Do you know what I love about living in a small city? The fashion standards are very, very low.
Newry is technically and quite questionably defined as a city but it is more like a town and actually was until a few years ago when they redefined it. They redefined it a bit like the way biscuit and crisp companies redefine their products by offering 50% bigger, New! EXTRA!, but when you open the packet and the air deflates out, you look inside and realise the packet is 50% bigger but the volume of the food inside hasn’t changed. Gee, thanks.
To give you some idea of scale, Newry is small enough that I can cross from one side to the other on foot in under thirty minutes. Try doing that in New York. Mr. Bolt?
And yet, close as everything is, hardly anyone wears heels. Heels and Irish cobbled streets are just not compatible bed buddies. Comfort is key here and for that I am grateful.
I mostly wear Converse, or trainers, maybe the odd DM or brogue. The people I see about seem to be the same, unless it’s a Saturday night in the trendy square, and that square is about 2m long x 2m wide. I avoid it incase I get looked down upon, or mocked, or god forbid sucked into it and turned in to someone who cares enough to be uncomfortable or cold for the sake of fashion.
There may be a few fashion forward trendies keeping up with the Kardashians but most people I see kicking around town here are most definitely not. It’s all worn down jeans, bally jumpers, hoodies, badly fitted shirts, long skirts, raincoats and trackies.
I think it’s good. It’s good to have low standards. It’s less stress for people around you, less pressure. Stress and pressure are really unhealthy things, so any effort, or lack of, which lessens these forces of evil I will support and celebrate.
In the current economic situation we’re living in as well I think it’s best to be an unfashionable population. Why set a non-affordable standard?
The high street here is mainly made up of charity shops, small grocers and functional necessity shops. You are likely to find more plastic statues of Jesus than you will shoes. You might get a knock-off designer crockery pot, but will probably not find designer underwear.
The shopaholics may gasp, break, wilt away and wither in a style vacuum such as this but there is a humble sort of charm in a such a style-free city. There is no competitive angst, no judgement. There is no fakery. I look like I just fell out of bed, quite frankly, because I did. This lady across the road looks like she just nipped away from the farm. She probably did. I look ready for the forest at all times, which I am. Why pretend otherwise?
I can confess I might have to scrub up slightly better for work. I have fallen victim to the desire for a shiny new expensive jacket now and again. On demand or at special occasions I will step it up a gear and splash out. I’m only human too. But I really hope that I always have the sense to see the value in lack of fashion sense.
I hope you too see the brilliance in your poor fashion choices. You are doing others a favour when you lower the standard, belittle the pressure, make a faux pas. Do it for the sake of those who haven’t a hope.
*No offense intended to the people here who consider themselves and the city very fashionable. I am only half serious.