We’re a loud, boisterous group of new-found and old friends brought together by Outer Banks Bootcamps. We delight in our successes and pick each other up when we fall. We roll in the sand, jump in the ocean, carry each other on our backs and run our butts off. We’ve seen each other cry and full of laughter. But mostly we see each other covered in sand, sweat and determination.
It’s a rare treat to see us all dressed up, jewels on, and makeup carefully applied. But when we do, we do it with lots of Outer Banks Style. A recent soiree in Southern Shores was the perfect opportunity to wear a new dress and share some libations with some stylin, fabulous friends.
The love for vintage, retro fashion crosses blood lines in my family. My niece, Whitley, inherited her sense of classic style from her grandmother, my mother-in-law, Martha. Martha was a beautiful southern woman and a buyer for a leading department store in the 1960’s in Rocky Mount, NC. She went on numerous buying trips to New York and had an eye for timeless fashion and quality materials.
Meanwhile in a suburban DC neighborhood, my mother worked full-time and when I was around 10 years old, she went back to school to better her career choices. As an important bread-winner in our family, she knew that dressing for success was vital for her to land a decent job so she could help support my brother and me. She was budget-minded and bought classic pieces on sale. She also found time to make almost all my clothes until I rebelled in high school, opting for The Villager shirtwaist dresses, skirt and sweater sets that my peers were wearing.
But, I digress. My love for vintage fashion really came to fruition in my early 20’s. How I wish I had saved those Villager shirt-waist dresses and sweater sets. How I wish I had this fringed top and print slacks my mom is wearing in the Christmas photo.
The aforementioned niece, Whitley, writes an award-winning blog, The Queen City Style.com, devoted to all things stylish in Charlotte, North Carolina (aka the Queen City). Her latest post was a promotion of the chic, online retailer, Shabby Apple.com. I took a look at their website, and fell in love with this skirt and cardigan ensemble.
So, naturally, I’m following all of Whitley’s instructions to a T to get myself in the drawing for the $50 gift card. The clothes I’m seeing at Shabby Apple are straight out of AMC’s Mad Men. Check out this article about costume designer, Janie Bryant, in NY Times blog article, “Behind the Madness.” Don’t you love the cream sweater & matching coat with ascot below?
I stopped by Duck Woods Country Club in Southern Shores the other evening to check out Fashion Fiesta: Girl’s Night Out, Sip & Shop. The organizers gathered a group of retailers who set up mini-shops in the banquet room, cocktails were poured, appetizers served and the ladies shopped.
It was as much fun seeing everyone in their fabulous frocks as it was looking at the merchandise. I felt woefully under-dressed having come straight from work. Tammy and Linda were in high style in strappy dresses and high heels; and my friend Nancy looked smashing in a Lilly Pulitzer-inspired coral top and slacks with beautiful turquoise enamel earrings. I didn’t have my camera with me, so I am pulling this together that are reminiscent of the evening’s best and brightest looks.
Amy from Urban Cottage is Duck was there. She brought these serving pieces from Nora Fleming which have been a big hit in her store as they have interchangeable adornments that you can attach depending on the holiday or mood you are in.
Switch the blue crab out for this one and your platter is perfect for cupcakes.
I was attracted to the pretty crocheted necklaces made by Karen Brown/Denise Turner Jewelry, they were similar to these:
Other local vendors included: Miss Lizzie’s, Life’s A Beach,, Confetti Clothing Co., Islands by Amity, Untucked Apparel for Men (new in Duck), Savvy Home, Luxury, Kena Activewear, Charlotte’s Ladies’ Boutique, and Diamonds and Dunes.
A few hours ago, it started. Gray skies and spitting rain. When the lightning arc’d over the Sound in a threatening manner, I decided to pack it up for the day. Hitting the Beach Road, I made my way north in a leisurely manner.
I decided to stop along the way at Buccaneer’s Walk, a little shopping village on the ByPass in Kitty Hawk (next to Capt’n Franks). My friend Kendra has just opened a shop devoted to women’s active wear – Kena Activewear (see it here online).
“Our Eco Products are fun, functional, and fashionable.”
Who else out there dreads bathing suit shopping as much as I do? Not many of us are a perfect size, finding that our bottom half is larger than the top half, or vice versa. It sucks having to sacrifice one part for the other with a one piece suit or with the traditional two piece suits that are sold together.
Living on the Outer Banks, a well fitting bathing suit is as necessary to me as a good pair of running shoes. My favorite two piece is faded and stretched out and sadly it’s time to retire it. According to the smart women at Birds of a Pleather:
Throw it away once it starts to: sag, lose elasticity, become sheer in spots, decompose or remind you of Saved by the Bell. This seems self-evident, but I can tell you from avid beach people watching that it is not.
Thank goodness swim suit designers have gotten savvy and are now offering the two-piece suits separately, tops sized to bra and cup sizes, with your choice of bottoms with full coverage to itty-bitty thongs.
Let’s be realistic, you can’t buy a swim suit online (unless you’re a super thin super model). Fortunately, the Outer Banks has a great selection of shops devoted to all things BEACH.
I visited Cathy Wood’s store, Shore-fit Sunwear, at Milepost 4 on the Bypass in Kitty Hawk recently for her annual Customer Appreciation Day sale. She also has an excellent website, click here.
She has a great selection of suits for all types of shapes and sizes, including maternity suits, and pretty sundresses and cover-ups.
I purchased these separates and am happy that I’ll be able to mix and match them with solid black top and bottoms I already own.
An outfit my niece Whitley wore recently inspired me. She writes a popular blog, The Queen City Style, and wrote a piece in which she was photographed in a lovely peach maxi-dress that she paired with a cool jean jacket and some awesome jewelry. You can see her outfit here. I’ve been searching online for a look that works for me (since I’m old enough to be Whitley’s mother, I need a look that is cool but also appropriate for my age).
I found this pretty dress at Anthropologie. I love the color and batik/tribal print.
I’m not crazy about the necklace, I think I would add this cuff, my vintage Polo jean jacket and a neutral sandal. Thanks for the inspiration Whitley!
I spent a week on the southwest coast of Nicaragua with Hubs recently. He surfed, I read and ran and enjoyed the beautiful beach. It was very relaxing. We had fun recreating some local dishes using fresh local veggies and fish and lobster.
We were up everyday at about 5 a.m and went to bed shortly after the monkeys calmed down at dusk. There are howler monkeys that hang out in the trees around the complex. They have a scary sounding bark, straight out of Jurassic Park.
When we left and got back to the airport in Managua, I was on the lookout for some shoes that I discovered on another favorite fashion blog at www.lucylaucht.com.
Found them at one of the vendors at the entrance and only 15 U.S. dollars! I should have bought several pair!
I’m back! I’ve had a week’s down time trying to refuel and reenergize but I’m still coming up empty-handed or empty-headed I should say (must be the pollen in the air).
It’s Spring Break here on the Outer Banks. Despite a return to chilly weather and northeast winds, there are a lot of visitors here – mostly home owners getting their houses ready for rental season, but quite a few tourists too. This brings a much needed shot to our local economy, and preps us for summer, our busiest time of year .
Here’s an outfit I want to create using these pants I bought recently at Ann Taylor Loft with other items I’m currently lusting after.
I waited too long on this one – it’s out of stock (rats):
I want to pile on the color with a hot pink shirt:
I recently discovered several clip-on bow ties that belonged to my father. They must be at least 40 years old.
Curious about these clip-on bow ties, I Googled them and found 2,331 items at Etsy.com – some old, others new or handmade. I like the old vintage patterns the best. Find this one for $10 here.
Anyway, one of them jumped out at me today as I pulled on a cardigan that I bought a couple of years ago from Talbot’s. The buttons were plasticrap and worthless, so I started playing around with the bow tie to keep the sweater secure. I like to mix up patterns and textures.