I wouldn’t exactly call myself the Mrs. Bear Grylls of the world. I’m admittedly pathetic when it comes to scary noises in the dark, creepy crawly things, animals that aren’t house-broken, and the feeling of being lost. Ergo, I’m not cut out for outdoorsy activities. I used to pretend that I was since I grew up spending my summers in Aspen, Colorado, “fly-fishing with my Dad” (playing with Barbies on the shore), “going on intense hikes” (well, I was good at hiking, but I would squeal and thrash around uselessly whenever a found a bug on my clothing), and “camping” (forcing my father and brother to carry 3,482 pounds worth of unnecessary blankets, pillows, and flash-lights on their backs and then screening myself into a tent for the long haul. Once, they got to the summit of a long upward climb and, settling down to set up camp, withdrew Barbie after Barbie from their packs, their faces registering increasing levels of dismay as they realized that they’d just hauled dozens of pounds worth of…doll.) So I don’t really know what has prompted my recent desire to organize an end-of-summer/early-fall camping excursion. I have an entire vision for the trip — we’d pile our gear into a huge old school Jeep wagoneer (no one I know has one, but let’s disregard that minor inconvenience) and set out for the color-changing foliage in West Virginia:
When I say “camping,” I really mean holing up in a wood cabin for the weekend. No backpacking gear for me — I’ll pack my weekend essentials in this plaid duffel instead ($395, Jack Spade):
For lounging around the cabin (this outfit may well be my fall “uniform” of sorts anyway), I’d pair a plaid button down (you can find them anywhere — for higher end picks, check out Graham & Spencer, Elizabeth & James, or Rag & Bone, but Madewell and Gap have amazing alternatives as well; the one shown here caught my eye because I tend to gravitate towards plaids with hunter-looking red in them — $19, Heritage 1981):
I’d layer it beneath a faux fur vest — this Loft version ($98) is killer (!), but not yet available online. I saw it in stores and died over it, but wouldn’t let myself indulge because I already own one. (I bought it last season and my friends were lukewarm on it, but I was obsessed.)
I feel like everyone is into the fur vest this season…thankyouRachelZoe. Pair with your favorite skinnies and some Minnetonkas ($45, Zappos) and you are set.
(I finally bought a pair of the above “Kilty Suede” Minnetonkas last weekend and am eagerly anticipating their arrival. I have to admit that I’ve been a bad Fashion Magpie in the past and have actually been seen wearing L.L. Bean’s Wicked Good Moccasins — $49, L.L.Bean — out in public when I’m dashing around running errands in the winter, so these Minnetonkas will fill a big void in my life and actually enable me to look semi-presentable when I want to be comfy and warm and dressed down at the same time.) If it’s not quite cool enough to merit a fur vest and jeans, I’m in love with this easy little plaid dress by Sunner (on sale for $130, Thistle & Clover):
I’d either slip into some boat shoes ($75, Sperry) or a pair of neutral leather flip-flops (Rainbows, $46, SouthMoonUnder — yeah, yeah, yeah, they remind us all of fratty basements, but you can walk a million miles in them without getting a blister, and they’re meant for this kind of thing):
Then all you need is a trusty pair of aviators ($99, RayBan), a cozy sweater for when the temp drops (love this J. Crew “dream” sweater — on sale for $80, J. Crew), and some good “in the woods” lit (no, I will not recommend Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, which I found infuriatingly self-indulgent and self-important and completely socially irresponsible…but that’s a different story; I would pick a collection of Hemingway short stories, like this Hemingway on Hunting anthology, $10, Amazon):
For around-the-campfire sitting, I am in.love with this cozy fisherman’s knit pullover by L.L. Bean (on sale for $47, L.L. Bean — don’t you obsess over the buttons on the shoulder?)
I bought the most amazing pair of Tory Burch mukluks last year before a ski trip (see below; they’re no longer available) — love them — and discovered that most of friends hated them. I guess fur is an all-or-nothing proposition, even if it’s fake. I hope I’m not offending too many fashion sensibilities out there, but…I’m all about it!
For daytime expeditions, I covet the classic Barbour field coat ($299, Orvis)– I gave one to Mr. Magpie for Christmas last year, and he was rarely seen without it over the winter months.
If you’re a loser like me, you may be obsessed with carrying little notebooks around for various reasons — I always carry two pink Moleskine notebooks ($12 for 2, Moleskine) in my bag: one for random Fashion Magpie finds/ideas and the other for cooking/dining related notes. Mr. Magpie is a big foodie and I love all things cooking and cuisine-related, so I’ve been keeping track of the delicious things we’ve made and tried together so far in our 3-week-old marriage! It’s also useful for recording the wines we try, because it seems like we always forget which labels were best. At any rate, I saw this little “Field Notes” pad and feel like I’d find some use for it while in the wild ($12, The Curiosity Shoppe):
(Love the retro font.) I’d tramp around in these Lady N boots by Hunter, which I snagged last season and absolutely cannot live without in cool, rainy climes ($140, Shoes.com):
I personally prefer them to duck boots, but L.L. Bean has you covered if you prefer that style. If it’s too warm for a Barbour, jeans, and boots, I love the look of this utility shirt (Vince, $210, Net-A-Porter) with some white shorts (Pucci, $154, TheOutnet)
Pair with moccasins or Rainbows and bring along a lightweight khaki coat just in case (Tory Burch, $328, MyTheresa):
If you’re setting up for an outdoor dinner, bring out this vintage-style Roberts radio for some tunes ($328,Anthropologie) and set up some folding chairs ($133 each, Design Within Reach — much better than a sit-upon, if you ask me) around the fire:
Meanwhile, this little “picnic tote” (it’s waterproof!) will be perfect for packing and transporting your lunch/dinner (even if it’s just s’mores — $17.99, Kohl’s):
Mr. Magpie and I like to entertain outdoors with mason jars — everyone loves to drink out of ’em, and they are cheap! — so we’d probably pack a bunch for a camping trip ($9.49 for 12, KMart):
Other options for when the mercury does drop? This little plaid coat (love it — Marc Jacobs, on sale for $138, MyTheresa), which I impractically imagine wearing with some over-the-knee black leather boots (I’m literally in love with with these Loeffler Randall puppies — I want, I want, I want — $825, Loeffler Randall)
I like the idea of pairing those sleek pieces with an oversized gray sweatshirt, borrowed from the boys (unfortunately, I can’t quite pull this look off — Mr. Magpie towers over me, and it does not look cute when I try to borrow his belongings — it just looks like I’m a drowned rat, with yards of fabric hanging off of me…in the meantime, this faded gray sweatshirt from J. Crew’s men’s collection will do — $49, J. Crew):
Then all you’ll need is a pair of black leggings (only if the sweatshirt hangs low, as in well over your rear — otherwise, you look dumb) or skinny jeans. Ooh.la.la. The only other accent on my list is a fur trapper hat (it’s a boys’ size, but I’m guessing a kids’ M/L will fit most women — $30, Boden):
I don’t know about you, but I’m almost excited to get into the woods!