Fashion in a hot country
A harsh reality of life in Dubai is that you need a lot of sandals, sunglasses and, especially, bikinis.
Stop laughing at the back; I’m serious.
They stop going from something you pick up for an annual summer holiday to staples of your year-round wardrobe and, when you wear swimwear as much as we Dubai residents do, trust me, you start having to differentiate between the different uses for your bikini. It’s a bit like the Eskimos having 45 words for “snow”, I guess.
Every woman here needs a different bikini for every beach and pool eventuality. Depending on your age and stage of life, these could involve any of the following, or more: Cocktails at a smart beach bar; a high-energy visit to a water park; canoeing round the mangrove swamps; swimming laps in the community pool; posing at the beach club; making sandcastles on the beach with the kids; standing around at a barbecue; or even plain old sunbathing by your own pool.
You need “fat-day” bikinis and “look-at-me” bikinis. You need “mummy” bikinis and “haven’t done my bikini line” bikinis. You need confidence-boosting bikinis and you need chaste bikinis. You need bikinis to wear with heels and you need bikinis to wear with flip-flops. And then you need bikinis to wear with those who’ve already seen your other bikinis.
Coats, boots, hats and gloves, however, are things we Dubai ladies never need. But, at this time of year, British women’s magazines are full of them. They’re just not relevant to my life as I sit by my swimming pool, sipping my gin and tonic in the warm winter sunshine (it’s about 30 degrees here right now) but, strangely, I find myself lusting after coats, shearling jackets and knee-high leather boots.
And I suppose there’s some logic in that. It’s been nearly 14 years since I last wore a coat – the idea of putting another garment over the top of my clothes is a total novelty and I can’t get enough of this year’s cover-all maxi coats.
But what I’ve really fallen in love with is a cream faux-fur jacket from Marc Jacobs. It’s definitely an investment buy to last a lifetime. But will I ever get to wear it?