Galavant Among the Grapes in Style this Summer
If you’re anything like The Lush Life crew, there’s quite a few wineries on your packed itinerary that are begging to be explored this summer. You can almost taste the cold Chardonnay christened by warm rays and smell the fresh dirt supporting hearty vines. Only problem is, you’ve got nothing to wear. While Sarah takes you on a crisp and buttery adventure sipping the tart or ripest grapes from Napa to the Italian coast, I’ve got just the wardrobe tips you’ll need for your next tasting.
June has arrived and she brings the warm sun to caress and playfully taunt us while we usher in the summer season, packed with plans of faraway travels and guiltless galavanting at home or abroad. April and May were very good to us this spring, depositing lots of rain and tepid fog onto our North Eastern lands, encouraging healthy blooms and growth all around us. Spring allows for that crucial grace period. Weaning us off of the harsh cold and into a sexier heat, forcing us to shed layers and inhibitions as this exciting seasonal transition naturally unfolds. Oodles of kudos to those of you who’ve already completed the very necessary act of an annual spring cleaning. Shoving coats and fluffy things away into storage while breaking out the cooler fabrics for the summer feels oh so good, am I right? It’s even more rewarding when you’ve purged enough of your old closet to make room for a few new critical wardrobe pieces, perfect for playing it cool in the hot sun.
Sip through the summer in style with these wardrobe tips:
1. Ease and comfort are key
Unless there’s a formal invite involving a cocktail party or gala, plan your winery visit around easy-going pieces with very little fuss. Keep in mind that most wineries are very rustic retreats involving multi acres of organic, open land with damp, cavernous quarters. The last thing you want to wrestle with is a trendy top that grows the more you sweat. The only things that should be growing here is your wine knowledge and your wine buzz. Stick to cool, neutral colors and breathable fabrics with few layers. A cotton tank with worn-in blue jeans a touch on the baggy side are perfect and classically chic. I love *Levi’s for their old American spirit, endless styles and affordability. Save the ruffled, off-the-shoulder tops and dresses for indoor hangs. You don’t want to lose half a garment to those protruding old vines.
2. Go nuts with the denim
Protect your legs from pesky vines, dust and dirt while concealing sweat and still look incredibly put together. Denim is the perfect winery wardrobe staple because of its durability, comfort and effortless style. Think dresses, skirts, jeans and even jackets. For denim shorts, I recommend a slightly fuller leg over the daisy duke. This is a winery after all, and not a backyard hoedown. Nothing wrong with the latter, there’s just a time and place (and age) for everything. For blue jeans, choose lighter washes and newer styles, where the hem hits just above the ankle, the rise is higher and fit is looser. This jean style works on every body type. Tops should be slightly cropped or fitted to offset the higher, baggier shape. Packing a pair of jeans in the event it rains or temps drop unexpectedly is always a smart travel move.
3. Choose lightweight, breathable fabrics
Save the silk and polyester for another weekend. One huge misconception regarding silk is that the fabric is cool and breathable, when in actuality silk is the opposite of both those things. Silks do not play nice with moisture and encourage very little ventilation. The natural fabric makes for decadent and luxurious sleepwear, especially in colder climates. Sipping wines under the hot sun-- not so much. Again, choose fabrics such as cotton and linens for touring wineries this summer. Polyesters and silks will only leave you feeling juicier than the pinot. Not a good look. Save them for vine hopping in the fall or winter instead.
4. Leave the stiletto heels at home
I can’t express this enough. Ladies, I sincerely know the unwavering devotion to a pair of heels, I do. I, too, have felt the low pangs and insecurities more recognizable in a pair of flats. But I’ve also been the victim of a very bad fashion moment, involving pointed heels and unforgiving terrain. Between rocks, dirt and dust, grassy hills, cobblestoned cellars, limestone steps and more unpredictable floors, it’s best to not leave behind a trail of holes, or even worse--a pair of broken shoes. Consider packing broken-in sneakers (Converse are ridiculously comfy and classic), worn leather boots with a sturdy or flat heel (*Frye boots are brilliant), a well-cushioned wedge, or a summer espadrille. Strappy flat sandals are fine, but not great when kicking up dust in the vineyards. Save them for indoor tastings. As for dressier dinners, a thick high heel that won’t succumb to unstable turf is perfectly acceptable, and will pair beautifully with a gauzy linen dress or pants for evening.
5. Hats, hats and more hats
Between the dust and the high sun, become a hat person if you’re not already. Hats are always incredibly chic, especially when worn outdoors, regardless of the season. They were created to stave off the sun’s rays after all, so what’s a more perfect time to don one than in the summer. Choose a wide brim with a classic shape, from fedoras to cowboy to even beach-going floppy versions, and go with hats made of packable, foldable styles that can be shoved into a carry-on without losing their shape. These are more common than one might assume. I love Goorin Bros. here in NYC for their extensive collection, very decent prices, and knowledgeable staff.
6. Don't forget a versatile scarf
Always travel with a lightweight scarf. Weather it’s a gauzy wrap, pashmina or a bandana, a summer scarf is a great accessory to have handy whenever the shoulders need a break from the sun, or for chillier nights outdoors. Also, for summer days that are especially scorching, drench a bandana in cold water, roll it up and tie around your neck to keep cool in the sun while also looking the part. I have bandanas in almost every color that I keep in a sock drawer year round. They are 100% cotton, very inexpensive (mine are Levi’s), and take up virtually no room at all.
7. Leave extra baggage at home.
Big purses and backpacks are miracles for the big city, but these accessories have no place at a winery or in a vineyard. I’m obsessed with belt-bags (“fanny packs” for us OGs) for their hands-free incentives, and all the *bigwigs in fashion (Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, etc..) started making them cool again sometime back. In the event you can’t possibly commit to a fanny pack for fear of resembling your weird, nerdy uncle no matter the enticing LV logo or not, go with small, lightweight crossbody bags that are only large enough to fit a room key, phone, lip balm, little cash and few cards.
8. Wear Sunscreen
You know what cramps any ole style no matter how good? A sunburn, or even worse--skin cancer. Find one you love and never leave home without it. I do suggest going with an unscented or lightly scented version, however. This goes with perfumes in general, when it comes to tastings. As I’m positive Sarah would attest, the grapes deserve all the attention from any participating nose in the room, or out in the vineyard.
Lastly, feel good in your skin. No matter the fashion moment at hand, stick with styles you love and feel most confident in at all times. It is best to cater these tried and true styles for every unique event, time and place (i.e. swapping your trusty heels for flats), but never venture so far out of your comfort zone that you’re no longer comfortable in your garb. Pack for the sun, the long walks, the deliciously drawn out tastings, the lush environments around you, and simply enjoy the lushful moment.
Cheers to sipping in style this summer!
*For anyone less familiar with my shopping style, I am allllll about finding slightly used designer goods from the likes of The Real Real, Beacon’s Closet, Housing Works, and more. You don’t have to spend a fortune on well-crafted but normally-expensive clothing!