Another summer and still no sign of the fashion police doing their job and protecting the citizens of this fair province.
It's always been a mystery to me why summer fashion always gets a good press — “floaty, flirty, bright and innocent”. For which read “bloaty, fleshy and letting it all hang out”. But not in a good way.
The first touch of sun and here come the girls. Or more precisely their cleavages. The boys might think differently but you CAN get too much of a good thing as Royal Avenue suddenly turns into Carry On Staring.
The ‘look’ varies from no bras to those weird chest bandanas to black bras under white T-shirts. And then there’s the warm weather sister of the VPL, the VBS — Visible Bra Straps.
Often looking the worse for wear, frayed and discoloured, they seem a long way from the comely lass making her way home across the fields. Worse still, we still have those awful plastic invisible efforts. If only they were, if only they were ...
But if it's not boobs it's midriffs. When, oh when will this trend crawl away to the elephant’s (I use the word advisedly) graveyard to die.
Unless you've got the elfin grace of a Kate or the toned curves of a Kelly, it really, really isn't a good look. We've all heard of muffin top jeans, but our continued fascination for crop tops often makes devotees look like muffins held upside down. Combined with the hipsters — muffins held the right way up — that's an awful lot of muffin.
And all lovingly proferred in two shades: blotchy cookie dough or Tango orange. Such elegance reminiscent of Paris or Milan.
But let’s be fair about this. Any faux pas the girls can do, the men can do better. Acres of (sometimes less than perfect) girly flesh is one thing but boys attempting to get in on the act? That's just perverse.
If it's not Benny Hill Cor Blimey shorts, then it's pitiful Rorys and Wesleys convincing themselves that in a parallel universe they're called Angelo or Francisco: shorts three times too small, a two and a bit pack and no top does not a self-confident sex god make. Nope, it makes a twerp.
Heaven help us, you even witness the odd one with a cowboy hat as if the Lisburn Road ran straight through Ibiza. Alas not. And a man’s sunburnt chest and shoulders and bald pate do not turn a lady’s head — unless they are a burns consultant, of course.
Speaking of the spirit of Benny Hill, how many times does it have to be said: sandals, no socks. We all know about the simplemindedness of the male but, boys, it's not rocket science. The only honourable exceptions to this fatwa (which sadly is not enforceable by death squads) are very old Werther Originals grandads more used to hoisting their trousers to just under their chin. But for any other man, death not cake.
While I’m drawing up the hitlists just let me add the words ‘jelly shoes’. Do I really have to explain? Also — unless you are on or going to a beach — no flipflops.
Of course, this being World Cup year, we are currently being plagued by football shirts. Look lads, cheap nylon pulled taut over bulging love handles simply doesn’t work — as proven most recently by Wayne Rooney.
Summer eh? Season of cracked heels, athlete’s foot and bingo wings.
No wonder some of us are yearning for the first falling autumnal leaf to signal we can stop all this nonsense and get back to normal.