The City, Stripes and I

I’m not a fan of cliché’s. I remember my first A-level English class in Year 12, when my teacher made sure we understood her rule, that a clichéd statement of any kind should absolutely not make an appearance in any form of written work attributed to our names. I almost feel like I owe her an apology by using one in this column. That said, I am a study abroad student, and using cliché’s to write about your experience is pretty much obligatory, especially when the end is closer in sight. Yes, we all know the ever-classic, ever-cringey, ‘You can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl’. This is, if I say so myself one of the best ways to describe me. I am a true Londoner, born and raised and will always argue that it is the best city in the world. There is still nothing better than walking the streets and noticing something new that makes you love it even more. It is fair to say, as my parents (who are sitting nervously at home, hoping I do actually come home…) keep reminding me, that I tend to fall in love with most of the places I travel to, but I will always defend London when I come across people who say it’s inferior to places like New York or Paris.

What happens though, when you move to another city, so very far from home, and get the very same feeling? Over the past twelve weeks, I have attempted to provide a glimpse of my life Down Under in my columns, but it is so difficult to describe a city, to put it as clearly as possible: as damn cool as Melbourne. The words and phrases most commonly associated with Melbourne are; cultured, cosmopolitan, arty, great food, great fashion – I could go on, but you’ll find all of these in a guide book. I get that same London feeling, and yet it’s just the opposite of my London life. Everything is calmer, sunnier, and everyone is friendlier. The air doesn’t smell sickeningly polluted, and the ‘dings’ of trams speeding up and down the streets is much more pleasant that the heart-jumping, undeniably deafening and downright awful sound of a bus’s honk (Oxford Street, I am pointing my finger at you.)

And how can I insert clothes into the ‘I love Melbourne equation’? It obviously goes without saying that our foundation as one of the world’s fashion capitals is set in concrete by a population of well dressed Londoners – ranging from the chic and classy to the overt fashion eccentrics. And while I thoroughly enjoyed the glamour and excitement surrounding Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, it didn’t quite make the same headlines, or come too close to the spectacle and buzz of London Fashion Week.

But, Melbournians, and Australians more broadly, who are known for their relaxed, calm and informal character know how to reflect this in their clothing. Oh, they can absolutely rock the ‘trust me, I just threw this outfit together and I still look cool’ look. Only in this city, is it acceptable to wear bucket hats to clubs, socks with your Birkenstocks (and not look like a try-hard hipster – this is the norm), and don’t even bother buying full length jeans anymore, cuffs have to be rolled up. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again; it’s just like walking around the QM campus, just a much larger and prettier scale…

When I arrived back in the Winter months, the rule was to wear black on black. Now, as the sun provides the goods with scorching 31 degree days, stripes are all I see. I’ve seen people walk side by side wearing identical striped tunic dresses, both men and women wearing very similar striped tees, and I’m about to jump on the bandwagon. Little old English me noticing this trend was immediately confirmed with a, ‘Oh Em, stripes are so Melbourne’.

So there you go. I’ve finished all my classes at the University of Melbourne and only essays stand in my way. I completely adore this city and can only look forward to what is yet to come. And if anyone out there is travelling to Melbourne in the coming weeks, don’t forget your stripes.

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