I happened to come upon a blog the other day which discussed fashion for cruising women. It was a serious discourse on what fabrics didn't wrinkle and how to keep whites really white and what clothing was most versatile for sundowners and dinners ashore and what shoes to wear and how to accessorize. She encouraged people to share their fashion tips with others. Oh, my … was I ever left out. Fashion tips from the Nine of Cups' crew? Perish the thought.
Twenty years ago, I thrived on fine worsted wool suits, silk blouses and scarves, fine accessories and high heels in every color of the rainbow. That was then, this is now. I've been shopping in thrift stores and opp shops since I've returned to the States, trying to upgrade my dwindling wardrobe. If you've only paid $1 for a shirt, it's okay if diesel gets splattered on it or you rub against a rust stain. My sister gave me her last year's exercise shoes which have become my walking shoes. Sometimes I splurge on a pair of earrings ... if they're on sale. Underwear, whenever I buy it, is always new. There are limits to my frugality.
I'm always impressed by women who step off their yachts well-coiffed, with starched blouses and freshly ironed slacks with creases (no rust stains noticeable) and head for the local malls to replenish their wardrobes. Most of the full-time live-aboard cruising women I know, however, are pretty much like me, I think. We have limited clothes aboard … mostly because after all those spare boat parts and extra provisions, there's no room to store lots of clothes. What clothes we do have are practical and versatile … shorts, t-shirts, a couple of sundresses maybe, a bathing suit or two, a pair of jeans, sweatpants, sweatshirts, foul weather gear. I do have one old navy blue blazer aboard (from 1999) which I wear with a reasonably good pair of slacks (also from 1999), so I look somewhat presentable whenever I head back to the States. The neat, pressed look is always a challenge. We have no iron aboard.
High heels? NOT! Deck shoes, a pair or two of flip-flops, reef shoes, a good pair of walking shoes (usually with the soles re-glued in place), maybe a pair of Crocs (usually wannabe Crocs). While on passage, we rarely wear shoes at all.
While on passage, fashion never comes to mind. Truth be told, we don't change clothes very often on a passage. It's the same old t-shirt and shorts or sweatpants. They're not color-coordinated because who can tell with all the stains and wrinkles? We wear the same clothes over and over again, day after day, until they either get too crusty to wear or they get doused by a wave and are soaked. Sometimes we don't wear clothes at all actually … depending how hot or cool it is. Less laundry that way, no tan lines (as if?) and definitely no worry about fashion. Come to think about it, sailing naked at our age is an advantage … it keeps the pirates (as well as everyone else) away!