Have you got Holiday Wardrobe Anxiety?
Why we all lose our minds when it comes to what we’re going to wear on holiday
This is how it starts. You are fine about your summer holiday wardrobe; it’s there somewhere in the plastic storage bucket above the bed in the spare room. A couple of weeks before you’re off – still fine. You know you’ve got that H&M sundress and some shorts and… Uh oh, here it comes: Holiday Wardrobe Anxiety.
Admittedly, HWA is the very definition of a First World Problem. It’s up there on the “summer anxieties list” with “my hairdresser has August off ” and “my basil plant is being eaten by slugs”. Only, unlike these, HWA can really get to you. You may find yourself waking in the night thinking: “No, but seriously, what will I wear for sightseeing in 90 degrees? Is that sundress too thick? Maybe I do need some flattish espadrilles…’
And this is where you have to be careful. This is when you must summon up all your memories of holidays past, all the times you have succumbed to HWA at the 11th hour, and pull yourself together. It’s not as if you don’t know all the traps backwards: buying the sunhat, here not there – it’s like travelling with a toddler, for all the grief it causes you. The last-minute swimsuit purchase ( jelly tummy panic) that remains in its tissue because, on reflection, it’s way too Team GB.
The hasty attempt to inject some up-to-theminute glamour; for example, gladiator sandals (gladiator sandal alert: you literally won’t be able to face putting them on, you’re more likely to pop on a tweed jumpsuit) which you never unpack. Also, you know all the emotional triggers by now: the Heidi Klein ad with the fit blonde in that Breton stripy swimsuit; the friend of a friend wearing white frayed jeans at the barbecue (but, you know, Rich And Thin and Really Clean); the word “Sales” on a window display stuffed with bejewelled slides and cork wedge mules.
You know that you’re susceptible to last-minute billowy shirts and just-incase-it-gets-cool-at-night shawls, and a woohoo halter-neck dress on the basis that, 10 days in, when you are Caramac brown, this will be the baby that completes your Cindy Crawford transformation. (This in spite of the fact that after decades of wandering the globe with a red Katharine Hamnett dress packed in your suitcase, waiting for the ideal weight/tan, you have not yet reached the Cindy switch point).
Still, HWA is stronger than common sense and noisier than experience. Added to which, there are those “My Other House Is On Mustique” shops to mess with your head. Have you seen them? They’re like a boutique that you might find in St Barths, selling French bikinis and gold jewellery, only with even less in it. You’ll probably find the owner’s daughter in there, handmonogramming a sequintrimmed tote, and you may find yourself spending £12 (the cheapest thing in the shop by £200) on shocking pink pom-pom hair ties.
From here, it’s an easy descent into Style Me Like A Tycoon’s Wife territory or, maybe, Talitha Getty. You need hoop earrings and a gold coin necklace and you need rings. Rings? Yes rings! The chunky quartz kind you wouldn’t wear at home, but that you definitely might wear in the sun. It is a kind of madness. I mean proper mad, especially as no one is going to see you on this holiday – you’re only going to a shack above Málaga – and you are behaving like Poppy Delevingne.
I tell you how you know your HWA has got the better of you: if you have bought some “back up” flip flops. But don’t worry. It will all fade away when you get there, open your case and realise, same as you always do, that you only needed three things and one of them’s your bikini. Happy packing.
‘You’re only going to a shack above Malaga and you’re behaving like Poppy Delevingne’
Fashion victim: just relax and enjoy your holiday