Mallory Chamberlain recounts the perils of dressing for hitchhiking…

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As Martin, Signe and I raced to Prague this January, we hit some highs and lows. Those that were fashion-related follow here.

Tight Primark jeans
Before we left for our Big Adventure, the three of us deemed it necessary to prepare much in the same way great adventurers such as Fridtjof Nansen and Sir Walter Scott had before us by gearing up. We made our way to Dundee for supplies and stopped by Primark for some top range thermals and jeans. Signe and I were the ones in search of the jeans, which we tried on and bought, deciding that although uncomfortably tight now, they would obviously soon stretch out while still making us look our best. Well, they did stretch out, particularly around our knees and thighs, but the waistlines seemed, if anything, to get tighter (I chalk this up to our exclusive diet of bread, beer and sausages), and we ended up traveling large stretches with the jeans undone, hidden under our nordic knitwear. Furthermore, the level of painful (torturous) tightness made wearing thermals a distant dream, leaving us freezing cold any time we spent more than five minutes exposed to the elements.
Verdict: very good for talking to truck drivers, bad for literally any other purpose.

Viking helmets
We also acquired these in Dundee, not wanting to bring our own authentic armour from home, and had to content ourselves with the horned plastic variety. However, the helmets certainly helped to strengthen our viking theme, whose only other elements were plaits and nordic-patterned jumpers. They also worked to intimidate those who would otherwise see us as easy targets. I have watched Taken one time too many to know that getting in a car with two Albanian men is a good idea, but the helmets clearly signalled that Signe and I can do more than sing along to ABBA and they left the three of us alone, content with making jokes about their respective professions as a drug dealer and hitman.
Verdict: cumbersome at times when trying to navigate convenience stores, but good for letting people know NOT TO MESS.

Kilt
While we had sprung for a Viking Vixen look, our third team member Martin had gone for a Scottish Heritage approach and wore his kilt the entire way from St Andrews to Prague. How, you may ask, did his more delicate parts survive the ordeal of -10 degrees in a kilt? Oddly enough, there is more room under a kilt than a pair of skin-tight jeans, so Martin simply wore some sweet thermals (all-white because as he put it; ‘my grandfather would kill me if he saw me in another colour than white. It’s the Scottish way’) and kept his bits, if not toasty, at least out of danger.
Verdict: the kilt made for a great ice-breaker and gave Martin popularity points for being from Scotland rather than England, but sadly did not elicit any Braveheart quotations, only questions of bagpipe proficiency (none).

Our unifying sartorial element was the Race2 t-shirt we all received before setting off.
Verdict: Bright yellow will never make anyone look good, but is probably very helpful in the event of a black-out or any other low-visibility-related circumstance which requires that level of YELLOW, which is what I am sure the UK and Europe safety teams had in mind when approving its design. It was also good at catching people’s attention through a pure visual assault on the senses. And unfortunately, wearing it outside your jacket/jumper/cow onesie makes you look like a watermelon in a baby sock!

 

Mallory Chamberlain

 

Image by Signe Hammar