My Sartorial Life


This week, I was faced with one of the great mysteries of life: what does one wear on May Day? As much as I would love to write a column about bells and painting yourself like an alien-soldier-thing, I wasn’t really feeling Morris-chic. On the other hand, the fact of the matter is, one wears exactly what one pleases, because May Day is only an event if you’re a Morris dancer. Or if you feel like torturing yourself by lack of sleep and making the rest of your week an absolute nightmare – seeing some lovely morning light and hearing some madrigals in the meantime, of course.

Maybe I should rephrase the question, then. What does one wear to Itchy Feet? I mean, the music that’s playing dictates our outfit choices. At Park End, where the majority of the repertoire involves fitful hopes to have sex with shawty, scant clothing is entirely appropriate. At Cellar, please make an effort to look suitably dishevelled. At Bridge…well, it’s the same as Park End, but bear in mind that the person hitting on you might be wearing a tie, so match accordingly. Itchy Feet, then, surely requires a swirling skirt and red lips. I’m convinced that the amount of fun I had would have doubled had I heeded the stereotype’s call.

I’m a strong believer in the universally acknowledged boobs-or-legs rule, and seeing as my top did not, shall we say, cater for entirely free dancing, I paired it with bleached Levi’s 901s and loafers, which complied with the rule, allowed for some sixties skanking and unleashed my inner hipster all at the same time. (It’s times like these when I am grateful to be in Oxford, in the trusty south, haunted by horror stories from friends up North of three mile pub crawls in six-inch stilettos.) However, my night lacked a swoosh of skirt whose novelty wouldn’t have worn off no matter how many times I was awkwardly spun round (Ray Charles’ I Got A Woman appears to turn everyone into an expert dancer).

Most importantly, though, just because it’s May, it doesn’t mean it’s warm. By the time I reached Magdalen Bridge I had forgotten my twirling jazz-goddess fantasy and wished I was wearing a South American poncho, or a sleeping-bag-onesie (you can actually get those). So, things to consider when dressing for May Day: 1. Get a skirt with some swoosh. Even if you’re not an Itchy Feet person I’m sure the Bullingdon clientele would appreciate the change of scenery. 2. Cowley Road is long. Wear flat shoes. 3. May is not necessarily summer, we’re still in England. Wear a coat. And finally, stop thinking about May Day. Remember, Oxford isn’t the real world.


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