The primary reason for this was the pockets are fantastic!
Safari gear is the most practical dress for women travelling, simply because integral to its design are the most useful of pockets, as well as being really comfortable. It comes in way more colours thesedays than just khaki.
The pockets in safari shirts and trousers liberates me from the necessity of carrying a handbag. I have room for a waterbottle, money, keys, wipes and tissues, as well as a small camera, cell phone and my reading glasses. All this leaves my hands free for using my rather large camera, supporting its weight as I need to, or when I am using it..
What's more it gives me great sun protection, contains inbuilt insect repellent, washes out readily and dries by the next morning.
It is light, yet insulates pretty well in coolish weather with a tee shirt under it. Coupled with a light fleecy and jacket, I find I need little more than a pair of black pants and a couple of silk tops should I need to dress up a bit, plus a throw for over my swimmers that doubles as nightwear.
This begs the question why is womens clothing pretty much devoid of pockets, whereas menswear has fabulously practical pockets designed into it as a matter of course?
Pockets inside, rather than on the exterior of a jacket make it hard for pick pockets to target valuables. Men take this for granted. For women it remains a luxury.
I am not suggesting women abandon all sense of fashion when travelling. I too enjoy fashion, but on my own terms. I like arty kind of clothes, ones that are allow easy movement and have a good line. I enjoy bright colours and loud prints.
Why oh why can't designers manage to build practical pockets, as useful as those in safari gear into womens clothing?
In the 1920s and earlier part of the women's movement included the practical dress advocates. They were largely responsible for womens dress beginning to include bermuda shorts, jodpurs and the wide legged trousers of the 1920s and 30s. Finally in the 1960s when pant suits became fashionable, rules that prevented women from attending work in anything other than dresses and skirts began to erode.
A friend tells a story of turning up for work as a teacher in the latest of pant suits in the 1960s and being sent home for being inappropriately dressed for work. The next day all the women teachers at her school arrived in pantsuit solidarity.
Thesedays I rarely wear a dress. Making a concession only on extra hot days or to "frock up" for the races.
I joke that putting on lipstick equates with formal wear for me.
I remain an advocate and activist on the practical dress front.
Mainly I just want decent pockets in what I wear so I can choose to be free of carrying a handbag when it suits me.
There are times when my handbag truly weighs me down and often, travelling or doing lots of walking are amongst those times.
I may not have been walking up the side of the Rift Valley this year, but my trusty safari gear was equally ideal for exploring the Colosseum, a day roaming around galleries or visiting Mosques in Turkey.
I love the fact safari wear is as timeless and classic as Channel's little black dress. An essential item any any woman's wardrobe to my mind!
To purchase safari wear in Australia, travel stores such as Mountain Designs, Katmandu and Paddy Pallin's all have excellent ranges and include online shopping!