You might be two Aperol Spritz deep, slightly sunburned despite best efforts and casually perusing the local real estate windows because, you think, "I could definitely have a lifestyle change and live here."
Or maybe you’ve found yourself haggling with an out-of-character ferocity in a market. Or in a fitting for a one-of-a-kind-just-for-you suit. Or buying armfuls of linen. Or posing for an Instagram photo looking wistfully to sea wearing a wafting, blinged-out kaftan which gave you an incredibly vivid vision of your future (carefree, running barefoot on the beach) when you picked it up at the hotel gift shop.
In defence of that regretful holiday fashion purchase.Credit:Shutterstock
In any case, you’ve made a fashion purchase while on holidays and high on relaxation (read: oxytocin, or possibly just frozen margaritas).
You may have justified it by assuring yourself that, worst case, you would wear the Batik print sarong around the house, or to your next boho-chic summer party under the stars (because manifestation of a new kind of life is surely part of the holiday purchase allure).
But most often, the gypsy skirt and crystals you bought on the girls trip to Byron, the glamorous Isabel Marant sequin set bought in Paris (when you also took up black coffee and cigarettes for breakfast and tried carrying a market basket with the insouciance of Jane Birkin) and that damn kaftan will end up languishing in your wardrobe once you’re through the arrivals hall and back to real life.
Your holiday self isn’t necessarily your 9 to 5 self. For one thing, holiday self has way more fun and possibly doesn’t wear shoes. But that doesn’t mean those holiday purchases were a mistake.
There’s something lost in being too rigid with your personal style, in saying that something just “isn’t me” or in not mixing things up a little. Our clothes can make for excellent reminders of who we were in a particular timezone.
Plus, holiday vibes have never been quite so acceptable in our ordinary wardrobes.
Look at the tie-dye infiltrating the catwalks at Prabal Gurung and Michael Kors in recent seasons, the shell necklaces and anklets – anklets are back; what could be holiday vibe than that? – worn by the fashion set all summer long, the Australian brands trading in beautiful linen separates such as Albus Lumen, Matin and Venroy, and the fact that the raffia tote back has been done by everybody from Spanish luxury house Loewe to Seed.
Right now, you can dress like your holiday self while rammed into someone’s armpit on the train. Or at least attempt to anyway.
But that’s not to say there shouldn’t be some caveats.
One of Anna Quan’s crisp designs.
For designer Anna Quan, whose crisp shirting and shirt-dresses are ideal for just about any kind of holiday, the idea of buying something on a whim while on hols that will never be worn again is unacceptably wasteful.
A particularly holiday appropriate Lee Mathews outfit.
Instead, Quan, who fills her suitcase with books from Ofr in Paris several times a year, advocates planning and researching what you might buy before going to avoid fashion regrets.
“If you get tempted on holiday to buy a transient item, take a step back and think about how often you will use or enjoy this item,” she says.
Lee Mathews, another designer whose clothes make you feel like you’re on holiday when you definitely aren’t, says buying coats that are much too warm for the Australian winter is a holiday hazard. However she finds much inspiration from trawling second-hand and vintage stores whenever she’s travelling.
“Luckily if I don’t wear them, I get to use them as a source of reference for future collections, so nothing is ever really wasted,” she says.
Meanwhile Michelle Perett from Matin likes to collect clothing and vintage and handmade jewellery in her travels as a special souvenir.
"They all remind me of the experiences and I source from local artisans so it feels like a true piece of a place," she says.
"The most memorable piece of clothing I bought was a sweater I picked up in Nepal which was handmade from local Yak wool. I wanted something very traditional and handmade by the locals, but after dragging it all over Asia, I brought it home to discover it was full of burs, so itchy to wear and Sydney wasn’t near cold enough. I have kept it as a memento," she says.
Matin does resort-ready clothes, even if your life isn’t actually resort-ready.
And, so, yes, of course you shouldn’t buy clothes you will definitely never wear.
But what our holiday selves' purchases show is that it’s good to experiment a little and seek out inspiration for all sorts of places and styles.
And, if that’s not something you think you should try to hold onto in the daily grind, well, it might just be time to start planning your next adventure.
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