As threatened/promised: thoughts and plans for Extra Casual Weekend Wear (XXL)

Over the past few summers, I've been fretting my weekend wear. Not because it's hot -- we have very mild and pleasant summers -- but because I was struggling with wearing appropriately casual outfits. I'd previously been attributing it to feeling rushed while getting dressed, so last summer I pared waaaay down on my summer style and dressed much more simply (and quickly). While it did help a little, I was still struggling. Coincidentally, I was also on a shopping break during that time which helped/forced me to really hunker down and figure out exactly what was going on.

What I realized was that, like many people, I had a totally incorrect perception of how my time was spent. I found that my normal clothes (what I call my "work" clothes, even though they're rather casual) generally get me through only 3-4 days a week, not 4-6 as I'd been thinking. The other 2-3 are weekend casual days; some of the work stuff crosses over, getting dressed down with BF jeans and flats, which is what made me think I was getting more wear out of the work stuff. But much more of that time was spent in far more casual settings than I'd thought, particularly "in the summer" where I needed things I could go romp outside in which still looked presentable. I put that in quotes because when I actually looked at it, I was surprised to find that it's actually the time period from March through October! That is a ridiculously large amount of time to be missing clothing for!

Now, I'm specifically referring to extra casual activities that require casual-bordering-gear clothing, for our typical weekend activities such as: hiking, short 2-up motorcycle rides, dirt biking, various casual meals, visiting farms, day trips in the car or on the bike, impromptu visits with friends, picnics, beach strolls, camping, BBQs/fire pit hangouts, baseball games, hitting the driving range, city sightseeing, shopping, etc. We might do one of these things or several of these things, and often we haven't decided ahead of time what it is we're doing. This, you see, is my dilemma with these weekend outfits! And the motorcycle activities present extra challenges, particularly dirt biking, but I won't go into those here.

Day-to-day, my husband usually wears nice jeans, high quality leather boots, and a perfectly fitting button-up shirt (his are all bespoke). He could wear his formula to all of the above activities, along with work and even dressier activities, and be perfectly appropriate. I feel like there is no such single outfit that can achieve such a wide range of activities/dressiness levels for me as it does my husband, which is a whole other topic of discussion. But I thought perhaps I could manage my husband's approach for the weekend, because at the very least, on weekends the activity range is more limited. What I want most is for whatever I'm wearing to NOT hinder whatever it is we decide to do, while still feeling fab and me (tall order).

So I decided the first step was that I needed to allow/force myself to purchase these missing, less fashion-fun clothing items. Then to come to terms with actually, you know, dressing truly casually. I definitely bat for Team Dressy even in my casual clothing, but particularly in shoes. My style has almost no sportiness and I'm inherently drawn to pretty, refined footwear which makes shoes the toughest part for me. Plus I've never really liked sneakers, even when I used to actually do athletic things which required them. However, the more I looked at this capsule and the activities it needed to accommodate, the more it made sense that sneakers would be an integral part. It also made sense to seek out breathable fabrications because some of the activities would be somewhat athletic, and the motorcycle activities would require adding gear over the top. My basic outfit formula idea is to wear sneakers of some sort with weather-appropriate bottoms and a lightweight casual top with breathable fabrication.

With those ideas in mind, I came up with the following capsule:

FOOTWEAR:
- rubber boots (for farms, muddy stuff)
- short boho boots (for non-muddy rompin')
- lace-up sneaks/slip-on sneaks (for misc casual things)
- flats (for city stuff)
- flat waterproof sandals (for beachy stuff)

TOPS:
- several cotton breezy tees
- a few elbow/LS tees
- a few breezy tanks
- a couple summer sweaters (for cooler days)
- a couple button-up shirts

BOTTOMS:
- boyfriend jeans/pants (for heavy duty stuff)
- faded skinny jeans (for city stuff)
- baggy shorts (for hot days, beachy stuff)
- long walk shorts/cropped pants (for warm days outside)
- breezy long skirt (beach ok)

DRESSES:
- casual day dress

TOPPERS:
- hoodie
- denim jacket
- a couple long soft cardigans
- anorak/utility jacket
- leather jacket

OTHERS:
- a few colorful/printed scarves (for extra polish)
- slouchy hats/pretty headbands (after bike outings)
- medium cross body bag

I was surprised to find that I actually did have a lot of the components already... and then less surprised to find that the shoes were primarily what was missing. Some missing pieces I've added in the past couple weeks, some existing less-than-fab pieces have been upgraded, and a few others I'm still working on finding. It may seem like a lot but as I said at the start, this capsule spans 8 months! I also made a supplemental list of "Good Alternates", items that fit the categories which are part of my dressier work wear, for days that are less than ultra-casual.

So now I've just got to start putting it into practice! I had a test run this past weekend which worked pretty well, and I'm feeling encouraged to continue moving forward with this. I may not stick to the capsule 100% (probably won't) but it was incredibly useful in figuring out exactly what the holes were. Of course, in practice the capsule elements are subject to change since this is all still speculation. Educated speculation, but speculation nonetheless. Also, it'll be interesting to see which things feel fab enough and which don't.

Whew! If you've made it all the way though, thanks for reading! As always I'd love to hear any of your thoughts or experiences :)

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.

30 Comments

  • Joy replied 5 years ago

    Aida, I'm very interested in how this comes together because I live a very casual life, especially in the summer, but veer toward dressy.  I also am not a fan of sneakers but need to wear them more.

  • Mo replied 5 years ago

    I call this my active-casual capsule.  I do TONS of this in Tahoe.  A day's activities can take us from mountain biking to drinks lakeside at a nice restaurant's patio bar within the hour, or from rafting to a casino for lunch.  A step above gear, as you want to be presentable for the public viewing portions, but sturdy stuff that can take a little dirt.  I'll be watching to see what you come up with!

  • Angie replied 5 years ago

    A brilliant post. You rock big time, Aida. 

    Sweet Aida, we have a very similar style sensibility - especially in footwear. If very un-sporty me is happy wearing "pretty sneakers" - it might give you a dash of  hope - at least for some of those casual activities. I found that it's all about doing white sneakers - and you bat for Team We Love White Everything right there with me too. High five.  Truly, white sneakers are what makes the outfit look prettier - and you have the white support act to go with white sneaks. I have tried all sorts of sneakers to get this look right - and white is what has worked best for me. (I love colourful athletic sneaks worn in fashionably intentional ways on others - like Anna, Marley and Neel - but it feels off on me because I am looking for the pretty and the simpicity). I used to be content with Chucks - but my feet are no longer happy in them. (*big sigh* - I love the look of Chucks). So I had to move onto Plan B. I also bought a refined white Milly backpack to wear with my new white athletic sneaks so that the outfit still feels like me. Know what I mean, jellybean? 

    FWIW, that's my 2 cents. I am SO not a sporty gal, but I surprised myself big time by loving the Sporty Trend - almost as soon as it surfaced a few years ago. I will be blogging about that next week. 

  • Diana replied 5 years ago

    I could totally have written this whole post.  Like you, I don't really have a sporty bone in my body, but I also require some more sporty or casual looking stuff for weekend activities.  Thanks for the very well thought-out list of items - surprisingly it looks like I have most of it already, I just have to figure out a way to make the outfits more "me".

    I've decided that my red hat is the best purchase I've ever made for this capsule. It makes every outfit look exciting, no matter how simple or gearish it is!  My gigantic sunglasses are my other weekend fashion secret - they make everything look chic. 

    You've reminded me that I really need to upgrade my weekend crossbody bags.  I'm finding the straw one in the photo below to be a little too unwieldy for more active activities, and my black nylon one is getting rather beat up.  I'm also itching for a pair of fun, neon athletic sneakers.  (Sorry, Angie, no big white sneaks for me, I still have a bit of poison eye for that look.  But bright neon, that I can get behind.)

    ETA: Not currently a pressing need as it is some months before it will be needed, but one thing I really need is a sportier winter coat.  The last few years I've just been wearing my wool coats with my sporty ensembles, which kind of just looks weird.  I'm not sure what style I want though - maybe just a super gearish North Face type, or maybe something a little more polished but still made of technical fabric?  Or maybe a heavy weight utility style jacket, or a LL Bean field coat type of thing?  I don't do puffers.  In the spring and fall I can get away with my leather jackets but even then maybe a more technical jacket might be a good buy.  (Like a Zella maybe, or a lightweight utility jacket.)

  • Caro in Oz replied 5 years ago

    Thanks for this post Aida it's so interesting, especially understanding the importance of really knowing how you spend your time. 

    I'm not sporty either & have found finding the right casual shoes is key for me too. I bought a pair of Angie's recommended Via Spiga snake skin sneakers (see below) & they are really versatile.They work with my jeans, harems & track pants & make everything more casual yet still me.

  • rachylou replied 5 years ago

    Oh, a very substantial post, Aida. A lot to chew on. Underscores the importance of the activities assessment. Now that you've done this baseline, I'll be interested to see the results at the other end of summer.

    Summer is so tricky. I should see this summer what the temps are really like, and what my activities are nowadays. I don't hike as much. I'm afraid of the mountain lions up here, what with Lilypup. The suburbs didn't have them.

  • Rambling Ann replied 5 years ago

    Finally a topic that I know something about! You described 29 out of 30 days of my clothes. Except your activities sound more fun!

    Keen makes waterproof sandals that go beyond the beach to decent walking shoes. They also make walking shoes and lace up boots that don't look so much like sneakers. But I wonder why you don't get yourself a fabulous pair of leather boots like your husband? There are all sorts of stylish cross-over gear to casual boots. I am thinking of some of the western lace-up riding boots. Or super light leather hikers. Those would be a lot safer I would think on the bikes too.

    White sneakers->liberal applications of Scotch-guard. 

    I love my Bogs rubber boots and they come in cute patterns.

    Cargo pants are another bottoms option. And there are some nice skirts made for travel by some of the gear makers, like Prana, Ex Officio and Columbia, that are a step above the usual hiking gear.

    Invest in good socks. Smartwool has many good colors/styles/weights.

    Buff brand scarf/headband/hat comes in a million cool patterns. Maybe not a million, but more than I can justify buying. When the wind is really blowing and I need my hair to stay out of my face, I grab a Buff. Or if I want a little warmth around the neck, as a cowl. Or a funky watch cap. There's about 18 ways to wear them-I can only remember 4 or 5. Amazon's offerings barely scrape the surface but are all I could clip.

  • shevia replied 5 years ago

    I was always a non-sneaker, non-sporty person and just this year I have found myself wearing dressier sneakers once in while. No advice to what to wear on a dirt bike from me though!

  • Aida replied 5 years ago

    Thank you all for the valuable feedback, it's VERY appreciated. I definitely plan to post again about this once I've used the concept for a good while. Claire had requested formulas, and I am hoping to come up with a few of those over the season as well.

    Joy, after wearing the new Vans out once I am already feeling better about wearing sneakers for this capsule. I think I just need to get my eye started adjusting to the look.

    Mo, "active-casual" is so much more succinct than what I was referring to it as! That idea hadn't crossed my mind because I don't think of myself as terribly active, but I suppose I rather am.

    Angie, THANK YOU for the thoughtful response about the footwear. Truly, that is my struggle. I do have hope, especially after seeing glimpses of how you've worked bits of sportiness into your style over the past year! Very much looking forward to your post about this next week. I knew right off the bat that colorful or dark sneakers wouldn't work for me, unless the colors were very light. But haven't yet tried any actual white pairs. I should and will do that (in fact I'd been waffling about a second pair of Vans in all white, which I think I'll just pull the trigger on and get). Is the Milly backpack the one you showed in a few recent ensembles? It's such a fun piece! I am thinking for myself that I need a white or cream boho fringed bag. I have my eye on one, but it's currently a bit out of my price range. Hoping it goes on sale, or that perhaps my sis might get it for me for my birthday. Sorry to hear that Cons are no longer working for your feet, that is a bummer :(

    Diana, I love your red hat, and how fun that it's getting a workout. I've got a few slouchy berets I like to wear in winter and have been looking for similar openweave options for summer (no luck so far). And you just reminded me that I have a great straw cowboy hat that'd be perfect for this capsule, I should dig that up. And I hear you on the sporty winter coat, I need one as well. Winter "active-casual" capsule is a whole other issue, I'll tackle that in a few months! ^^ EDIT: I also have the big sunglasses thing down, I don't wear any other kind! They really do wonders.

    Caro, those are a great slip-on shoe! I can see them working quite nicely with your style to add some casual polish.

    Rachy, I was really surprised when I realized the time; I thought I had a good handle and was so far off. Truly, not shopping and not posting made me focus. Otherwise I'd just continue spending on the fashion-fun things. I'm very realistic about temperature these days, which is why there are hardly any shorts/tanks on the list. We have mountain lions too! But no little doggies to worry about.

    Rambling Ann, thanks for the great, specific recommendations. I'll look into those. I do have a pair of leather boots, but was getting tired of wearing them 3 days each weekend ;) For the bikes, I always wear full riding gear which includes a change into tall riding boots, so it doesn't really matter what non-bike footwear I have planned.

    Shevia, good to hear from another non-sporty gal who's been wearing sneakers! We need to start a support group, heh. I could write an equally long post about just the dirt biking, but figured it'd be a little less relatable ;) I've got a good idea for what to do about that since there's dedicated gear involved.

  • Aubergine replied 5 years ago

    I'm with you too! I don't need presentable-but-active casual stuff very often but, when I do, it's always a pain. With me, part of the issue is that my wardrobe is so dress-focused, so I have to go for a completely different silhouette rather than just taking my usual clothes down a notch or two. Which means I'm really scrounging. At least it doesn't sound like you have to deal with that aspect. And it's always frustrating to watch my husband be able to just throw on something that can work for all kinds of things, while I have to either pick one side or the other or find a really unsatisfying compromise.

    I don't really gravitate toward sneakers either, BTW, but I just bought my first non-gear pair in forever. They're these Keds -- the espadrille sole kind of helps for me because it feels more vacation-y than sporty.

  • Neel replied 5 years ago

    Annnndd I could have written your entire post in just the exact opposite way. Lol. I loved reading your thoughts Aida. I am a casual girl and I had similar feelings when I realized I was seriously lacking refined footwear (pumps and sleek boots), tops (silk/silk blend) and dressy trousers/skirts for those occasions where I truly could not wear my ripped BFs or my sneaks. The occasions are far spaced, but they are there. I always had panic attacks in such situations.

    When I finally realized why this was happening, I decided to slowly add dressier things to my wardrobe. Still a work in progress. But at least I know!

    Even little tweaks like adding khakhis instead of jeggings helps. Much more happier with my wardrobe now :)

    You have done the most difficult part. And brilliant job figuring out what you would need. About the sneakers ... I find leather/suede sneakers to be dressier than casual gear type ones. May be you would want to look at them.

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Aida, I love your phrase "casual polish." That's exactly what you're looking for (and what I am often looking for also, for my work-at-home capsule, which is basically enormous because it's most of my life.)

    It's remarkable how often we mis-judge or simply fail to recognize the amount of time we spend in certain kinds of activities, and the way our wardrobes become unbalanced as a result. Denise had a great post about this a while ago that you might remember where she analyzed her work clothes/ "city" clothes/ casual clothes and realized she was buying far more for her (more exciting, to her) "city" smart casual capsule, but most of her life was spent in the other activities. 

    I don't think your capsule sounds huge at all, because you really do need different types of items for different weather conditions and activities. That's a lot of different kinds of casual wear, really. 

    Like Angie, I've embraced the white sneaker as "my" sneaker. I am still wearing Cons Hi-Ness and just got my replacement pair today. They seem to be on their way out in favour of the slip ons like Caro's link; I also love those, but have a harder time getting a fit in them. I find sneakers to be incredibly useful in many, many casual situations. Far more than I had expected -- they do a lot of crossover for me. 

    I also think a sort of casual but not too casual chelsea boot might work for you -- a weatherproof one. Viva got a great pair of La Canadienne waterproof ones this past winter from 6 pm and they were incredible cross-over boots for many activities, even for work at times. That might be more for fall/ winter/ spring than for summer, per se. 

  • Beth Ann replied 5 years ago

    You are singin' my song, Sister!  I have a far more casual summer, since I'm not teaching at the University.  My warm season isn't as long as yours, but it can be very hot.  In addition, the older I get, the less well I pull of super casual.  Last summer, I made this my challenge, to learn how to do this dressing well.  I feel like I learned a lot, and I do indeed do this style of dressing better than I did, but I still love the opportunity to wear a cut pair of wedges, or a casual dress --

    This summer will end with a 12 day trip out West to Rushmore, Yellowstone and Grand Teton.  Camping.  That just upped the ante, so I know I will be learning alot from your posts.

    BTW --  I'm on a hunt for jersey knit summer sweaters that are lightweight, but a little tougher -- the kind you can wrap round your waist when you get hot. 

  • Gigi replied 5 years ago

    Oooh, the casual-bordering-gear capsule. My nightmare. (I tend to be dressy in my casual outfits too.)

    I liked your analysis and how you realized that your wardrobe wasn't reflecting the way you spend your time. I'll have to try that myself sometime! 

    Regarding casual-bordering-gear clothing, you might want to try Eddie Bauer. Sometimes they have stylish clothing in moisture-wicking synthetics. And the quality is excellent.

  • replied 5 years ago

    Once I started reading YLF I started buying items that fit my life. However, it wasn't until reading your other post that I really started thinking about how often I *really* get a chance to wear a dress or a skirt which is what I prefer.

    This past week we helped out a neighbor where I ruined my good walking shoes. They were old but I wasn't quite ready to replace them. Yesterday I volunteered at the food bank - not exactly appropriate to wear a dress even with flat shoes. Today I am planting my garden.

    Typically I do have clothes to wear to these activities however I do not have enough. For example if my one dark color tee shirt is dirty then I have a hard time getting dressed.

    I love your list and need to look at this further but here are some items I recently bought or plan to look at when I return some items to Eddie Bauer today. I am duplicating some items like the cheapie union bay brand cargo capris to avoid spending a lot of time or money on items that I don't really want to buy but are acceptable to me and I really need them for my life.

    Thanks for your thought provoking post.

  • Angie replied 5 years ago

    Aida, my pleasure. I just saw your other post - and those pretty light blues Vans are great. If they’re comfy - it’s a super solution. (I’d be wearing white Chucks if my feet were still okay with that). Try white too. (*smiling*). And clearly, I don’t mean for you to wear white sneakers while traipsing around in the dirt and mud with bikes. I’m thinking of the more clean cut casual activities. I LOVE your idea of the fringe white bag with the look. That brings back some of the ‘70s glam that defines your style. (Yup. It’s the white Milly backpack I’ve been featuring a lot in ensembles lately). 


    Diana, your red hat is killer. 

    Caro, your slip-on sneaker is a brilliant solution too. I tried SO hard to make that work. But my feet won’t have it for longer than an hour - which doesn’t help. At least I can enjoy the look on you. 

    Suz, high fiving everything you said. 

  • Angie replied 5 years ago

    Mtgirl, can you provide a link to those white sneaks? 

  • Lisa replied 5 years ago

    What an insightful post.  I'm looking forward to the casual yet pretty shoes picks.  It's tough to find shoes that can do gear activities but don't look like gear for a change. 

  • replied 5 years ago

    Of course!!

    The description says taupe though.

    http://m.zappos.com/rieker-r1714-liv-14-taupe

    The other pair listed is Rieker as well but do not have a cushioned footbed like these. I have not tried them in person but Rieker usually fits my narrow foot.

  • qfbrenda replied 5 years ago

    [cue applause]

    I just wrote out that list for my style note book. I also have a casual summer and though we don't do motorcycles, we have boys in Boy Scouts. So we're often at meetings in a literal campground, going camping, on hikes, and trucking kids around here and there. I tend to overdress which can look odd in those contexts.

    Thanks for explaining your thought processes. :)

  • replied 5 years ago

    Yay! So well though out Aida. I look forward to future posts with your casual looks. Taking a few of your notes for reference for me too.

  • mrseccentric replied 5 years ago

    Fantastic post Aida, thank you for laying it all out for us!

    I know your pain. We can be hiking all day in Pt. Reyes, do a little gallery-ogling, then dinner at a white linen tablecloth restaurant. It's like defending your style dissertation PhD!!! I do want to let you know that, after going through a massive style revolution focussed largely on these types of issues, when you get this sorted you will know your own style inside and out and how to accomodate it in every variety of situation. You'll be able to confront all other style quandries with aplomb!!! It's very worth it, but yeah it takes a lot of focus.

    My problem was convincing my husband that i would prefer a nice, sturdy and comfy pair of packer boots over a silk handpainted cocktail dress. Gorgeous, but i had no place to wear it! (Although in my twenties and early thrities i did simply hike in Calvin Klein suede kitten hell pumps.) And i didn't want that lifestyle, either.

    A couple of tips that work for me. I create the level of dressiness/formality in the outfit, as opposed to needing to hit that sweet spot in every single item. I also go from pretty to rugged from the head to the feet and from the inside to the outside. How this works - i wear pretty/ladylike/dressier pieces near my face. So i'll wear antique Mexican or big pearl earrings, straw hat with a bow, silk floral scarf, necklaces, a silk blouse (patterns are great at hiding sweat, stains, and wear and feel DIVINE - not to mention the gorgeous way they move in the breeze!), or a lacy Gibson Girl style blouse.

    The pants or skirt will be sturdier - i love a lacy or silk blouse with cargo pants or jeans. And, for me, the shoe will be a RATE ankle boot or oxford. I find that many equestrian style ankle boots have a very antique-ladylike feel to them. Again, i'll wear a more sturdy, outdoor or sporty type vest or jacket if i need one. If you're wearing shoes which show the socks, you can choose something more fun or femme, my lace-trimmed cotton socks always get compliments (to the point i don't want to wear them sometimes - why put together an entire look when no one notices anything but the socks?!?!?  ;)

    IOW, i like to figure out what items need to be practical - for me it's mostly shoes and the warmth/sun protection factor of a jacket - and then toss in pieces which are more 'me' in other pieces such as tops. Of course when thinking 'casual' a person immediately thinks of a tee, and i do enjoy wearing them. But a silk, linen, or cotton blouse will generally work as well (as long as it stays on easily and doesn't catch on things) and can add a style element which a tee just can't.

    Thank you again for writing this up! I think your attitude of looking at this as an experiment and a process is very wise as well, as they say the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I find that this type of more casual, day to day non-'work' dressing doesn't get anywhere near the amount of attention in the fashion world as it should given the amount of time we all spend in this part of our lives. Have Fun! steph

  • dashielle (Ann) replied 5 years ago

    Very interesting post Aida and all. Although I'm coming at it from the other side as a natural tomboy, it helps to understand others' journeys. One thing that I will add is that most of the traditional athletic wear companies are rising to the challenge of providing more versatile clothing that can go from hike to dinner, for instance. I love technical fabrics nowadays and have a couple of great pants/slacks from REI that you could literally hose off if needed and go to dinner. Two of my fave sweatshirt/jackets are from Puma (found via Polyvore) and I often shop ay Lucy, Athleta and Title Nine for tops. I am so happy that comfy sandals and sneaks are trending, as I am less able to withstand my high heels of late (left for work from office to meetings). Anyway, I'll be watching to see how you deal with helmet head ;-). I also have to worry about that and face dents, since I wear a skully under my helmet!

  • Alassë replied 5 years ago

    Great thread, Aida! Goldmine from Mrs. Eccentric as always, too. 

  • replied 5 years ago

    Found the white ones:

    http://www.6pm.com/rieker-r1714-liv-14-white

  • Aida replied 5 years ago

    Oh you gals are the BEST, thank you all so much for the wonderful feedback, discussion, and recommendations!

    Aubergine, those Keds are pretty cute and I see the resort vibe just as you do. Do you have a separate small capsule for your casual clothing so it doesn't get mixed in with your dresses? I'm thinking of doing that, even though I usually have everything (casual and work wear) all mixed/organized together.

    Neel, thanks for sharing your reverse view :) I'd been thinking that for any situation where a leather or suede sneaker would be appropriate, any of my other flats would work fine. But perhaps I need to get over their dressy aspect and actually designate for casual settings. Hm, a good idea to think on.

    Suz, I do recall Denise's post, and I'm in a similar boat to her where I'd just much rather purchase for the more fashion-interesting area. Part of getting all this sorted was making myself just go and buy the pieces that were missing! But now that I've started that, I think it'll be a bit easier to continue. I like the idea of a Chelsea boot, or perhaps something a bit more boho for me. I do have a pair of short brown riding-style leather boots that I've included in my capsule, but would really like to replace them with a gray pair since I don't really wear brown. And with our mild weather, I could actually wear them on all but the hottest of summer days.

    Beth Ann, oh that sounds like such a fun trip! I loved camping near Yellowstone and seeing the Grand Tetons, it's beautiful! We definitely plan to go back again sometime in the next few years. End of summer can be quite hot. I just tried to look for my outfit photos of when we camped there, but they appear to be on a drive that needs professional recovery >< Lots of tanks with breezy cardigans, baggy denim shorts, and flat sandals or lowpro sneakers.

    Gigi, ah thanks for the suggestion to try Eddie Bauer. I haven't been there in a while, but have always liked their quality.

    Mtgirl, ooh thanks for sharing your purchases and planned purchases. I quite like the look of perforated sneakers, thank you for finding the link to the white ones. One thing I am being careful of with my purchases for this capsule is to NOT fall into the habit of buying simple/plain/boring just because the capsule isn't exciting. I really do want to go a bit out of my way to find pieces that have some interesting design detail, however simple they may be.

    (cont...)

  • Aida replied 5 years ago

    (cont...)

    Angie, the Vans were OK for the day but I have to say my feet were surprised to have fabric touching places they don't normally ;) I think I'll get some of the little footie socks to wear with them. I've also had issues with sneakers (and boots, for that matter) because of high arch/high instep -- the tops of my feet almost always push up against the shoe. I may not notice it much when I first put it on, but left for a few hours it can get painful. Thankfully these sneakers were just fine! I will also try some white pairs, and perhaps my sis and I can go half-and-half on the fringe boho bag I've been eying.

    Lisa, hah you and me both! I think that maybe by the end of the season I'll have the pretty-but-functional shoes sorted out. Or, at the very least, sorted out better than I do now.

    Brenda, I hope it helps! I can imagine that with all of your boys this type of capsule would come in very handy :)

    Steph, thanks for the wonderfully detailed response. Funnily enough, I am the opposite: I would be much happier with the pretty from my feet on up! It is adjusting to the non-pretty footwear that's getting me. As you said, the footwear is the key practical element for me, so that has been my primary focus. I did write "tee" in my list, but I don't necessarily mean "t-shirt". More than anything I just want the tops to function like a tee, but certainly am looking for something that's a step up from that; breathable fabrics, pretty design elements, colorful, all that good stuff.

    Dashielle, good point on the vast improvement of actual good looking gear available. Which reminds me that that aspect of my wardrobe is also quite lacking, and that probably doesn't help me with this type of dressing either. I'm definitely interested in checking out some nicer looking tech-fabricated items, so thanks for the recs!

    Diane and Alasse, thanks for commenting ^^

  • replied 5 years ago

    Aida, thank you for chronicling your thought processes and strategies! It's always a bit of a bummer when I have to buy something that I don't consider "pretty", but you're right, it's so necessary. If these rough and tumble activities are a big chunk of your life,then good for you, and you may as well be in an outfit that serves the purpose, while revealing your casual style. I'll be watching to see how the next chapter unfolds! :)

  • mrseccentric replied 5 years ago

    Hi Aida! well, this is a topic close to my heart, so thank you for the opportunity to discuss with intelligent, like-minded individuals :)

    "... I would be much happier with the pretty from my feet on up!" oh, Aida, i was as well. But i got neuropathy and started doing some more serious hiking, at a certain point between my bod and the more delicate shoes something had to give.

    So, for me, i found that compensating for the rugged look of the footwear with prettier blouses, earrings/necklaces, scarves, etc. helped to balance out the look. Also, i'd had an atraction to certain rugged/utilitarian pieces in the past (like cargo pants, utility vests) which i would 'femme' up by, for example, pretty ladylike shoes.  It was a process of deconstructing my best outfits and then switching up and re-balancing the parts for a new situation.

    And that's going to look different for every person depending on the specifics of their style and the practical considerations they're taking into account. Which is what makes it so exciting as well as vexing (until you figure it out!). It's also why really digging into something like this pays off so much in the future - once you know your own style from this angle it's so much easier to dress yourself for any number of situations.

    re: shoes. There's so many different styles of more casual and hard wearing shoes out there today it's great. I wonder if you might enjoy something like a dapper oxford style for lots of walking - if the polished style might appeal? All of us will be very interested to see where you end up going with this - thank you for including us!  steph

  • Aida replied 5 years ago

    Claire, ah I'm glad you caught this. Your minimalism posts were all a huge inspiration for this, believe it or not (you and Mo both). I had to chuckle at the rough-and-tumble, because yes the activities certainly can be but I don't feel like I am! I do my best to keep up with hubby, though I think I've always been one of the more dainty tomboys if you could even call me that. My mom tells me that when I was little I liked to play outside in my patent bow mary-janes with lacy white socks. What can I say ^^

    Steph, I think in those hiking situations I'd feel better in proper hiking boots that I could then swap for something more streamlined once the hiking is over. This is what I do with my riding gear and it really works well for me. I definitely see your point of compensating the need for rugged footwear with added doses of pretty elsewhere, and I will certainly be working to determine how best to do that for myself. Trying to keep the feeling "exciting" over "vexing" as long as possible here ;)

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