Fiona McCade: Holiday persona has sartorial secrets

Picture: PA
Picture: PA
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THERE are summer clothes in my wardrobe that I have never worn in Scotland.

It’s a real shame, but the reason my sarongs haven’t had a great deal of use isn’t simply because the temperatures here aren’t normally as high as they have been lately. It’s because these clothes belong to Holiday Me, and she doesn’t get out much.

We all have a Holiday Me. It’s like something happens to our brains in the check-in queue, and by the time we’ve gone through passport control, we’ve started to metamorphose.

You only have to go to an airport sometime in July or August, and see normally quite sane, responsible citizens knocking back whole bottles of white wine at 5am, to know that Holiday Me is a very different person from Everyday Me.

Wild, crazy, untamed Holiday Me does things that Everyday Me would never do, but very importantly, she needs special clothes to do it in.

I read recently that the average woman (I’d love to meet her, because she sounds like a real scream) buys £245 worth of clothes every year, specifically to wear on holiday. At first, I was outraged – whoah! 245 quid? You could buy a Greek island for that! – but then I looked at what I’ve got lurking in my closet and I thought, OK, it’s a fair cop.

Maybe I don’t spend that amount of money every time I go away, and maybe I don’t go away much at all, but I still feel that Holiday Me needs a good send off whenever she ventures out.

As a result, I have dozens of teeny little sundresses, strappy tops, bikinis and sarongs tucked away at the back of my wardrobe that will probably never see the light of day again.

But even so, if I know that Holiday Me is about to appear, I’ll always end up buying her a brand new little something.

The psychology of holidaymaking is fascinating, because we do tend to reinvent ourselves when we go away.

One reason the average woman gave for spending more on clothes than she probably spent on her plane ticket was that she didn’t want to look this same in this year’s photos as she did in last year’s. Frankly, it’s more likely that she just can’t fit into last year’s clothes, but let’s be charitable.

I know that if I take my ordinary clothes away with me, I’ll both look and feel like Everyday Me. And in doing that, I’ll be reducing my holiday into a mere extension of my day-to-day life and I don’t want that. I don’t want that at all.

Holiday Me is the happiest me there is. She’s always a little bit slimmer than Everyday Me (although that’s thanks to Everyday Me putting in quite a lot of effort), has better hair, healthier skin colour (out of a bottle, but what the heck) and most importantly, Holiday Me wears clothes that Everyday Me just can’t carry off.

Although the average woman admits to spending £245 before she so much as prints her boarding pass, men like to pamper their Holiday Mes, too.

OK, perhaps they’ll buy a camera lens, or some sort of boy-toy rather than a shiny, new pair of swimming trunks, but the fact is that it’s not just the girls who crave a bit of retail therapy to get them into the holiday mood.

Holidays are precious times. They are our escape, and many of us spend 50 weeks of the year looking forward to them, planning for them, and yes, spending for them.

It’s all about making those couple of weeks so good, you can survive the rest of the year.

Our Everyday Mes make huge financial and nutritional sacrifices so our Holiday Mes can look sensational. And if splashing some cash helps lift us out of our humdrum existence – and boosts the economy a little, into the bargain – what’s the harm?

This year, Holiday Me isn’t going anywhere exotic. In fact, she’ll be lucky to get a week’s camping at Cape Wrath, but I’ve decided to treat her anyway.

Sensible, Everyday Me may pack a fleece-lined, storm-proof cagoule, just in case the good weather doesn’t last, but Holiday Me will be wearing a lovely, new sarong underneath.