Not Fashion Week… Not a Fashion Post

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Hubby and I are loading up the truck in a couple of days. Packing the cooler, filling the book bag, tying the canoe on the truck, lacing up our sneakers, and heading up the Ottawa Valley for a week in the semi-wilderness.

Our canoe laden, loaded truck, headed for Bonnechere Park

We’re not canoeing into the real wilderness of Algonquin Park this trip. We’ll be sleeping in our tent trailer, instead of on the ground. And we won’t be portaging. But we will be paddling and fishing, biking and swimming, and lazing around with our books. A whole lot of that last one.

And so I can assure you that this week will NOT go down in the annals of chic fashion. Most definitely not a fashionable week. And this is most definitely not a fashion post.

This is as gussied up as I am likely to be all week. My Aritzia tank, flip flops, and either my Brooks Brothers walking shorts, or my black, drawstring, cotton pants from Green Tree Eco Fashion. These pants have been a workhorse in my summer wardrobe since 2014.

  Black tank from Aritzia and Brooks Brothers walking shorts
   Black Wilfred Free tank from Aritzia, black cotton drawstring pants from Green Tree Eco Fashion

I’ll wear one of these outfits one day over the course of the week when we drive into town for provisions. We usually take a day to meander along the back roads, indulge ourselves with a big, greasy breakfast in Barry’s Bay, and stop on the way home at a lovely pottery and craft store in the village of Wilno. Wilno is Canada’s oldest Polish settlement, and Hubby and I keep thinking we should drive back up the valley one Labour Day weekend for their annual community supper. Apparently they’ve been serving traditional Polish fare at this event for more than sixty years.

Most of the time, though, I’ll be in shorts and a tank top, or sweat pants and a tee shirt. Or my new bathing suit, which I finally bought last week. It’s a black one-piece. I know, I know. So boring.

But I spent two hours in the dressing room at  Brio, a swimsuit specialty store, trying every high-neck, one-piece suit they had. Striped ones, paisley ones, red ones, blue ones… and they were all too long in the body, too big in the butt, or too something or other. I even became all tangled up in the complicated straps of one and had to call for help to extricate myself. I tried all of their tankinis and had no luck there either. Then the helpful and very patient salesgirl brought me this “Miraclesuit,” I slipped it on, and, miracle of miracles, it looked ten times better than anything else I had tried. So black or not, I bought it.

I’m not much of a cover-up person; I’ve owned lovely feminine sarongs and the like, and never worn them. That’s probably because we do most of our swimming when we’re camping or wilderness canoeing. So, I bought a black, zippered Gabar cover-up too. Much better to pull on over a wet bathing suit for cycling back to our campsite from the beach, or clambering back into the canoe… than something fluffy and delicate.

This is my new suit sans the cover-up. Do you like how I doctored the shot? I’m sixty, and I’m okay with that… mostly. But I do take a jaundiced view of publishing an un-doctored shot of me in my bathing suit. Ha. I know. Bad pun.

My new swimsuit from Brio
So here’s what the well organized camper packs for a car camping trip, as opposed to a wilderness camping trip, when I would be taking much less. I’ll add to this my loose, long-sleeved “bug shirt” to wear over a tank when we’re canoeing or walking in the bush. My rain jacket. And a heavy sweatshirt for nights around the fire. A pair of flip flops and my sneakers. And a hat. C’est tout.
What to pack for a camping trip
The other day when Frances from Materfamilias Writes and I had lunch we talked about blogging, naturally. And we laughed ruefully at that whole “how to title a blog post if you want to get noticed thing.” You know….. the plethora of “Thirteen Ways to Do Whatever” kind of posts.
So I toyed with the idea of naming this post “Five things You Can’t Be Without on a Camping Trip.” That list would look something like this:
1. Comfortable clothing you don’t mind getting dirty, wet, or maybe even ruined.
2. Food and wine.
3. Books
4. Books
5. Books
Here’s what I’m packing for reading material for both Hubby and me. Books, books, books… and a sketch pad… which I may or may not use. I know I should use it, but this is strictly a no “shoulds” trip.
Summer reading

And so we’re off in a few days. I’m looking forward to lazing around the fire, reading my book, and riding my bike. Languidly paddling the canoe until I get the word that, even though we are on vacation, lily dipping is not appreciated by the guy in the stern. I’m looking forward to sipping wine while the man makes dinner… not that this will be much different from when we’re at home.

I’m also looking forward to not worrying about my hair; that’s what hats are for. To not wearing make-up. To not giving a hoot about what I’m wearing. Because this week I’ll be taking a break from fashion, and fashion posts. This week will most definitely be Not Fashion Week. And whatever I wear, it will be comfortable, casual, and capable of getting dirty, wet, or maybe even ruined.

Well, except for my black Aritzia tank. I don’t want to ruin that after all I went through to find it. Better go and un-pack that puppy.

How about you guys? Any trips upcoming? Fashionable or otherwise?

P.S. Since we’ll be camping and most certainly off-line for the next week… I’ve scheduled a couple of “reprise” posts from the early days of my blog. On the theme of summer, and canoeing, and such. If you haven’t read them yet, hope you enjoy them.

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50 thoughts on “Not Fashion Week… Not a Fashion Post”

  1. Susan…I deleted my first comment asking about your black Aritzia tank thinking I might not be able to purchase that brand in the U.S.A. I am glad to find out that I can order online in the U.S.A. Would you mind sharing the information with me?
    In the meantime, have a wonderful time in the "semi-wilderness"! My husband and I also love camping in the outdoors. In August, I will accompany husband into the High Sierras of California for two weeks. We do love trout fishing and, years ago, fished in Quebec outside of a town named Malbec. We speak no French but had a marvelous time fishing and having family time with our two sons.
    Do have a wonderful time in Ottawa Valley! Nothing like camping recreation!

    1. Thanks, Sue. We still love camping….even when all of our friends who used to camp when their kids were small have packed in it. Cabins by lakes are right up there too!

  2. Sounds heavenly–except that I don't fish and can't remember when I last went camping. But it's fun to dream, right?! Hope you will report back on those books. Enjoy every minute!

    1. I will definitely be reporting o the books… good or bad. I've been saving up a few baddies, annoying, can't toss quickly enough books to write about.

  3. Hi Sue, I hope you get great weather for your camping trip. We are heading to Algonquin park in August, but we are taking the easy way – two nights in a cabin in a resort, with all meals included, and they throw in a canoe too. We booked on a whim to celebrate my birthday and our anniversary (luckily we have a travel fund that we can draw from) and while it's quite expensive, I reasoned that 1. all meals are included and 2. there are no shops nearby. So my packing list will be a little different than yours, but there will be books. Have a great time!

    1. We stayed at Arowhon Pines in Algonquin Park a few years ago for our anniversary. It was really lovely, suited us right down to the ground. Shabby chic cabins, cool lodge made out of massive logs…and all inclusive with food to die for. They even served a buffet afternoon tea, with blueberry scones and GOOD tea. Perfect for lounging on the deck and reading a book. Not sure if this is where you are going…but have a wonderful time!

    2. Thanks Sue – afternoon tea would be a big draw for me! We are going to Killarney Lodge, it's a bit closer to us than Arowhon, but looks similar.

  4. Just realizing how close I came to missing our visit — lucky I was in Ottawa last week and not this one!
    Chuckling over your stack of books — for me, deciding what reading to bring along on any trip is generally at least as important as figuring out what clothes to pack, and it looks as if you've chosen carefully. Have a wonderful, unplugged week away!

  5. Hi. Sue! Love the swimming suit pics …boring? no! ….chic! Lovely neckline. Your camping trip sounds wonderful …so relaxing. Great not to think about clothes and hair…I love that about camping and our winter holidays. I get the same feeling …shower, sunscreen, tinted moisturiser …then on with the "ski wear" and my beloved wooly hat!!! So easy 🙂 I often through in the camping suggestion, when we're discussing future holidays but no one else is keen, ie hubby! My daughter and her fiancé still camp though and they all talk fondly of camping holidays when they were younger.
    Looking forward to hearing all about your trip …in person, this time! 🙂

    1. Your winter holidays sound like ours. We are usually in a cabin or condo and only eat out one night when make-up is required. Woolly hats can cover a lot of bad hair. They are even useful in controlling frizz and hair bumps that formed in the night…. after skiing whisk off the hat and instant straightened hair:)

  6. Hi – I just recently started reading your blog and I love it!!!! Love your style. I am a 53 year young women that lives in Florida. I would love to know where your leather pants are from. I'm looking for a pair that aren't leggings.

    Thanks – enjoy your trip!!!

    1. Thanks very much, Susan. My leather pants are from Holt Renfrew, their in-house brand. I bought them in 2013, so they're a few years old. I'll keep my eye out for a pair that are similar and pass on the info.
      Thanks for dropping by. Now you have to keep coming back if only for the pants info… ha ha my evil plan may work:)

    2. I love forward to your posts everyday!!!! I'm still playing catch up reading your posts from the beginning. Thank you so much for thinking of me.

      I hope you truly enjoy your vacation – you both deserve it!!
      Hope your husband's shoulder feels better soon.

  7. Have a great time unwinding. We're off to pickup our new travel trailer this morning and try it out on Oregon coast. It won't be as warm as you're describing but I wish I'd bought those shorts I saw last week.

    1. Thanks, Jennifer. Looking forward to hearing about your trailer stories. Don't forget to NOT collect too many large pieces of memorabilia… remember Lucy in The Long, Long, Trailer???

  8. I find your bathing suit photos very Andy Warhol-what an inspiration!
    Choosing books was crucial to me before-with e-books,everything is much easier 🙂
    Just finished The Diary of a Provincial Lady-it was so good,thank you very much,it was a lack in my English literature education-but lot of recent best selling authors did their homework well,no?
    Hope that you'll have perfect weather on camping trip( I loved it as girl,and ,last time, more than ten years ago). It is a special kind of enjoying the nature.
    Have a great time!

    1. Thanks, Dottoressa! I'm no Liz Taylor, though. Especially in a swimsuit:)
      So happy that you liked The Diary of a Provincial Lady. It was recommended to me by a reader of this blog. I loved the book and definitely recognized a precursor to the likes of Bridget Jones' Diary.
      Hopefully we will have good weather when we're in the bush and I will get some great pictures for a blog post.

  9. Don't know if you will ever get to start your trip with answering all the comments! Just started reading your post….so much I feel like I am stalking you! And, if I may add, it is very intimidating writing a reply to an English teacher! I also follow my man into the wilderness frequently to camp, fish, hike, bike, cook, read, canoe, drink wine and whine, and oh yeah, bird hunt. Yes, he is a lucky guy. Just love everything about your blog and feel a kindred spirit; I especially appreciated this post on what you pack to wear/take camping! I have been obsessing (too much) with wilderness chic and your post helped me realize I should dial it back somewhat. So many days without showers, having smoke fumed unwashed hair, bug sprayed skin, dirt under your nails – all making me obsess about just trying to "look cute again"! That and some shockingly bad pictures by guy seems to always seems to snap of me. I wish you all the best.


    1. That comment about replying to an English teacher made me laugh. My niece tells me it's too "nerve wracking" to comment on my blog, in case she makes a spelling error.

      Your Hubby sound much like mine. He could live in the bush, I think. I am happy for a few days, and don't mind getting dirty, but I hate the smelly stickiness of bug spray especially if we're wilderness canoeing. And after we are out there for 4 or 5 days I start dreaming of high heels and pedicures.

    2. Try this bug spray – Sawyer Products Premium Insect Repellent with 20% Picaridin. I got it off Amazon and it works well for me, keeps the black flies away, not so greasy feeling, and doesn't take your nail polish Off (no pun intended…well maybe)!

      Oh and a great wilderness book – Mrs Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman (their's is a great love story as well). I read it as a kid and it was one of those greats that gets you hooked on reading. Based on a real woman's adventures in the early 1900's – marries and Mountie and goes off to live in the Canadian Wilderness. A tough life but I love stories about resilience!

  10. Before you head into the wilderness, could you give me any shopping tips for Montreal and Quebec City for women our age? My husband and I are going on a cruise in a month to celebrate our joint 65th birthday year. We're eager to have some getaway time after the recent death of my mother in law. Looking forward to living vicariously through you on your trip and reading your book reports. Our cruise stops on Prince Edward Island, so the Anne of Green Gables in me is beyond thrilled!

    1. Your cruise sounds lovely. When you are in P.E.I. I hope you have a chance to do a bit of driving; the countryside is beautiful, all rolling green hills etc. I highly recommend the musical Anne at the Charlottetown Festival if possible. Even this Anne aficionado loved it. And my husband enjoyed himself too.

      I've never shopped in Quebec City, just browsed both Upper and Lower Town in the old city. Take the funicular near Chateau Frontenac to move from one to the other. Many nice galleries etc.

      Now Montreal is another story. Shopping is all I've ever done in Montreal. Except for eating out. I always head for Ogilvy's on St Catherine Street at de la Montagne. Lots of separate boutiques within and many older sales staff who have clearly worked there for many years. Holt Renfrew is also a favourite of mine, albeit a bit more pricey than Ogilvy's. There are many nice stores all around and between the two stores I've mentioned. Boutiques in Old Montreal are nice too, although I can't think of any particular names. But for easy walking and proximity if I had to choose I'd head to St Catherine and Montagne.

      Hope this helps. I tend to be a creature of habit…and visit he same stores each time. If anyone who reads this has any other suggestions for Chris… please weight in.

    2. Your suggestions are so helpful! Many thanks. If you ever plan another spring trip to the US in spring as you did this year, my husband and I would love to host you all at our western Kentucky farm house with fishing, hunting and beautiful Kentucky lakes. We're about an hour northwest of Nashville, which is a fun city. Happy travels!

  11. Your trip sounds great. Hope you have a lovely time. Nice selection of books. I read Raindogs recently and really enjoyed it. Like your swimsuit. Well worth all the time and effort. As for the photo (might that constitute a selves-ie?)… the choice of green was inspired! Enjoy. Iris

  12. 1. Bug spray
    2. Different brand of bug spray in case #1 inadequate
    3. Sun hat wide enough to shelter three persons
    4. Phone number of closest good restaurant to hit on way home
    5. Sleeping pills- cannot sleep with rustling animal noises, birds cawing.
    By now it should be clear my motto is "Better Dead Than Camping."
    And your new suit is lovely!

    1. Yes.. I did get the impression that camping is not your thing:) I can't figure out why it IS my thing. My friends get such a big laugh out of that. Seems so contradictory to the rest of me. Must be because I'm a Gemini??

  13. I put in my time overnight camping when my kids were little. Now I am happy to join my friends at their campsites for the day, then drive home and sleep in my own bed. Having said that, I am inspired by your post! So, maybe this is the year I take the plunge and embrace camping once again.

    1. I love the evening and nights when it's cooler the best. Sitting around the fire etc. In fact I'd only camp in the fall if the campsites were open longer.

  14. Lilly dipping! Last time I heard that expression I was a camper at Camp Queen Elizabeth, 50 years ago. Thanks for the memory and happy trails!

  15. Susan– I love your blog and I love your style! Quick question about the tank when you're back and have a minute– can you wear a bra with it? The back looks like it would be a problem. I always like a looser tank but don't want to fuss with a strapless bra. Thanks so much, Beth

    1. Thank you so much for letting me know! Hope you had a fun trip. I loved your post today about sisters. I also have two (I'm the middle) and couldn't imagine my life without them. Have a great day.

  16. Because of Materfamilias I stumbled on your blog and before that on hers because of other great bloggers. It's contagious. What a wonderful find. I'll be reading more. Love your title.

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