When we first moved aboard I had a tough time transitioning from "land" clothes to "boat" clothes.
It is very possible that other women had no issue with this, but for those of you who did, here's what I figured out. I had to downsize my wardrobe significantly for starters and just that process was painful. Little did I know at the time, but by the end of the first year aboard I would throw out 50% of the clothes that I brought with me. I quickly realized that ironing was a pain the rear end. We didn't want to have an iron on the boat so I'd have to go up and use the marina's, but people would use our iron without permission and damage it. We would also have to iron around people doing their laundry or grabbing a cup of coffee in the marina laundry room. Soon all clothes that needed to be ironed were thrown out. Now my work outfits consist of clothes that do not need to be ironed. They're harder to find (and still look professional), but it can be done!
The pictures above and below are examples. A cute, informal shirt that doesn't need to be ironed, but is appropriate for work. A matching pair of earrings and, you can't see them, but a more formal pair of crocs. It's all about the crocs, all the time :)
Another thing that troubled me was how often I was in clothes that were getting dirty. On land I had one pair of pants for painting or doing any type of dirty work, but on board, I was constantly working on things that would and could ruin my clothes. I had to eventually identify jeans I liked that I was willing to get dirty in, and reserve pairs that were only for work. I also decided to do the same thing with my shirts. I didn't want to start wearing men's t-shirts to work on the boat because they always make me look like I'm wearing a potato sack (a girl's gotta still try to look good for her man.) So I now have my work/socializing shirts (that don't require ironing) and my t-shirts that can all get dirty.
There's also the sun to consider. My grandmother and my father both have had skin cancer and I've already had abnormal skin removed, so I really have to stay covered. I wear the UV-protected sun shirts from REI during the day at the marina and always have on a hat and sunglasses as well.
My outfits generally look like this now. I feel cute and presentable in the form-fitting clothes, and my outfit is functional and practical at the same time. For my fellow boat ladies, what are some of your tips for looking cute and functional on the docks?
Cyndi and K's comments above are so relevant. It is truly hard to really look well groomed when doing the liveaboard thing. Cyndi, I feel you!
K, thanks for the additional comments about layers. Yes, yes, yes. I have no idea how the girls in bikinis do it either, I'm always freezing! Point well taken on storing the "nice" clothes up in the storage, that's exactly what I do. All dresses and work shirts are stored in the storage locker and pants and boat clothes are down on the boat.
I updated the post above with a picture of my "business clothes". Here are a few of the Crocs I wear professionally. I reserve the classic clog style for life on the boat: