« My Friends in England | Main | Leaving Paris is hard... »

Liveaboard Clothes for Sailing Women - Cute and Functional

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?

Reader Comments (3)

What a concept, trying to look good while living aboard!
Sometimes I have to stop and really look at what I am wearing-YIKES!!! So I try, but frequently look like some kind of homeless person; not that there is anything wrong with that . . .

April 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercyndimarcus

You are totally right! The other tip is LAYERS! While it may be a gorgeous or even warm day inland, at the marina there is always a breeze. Not to mention if you are actually sailing! I have no idea how those girls wear bikinis while they sail - it's too cold for that foolishness!

I must admit that I have a storage locker full of dresses, but we go out a lot to visit with landlubbers :)

One big thing to consider is to NOT store your "good clothes" on the boat - keep them in the storage locker. Never store in the locker enclosed in plastic, always linen & make sure you have lots of ceder planks. We do keep DampRid in just about every place that has clothes (both on the boat & in the locker).

I do the SPF moisturizer, but we also keep 30SPF sport sun screen around & put that on anytime we go topside.

As for crocs, I remember Eric's post a long time ago swearing by them - so I got myself a bright fuchsia pair. OMG! The dockmaster at our marina says I may not be the best crew, but I sure do look pretty in all my pink when we come sailing in the slip or pump out :) I'll take it!

We are pretty much day sailors - with an occasional trip to Catalina - so we might be willing to store more in the locker.

As always, thanks for your post!

April 28, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterk

Thanks for the very specific illustration of outfits for boating. This is so impressive. I love it. Keep it up and good luck! =)

January 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShinshan

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>