An Imperfect Race to the Finish

Yesterday I got back from an incredible (though too short!) trip to Egypt! As some of you might know, Egypt is my favorite place in the world, and rather unbelievably it had been eleven years since I was last there. Needless to say, I was rather excited in the run up to this trip! As I started getting ready and packing, I realized that I had little in the way of appropriate clothing (i.e., lightweight for really hot weather but full coverage both for protection against the sun and not looking too out of place). I guess it must have been something do with almost six years of living in London where the weather is about as opposite from Egyptian weather as it can get (I seem to own only sweaters!). I found that I had a couple of lightweight, long-sleeved shirts I’d bought to wear on my honeymoon in Tanzania five years ago, but they were looking pretty awful and ratty. So what to do?

I broke down and went shopping. I got myself a few long-sleeved but lightweight shirts, a maxi dress with long sleeves and a pair of lightweight jeans. To be honest, I felt pretty guilty about it. I probably could have cobbled together sufficiently appropriate stuff to wear without going shopping, so it didn’t feel 100% necessary. That said, I probably would have felt uncomfortable and/or embarrassed in most of the stuff I could have worn because it would have been too hot or I would have been self conscious about the terrible sweat stains under the armpits of most of my pre-existing long-sleeved and lightweight shirts. I’m not sure which would have been worse: breaking my no new nothing so thoroughly or the embarrassment/discomfort I would have felt wearing what I already owned. In hindsight, I suspect that the embarrassment would have been mostly in my head and that no one else would have noticed. But so it goes.

At least, in shopping for new stuff, I did try to follow some guidelines that make for better buying. I bought only stuff that I would wear regularly — i.e., in hot or cold weather, all-season appropriate etc. It was all stuff I knew I would be happy to wear daily in London. I also tried not to spend too much, while buying stuff that was good quality material and construction and would last. I didn’t want to buy anything that would fall apart after a couple wears. I managed to find nice pair of JOSEPH jeans on sale at TK Maxx (UK equivalent of TJ Maxx) for less than 1/4 of the original price, a couple of shirts at Marks & Spencer for less than £30 each that were Tencel or similar materials that are more sustainable than regular cotton ( i.e, require less energy and water to produce and have lower chemical release) and last longer, and a dress from Sezane (a brand that, while not fully sustainable, has committed to transitioning to more sustainable production).

New jeans and shirt at the pyramid of Unas, Saqqara
Another new shirt, with my girl Meritamen at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo
New dress at the mosque of Ibn Tulun, Cairo
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