What NOT to Wear

6 August 2009 By Claire Griffiths

Sexiness sells. We all know that. And sexy and superyachts is a hand-in-hand equation.

So that’s all good then. Coz, admittedly, even if you do feel a bit “yikesy” on the inside, the outside looks alright, doesn’t it? Lithesome limbs, a golden glow and toned features are the name of the game.

Let’s get dressed then and hit the harbour: Skinny shorts, check. Microscopic mini top, check. Eye pencil, eye shadow, blush, lip pencil, lipstick, false eye lashes. (Okay, maybe not.) Anyway, check. Bed hair, yup, we’re ready to go.

Now, practice a little sashaying of the hips (in a nonchalant style, of course), and you’re all set. So, where are the docks? Absolutely no one is going to get in between your IQ and that dream of working on the water.

What’s wrong with everyone? We all know – and nobody admits – that captains and owners will favour crew (of both sexes) that “candy up” the boat, eye-wise. Well, yes – they like to imagine how you might look good mincing around in a Missoni mini-bikini. But you need to keep your best bits under wraps.

Debbie Staiano, former chief stew on M/Y Kingdom and proprietor of Debbie’s Crew House in Antibes, runs a tight ship, no messing around and no mess at her place.

Debbie knows from experience that some folk need to learn a thing or two about what it’s like to work on boats. She despairs of a few of the hopefuls who walk through her door. “They’ve got cheeks hanging out of their shorts, hair flowing and all that make-up; you just don't need it,” she sighs.

Big of heart and mindful that we all need a break sometimes, Debbie will go as far as taking her “crew” shopping to find a decent pair of shorts and a top that speak the words that will get you a job, which are (lest we forget), “I am an efficient, presentable, tidy, clean, serious, enthusiastic, friendly person who knows that ‘melting’ and ‘background’ are my long-term friends.” (Think Wimbledon ball boys or five-star maitre d’s (the nice ones) and you’re getting the picture.) Make-up wise, for the ladies of course, Debbie recommends mascara, lip gloss, hair tied back and you’re halfway there.

Crew Placement Manager Chloe Collet of Peter Insull's Crew Agency confirms what you already know. “First impressions are very important, and you need to dress for an interview with the same care you would for any other industry. You are looking for a job on a twenty million euro enterprise after all.” Obviously you can ditch the stilettos and the dark suits, but tidy and presentable you have to be.

Clearly, agencies and captains make allowances for crew going for interviews straight from work having just washed down the decks but saggy shorts and flip-flops, or wet bikinis straight from the beach (and she’s seen it all) are never going to wing you windward. “The male stewards looking for work are the most impressive and make the effort,” Chloe says. “They’re often from a hotel/catering background and they understand what the job is really all about.”

So, now with you’re new, professional look, you’ve bagged your berth with the best yacht in the bay. But watch it, some owners and charter agencies never did the math. They don’t see how a man made-fibre crew uniform plus a Mediterranean-midday-meltdown equals “no thanks!”

It works both ways, “N’est ce pas?”