Ohmygosh, the last ten days were unbelievable. Despite the nuisance of returning to work yesterday (love my job, but it’s hard to step back into reality when you’ve been living a dream for over a week), I continue to strut around on cloud 9 like it’s nobody’s business. I’m married! And the wedding was perfect, and the honeymoon a dream, and I’m as brown as a berry (thank you, Belizean sun) and rested and well-fed and HAPPY.
(Placencia, Belize — where we honeymooned!)
I must admit, though, that I committed some major Magpie Don’ts over the past few days. The principal offense involves overdressing (like woah) and, as a result, being forced to wear gnarly, nappy borrowed diving booties on a trek through the jungle. More on that adventure to come. But seriously — Mr. Magpie and I believe fiercely in dressing up for life and all its adventures (why not look your best?), and our suitcases were carefully packed with a lot of clothes that never saw the light of Belizean day. Mr. Magpie had packed seersucker suits, sport coats, a blue blazer, his nice Tod’s, and even a few bowties, while this little Mrs. had cocktail dresses and new high heels (including the most incredible pair of greige-coffee-color-ish YSL sandal pumps, scored just days before the wedding on an impulse buy at Cusp) galore — none of which made their debut on our honeymoon. It wasn’t that we felt out of place, because he and I are constantly overdressed and have become accustomed to drawing stares. Our wardrobe was plain impractical. To get from our villa on the beach to the restaurants or pools or anything else, we had to walk on sand, over uneven stones, and then across gravel. I wore my Louboutin wedges once, nearly broke my ankle, and decided I’d have to kiss those puppies goodbye for awhile. As for Mr. Magpie: the temperature was hothothot, so he wasn’t too keen on the idea of sweating his way through dinner in a sport coat. I pretty much lived in my five new bikinis (good investments, all), breezy caftans and cover-ups, and sandals (K. Jacques and Jack Rogers all the way) — all of which I love, and all of which felt comfortable and honeymoon-appropriate — but I sorta wish someone had tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Um, get rid of those cocktail dresses and find some other beachy-casual-cute get-ups in their stead.” So this post will be my honeymoon wardrobe re-do, a second chance swing at packing for the tropics.
First up: load up on loud bikinis. Go super-bright or super-printed to compete with the intense color contrast of the white sand beach with the azure water and the shock of green foliage. I love the coral Clube Bossa two-piece above ($90.25, Pret A Beaute) and would likely pair it with this aptly titled Tibi cover up dress — “The Belize” ! ($345, Net-A-Porter):
Metallic or black thin strap Haviana flip flops were de rigeur over there (even the staff behind the bar wore them), but I am majorly into TKEES brand flip-flops. Simple and somehow sophisticated in their own unfussy, beachy way($44, South Moon Under):
Another vibrant swimwear option? Anything by Mara Hoffman, who pretty much rules it with her festive prints — love the slightly graphic edge on this two-piece ($190, Blue and Cream):
I’d wear it beneath this “fruit punch” color tiered mini dress ($42, Red Dress Boutique):
If transitioning straight from beach lounging (Mr. Magpie and I were quite good at this despite the fact that we normally start feeling restless after about 30 minutes of hanging out in the sun; I don’t know if we were just exhausted from the wedding, or if we’d bought into the “Belizean Way” — the Lonely Planet guide purports that Belizeans have perfected the art of hammock hanging) to dinner, I might glam things up just a touch by adding on some bright costume jewelry. I’m in love with this turquoise, tribal-inspired Kenneth Jay Lane necklace ($76, Pret A Beaute):
Or — though I’ve personally forgone my favorite costume jewelry piece (the cocktail ring) for the next few weeks as I just can’t bear to let anything upstage my beautiful wedding band-and-engagement ring combo — I have to admit that I kind of die over this fun little octopus bauble (also Kenneth Jay Lane, $165, South Moon Under):
It’d look equally darling as the only adornment paired with this cha-cha-cha Mara Hoffman dress ($345, Blue and Cream):
I’m also obsessed with this frilly little Zimmermann suit…I so wish I’d seen this before the honeymoon, as I just can’t justify it now and I want it badly ($220, Net-A-Porter):
I might pair it with a pareo or sarong so as to avoid cover up the precious detailing at the bust — I snagged a locally printed one in a dazzling lime green from the resort gift shop while there, but I love this HOT pink version by JETS by Jessika Allen ($67, TheOutnet):
If you really want to go girly, I find these little sandals glam in a I’m-on-vacation-and-I-do-what-I-want kind of way (Mystique, $157, Pret A Beaute):
Also a lovely option with this borderline neon Thomas Maier two-piece ($295, Thomas Maier):
I also have to say that my favorite bikini on the honeymoon was a solid, classic white with slight ruching at the hip. Nothing looks better against a dark tan than a stark white bikini. I felt like a bronzed goddess. Mr. Magpie noticed and said, “I think one of the Bond girls wore that in one of those movies” — so I must have been doing something right by his standards! I like this inexpensive gold-embellished version (on sale — $19 for top, $15 for bottom — Newport News):
I’d wear it beneath this rich purple cover up (I adore a tie shoulder — so carefree, so youthful, so feminine) — on sale for $87.50, ChickDownTown:
If you’re as obsessed with the plum hue as I am, you might opt for this brightly printed caftan by Vix ($140, Net-A-Porter), atop a simple white two piece (also by Vix — this suit is flattering on a range of body types, so try.it.on — $165, Net-A-Porter):
Love and adore. Almost as much as I sweat (I know, hardcore return to late 90s lingo) this Missoni bikini, which, while not quite as vibrant and island-hopper-esque as the above options, is plain glamorous ($141, TheOutnet):
I typically walked around the resort with only a bikini (it was HOT), and I definitely would have done so with a statement two-piece like the Missoni above. However, from time to time, all I wanted was an easy-to-throw-on, loose-fitting t-shirt dress (I’d bought an awesome one from H&M in a nautical navy-white stripe that I wore over my white bikini on the boat to our snorkeling venture). If I were to go back, I’d snap up a couple more in preparation — this little French Connection palm-print version would be perfect ($23.99, French Connection):
For evenings out — be smarter than I was and forgo the cocktail dress. My one success was a gorgeous white maxi dress by Milly that tied at the neck and had this insane turquoise and wood beading at the bust. I wore it with little gold t-straps and nothing else, and felt so perfectly dressed for our dinner-on-the-beach (it was lobster season, and the servers set up a table RIGHT on the beach, yards from the breaking waves, and grilled locally caught lobster right on the grill next to us…um, amazing) and after-dinner-stroll and late-evening drinks. It was pretty much the only appropriate dress I brought for the evening, so I wore it twice, which (not to sound like a weirdo snobster) was annoying to me because I make a point of strategically rotating looks so as to avoid back-to-back repeats. But it was fine. At any rate, test drive the look yourself with this perfectly beachy burn-out stripe TopShop number ($60, TopShop):
This nautical striped maxi would have been equally appropriate (Rachel Pally, $245, PiperLime):
And — finally — for daytime adventures, don”t repeat my major Magpie Don’t: wearing a little Trina Turk sundress to hike through the jungle. The concierge had told us to wear “comfortable clothes,” which, to Mr. Magpie and I, translated into him wearing his Polo shorts, a leather belt, a polo shirt, and Sperry boat shoes and me wearing a little tropical sundress and Jack Rogers and pearls. As we stepped onto the boat that would take us up Monkey River (our own private tour!), someone from the front desk came sprinting after us to loan us bug spray and to force me to take a pair of diving booties with me. I began to wonder just how rough this little trip would be when I noticed a look of pity on the guide’s face. And now I know why. We sailed up the river, pointing out crocodiles and iguanas and all sorts of wildlife until we arrived at a remote little embankment and our guide stepped off the boat with nothing but a machete and a smile and said: “I’ll be back in 15 minutes. Just going to check and make sure we should go in there now.” Uneasiness on my end. (Mr. Magpie was excited to get into the jungle.) When our guide returned, we followed him into the depths of Belizean rainforest and I pretty much died. The swarms of mosquitoes were so thick, I could barely see. It was so HOT in there, I must have sweated out the 23 pina coladas I’d drank over the previous 3 days, which probably helped ward off mosquitoes and other bugs (or at least made them drunk). It had rained the day before, so we were stomping through quicksand-like mud and it was sliding all over my disgusting booties, down my leg, into my shoes. The guide, thinking I’d be interested, pointed out the most enormous spiders I’d ever seen, and I died even more. Mr. Magpie said I had a look of pure terror on my face and considered grabbing me under his arm and carrying me back to the boat, but I stuck it out as we trudged closer and closer to increasingly loud growls (we were headed into howler monkey territory, and those monkeys are not the “eee-eee-eee”-“ooo-ooo-ooo”-I-just-eat-a-banana-and-look-cute guys; they make LOUD noises that sound like lions and can be intensely territorial). I was freaking out when the guide casually mentioned that the monkeys sometimes throw feces at intruders. We got to the base of a cluster of trees and the noise was almost deafening. Our guide banged on the trees and the monkeys got absolutely enraged and even louder, at which point — finally — I’d had enough and thankfully, our guide told us to quickly turn and leave (you had to keep moving to avoid being absolutely devoured by mosquitoes). I literally sprinted back to the boat, shaking.
And you know what? It was awesome. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the whole experience — inappropriate attire and all — made for one of the most memorable days of my life. It was so exotic, so adventurous, so terrifying…and so mind-expanding and fascinating. If returning, however, I’d probably opt for long sleeve t-shirt and shorts with hiking boots. I don’t even know where to buy hiking boots or what to look for in them, but a word to the wise: bite the bullet and just wear the requisite clothes…
MORE on the honeymoon adventure to come!