Saturday, 16 July 2011

Humanitarian Haute Couture - 2

Hello readers!

You know you've made it in the humanitarian world when you are given a United Nations safari waistcoat, that's it,  the one with all the pockets you can hide BP5 biscuits in? (see top ten aidworker essentials). Oh the sheer thrill of wearing an item of clothing that is almost an anorak but not quite because it is completely armless. Harmless it is not. Usually it is a size or two too big, in colours resembling the uniform of a safari drive hunting possey or a some local popular defence force militia that is far from popular owing to terrible taste in military clothing - like that is going to help an aidworker 'blend in' and endear oneself to the locals. No, instead one sticks out like a thumb trapped in the door of a Toyota landcruiser, rendering the sorry aidworker a potential bomb target or at the very least the butt of many a joke in numerous foreign languages. Furthermore the pockets can catch on various protruding objects slowing down a potential rapid response. Not to mention, under stress, it is quite possible to forget in which pocket one left the radio, or mobile phone, or leatherman, or petzl torch, or GPS causing further distress. And imagine if you actually had all of these vital aidworker pieces of equipment safely zipped away and then tried to escape from an imminent threat. At a distance and at relative speed the bulging mass could be mistaken for a suicide-bomber's jacket and then you are surely in trouble, watch out for 'friendly fire' that isn't so friendly... I wouldn't wear one in Afghanistan or Libya right now if I were you.  I bet George Clooney would not be seen dead in such a waistcoat....Oh wait...

Can George still be considered gorgeous in this garment? Personally I prefer Angelina Jolie's style, very chic for a UN Goodwill Ambassador...

I think it's time for aidworkers to have a make over. Bring on Gok Wan is what I say. Instead of "How to Look Good Naked" which would not go down too well in many a disaster zone in conservative countries, Gok could do "How to look good fully dressed in culturally appropriate but functional clothing".   And while Gok is waxing lyrical over the Burberry trench coat, enter Vivienne Westwood, stage left, now she knows a thing or two about waistcoats. Try this little number on for size.

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