Practical Island Fashion

Fashion usually focuses on style, taste and creativity as opposed to practical concerns, but I find that living on an island forces me to consider a host of unique matters when it comes to choosing my clothing and accessories. They may not be appearing on the catwalk or in a fashion spread any time soon, but they serve me well and (I hope!) don’t look terrible. Below are my island fashion must-haves:

  1. Walking shoes: No matter how fabulous they are, you will probably never see me working some strappy stiletto heels, because I really need to be able to walk. Maybe it’s my years of being car-less or the knowledge that any day might see me stuck standing in a long, slow line, but comfy, usually flat shoes are my number one fashion accessory.
  2. Shades: It’s way too sunny most days to leave the house without shades and still be comfortable. Since I am on the clumsy side and I have a grabby little one, I tend to go for sturdy and inexpensive frames. I picked up the pair I’m wearing today at a $1 store during my last trip to the states.
  3. A big bag: I love those tiny clutches or palm-sized pocketbooks suspended on a fine chain that I see so many women rocking, but I just can’t do it. My bag needs to hold sunscreen, water, a notebook, some pens, a snack and maybe a camera, and I need to be able to actually wear it on a shoulder rather than carry it in my hand. This means that I often carry a backpack rather than a purse, but I’m happy to report that my current one, with its slick fabric and cute silver-tone tag, is a big step up, style-wise, from the sweaty canvas pack I used to carry around town.
  4. Lightweight cardigan: I’ve accepted that I’ll never solve the mystery of why we like to have our air conditioners cranked to mid-Atlantic winter temperatures in so many buildings, but rather than shivering the whole time I’m in one of these places, I just toss a cardigan in my bag (since there’s so much room in there).
  5. Cute umbrella: It might be polka dot or bright purple but I love to have my umbrella with me in any weather. Is the sun shining? It’s my parasol or portable shade. Drizzly or pouring down rain? I’m sitting pretty under my one-woman shelter.

This column appeared in the May 31, 2018 Limin Times.

Bonus: because my favorite accessory to wear is the Wee Baby Abel.


These shades were the best until I broke them that time I bonked my head getting into the vehicle.

I feel like it’s the most convenient and normal way to carry him but around here it’s a real conversation starter. One guy, who had to be able to see the baby’s little legs dangling as I walked (people often can’t see his face because of the big hats) had to ask whether I had a baby “in there.” Maybe he thought I was sporting a quirky backpack the wrong way around?


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