This past weekend I drove up the North Island to Cambridge, the town I lived in for 6 years in my teens, and the place I consider my home town. Mum told me that Cambridge (the Town of Trees) was celebrating the Autumn Festival while I was home, and to be honest my expectations shot straight up to “whimsical Gilmour Girls nonsense”. Mum tried to manage my excitement, but it was too late. I was already in a world of Manic Pixie Dream Girl stupidity, imagining themed decorations and troubadours.
Going home used to be a weird experience, sartorially (amongst many other weirdnesses borne of the transition from childhood to adulthood). I would worry that I would be overdressed, or I’d try to figure out what one wore to go to the high street (about one block long) for coffee and a peruse in the bookshop. In a time before I had confidence in how I dressed, I was extra aware of the high curiosity levels that can exist in smaller towns. I’ve since realised that the people of Cambridge care about as much about what I wear for coffee at Rouge as I care about what they wear – that is, maybe a passing interest if it’s something truly weird, but mostly people are interested in their own lives. Try and remember one stranger you saw on the street yesterday – it’s hard to do, hey? That's why I wear an orange coat or tangelo trousers now - because people barely remember even those outfits. Nobody actually cares what you look like. At best you just give them a minute of interest or thought. That's one minute, in their entire day/life.
Regardless, I did encounter a bit of a conundrum when I went to get dressed for our meander through the Festival. First of all, it was as warm on this day as it got in Wellington during the height of summer this year. I’d packed jumpers, woollen skirts, a woollen coat, boots etc and then chucked two tshirts in just in case I wanted to do some layering. It’s COLD in Wellington, not Full Winter cold, but not a casual 20-degrees-break-a-sweat-in-the-sunshine situation by any stretch of the imagination. Second of all, we had absolutely no idea what an Autumn Festival actually involved. So I went for an old trusty option – black jeans and a tshirt, with converse. What can I say? Not every day is an Edna day.
This outfit demonstrates a Fashion Truth; that is, Details Matter. If this had been a cruddy old striped tshirt from a chain store circa 2010, worn with basic black jeans like these and my slightly dirty sneakers, a cheap “leather” jacket, no sunglasses, no necklace, a bag like a potato sack and a neutral (or non-existent lip) – I would have felt very uncomfortable. Instead, a high quality tshirt (this one’s reversible! The back is a v-neck), babed up with some good quality outerwear and jazzy accessories/lipstick meant that even though my outfit was technically very very boring, it still felt really good to wear.
If you think of an outfit like a painting – the basic elements are like the bare canvas and the primer. They are highly necessary (since nudity in public is illegal, plus it’s getting colder so really, who wants to be buns out?) but they can be pretty boring. Layers over the top of that base are the bit that adds interest, colour and texture.
But how was the Festival?! I imagine you all shouting. It was pretty great, actually. Town was humming along, there was tons of live music, street performance, an art market, many many dog friends to be delighted by, and just a general buzz of fun. The Festival runs for another week, so who knows, maybe on Friday I’ll check out the Friday Finale (the Burlesque show on Saturday is SOLD OUT – Cambridge, I’m shocked (/impressed)!). I’m heading off to Rotorua for a few days now, so perhaps my next outfit will feature a geyser as the scenery? I've already checked and I can confirm there is a Save Mart, so stay tuned for those adventures later this week!
Jeans: my trusty Levis 721 high rise skinny jeans. Sneakers: bog standard Converse. Tshirt: last season from Wilson Trollope. Necklace: Tatty Devine. Leather jacket: Blak Luxe. Bag: from Once It, no longer available. Sunglasses: Mirrou (impulse purchased at the counter with my sequin skirt I'M SORRY)