How long has it been raining for? Three weeks? Four? Welcome to the Wellington winter, with its lashing mix of rain and cold winds direct from Antarctica.
Someday, genetic engineering will create the perfect human for the Wellington environment. Along with a third limb to hold a coffee cup or commuting bags, they will have the dense short pelt of a fur seal, like the future humans in Kurt Vonnegut’s Galapagos. In the meantime, here is how us poor hairless apes dress from May to October in Wellington.
The Merino Bullet – Trim merino or polarfleece jacket topped by a knitted or polarfleece hat. Unisex. Efficient. Doesn’t flap around. Not waterproof, but dries out quickly enough. You probably dressed like this last time it rained with that horizontal gale.
Hiking Lambton Gully – The next step up from the Merino Bullet is to dress as if you tramped down storm-lashed virgin mountain trails to your office. Add up the price tags on the expensive hiking-clothing components, and a full-length cashmere coat would be cheaper. But not as windproof, waterproof, or useful on the weekends.
The Bogan In Winter – Leather trench coat, topped by an Akubra or fedora hat. The wearer wants to be Gothic and imposing but looks, sadly, like an Aussie left out in the rain.
Parka Girl – You’ve seen Parka Girl, huddling into her parka all year round. In winter, the fake-fur-trimmed hood comes up. Her brother, Parka Boy, can be seen stomping around with long, near-bare legs in shorts sticking out below his puffy jacket. If he’s a hard man, he finishes this ensemble with jandals.
Layer Lady – Who would buy a tissue-thin merino cardigan? A ¾ sleeve unlined wool coat? A chunky but sleeveless gilet? Layer Lady, that’s who. She says that by the magical strategy of layering she can add or remove clothes to suit the temperature and always be comfortable. But because it’s freezing for four months straight, she remains mummified in her layers of silk and gauze and felt.
Suffering To Be Beautiful – You know you’re old when you see the Courtenay Place party girls on Saturday night and instead of wanting to take the rest of their clothes off, you want to give them more clothes to put on.