I was really happy to re-wear this dress a couple of weekends ago, and even more happy that the weather was nice enough to allow me to pair it with my fave leather jacket. (Having that extra layer of cotton/cashmere came in handy. Those Club Monaco turtlenecks are gold, I tell you.) I wore this jacket to death last fall, and I’ve been missing it terribly ever since. You guys, I am so ready for spring to come. I know you’re probably sick of hearing that, and if you’re not then you will be by the time spring actually does arrive to this part of the world. But, oh, the struggle is real. I don’t want to see my wool coats again for a very long time.
Back to the outfit. There’s a lot of volume going on here, I know, but there’s also quite a bit of leg showing and, to be honest, some days I just don’t care about flattering proportions at all. This outfit feels great, billowing fabric and all. It is also quite a bit “louder” than my current work style, but I still like to mix things up from time to time. Never fear, I am not giving up my prints. And to convince you, I am prepared to wear them all at the same time. Oh yeah!
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I did bring a bunch of “evening” clothes on my trip to Mexico, although I use that term very loosely. We are talking casual dresses that are no longer in my everyday rotation (and, hence, things I would not mind getting dirty and/or losing in transit) and met the necessary criteria, to wit: being lightweight and comfortable, and somewhat dressier than a cover-up. Here’s a good example:
One of the best things about traveling with friends that also have children (who are our kids’ BFFs to boot) is that we could arrange an evening trade-off. Each set of parents took the kids for a couple of hours while the other enjoyed some much-needed alone time and a quiet dinner; then, we switched. This is how my husband and I got to explore the resort a little bit without having to worry about the kids’ attention spans. One of my favourite things to do during our “adults-only time” was to walk along the beach (the appeal of which is apparently lost on 3 and 5-year olds) and relax in a hammock-swing contraption with a frothy drink in hand. Like so:
My trusty “evening” maxi dresses were perfect for these sorts of mini-excursions; casual enough for a sandy stroll, but classy enough for a grown-up (buffet, natch) dinner. I did bring a black cardigan with me in case of cooler evening temps, but I never ended up using it. In retrospect, I’m glad I nixed the denim jacket I almost packed. As it was, that left more room for dresses, which meant that I got to wear a different dress almost every night AND used up only half a suitcase. Packing win!
(On that note, I have to mention that I just discovered the magic of packing cubes and I cannot say enough good things about them. Because I am cheap, and was doing everything at the last minute, I ended up getting 4 packs of IKEA packing cubes, which were only $9 a pop. They are not very large, but can fit a decent amount of clothes, especially kids’ stuff. They also work for adult clothes, although it helps if the clothes in question are easily rollable and lightweight. Bulky sweaters, not so much. In the future, given that I am traveling for work more frequently these days, I am probably going to invest a bit more money in getting a bigger set of packing cubes on Amazon.)
During our early evening walks, I loved watching the preparations for the various events that were hosted, seemingly on the regular, at our resort; we saw 2-3 weddings, a corporate retreat, and a bar mitzvah. Funny story: I used to hate weddings, including the planning process for my own, but I’ve had a change of heart in recent years. I not only love weddings now, but I also get quite emotional at them. It’s a sign of my advancing age, I’m sure. I’m also a sucker for a good floral display, so you can bet that I stopped and smelled the roses (literally and figuratively) here:
In addition to my old maxi dresses, I did bring one new-to-me short number with me on the trip.
This thrifted Dex dress turned out to be my favourite. The ponte-like black material is hella comfortable, and the floral overlay is ideal for concealing the evidence of my buffet-loving ways. I like this dress so much, in fact, that rather than keeping it in my vacation micro-capsule going forward, I have added it to my everyday casual rotation. Surely, there will be a summer BBQ or two in my future, and this dress will come in handy.
Last but not least, I really ought to give a shoutout to my old J. Crew sandals. I had originally brought another pair of sandals with me — a recently thrifted, never worn gold BR pair — but threw these black ones into the suitcase at the last minute in case the other proved uncomfortable. Boy, was that a smart idea! Sure enough, the BR pair gave me blisters after the first wear, and the inner lining on the straps started peeling in a most peculiar fashion. Needless to say, they went straight in the garbage after that; thankfully, because they were thrifted, the damage to my wallet was minimal, but what the heck, BR! Anyway, I ended up wearing these J. Crew sandals for the rest of the trip and they were as versatile and comfortable as always. I might add that this trip was something of a milestone for my over-packing self: not counting the disastrous gold sandals, I got through a 7-day trip with only 3 pairs of shoes (and that is counting the Chucks I wore on the plane to deal with the 60 degree swing in temperature between departure and arrival). I call that a triumph of minimalism, hah.
If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that I spent last week in sunny, warm, beautiful Playa del Carmen on the Mayan Riviera. This was my seventh trip to Mexico, and fourth to the Mayan Riviera, and it was one of my favourites, thanks in large part to the resort (the Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmeralda), which was fantastic. Since we were travelling with our kids (and another couple and their kids), we upgraded our all-inclusive package to the Family Concierge option, which came with a ton of extra perks that the kids loved (and for which we were grateful), like a personal butler (!!), in-room video games, and nightly turndown service with kid-friendly treats. We all had such a good time, and plenty of luck too — the weather was phenomenal all week, and the kids (narrowly) avoided any serious injuries despite their best efforts in that direction. We had such a good time, in fact, that adjusting back to real life at home has been a struggle this week. Post-all inclusive vacation buffet withdrawal is real, my friends.
But enough about that, let’s talk about clothes. I won’t bore you with the details of my packing, but suffice it to say that my focus was entirely on comfort and practicality. I basically lived in various maxi dresses (plus a couple of pairs of shorts and T-shirts) for a week. Except for my swimwear (more on that in a minute), everything was super old and, in fact, largely rescued from the “swap” pile at the 11th hour. These were all dresses I had previously “grown out of” (style-wise) but which turned out to be perfect for beach/resort wear. I thought I was being smart in chucking them, since they don’t fit my current everyday style, but now I’ve decided to keep them; I might only need them every 2-3 years, but they’re a natural micro-capsule and require only minimal storage space. Lesson learned.
Based on past experience, I knew I would need a set of clothes for the day (beach/pool loungewear) and one for the evening (dinner wear). In this case, since we were traveling with kids, I didn’t bother packing anything too fancy for the latter. I’ll talk about what I wore in the evenings in another post, so today I’ll focus on the daytime stuff.
This was one of two beach cover-ups I packed, and I wore it 4 out of the 7 days we spent at the resort. I probably could have worn it every day, since I didn’t end up getting it wet, but it was nice to have the two options. I like this type of dress as a cover-up because it’s easy to slip on and off, and the fabric is lightweight but wrinkle-proof. I can roll this into a ball at the bottom of my beach bag, and throw sand all over it, and it will still look fine the next day. As I mentioned above, the style is definitely a bit more boho than I’d normally wear but style wasn’t at the top of my priority list for this trip. [Most of the other women I saw at the resort also appeared to have prioritized casual comfort, which meant that I never felt under-dressed or out of place. There was one exception — a woman I saw on a couple of occasions who looked incredibly chic. I briefly wondered if she was a fashion blogger I should have recognized.]
I brought a bunch of swimwear options with me, but I only ended up wearing two of them: this Hot Water bikini in two colorways. They were fantastic — comfortable and flattering both on the top and bottom (which, on a small-chested pear shape, is no easy feat). I bought these bikinis at Winners on the eve of the trip, and they were a bargain at only $25 apiece. I only found them in the navy (above) and pink (below); otherwise, I would have bought them in other colours as well. I loved the pink the most, but wore the navy more often because it looked better against my, ahem, pasty porcelain complexion.
As you can see in the pictures above, my other must-have accessories were my $4 Old Navy flip-flops and my straw Panama hat from Aritzia. The hat I wore every day, from morning until early evening when the sun set. Together with my Biore sunscreen (applied twice a day, face only), it did a great job of keeping my face sunburn-free. After suffering the indignities of being exposed to salt and pool water, and then jammed into my carry-on luggage, it’s now rather worse for wear than before, but I am hopeful that it will regain its shape in time. If not, this is one piece I would definitely re-buy in a heartbeat. (I think Aritzia sells these every summer, and I believe for under $40.) As a pale-skinned redhead, finding a stylish sun hat has been a game changer, and this trip only confirmed it.
Stay tuned tomorrow for part 2 of my vacation recap.