x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Fashion notes: Don’t try to out-cool The Rolling Stones this weekend

Getting the gear just right for a concert as elephantine as The Rolling Stones isn’t as easy as one would think.

Cool people don’t try to do “cool” – they just are. Which means that getting the gear just right for a concert as elephantine as The Rolling Stones isn’t as easy as one would think. Comfortable and “cool” in the same sentence? Easy. Together – well, not so much.

But where are we going so wrong? Want to look as good as you normally look, just a little more fashionably impressive? Glamorous? Together? Well, I’d give up now – or suggest getting your more gregarious friends to live stream it for you from the front row.

Concerts such as these are never going to be a timid affair. It’s going to be a noisy, as-hot-as-dancing-in-an-old-boot, spilt-drinks-and-burgers type of a night. Arrive armed with that precognition and we are halfway there.

I’d start with dressing down. Now, for those in the Middle East that normally means no ball gown or Rolex that threatens to blind passersby. This is different. Indeed, this is imperative – you wouldn’t see Patti Smith in a silver shift. Start with the shoes and build upwards. To break things down, there are only three shoes that one should ever wear to a concert – flat ankle boots, Converse or sandals. Anything else looks downright ridiculous in a field or on sand – or, in our case, a field of sand. The ground is inevitably going to get dirty, so think about a bit of closed-toe protection, even with a sandal.

You think that I’m joking – I’m not. I’ve been to many a gig in the UAE with women tottering precariously across sand in heels so vertiginous that they (and the disappearing ground beneath them) threaten to gobble her up.

The first mistake is getting caught up with the gimmick. There’s only one thing worse than contrived bohemia, and that’s haute bohemia. If all this is beyond you, create a character, preferably one that looks comfortable in her own skin. And forget about boho chic. Even Kate Moss, now at 40, looks a little silly in her “I’m with the band” gear. And she’s Kate Moss. And she is with the band.

Prepare as if you are going to a garden party that may get tipped upside down, and you’ll be more on track. There’s such a colossal number of differing styles on the market that we tend to hedge our bets and start throwing around the credit card, buying blindly. Silly, really, considering that we all have vastly differing ages and shapes.

A maxi skirt may sound appealing, but will run the risk of getting stamped on, so nothing too long. Layering is the key to getting it right, as temperatures will drop as the sun sets. Adding a light cotton shirt to your look is a great idea, even if it means tying it around your waist for the hotter parts of the evening. Stick to dark colours for obvious reasons (someone young and clueless is bound to accidentally throw something over you) and make sure that all of your fabrics are loose – nothing will look or feel more ridiculous than trying to dance to Angie in a pencil skirt.

Not to be a killjoy, but all of this is more about dressing down than it is about free spirit, so leave the natty little waistcoat and splodges of acidic colour for the kids. Although, gigs like the Stones will probably keep the kids at home, so this is your time. Bask in all of that nostalgia. You’ve done all this before. Just try to leave the spray-on leathers and inflated ego balloon to Keith Richards and the likes – for most of us are just not that cool.


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