Dressing Down


In Sedgefield, dressing down is bang on trend. Jeans washed to bleached softness, T-shirts faded to muted pastels apart from a paint splatter, sweaters and jerseys with mended runs – almost nothing is too old or too worn.

It’s pretty hard to tell the difference between a waterfront multi-millionaire in his beanie and a local fisherman. In a way it’s an affectation – “I’m coastal, bite me” – but it’s got to a point where new clothes make me feel conspicuous. Like all fashion statements it’s signals a belonging, locals look like locals, not like week-enders who ordered off the ‘boating‘ section in the Cape Union Mart catalogue.

I’m oblvious to how scruffy everyone is until something like last week’s Oyster Festival brings an influx of ‘foreigners’ from Cape Town or Joburg. Knee high leather boots, skinny designer jeans, cashmere sweaters in pale grey, jaunty hats – and that’s just the men.

I find myself gawping like a yokel at people in the queue at the local grocery store. They’re all so polished, and sleek, and groomed. Perfect make up in a village where a dash of lipstick passes for glamerous.

Jake and I came off the beach over the week-end and popped into the store to get milk and bread. I was in my uniform of jeans and ancient sweater, he was in shorts, barefoot, and in need of a haircut.

I saw the glossy woman ahead of us in line turn, glance, and quickly avert her eyes. She turned again, smiled faintly, and for a minute I had the dreadful feeling that she was thinking about offering to pay for our groceries.


3 Responses to “Dressing Down”

  1. 1 Gavin July 15, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Hah! Went to the beach at Al Bateen with Church this morning. Stopped at la Brioche for breakfast afterwards; full of dishdashed dudes and ladies-at-leisure, all pimped up. We in our swimming trunks and damp t-shirts. Felt like old times. Had to wear sandals though.
    Sure miss it.

  2. 2 Lisa July 17, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Or maybe she was just charmed to have made a rare sighting of one of the locals on their home ground :

    . . . says the glossy, gorgeous Capetonain with the very expensive hair!! 😉

  3. 3 shoreacres July 18, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    A cross-cultural, glossy-woman story for you, proving that some things are just – well – amusingly common.

    About a year ago, I’m walking down a dock, covered with dust from my favorite orbital sander. I’m sweaty as well, and clad in my very best tee and boat shoes. On the walkway, I approach and meet up with a snappy lady and a little girl. Both are in whites, with jeweled anchors and such on their shirts. Both have pretty, strappy sandals, hair that won’t quit and the woman’s make-up is perfect.

    We greet one another, and pass. Just beyond them, I hear the little girl ask, “Mommy, does that lady have a boat here, too?”
    “Oh, honey,” says Mama, soothing as can be. “I wouldn’t think so….”

    Some days, life is just especially good 😉

    Bwhahhahahaha! That is a classic. Still, as you know, the jewelled anchor types are not known for their boating abilities. . . they’re not even know for marrying those with boating abilities!

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