There comes a fateful day each May when every person in Ibiza makes the switch from winter to summer wardrobe. Some embrace it sooner than others, but if you’re anything like me, this week has probably you desperately clinging onto those last winter layers and finding the act of getting dressed in the mornings quite the conundrum. You see, Ibiza seems to lack those transeasonal periods, where you gradually and gracefully shed scarves, leggings, cardigans, jackets and boots over the course of a few months. Here, it’s cold, or it’s hot… and if you haven’t dressed for the right weather conditions, boy will you feel it!
Seasonal street style has always been one of the best ways to spot the tourists from the locals in Ibiza; right up until the end of May, residents and Ibicencos will generally still be fully-covered from head to toe, while holidaymakers are already pounding the pavements in micro-mini shorts, crop tops (or worse, bikini tops, or in the case of men, no shirts at all!) and flip-flops. The judgemental thoughts from your Ibiza fashion opponent can practically be felt through a top-to-toe glare: What on earth are they THINKING? They must be FREEZING! Put some clothes on! You’ll catch your death of cold. It’s not beach weather yet!
Put the (open-toed) shoe on the other foot however and it’s more like: What’s WRONG with them? Don’t they know they’re in Ibiza? Maybe they can’t expose their skin? Aren’t they hot? They must be sweating bullets underneath all those layers! Of course, we all know people feel the cold quite differently and if you’ve acclimatised to the Ibiza weather during the years you lived here, or obviously if you grew up in this climate, you are much more likely to find the mild May temperatures quite cold than say, someone who is fresh off a plane from the chilly grey UK.
Those of us still in boots and scarves should probably be a little more sympathetic – after all, we have the benefit of knowing we’ll be sweltering through the next hot six months, while some of the scantily dressed folk we see on the streets right now may not get the chance to spend any more time in the sun this season. You just never know, do you? And speaking of benefits… we also get to feel quite smug when the sun goes down, the chill picks up, the humidity sets in and we can wrap ourselves in those trusty scarves while we watch those in floaty summer dresses shiver their way through cocktails in the port.
Eventually however, that day in May arrives and we know the time has come to shed the layers and embrace the feeling of the sun’s rays on our skin. I can feel it in the air now. It’s close; so close. Things are literally heating up in Ibiza right now and the switch is going to come any day now and I’m wondering just how long I can procrastinate for. Because when the day to officially start dressing like all those tourists have been dressing for the past six weeks, we’re all presented with yet another question – am I really ready for this?
I’ve always thought that whole ‘summer bodies are made in winter’ thing is just a catchy marketing phrase made up by clever personal trainers but on the day you switch to summer clothes, you do sometimes wonder if you should have paid attention. But when you live on an island – well, this particular island, anyway – winter life is not all about waiting for the pending arrival of the next summer. Winter is about living your life, enjoying the environment, seeing your friends, eating, drinking and of course, being merry. It’s not about counting calories while counting down to the first beach day of the year (well, not for anyone I know anyway) – the beach is just part of every day life here, all year round. But that doesn’t make the first day of showing your legs any less daunting!
Ahhh, the legs. Now there’s another thing we girls have to (or ok, let’s be honest, choose to) think about when we swap the jeans and yoga pants of winter for summer shorts, skirts and dresses again. The day you start to bare your legs again is the day you have to start being conscious of regular defuzzing – especially if you let it side during the colder months. And then, there’s also the colour of your skin… 50 shades of lily white. The girls who are straight off a plane and striding the streets with ultra-bronzed pins are the ones who paid a visit to their spray tanner the night before their holiday (or slathered on 50 layers of St Tropez pre-flight – you can smell them from three rows away).
But when you live a busy lifestyle here, all that preparation goes out the window and you just have to gulp and step into those shorts and hope that magical natural scientific reaction that occurs between your skin and the sun’s rays happens fast. And then there are the toenails (and this is a point I think all the men out there should pay heed to as well). After six months of being cocooned in big fluffy socks, all of a sudden your tootsies are on display for the world to see. It’s time to trim the ragged edges, buff the skin around your ankles and – if you are so inclined – paint the nails. You might think your toes are a pretty long way away from eye level, but you’d be surprised how many judgemental looks from anyone who happens to look down (don’t get me started about shop assistants when you’re trying on summer shoes!). I think I’ve got at least two more weeks left of layers – please humour me if you see me sweating through them in the meantime! Photography by Maria Simon