What to Wear
Every self-respecting gay man wants to be seen to be wearing the right thing at the right time. With this in mind, here’s some tips on what to wear and when if you’re travelling to Australia.
A couple of caveats. Firstly, this is written from a Sydneysider’s point of view. Secondly, it’s written from a gay man’s point of view. Perhaps some girlfriends out there would like to offer some advice from a lesbian point of view.
What to wear in Sydney
Sydney is a casual city. In keeping with its brash reputation people generally dress down. As a visitor to this town you would expect to be wearing mostly T-shirts and jeans in winter and T-shirts and shorts in summer. Once upon a time it was not fit for a gay man to be seen in shorts after 5 pm, but that has changed a lot over the last 5 years or so and younger guys especially are happy to wear stylish shorts in the evening. Bring a collared shirt for going to up-market restaurants. In winter, a casual jacket (hooded or otherwise) would be all you’d need for warmth. On the scene, a jacket with lapels would probably seem too much. In the day time in summer and when attending gay nightclubs a singlet is all that’s required. That will usually come off on the dance floor in a gay nightclub.
What to wear in Melbourne
The same rules apply in Melbourne as in Sydney, except that people tend to dress more smartly. People in the city pay more attention to the cut and quality of their clothes and this is possibly partly explained by the fact that Melbourne can be much colder than Sydney in winter.
What to wear in other cities
Other cities generally follow Sydney’s lead, with a few detail changes. For example, Brisbane is a warmer climate, Hobart is colder. People dress for comfort accordingly. Perth seems to have a bit more style, while Adelaide is fairly relaxed. What do people from those cities think? Regional areas are generally quite casual.
If you were here on business, it depends on your industry. In the financial sector, for example, a business suit would be appropriate. A tie would only be necessary went facing clients. Otherwise in an office environment the tie can be removed. In the creative industries dressing down to casual is more appropriate.
There’s not a lot of chances to go formal in Australia. You would be hard-pressed to find someone wearing a dinner suit even at the opera. Two chances the gay community has to go formal in Sydney are the annual Diva Awards and the Aurora Dinner. Even then, the crowd puts their own twist on what a formal outfit should be.
What to wear at the pool or the beach
Australia is, of course, famous for the “budgie smuggler”, or speedo, and these are perfectly acceptable at the beach or the pool. Some guys prefer the hipster or square-cut swimmers. It’s really your choice, and what you feel comfortable in. Straight guys seem to prefer board shorts.
Some other tips
Remember that the further south you are, the colder it can be. In winter, the Melbourne can get quite cold so you would need to wear a heavier jacket than you would in Sydney, and even in the summer the beaches facing south around Victoria can get a little chilly, so take a light jacket with you.
I love bush walking (hiking), and there’s some great places to do this in Australia. When I do, I wear a lightweight long pair of pants. If I don’t, my legs tend to end up being covered in scratches by the end of the day. Mine can be unzipped below the knee to be turned into shorts if it gets too hot, but you can roll up a long legged pair of lightweight pants instead.
What’s your take on this? If you’re from an Australian city, how do you dress? What do the girls do?