Saturday, July 27, 2013

Mountain Casual: Summer Style At 8,000 Feet

I'm happy to report my husband and I are having a fab vacation in Vail, Colorado. The town of Vail is like an international fairyland. The architecture is a playful mix of buildings inspired (or so it seems to this reporter) by the classic Swiss chalet and homes along Amsterdam’s canals. In addition, everywhere you turn, you hear someone speaking with a European accent.

In my last post, Packing for A Summer Vacation in the Mountains, I shared the garments and accessories I packed for Vail. I focused on the items I chose for our planned outdoor mountain activities. For this second installment, I'm focusing on the garments I included for more leisurely activities--shopping, sight-seeing and restaurant going--as well as what I saw other women wearing.

Since my last posting, my husband have been to Glenwood Canyon, which is about an hour west of Vail. We rented bikes in Glenwood Springs and road between the Canyon walls along the Colorado River. The thing that has amazed us about Colorado is the diversity of the landscape. Within a one-hour car ride of Vail, we've seen densely wooded mountains, barren red clay hillsides and deeply-carved Canyons.

This over 50 woman (photo, above), however, doesn't have (and never did have) the energy or interest for doing sports 24-7. I was also looking forward to a little shopping, dining and people-watching in the mountains.

Vail's free electric shuttles can travel from one end of town to the other in about 20 minutes. In between, there's lots of shops and restaurants. Though I had never been to Vail, I suspected that the dress code around the village was going to be casual. And that's exactly what I found. I also found that Vail's casual look was a lot like New York--lots of white and pastel-colored slacks with black tops. Here's a typical Vail tourist (below). She's wearing mint slacks with a black 3/4 sleeve top. It's an effortless, stylish look. And her white hair and black sunglasses offer a lovely bit of drama.

For me, summertime is skirt season. I rarely wear slacks. If you read my last post, you know I packed a couple of summer skirts and a jersey dress. I also wore a skirt on the plane.

The last thing I wanted to do was fret about fashion on my vacation. I wasn't going to Paris or Milan, after all. For tops, I chose to pack only black or navy lightweight, fitted cotton T-shirts. I love my black and navy Ts and I figured limiting my color choices would make getting dressed would be snap. And it was! My the black or navy tops went with all my skirts.

Obviously, an over 50 woman who prefers slacks would pack pants instead of skirts. The great thing about summer cotton jersey skirts, however, is they don't take up much room. I don't know if I would have been able to travel with just carry-on luggage if I had to pack slacks instead of skirts.

My white jean jacket turned out to be a "must-have" for our mountain vacation. The week before we left, I check the weather on Not surprisingly, the weather report for the mountains listed temps in the low 80s F during the day and high 60s F at night. The reports were accurate--the minute the sun went down, the mountain air got quite nippy, especially if it had rained that day.

Since starting Flattering50, I have received lots of comments and emails from women who don't know how to cope with their aging arms. For mountain vacations and other casual occasions, I turn to one of my jean jackets (either white or a traditional blue). I love jean jackets because they provide the necessary over 50 arm coverage without making me look like a stuffy old lady.

Here's a woman wearing a jean jacket and a floral dress with a cute crossover bag and flat sandals. What a simple, fun look, don't you think? I've already worn my sun dress and jean jacket to dinner twice in Vail.

July in New York has been (more or less) one interminable heatwave. So...the cooler mountain air has been  heavenly. The flowers seems to love the cool, dry air as well.

What do you wear when shopping on a summer vacation?