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Media & Lifestyle | Expat Brat | MAY 09

Expat Brat

What’s life really like? With Jenny Hewett.


bout a million guys threw themselves at me today. (I know what you’re thinking, hot property, selling tickets like the show’s on tomorrow.) Like literally. Physically hurled their bodies in my general direction as I calmly passed by on the street. Fear factor maximum limit. Turns out they were purely interested in one thing. Typical. But it wasn’t me. The object of their affection sat idle beside me and was sporting an awesome chassis and some pretty pimpin’ wheels, the perfect formula to woo them in one glance. Meet the IWB (Infamous Workers’ Bus) and about 40 of its biggest fans. What’s more, each and every one of them was dressed to kill. Seriously, if the fashion trends I spotted online earlier that morning are anything to go by, then the boys on site here in Dubai are looking especially fierce. Minus the long hair and a pair of heels and it wouldn’t take Anna Wintour to see the comparison between runway and real world is uncanny. Tough? Tick. Down and dirty? Tick. What, this old thing, I just threw it on? Tick. The past few seasons have definitely given rise to a new phenomenon in women’s trends. Pop your head into chain stores anywhere and blokey options for chicks are rife – boyfriend jeans, wide-leg ‘man-style pants’, waistcoats, blazers and fedora hats. Men are also embracing the role reversal – my own very much heterosexual male cousin buys ‘she jeans’ at Aussie store Supré, because they don’t get any skinnier. (Let me save you the visualisation and say lucky he is shaped like a toothpick.) Cross-dressing, for the lack of a better term, is fair game in the West, but it surely made me wonder how the workers here would react to seeing their daily uniform, spruiked up… on a girl. The chicken or the egg? Hey I would be the first to vote this one piece belongs on the construction site. But I would have a very hard time explaining to the fashion girls at my old mag in Sydney that the last time I saw a blue jumpsuit was most definitely not on the runway at Paris Fashion Week. Oh no, here in Dubai, they are a dime in a dozen, certifiably repetitious and categorically so last season that Karl Lagerfeld would probably cut one up and feed it to his chihuahuas Preen for breakfast. (C’mon we all know designer’s dogs eat fabric for brekky).


So I must admit I was a little shocked to see the workers ‘working it’ so well. As they came at me in their catwalk-clobber my mind flashed back to that famous coal mine scene in Zoolander. My reaction was to run… fast, and scream. Typical. And although I’m quite the fashion lover, I couldn’t decide what was more scary, the runway-made replica of the labourer’s uniform or the bus-obsessed men. The reality that the latter arrives in groups of 30 or more, and has an intense hunger for vehicles was somewhat off-putting, but the fact that the Dubai labourer’s uniform has turned up on the catwalks for probably a thousand times the price tag is laughable. And I’m sure the boys in blue are having a right old giggle.




Frankie B

expat brat may  

column, dubai labourers uniform