We have an important family celebration coming up next month and the dress theme is “Jungle”. Sad face. We struggled enough a few years ago when the theme was “Hollywood Glamour” but that was relatively achievable without TOO much effort. Why is it such a problem? First, I’m hopeless at fancy dress (unlike my Mum who was a whizz at such things). Second, in the case of jungle clobber, I’m definitely past the age of dressing in the style of Jane and Tarzan! Third, Dr B and YoungB will be interstate (rowing championships again) and this means I’m on my own: no nearest and dearest for moral support (and I can tell you now that they won’t be at all interested in or supportive of my having to make an effort to tissy myself up if they’re not doing the same thing).
So. Jungles. After getting over the immediate shock, I put my thinking cap on and came up with the idea of Mary Leakey! But maybe an archaeologist isn’t really suitably jungley? Then I thought a better choice might be Osa Johnson (long ago I read I Married Adventure) or Michaela Denis (I’ve read one of Armand Denis’ books and remember occasionally watching their TV program when I was a kid) or Joy Adamson (doesn’t everyone know Born Free?), perhaps even Karen Blixen (whether for real or in the Meryl Streep version) or maybe I could reference Elspeth Huxley (gleaning info from her book about Thika or the TV series with Hayley Mills‘ performance as Tilly), since they’d all be recognisable as a type; and, with the first few, that would provide an excuse to hang a camera around my neck and, for once, not have to apologise for its being there.
The pedantic among you might argue that they’re really more African-savannah types, more safari than jungle, and I wouldn’t disagree (though there’d be areas of crossover, I think; after all, Osa Johnson travelled in North Borneo and that’s decidedly jungle territory). There’d also be the option of dressing like Dian Fossey (or Sigourney Weaver, I guess)! In any case, there’d be a certain sameness about what I might choose if I were to dress as any of those women.
Luckily for me, there’s lots of inspiration around the place and, even more luckily for me, presently there’s Jungle January 2014. I’m not participating but I’ve been stalking the blogs to get ideas, of which there’s an abundance. If I decide on that sort of jungle, It’s going to come down to a jungley or jungle-animal-print fabric, I think, plus a hat that I can “safari up” (thanks to Sew Busy Lizzy for that suggestion). Or I could wear some clearly marked Puma clobber and pretend to be one (offhand, and without more thinking, that’s a bad idea because I don’t know anyone who buys Puma clobber that I could borrow, which is what I’d have to do because I certainly don’t have any myself).
Of course, if I decided my jungle was Amazonian, I could dress as a butterfly or in fabric covered by butterflies or in butterfly colours (and, oooh, I could make some butterfly wings, an adult version of those that YoungB was wearing in that photo; I’m really quite good at those).
Thinking more laterally, Australia’s Kakadu and Daintree are sometimes considered jungles and if I took that view, then I could just go in shorts (or perhaps camo trousers), a T-shirt, khaki-coloured Explorer socks, Rossi boots and a broad-brimmed hat with a mozzie cover. Absolutely my kind of outfit, although I might just end up looking a female version of the Bush Tucker Man; there are probably worse fates. On the other hand – how many hands are we up to now? – I could decide that my jungle is an urban, concrete one and go in a snappy business outfit with killer stiletto heels! (That would, however, make difficulties with the camera-round-the-neck idea; and I’d be crippled for weeks.)
So, although at first I seemed to have absolutely no idea what to do, I think it’s possible that I will be able to come up with a fairly simple, fairly fast plan and probably one that’s not hideously expensive. All of those considerations are important because in the run-up to that date, I’ll be having to do a certain amount of ensuring that the Bs have everything organised for their Sydney trip. I mean, a national rowing regatta takes clear precedence over a costume party. Or even if it doesn’t, maintaining domestic harmony would probably tip the scales, don’t you reckon?
PS: Apologies if I seem lazy citing so many Wikipedia references, but I find it a good starting point for further research or reading if you’re at all interested (in my case, I already knew about most of those women from having read some of their work, or about it, then seen films and/or documentaries etc).