remember my parents holidaying in the Black Forest or being visited by any Tyrolean travellers but for some reason at an early and vulnerable age I was presented with a pair of lederhosen.
I was paraded in front of many a coffee morning to the oohs and aahs of neighbouring mothers.
Certainly they were hard wearing and tough and with the bib removed and a long t-shirt, nearly inconspicuous until one of your mates clocked them.
“What are you wearing ?”
Was this a continuation of the parental piss take ?
Ahead of their time, my parents would bundle 3 boys and assorted camping equipment into the family Cortina and head abroad.
The check list must have read like :- tent, ground sheet, sleeping bags, lilos, calor gas stove, 3 kilts and brylcreem.
There are numerous photographs of my two brothers and I standing in front of the famous buildings and monuments of Copenhagen with shirt, tie, matching v-neck jerseys, slicked back hair and kilts.
Even complete strangers queued up to take pictures of us.
We were pimped out like Caledonian Kardashians.
In fact as I write this there may be some demented Dane ogling at us on his mantelpiece as we pose in front of the Little Mermaid….
Photo opportunity or piss take ?
It wasn’t until the 70s that you were allowed to take charge of your own wardrobe…..No more man at C & A’s for me!
The groovy mauve (rounded collared) shirt, with the red, yellow and black tank top.
Think Fair Isle Partick Thistle.
Loon pants so tight around the crutch that it lowered your sperm count. Indeed, most of the material was utilised around your ankles billowing atop of baseball boots.
For a jacket I had my Dad’s old RAF tunic sans original buttons (disrespectful otherwise).
Mum would give me a good look up and down.
“Are you taking the piss ?”
Most of my working life I was spared the noose of shirt and tie and wore uniform.
As a student nurse I had to endure the itchy starchy collars of the dentist shirt…. a straitjacket like garment that buttoned up over you right shoulder.
One day I had to accompany a District Nurse into the community, so adorned jumper and jacket. I noticed one client being very reverential to me and calling me Father.
I of course absolved her of her sins, told her to recite five Hail Marys and promised to christen her grandchild.
As a ‘Nurse Educator’ I had to supervise male medical students on several ‘work experience’ days.
First lesson was to secure their ties, although it was always amusing to watch some gormless would be Doctor with his tie traipsing in a full bedpan like a thirsty puppy.
A literal piss take.
Thankfully, common sense prevailed and nurses went about their business in scrubs.
Like wearing pyjamas in the daytime………………….which I’m doing now.
Call the fashion police. It’s an emergency !
Fashion! Turn to the left
Fashion! Turn to the right
We are the goon squad
And we’re coming to town