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Makes Perfect Dress Sense8th December 2015

It came to me one evening as I was getting ready to go out to the theatre. To clarify, theatre going is a rare opportunity here in Ibiza. So when something in English appears on the schedule at the Teatro in Santa Eulalia we all troupe in en masse. You can hear the mutters in the foyer:

“It’s really the only thing I miss about London, the theatre.”

“Oh yes,” everyone agrees.

I smile, wondering what this crowds’ friend of Covent Garden or Hampstead theatre club attendance cards really look like.

“It’s an opportunity to wear a smart jacket,” said my favourite friend’s husband (but that I mean my favourite husband of a friend, she’s not necessarily my fave), looking dapper in velvet, a little handkerchief dangling from his lapel pocket.  I glanced, jaded but accepting at OH, in jeans, t-shirt and one of his six black hoodies. Oh, wait a minute, maybe it was the navy one!  My actual favourite friend was whispering that the new James Bond flick ‘Spectre’ was unexpectedly showing at the Cine Regio in San Antonio and wishing that she was in the West End, that’s West End San An, 07820 not West End, W1 and if only she had known.

I knew 80 % of the audience, various over-lapping circles of friends; my favourite group of girl friends were the ones with the high colour in their cheeks, the ones who had snuck in bottles of booze, hidden in the soft folds of their exquisite, over-sized soft leather totes.

That night we watched “Cleopatra’s Key”.  It was witty, slick, cleverly feminist, the right balance of low and high brow and a perfect length with only one or two naughty words so we didn’t have to hold poker faces too much in front of the kids, who were all in tow.  I am a total British – BBC is the best – we birthed Shakespeare – we have the West End – cultural snob and expected very little but have been left slightly obsessed with the beautiful, talented Lily Lowe-Myers who wrote, directed and starred in this fabulous production. However, I am no theatre critic and I realise that what this is really about, the true narrative of this little natter, is coats.

What I realised when I was getting ready to leave the house that night, was that the bane of my life was deciding what coat/ jacket/ layers combination to wear when leaving the house on an Autumn early evening in Ibiza.

I have four pairs of neutrally coloured Havianas.  I have four pairs of neutral wedge slingbacks, a black pair and a bright pink pair for when I’m feeling crazy. I have four black maxi dresses, three of them sleeveless, one of them strapless, each of them perfect for very different occasions.  For eight months a year there are no decisions to make beyond neckline and height.  Well just accessories and handbag. And which pair of sunglasses.  Oh and whether to sunhat or not to sunhat.  Then for four months it gets tougher.  Do I dress for the five minutes I might be outside between venue and car at the end of the evening?

When I moved to Ibiza I binned my tights, my scarves, thermal vests and my 13 tog duvets.  I have been managing with the same coat for seven years. Every year, when a cold spell arrives, I pledge to invest in a new one. But the right coat is a big research and investment project.  Here in Ibiza it’s never a problem for long enough to have to solve.  Maybe it’s my life.  Ducking in and out of meetings in the various Passion cafes, throwing the kids into school from the car park, running into the supermarket from the always available off-season spots right outside don’t warrant the preparation that the hardcore commute of my old life required.

So as I left the charming and captivating two women show about Cleopatra’s handmaids, I pulled my leather bomber jacket tightly over a black maxi dress and dashed to the dusty car with my coatless family.  Within minutes the heat was cranked up and the problem was solved, or forgotten.  And that’s when I realised why I’d probably dragged my family across the channel and half of the continent, so I’d never have to worry about coat thickness again, which is as liberating as knowing that in Ibiza I can wear a cocktail dress or a pair of jeans to any event.  It’s not about what’s appropriate, it’s about what you fancy.




Teatro España C/ Sant Jaume 81 Santa Eulalia Del Río, Islas Baleares, Spain See original productions at Teatro and also a weekly schedule of new film releases in original language format.

Cine Regio, Barca 5, 07820 Find listings at Cine Regio on their facebook.  Films in English are rare.

Passion café All over the island, my favourites are opposite Ibiza Marina for a perfect Sunday brunch spot and Santa Eularia just behind the fountain, a proper sun trap at all times of year.

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