If there is something I’ve learned from my time cruising (and now my two years in a work yard), it is that I am not meant for athletic wear. Not all the time anyway. I know the outfit d’jour of many ladies out on the water is some breathable blend of wicking and quick drying tops and bottoms, but honestly, I became tired of that quite quickly. There were days I actually missed going to the office if for no other reason than to wear something nice. Something that accentuated my body and made me feel stylish and womanly. Since we’ve been preparing to depart once more, I have made it my mission to add more dressy and feminine pieces to my wardrobe, also trying to make them functional for the cruising lifestyle. Luckily, I have had some really good help in this department.
A former cruiser herself and no stranger to the desparities of trying to dress yourself while living on a sailboat, Elizabeth Hynes has come up with a line of clothing that perfectly suits the traveling woman. Clothes that are breathable, wrinkle free, compact, and most importantly, interchangeable. There was born one of my new favorite design lines. Vacay Style. Multiple collections named after far away destinations that lets you have a wardrobe full of endless looks all from just a few pieces. The concept is you start with one collection, usually made of five outfits, pair it with two of your own essentials, such as a plain white top and a universal pair of paints, and voila!, you can now mix and match to your heart’s desire. With many of the outfits being made of two pieces, you can match the top or bottom from that outfit with one of your essentials, or even between outfits in the collection.
Take the new St. Martin line for example, the most recent one I have been trying out. From this five piece collection, along with two of your essentials, you can create 18 looks!
Although the theme of picking two essentials as your mix and match additions is geared toward the suitcase traveler (saving you incredible amounts of space in your bag), I have found I have a large array of what could be my two essential items to mix and match, giving me endless possibilities for new outfits. For this post’s sake though (and to show how you can make 18 outfits from only 7 pieces) I chose I white crew neck top, and a pair of light gray skinny jeans. Below you’ll see how I’ve paired them with the five outfits in the collection.
Starting out we have the Ikat Dress. At first glances it would look like a normal, albeit gorgeous, one piece dress. And when worn together it does make for one stunning piece of artwork on your body, perfect for a dinner out or wandering the streets of Palm Beach (we all make it there at some point, right?), but it can also separate into two pieces, pairing with your essentials for a very different, casual chic look. Before receiving the pieces I was worried that I would rarely get use from the skirt portion because I tend to live and travel in such warm climates. I thought I might be too hot and uncomfortable, but it turned out to be the exact opposite. With slits on each side of the leg, the skirt is very ventilated while also keeping my legs covered from the sun. I’ve found out that I’m actually cooler with it on than a pair of shorts!
Next is the convertible maxi dress. A flash of bold in this outfit which starts out as a long and flowing strapless dress, but folded down and paired with a top, becomes an adorable maxi skirt. I’ll admit, I was a little frightened by this pattern at first because I didn’t know if I could pull it off. But as soon as I slipped it on and wore it down to our patio for dinner with friends, I received nothing but compliments. It fits the body in all the right places without being too tight, and is extremely comfortable to wear.
One of the pieces that drew me to this collection the most is the wrap dress. Very trendy, great for dressing up or dressing down, and of course perfect for pairing with multiple other pieces. The real kicker on this outfit is the skirt can be hitched up and worn as a top! An actual three-fer from this dress that looks just as beautiful separated as it does together.
One of my favorite pieces of the collection, even if it is a little unconventional for boat life (at least, our ‘ always anchored out, take the dinghy in’ king of boat life), is the white lace dress. It comes with a spaghetti strap slip to wear underneath, making it the perfect roaming around outfit for when we do hit St. Barths, but if I just want to wear it to the beach, the slip comes off and it turns into an eyelet coverup.
Just as cute and ready to wear anywhere, beach or wandering the islands, is the Racer Back Dress. Made of super comfy and lightweight rayon jersey, this little piece will make you feel like you’re wearing nothing at all. It makes a great coverup for throwing on over your swimsuit, or if you want to take it to another level you can knot the end by your waist and throw on a pair of shorts or pants underneath.
Here’s where it gets really interesting though! In the St. Martin collection, you can even mix and match the pieces between themselves!
Suffice to say, I feel like I hit the jackpot when I got this capsule wardrobe. The items are very stylish, just as I had wanted; versatile, which is incredibly important when I can only live on enough clothes to fit in a suitcase; wrinkle free, which means I don’t have to worry that I have no hanging locker for them in the boat; and so light, soft and breathable. I love the fact they are so comfortable to wear. I’m now able to actually dress myself up while still feeling like I’ve just pulled on my comfiest pair of lounge clothes. Vacay Style has been a total winner for me and should be at the top of the list for any cruising female that would like to get out of her spandex and feel a little sexy again.
(Buy any five pieces from any collection, and a 20% discount will automatically be applied to your shopping cart!)