TOPICS: Is Newcastle jumping the gun on winter fashion?

DEMAND: Dave Crane says winter clothes are already selling off the shelves.
DEMAND: Dave Crane says winter clothes are already selling off the shelves.

WHAT the heck is going on with this weather? And what is it doing to Newcastle’s fashion scene?

Everywhere Topics goes around the city, it seems no one has a clue what to make of Mother Nature’s state of mind. Is it hot, or cold? Jacket on, or off? Should I really be wearing those thongs, or is it time to dust off the scarf? 

Topics tried to answer these important life questions as we took our jacket off, before promptly putting it back on, for the third time in 15 minutes at the weekend.

We eventually resolved that it wasn’t cold enough for a jacket – but before long a friend had us stumped again.

“I just saw someone pay $800 for a fur coat,” she thundered as she sat down for lunch. “Where would you even wear it – it’s not like it’s that cold.”

A frustrated Topics decided to further investigate, so we hit the capital of the Hunter’s high fashion scene – The Junction –  to find out if there was a winter rush.

SUMMER CITY: Lindsay Otto finds that Newcastle tends to buck winter fads.

SUMMER CITY: Lindsay Otto finds that Newcastle tends to buck winter fads.

Dave Crane, the co-owner of Seraph women’s clothing store on Kenrick Street, confirmed that winter had definitely come early.

“Winter is here,” he said. “I’m finding that people are preparing a lot earlier this year. We’re selling a lot of scarves, a lot of knitwear. It’s a relief, to be honest, because last year was just too hot. People just want to be ready.”

Lindsay Otto, of Otto’s women’s clothing, observed that some in the city were in “winter denial” (think: shorts and ugg boots) – but there was no cause for concern because “Newcastle doesn’t really embrace winter, anyway”.

“It’s something to do with our beach lifestyle,” she said. “You never really need much to keep warm. Something light will do.”

Whatever havoc this “in between” weather might be wreaking on tough as nails Newcastle, at least we’re not as bad as Sydney.

KEEPING IT REAL: John Nelson in his shorts and thongs at The Junction.

KEEPING IT REAL: John Nelson in his shorts and thongs at The Junction.

As one Topics correspondent noted this week of Sydney fashion on Facebook: “Man scarves. Man scarves everywhere. Sadly. Mostly wound around the neck three times and tucked into the breast of a Ted Baker tweed coat. The walk is one of purpose, hands in coat pockets, an expressionless face staring outward through heavy-rimmed Tom Fords.”

It prompted the reply: “This Northern town glances at what the big smoke is doing then ignores it.”

Merewether’s John Nelson is one proud Novocastrian thumbing his nose at the fashion elites of Sydney.

Resplendent in shorts, thongs and a polo shirt as he walked down Kenrick Street on Monday afternoon, John said simply of his fashion choice: “I’m comfortable.”

Hard to argue with that.

“I do rug up from time to time, but not now,” John explained. “It’s just not one of those days.”

Newcastle can expect a top of 21 degrees on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Ask yourself, WWJD – What Would John Do?

Go behind the bars

THINK it’s cold? Spare a thought for the inmates of Maitland Gaol. Or just see for yourself.

Maitland council has announced the return of its popular night tours at the historic penitentiary, giving visitors another perspective of the former prison.

Visitors will experience how the prisoners counted down the time until their release, as well as an inside look into the many escape attempts at the jail.

A children’s tour called “Snitch’s Gaol Exploration” – narrated by “Snitch the rat” – is also promised.

The next night tours will take place between 6pm and 9.30pm on June 9 and July 14. Last entry at 8.30pm.