There is something quite wild and challenging about the fashions of Europe. I have seen things that we haven’t seen in Australia since the seventies (or photos thereof) that are now high fashion in Europe. Let me expand.
Beaches: not only the clothing but the way people expose themselves here (I’m thinking of Ukraine) with the worshipping of the sun is reminiscent of my childhood. Bright red bodies, crushed sided by side on beaches with a 50cm rim until the next body baking party. There appears to be no ‘under a tree between 10 and 3’ philosophy. Actually, to add to the whole feel of the ‘exposure is good’ mood I was surprised and impressed by the ‘any size is the right size for skimpy bikinis’ approach. It all left me in a somewhat confused state to tell you the truth… Part of me wanted to reclaim my white baby stretched and moulded middle and break out in bikinis, and part of me is afraid to the core of painful sunburn and the skin cancer cloud. I will keep you informed of the changing state of play on that one!
Street fashion: This is another world that helps me to challenge my body self image and ‘what is beauty’ perceptions… Guess what is all the rage? One piece, strapless pants suits in some kind of Lycra based material… Classic seventies! I wish I had the balls to try one on, actually I now formally dare myself for my next blog piece to get Christos to take a photo of me in one! Not that strapless one piece is bad, it’s jut been a while since I’ve seen one!
There was one shop in the fashion centre of Thessaloniki that had strapless one-piece, Lycra pastel pantsuits with headbands and high heel wedges- straight out of the ABBA set.
I was too in awe to take photos of the ABBA outfits but I did enjoy these numbers in our local market iI the gorgeous Cretan town of Agios Nikolaus. (I”ll take orders if you’re interested).
When Christos and I had a day in the big city of Thessaloniki and disappointingly people responded to us as we entered a shop in English. Very disheartening … I thought I looked European! It appears not. Christos was likewise offended. He sometimes replies in Greek that his ‘yineka’ (‘wife’ is Australian, but HE was born in Greece and speaks Greek). Anyway, the point of that being that we had several conversations about why people speak to us in English… I think part of it is Christos has a hat on (that would be in the way of fashion in European thinking, I think) and other very prominent factors would be; our back packs, my red hair and white eyebrows, our teva hiking sandals (no high heel wedges for me) and definitely most prominently that my shoulders are covered! I am not in a strapless outfit! And I don’t have a massive handbag… Anyway, once again all this makes you challenge what you have become used to…. Fortunately, there are ounces of clarity in my mind and sometimes I feel okay about being white on more than 10% of my body. It’s funny about body shapes though… I think another prominent pointer to my lack of European appearance is small boobs. In Europe if you’ve got it flaunt it, size is no barrier.
I leave you with some words from a women’s wisdom retreat website blog page that I read the other day – not sure how to reference this – it is from http://www.womenswisdomretreats.org, “and quoting India Arie with a little addition of my own, ‘your worth is not determined by the size(colour) of your body (boobs) or the price (style/era) of your clothes.’
By Mama Miliking