You're going to regret that ...

19:01, Feb 02 2014
Sarong Std
SO WRONG: A deluded chap sporting a sarong.

"Wow, those Thai fisherman pants look great," said no one, ever.

They might have looked OK in their natural environment, when you were lazing on beaches and drinking Changs as the sun went down.

Back then they seemed like a great idea. I'll wear these forever, you thought to yourself as you wiggled your toes in the sand and dreamed big.

But the truth is, back home those baggy, colourful pants look kind of ridiculous, and they're not the only things you brought home with you that do.

There are plenty of great items you find overseas should really be left there. Items like these.

A shell necklace


Invariably bought on an island somewhere, where you manage to convince yourself that that whopping big shell on a string will look super-stylish back home.

And every time you wear it you'll be able to make everyone jealous with your tales of sun-drenched island torpor.

Except you won't wear it, because back in the real world, shell necklaces look kind of silly.

A leather jacket from Florence

Ah Firenze, where the people are stylish, where leather goods are a specialty, where it would be almost unthinkable to leave without splashing out on that extravagantly expensive jacket that you believe you've always wanted.

I'll keep it forever! Trouble is, you don't actually wear leather jackets, and this one will be kept, forever, in the back of the wardrobe.

Thai fisherman pants

These undergo an incredible transformation on the flight home, morphing from cheap, durable travel garment to fashion disaster in about nine hours in a cargo hold.

Wear them in Thailand if you must, but know that they'll very rarely get used once you see your friends' reactions back home.

A "Same Same But Different" T-shirt

The ubiquitous south-east Asian souvenir is kind of funny the first time you see it, which is probably also the time you'll buy it.

But then you'll wear it around Thailand and Cambodia for a few weeks and realise that everyone else has one, and it's not really that funny, and by the time you get it home it will be reserved for mowing the lawn.

Any traditional outfit

This might be a beautiful sari from India, or perhaps a silk kimono from Japan, or a dirndl from Germany, or maybe just a woven Andean shirt from Peru.

Regardless, when you buy them you think you're investing in a nation's cultural heritage, plus you'll have an exotic outfit with which to impress friends back home.

And they would be impressed, too, if you didn't look like you were going to a fancy dress party.

An "I heart NY" T-shirt

The trouble with the "I heart NY" T-shirt is that there are so many "I heart NY" T-shirts. They're everywhere, around the world.

You can order them over the internet. You could probably pick one up from Supré. Doesn't really make for much of a souvenir.

A cheap Asian suit

Twenty dollars for a tailor-made suit! Sign me up!

That's what was going through my head in Hoi An, Vietnam a few years ago, when I was talked into having a very cheap suit made for me, convinced it was a bargain that would look great back home.

Then I took it a dry-cleaner and was told they couldn't even press it because the way it was sewn together "doesn't make any sense".

An Akubra hat

This is one for overseas visitors to Australia. Here's the thing: Akubras look great back in Australia, and they're highly functional. In, say, Sweden, however, you just look like Crocodile Dundee. And not in a good way.

An ice hockey jersey

There's a black jersey with a big yellow "B" on it that's been sitting at the back of my wardrobe for, well, pretty much its entire existence.

The reason for that is that there is only one place in the world that an ice hockey jersey looks good on a normal person, and that's at an ice hockey game. Not much of that happening in Australia unfortunately.

A sarong

For women, this is questionable. Yes, you might wear a sarong again at home, but you probably don't need all 14 that you've managed to squeeze into your suitcase.

Men, however, deluded into David Beckham-esque fantasies of swanning around their home town in their flowery man-skirts, will very quickly realise that sarongs are best left on holidays.

Which items have you bought overseas that you've never worn or used back home?